Santa Paula Times

April 24: America in Bloom, Santa Clara Valley Hospice sponsoring Giant Plant Sale

April 14, 2010
Santa Paula News

If you love flowers, and want to beautify the city and help benefit an important adult day program, you won’t want to miss the Giant Plant Sale to be held Saturday, April 24. The free to enter Giant Plant Sale will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at UC Davis Hansen Trust/Faulkner Farm, located at the corner of Briggs and West Telegraph Road.

Three noted area growers, DoRight’s Nursery, Fides, and Ball Horticultural Company, will be donating thousands of flowers, plants and vegetables to the Giant Plant Sale to benefit Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group Adult Day Program and America in Bloom (AIB). The latter is a national organization discovered by Dianne Davis, who with her husband Dudley owns DoRight’s, which sponsors the hanging baskets and planters in the historic downtown.

When Dianne attended a Chicago-based trade show she saw an AIB booth and was fascinated by its potential in Santa Paula. AIB was originally started by “people in the nursery industry” to promote the flowers sales, but the effort ballooned into a national beautification competition. The local AIB group has been meeting to tackle local beautification efforts.

One AIB criteria is “community involvement, and the more people that get involved, the more ideas come forth on how to improve their own communities.” Dianne said the local group has discussed a beautification starting point, and is considering beautification of the entryway on South 10th Street.

Ultimately, the group “would like to get the community involved, such as adopting a planter or a park.... Several service clubs have adopted parks, but we have to find other clubs or citizens that would take on those projects the city doesn’t have the wherewithal to do.”

Volunteers are needed for the day before the Giant Plant Sale, when Dianne said thousands of plants will be moved to the point of sale. “We’re talking about truckloads of flowers and plants, a lot of stuff. Ball has the Flower Pack Trials” of new products being introduced to the nursery market, and the entire greenhouse full will be donated for the sale. Those would like to volunteer can call Dianne at 407-4696.

DoRight’s, which grows more than a thousand varieties of flowers, vegetables and herbs on its 29 acres, will “focus more on vegetables and herbs that will complement the flowers from Ball and Fides.... It’s all donated, so prices will be lower than wholesale and we don’t want anything left... I expect prices will be about a third of retail.” With their own fleet on the road, Do Right’s is renting trucks to move the sale plants.

“Gardening,” said Co-Chair Cathy Barringer, the former longtime president of SCVH/HSG, is “therapy for a lot of people. Just getting your hands in the soil, being outside and seeing the beautiful results.... With housework,” she added with a laugh, “it only shows when you don’t do it!”

Gardening is “an investment in beauty” that is a proven winner, not only for those who love to beautify, but also for SCVH/HSG, which conducted the Ball Horticultural Company Garden Walk and a plant sale for six years. “And then America in Bloom asked” if a sale could benefit both groups.

“It’s going to be a better sale than ever,” with what Barringer is confident will be an “enormous turnout... there’s a large parking lot, loading zones and lots of help. It will be very well done.” And the timing is good with spring weather, which Barringer said offers instant gratification for flower lovers who will have thousands of in-bloom plants to choose from.

The April 24 Giant Plant Sale is “more than that... it’s a gigantic plant sale. We’re going to get plants from three wonderful growers and beautify Santa Paula,” as well other areas of the county, whose garden clubs Barringer has notified of the event.

Those who take part in the SCVH/HSG Adult Day Program “are so happy and love it, but we need more participants. Families are also thrilled with it, the staff is wonderful, it’s perfect,” except that more are needed to attend the thrice-weekly program that provides a hot lunch and snacks, socialization, arts and crafts and other programs, as well as respite for caregivers.

Co-Chair Gary Nasalroad said, “The importance of this sale is to benefit Hospice and to provide the seed money that will allow AIB to begin on some of the beautification projects that will improve our city.” With the first project already tentatively identified, “As funds and time permits we’ll take geographic areas from throughout the city where we feel we can make an improvement.”

AIB is also looking to grow itself: “We’re hoping to enlist support from a broad-based community.... Anyone or group that is interested in this project we welcome.”

Santa Paula, which last year was honored as a designated Preserve America community, could also become an AIB winner. “We may be able to enter early next year, which gives us plenty of time to begin some of these projects. But regardless of the nationwide competition, it will still be beneficial for Santa Paula.”

Although Nasalroad said public property is the initial AIB focus, “The project might include private property, working with owners to help them beautify their property and raise its value. Beautification has a multiplier effect, it spreads along the area.... It’s going to take a lot of us to achieve the goals we have.”

For more information call 525-1333, 525-7985 or 407-4696.