UCSC Arboretum will hold annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, April 17

The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum will hold its annual Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to noon for members only and from 12 to 4 p.m. for the general public. The sale, held in conjunction with the California Native Plant Society, will take place at the Arboretum's Eucalyptus Grove on High Street near the intersection with Western Drive.

This annual plant sale is unlike any other, featuring both highly exotic plants and plants native to the local area. There are plants that have been imported from Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, as well as unusual forms of California native plants that have been collected by Arboretum staff. For its part, the California Native Plant Society sells only California natives, including some propagated from local plant populations in Santa Cruz County. Several kinds of native bulbs will be available this year.

Some of the best new Australian plants were imported and tested by the Arboretum in cooperation with Australian and U.S. growers under a program called Koala Blooms. Verticordia plumosa 'Pink Lace' is one of the Australian Koala Blooms plants that will be available at this year's sale. A dwarf, rounded, evergreen shrub with attractive bluish foliage, it has lavender-pink, delicately fringed flowers in tight clusters.

This year many of the batches of plants are small, so some species may sell out either in the members-only sale or early in the public sale, said Stephen McCabe, research and education coordinator for the Arboretum. Memberships can be purchased on the day of the sale for $25.

One plant that is likely to sell out quickly is Leucospermum cordifolium, known as the pincushion protea, which features abundant yellow, orange, or apricot flowers. There will be many plants available, however, of the spectacular Banksia speciosa, a large shrub to modest-sized tree with impressive six-inch long blossoms.

The Arboretum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Norrie's Gifts is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.