New offerings highlight selection at annual UC Santa Cruz Plant Sale May 3-4

The inspiring selection of organic plants for sale at the UC Santa Cruz Farm & Garden's annual spring plant sale will be even greater this year with the addition of several new ornamentals and edibles.

The plant sale will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Barn Theater parking lot at the intersection of Bay and High Streets at the base of campus.

As always, a wide selection of organically raised plants will be available, including more than 200 species of vegetables, annual flowers, perennials, herbs, and "everlastings," or dried flowers. All plants are proven to grow well in the local area.

Among the highlights of this year's new offerings are:

- Big Leaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum. Grown from seed collected below the Chadwick Garden on the UCSC campus, big leaf maple is part of the native mixed evergreen and deciduous forest and is appropriate for an open woodland setting.

- Good King Henry, Chenopodium bonus henricus. A European native related to beets, spinach, and chard, Good King Henry is an edible green with a spinach- or quinoa-like texture and flavor.

- Ivy Leaf Sage, Blue Vine Sage, Salvia cacaliaefolia. Native to Chiapas State in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, this salvia's blue flowers rise right out of the top of the lush green foliage.

- Lavandula x intermedia, "Seal" and "Super": These relatively large lavender cultivars grow to 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 feet and feature long, soft, slender, blue-gray foliage and a relatively dense canopy if well pruned. The flowers of "Super" are a darker lavender; those of "Seal" are mid-lavender blue.

- Monkshood, Aconitum arendsii. This delphinium relative sports gorgeous, deep-purple flowers and can throw a 4 - 5-foot-high flower spike.

- Penstemon grinnelli. A striking penstemon with vibrant silvery-blue foliage and broad iridescent lavender-blue flowers in summer.

- Penstemon pinifolius. A native of the Southwest, this fine-leaved penstemon is an extremely hardy and heat-adapted species unique in its slender, needle-like foliage and long, slim, reddish-orange flowers.

- Penstemon spectabilis. Similar to P. grinnelli, this species features more elongated and slender corolla tubes and slightly deeper lavender-blue flowers.

The vegetable selection will include an impressive array of heirloom varieties of hot, mild, and sweet peppers and a tomato selection to satisfy every gardener and gourmet. Six-packs of lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, salad mix, and Asian greens will also be available.

The flower selection includes a wide variety of sunflowers, yarrows, zinnias, alstroemeria, roses, and penstemons, as well as columbine, coral bells, statice, and Japanese anemone. Medicinal and culinary herbs will also be available.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Farm & Garden and the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, the sale will benefit the UCSC Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. Members of the Friends will receive early entry from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday only and a 10 percent discount on purchases; memberships will be available at the sale beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information, call (831) 459-3240.