Save Some Green Growing Your Garden

It’s pure gardening nirvana.

Thousands of plants, hundreds of varieties, about 150 master gardeners and endless advice – all in one spot this Saturday at the Master Gardener Association of San Diego County’s fall plant sale and open house in Balboa Park.

“It’s an all-in-one shopping and information location for all your gardening needs,” said Scott Parker, master gardener program coordinator for the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE). The County of San Diego provides support for the local UCCE office which is known as the Farm and Home Advisor.

Your first tip? The event begins at 9 a.m. and you should plan to arrive early.

“We’re going to sell out, so come early,” said Parker.  “With the current mindset of people wanting to look at water-wise plants and drought-resistant varieties – those will be some of the first to go.”

The plants for the sale come from two sources. They are either grown by the 300 local master gardeners or donated by local nurseries.

“We have an estimated 30 local nurseries that donate plants in support of our organization,” said Parker. “All the plants we’re selling will be healthy plants that will grow well locally.”

Succulents, natives, vegetables, annuals and perennials will all be available at less-than-retail prices for the fundraiser.

Parker estimates prices will be between $4 to $50 for larger plants.

For the first time ever, the sale will also feature succulent art. Close to 100 items will be available ranging from high heel shoes filled with plants to 3-foot long garden bench planters to sculptures of succulents.

There will also be hand-crafted birdhouses and other gardening-related items for sale.

The event is also a great time to get any questions answered you might have about gardening – no matter what they are.

“We haven’t run across a question that’s stumped us yet,” said Parker. “If we don’t have the answer right then, we’ve got the whole research-based University of California institution behind us to find the answer to any obscure question a gardening enthusiast could come up with.”


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For the first time, the event will also feature an open house with the master gardeners. The plant sale takes place in the Casa del Prado building and the adjacent patios will host demonstrations, information booths and master gardeners ready to answer any questions and help you select the right plants for your situation.

Demonstrations and Exhibits include:

  • Composting and Vermi-composting
  • Landscape Design
  • Water Conservation
  • Irrigation
  • Plant Propagation Methods
  • Container Gardening
  • Native Plants
  • Cool Season Vegetable Planting and Care
  • Earth Friendly Gardening
  • Ornamental and Fruit Trees – Selection, Pruning and Maintenance
  • Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Garden
  • Community Gardens and School Gardens
  • Good Bugs, Bad Bugs in the Garden
  • Safe Gardening Practices
  • Pet Friendly Gardening

The Cabrillo Bridge is now open to traffic. Parker still cautions people to give themselves extra time because weekend traffic in Balboa Park is usually heavy and there are construction projects going on related to the Park’s centennial.

“We will have carts there to help people load stuff into their cars and merchandise hold area if they want to go explore the park and then drive back and pick up their plants,” said Parker.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact