5 years ago I started growing plants from seeds and cuttings in a big way after we had dug nearly everything out of this garden when we first moved in. Then I started growing bedding for my customers, with the extra plants being sold from the gate. This was followed by growing plants to sell when we opened our garden last year under the NGS.
This year Shedman and I have been exploring other ways and venues to sell plants. The market Manager of the Dolgellau Farmers Market said I could be her “reserve plant seller” in case either of her two regulars couldn’t make the monthly market. So last Sunday (After 3 days notice) Shedman and I loaded the car up to the gunnels and set up our stall (two tables, lots of plants, no canopy) on a windy corner in Dollgellau’s main square.
I am no stranger to this kind of selling, having sold textile work at craft fairs for many years “down south” with Linda. Although there was some apprehension, Will I sell anything, what happens if I cannot remember a plant name? Am I too expensive? Am I too cheap? Have I got my glasses?
I wrote about how doing this kind of thing was like being part of a tribe in 2009 – and it is true to say, that after a morning of selling plants in Dolgellau, I felt I was part of a similar, yet slightly different tribe, where everyone was very welcoming. (Although at Craft Fairs, we were generally in marquees and not exposed to the elements wearing at least 6 layers of clothes)
While we were there, we were invited to do a monthly market in Bala and a weekly market in Dolgellau (eeek) and we have been invited back to the Dolgellau farmers market next month to fill in for Anna the other plant lady. Yesterday we did the weekly market in Dolgellau – and while we certainly sold quite a few plants, and it was worth us going – we think that once a fortnight may be better for us.
So, all in all a busy time with a good result. One thing I must remember though – is that many gardeners here have their gardens at 6,000 feet and above and need tough plants. My favourite customers to-date were a couple, who were obviously well informed and keen gardeners who arrived at the stand and said’
“What have you got that we are not allready growing in our garden?”
“Hummm” I said (not having ever seen their garden) “What about Lobelia tupa? Great colour, although the flowers are kind of odd”
“Oh, we like odd” she replied “We’ll take it”
When I tell friends and family how two markets in 4 days went, their first question is, will you have enough stock? As yet, I don’t. Although I am not so worried about the next few weeks as we are (literally) surrounded by bedding plants that have been growing away since February …. they are all over the kitchen worktops and windowsills, in the utility room, the bathroom and the garden room, which is where we spend most of our time if we are in the house. Of course the greenhouse is also full.
If I want plants for the rest of the year (and next year), well, I better get growing. Shedman is now “No1 potter on of bedding plants” and I am thinking of getting a gardener for our own garden!!!
Please excuse me now, as I must go and sow some seeds and see if I can get cuttings from the penstemons