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Annual Black Bear Beauties Plant Sale May 17–18

horticulture club

University of Maine Horticulture Club members and greenhouse management students will be offering hundreds of plants they raised for the annual Black Bear Beauties Plant Sale, May 17–19 on campus.

The sale will be 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 17–18, and 12–4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden, next to the University Credit Union on campus.

Club members describe the Black Bear Beauties as rugged, often native plants suitable for Maine gardens. Students in the Horticulture Club and greenhouse management course grew about 30 plant species, including woody shrubs, herbaceous perennials and herbs in greenhouses on campus.

Horticulture Club President Ryan Urquhart and Vice President Meghan McLain say students recently potted more than 300 plants, and will do the same with more herbs in the final weeks leading up to the sale.

Perennials are ordered in plug trays to guarantee quality. The students grow the plants for two to three months, according to graduate student Shuyang Zhen.

McLain says it is important to order plants from climates similar to Maine, such as Minnesota as opposed to Florida, so they can easily adapt to soil and temperatures in the area.

Popular household herbs, such as basil, dill, oregano, parsley, thyme and cilantro are grown organically from seed.

Herbaceous perennials in 6-inch containers cost $7–$10, herbs are $3 for a pot containing up to four plants. Costs of the woody species plants vary. All come with recommendations for care and suitable growing environments.

The most popular plants last year were purple, aromatic plants, such as lavender; plants that are attractive to butterflies and bees such as anise hyssop; and plants that do well in the shade, such as hostas, says Zhen.

Stephanie Burnett, UMaine associate professor of horticulture, says if people aren’t sure whether they want to purchase plants, they should still visit the Littlefield Gardens in peak season.

“My favorite part about holding the sale is connecting our horticulture program with the Greater Bangor and Orono community. It is wonderful to meet new people — and see people who revisit the sale every year — and to share a love of plants with them,” Burnett says.

Funds raised support student scholarships, the Lyle E. Littlefield Gardens and the Horticulture Club, says Burnett.

Grower of the Year Scholarships — $300, $200 and $100 — are awarded to the three greenhouse management students who grow the highest quality plants throughout the semester.

Upward of $5,000 was raised last year to aid UMaine horticulture and gardens.

For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Stephanie Burnett, 207.581.2937.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.381.3747

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