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Line up early for the plant sale May 2 in Golden Gate Park.

Line up early for the plant sale May 2 in Golden Gate Park

Once every year, plant fanciers beat apath to the San Francisco County Fair Building (still better known as the Hall of Flowers) for the Strybing Arboretum Society Plant Sale. This year, the sale takes place from 10 to 1 on May 2; society members may shop at a preview party on Friday, May 1, between 5 and 8. You can join the society ($25 per person, $30 for a family) at the preview.

As in previous years, the society will sellplants that are difficult or impossible to find in retail nurseries. Many are grown by member volunteers on the Arboretum grounds or at their own homes. Some represent endangered species, and every example in cultivation helps ensure survival of the species.

In addition to placing rare plants intohome gardens, the sale also raises money that helps perpetuate the society and its educational programs.

Many of the offerings are particularlywell adapted to the northern California fog belt. Among these are the Vireya or Malesian rhododendrons from the mountains of Indonesia and New Guinea; they're resplendent in bright yellows, oranges, and scarlets. Two species of Luculia --evergreen Himalayan shrubs with intoxicatingly fragrant phlox-like flowers --thrive here and nowhere else on this continent. Some 26 South and Central American passion flowers will also be at the sale; many bloom well only where summers are cool.

Among native plants to look for are Carpenteriacalifornica; colorful perennials including columbine, delphinium, and penstemon; and the Smith-Mossman Rhododendron occidentale selections. These Western azaleas are far superior to the usual wild plants.

Thirteen species of maple, Parrotia persica--a witch hazel relative that colors beautifully in the fog belt--and two species of Michelia are a few of many trees to see at the sale. Look for six species of tree fern and a variety of epiphytic fern, as well as bamboos, bonsai, bulbs, orchids, perennials, and rock garden plants (including planted miniature gardens).

Photo: Line forms early for the big Strybing Arboretum Society Plant Sale. Wise shoppers bring boxes, baskets, bags. Knowledgeable volunteers sell plants and give sound advice. Below, part of the display of perennials
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1987
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