French Broad River Garden Club hosts plant sale and gardening discussion

EXPERT IN HER FIELD: Fairview farmer Annie Louise Perkinson will present a discussion on growing a cut-flower garden at the upcoming French Broad River Garden Club Foundation's annual plant sale. Photo courtesy of Flying Cloud Farm

The French Broad River Garden Club Foundation, chartered in 1927 and admitted to the Garden Club of America in 1930, states a goal of “promoting the conservation, development and intelligent use of the natural resources of North Carolina and elsewhere.” One way it executes its mission is by offering the community an opportunity to learn from experienced local growers at its popular annual spring plant sale.

Scheduled for Saturday, April 27, at Clem’s Cabin in South Asheville, this year’s sale will feature guest speaker Annie Louise Perkinson of Flying Cloud Farm. At 11 a.m., visitors will be invited inside Clem’s Cabin to hear Perkinson discuss how to grow a cutting garden using sustainable methods, including crop plans and the most dependable flower varieties for spring, summer and fall in Western North Carolina.

Perkinson, whose great-grandmother, Elizabeth McClure, was a founding member of the French Broad River Garden Club, started Flying Cloud Farm with her husband, Isaiah, in 1999 in Fairview on land owned by her parents. Before the couple started cultivating vegetables, berries and cut flowers using organic practices, the fields were used to grow hay for the horses on her grandparents’ dairy.

Flowers have been part of their product mix since the beginning, and they continue to add to the farm’s floral production every year. Flowers play an important role in a garden mix for many reasons, says Perkinson, including the fact that they provide habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators.

“I learned a lot about having a cutting garden from my grandmother, Elspie Clarke,” she says, noting that her grandparents lived in Sherrill’s Inn, the last house on Highway 74 in Buncombe County on the curvy road that leads to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. Her grandmother always kept cut flowers in her house, she continues, and was “very good at being creative with what was available.”

The sale, which runs 9 a.m.-2 p.m., will feature landscaping plants, including conifers, annuals, perennials and herbs, as well as plants from members’ private gardens. Garden accents and accessories will also be available from more than 15 vendors. Proceeds will support conservation and horticulture scholarships at area schools. The café at Clem’s Cabin will have food items for sale until 1 p.m., and there will be live musical entertainment throughout the day.

WHAT: French Broad River Garden Club Annual Plant Sale
WHERE: Clem’s Cabin, 1000 Hendersonville Road. fbrgcf.org
WHEN: 9 a.m-2 p.m., Saturday, April 27. Annie Louise Perkinson speaks at 11 a.m. Free admission.

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