Tillsonburg Horticultural Society's 8th Annual Garden Auction in the Tillsonburg Community Centre Tuesday night was a win-win for participants and the horticultural society.
"That's what we're always striving for," said Judi Misener from the Tillsonburg Horticultural Society. "We get a lot of things donated, and we were able to purchase a few things wholesale. Then the people who attend the auction are able to get things at a good price. They win by being able to beautify their gardens, we win because it makes us money in order to all that we do."
And the Horticultural Society, with more than 200 members, does a lot.
"We have the gardens that we look after – at the Senior Centre, at Woodingford Lodge, Annandale House, the Legion, Livingston Centre, and one other. We also have a Junior Gardener Program which has 116 kids involved this year, which is great. We have a scholarship for a Glendale High School graduate. And we contribute to the Tillsonburg Fair. And we also contribute to the Business Improvement Area (BIA) hanging baskets, which will be up soon."
The Lions Auditorium was buzzing Tuesday night as people mingled, shopped, and bid.
"We had to keep putting out more chairs. I would think there were maybe 150 people in attendance, and some came and went without sitting, so it was very well attended. More from the community than members, I'd say. A lot of the members were working.
"For the draw table, we had more than 60 companies donate items (including rounds of golf, hairstyling, and fertilizer), so it was really quite a wide range. Some companies donated soil used during the auction, for example.
"We had a $2 table and a $5 table, so people could purchase things at a really reasonable price. Herbs and tomatoes are always popular, and we had some asparagus and some rhubarb, so that all went very quickly. Some of our members split plants from their own gardens, re-potted, and they're in excellent shape."
Trees and shrubs were also available for auction.
"And we also had baked goods, so there were a variety of reasons why people came."
Usually the garden auction is one week earlier, but it was delayed in 2014 by an early Mother's Day and Long Weekend.
"We're glad we're a week later this year because you couldn't put things in the ground. In fact, it still might be a little iffy. We think our timing was good this year. People are anxious, but they still have to be careful about planting too early."
About 300 items were auctioned Tuesday night in about 90 minutes, which raised the horticultural society about $5,000, minus expenses.
"I think we're very pleased the auction, we thank all the people who attended. Their gardens will make Tillsonburg beautiful, and ours will too. Definitely, it's win-win, and that's very rewarding."
The horticultural society holds monthly meetings, with nearly 100 people every month, noted Misener, and members get a 10 per cent discount at local nurseries.
"The membership's $15, so they get back pretty quickly."