VanDusen plant sale this weekend
Andrea Bellamy |

Yesterday, I joined the hoards of women fighting for the perfect pair of kicky heels at the infamous Army and Navy shoe sale (I restrained myself to three pairs). This is a legendary event, in which women (and a few really brave men) line up for hours to score discount shoes. When the doors open, shoppers run, screaming (literally), to the shoe racks, where they grab everything in their size. When employees come out to restock the shelves, they are mobbed. Crazy, right?


A scene from the annual VanDusen Plant Sale.

Almost as nutty is the equally legendary VanDusen Botanical Garden’s annual plant sale, coming this Sunday, when more than 40,000 plants go on sale to benefit the Garden.

Plant nuts start lining up as early as 7 a.m. for the 10 a.m. door opening. When the doors open at 10 a.m., crazed gardeners race to grab the hot plant picks, usually dragging a wagon or running behind a wheelbarrow. The prize? Gardener’s gold – that special one-of-a-kind plant or great bargain that can’t be found anywhere else. More than 10,000 people attend the sale.

I happen to have an advance copy of the plant sale catalogue (you can download yours here), a list of plants that reads like soft porn. While the sale is known for its fabulous selection of perennials, I was intrigued by the edibles, of course – unusual and heirloom varieties of apples; enough herbs to fill a estate-sized potager; tomatoes, mushrooms. You’ll also find a great selection of cannas, carnivorous plants, Pacific Northwest native plants, pelargoniums, rhodos – and many rare and unusual treasures.

The details

Sunday, April 25
Doors open at 10 a.m. (and close at 4 p.m.)
Great Lawn at VanDusen Botanical Garden
5251 Oak Street at W. 37th

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