Master Gardeners offer greenery to public


The Kirkwood family of Fishers – Tal, Jennifer, Charlie, Maggie and Jack – wheel two wagons of plants to the checkout.

Before the annual sale even started, the line to purchase carefully nurtured plants wrapped around the building at the Hamilton County 4-H Grounds, as residents from Central Indiana came early to get the best picks of this season’s Hamilton County Master Gardeners Plant Sale. Several hours later, as the event was winding down, those still pulling wagonloads of herbs, annuals and trees continued to snap up bargains as sale prices were cut on many varieties.

Master Gardeners Nancy Ayers, from left, Suzanne Stevens and Cate Carrington

Whether shoppers came early or late, they left with plants that were raised locally and selected to be successful when planted in a local landscape. They also helped finance scholarships for Hamilton County students pursuing horticulture-related degrees as well as ongoing gardening projects county-wide.

According to Master Gardener Nancy Ayers, most of the plants available to shoppers were dug from the gardens of other Master Gardeners in the area, and all of the others were young starts purchased wholesale early in the year and then carefully raised by local Master Gardeners to acclimate them.

HCMGA volunteers Ray Fitzpatrick and Nancy Goebl help shopper Elise Martin check out.

Elise Martin of Indianapolis was visiting the sale for the first time this year, and hoping her wagonload of carefully selected specimens will thrive when planted in her yard. Tal and Jennifer Kirkwood of Fishers are confident they will. The Fishers couple, who had help managing two wagonloads of new transplants from their three children, Charlie, Maggie and Jack, say they come every year because the plants they buy here do better than those purchased elsewhere.

At the end of the day, Master Gardener Suzanne Stevens estimated that 12,000 to 15,000 plants went out the door, enabling the group to offer at least five college scholarships, fund several school grants for outdoor classrooms and grow labs, keep up local show and display gardens and continue the group’s Gardening Hotline (776-0854).

Those who missed the event can purchase HCMGA plants at the Annual Hamilton County 4-H Fair and July Day Lily Sale. For more information on the Hamilton County Master Gardener’s Association, upcoming events and other programs go to