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Rare, unusual plants in Botanica sale, auction

Botanica will have some of the plants from its collections along with rare and underused plants for sale and auction at two events next week.

What has become an annual April event at Botanica — the plant and book sale — will be open to the public on Friday and April 24. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Just before that, on Thursday night, there will be the Plant-A-Palooza preview party where people will be able to get first dibs on the plant-sale plants and also bid on rare plants. Food and entertainment will also be part of that event.

The plant sale will be in Botanica's parking lot, and admission to it will be free. It will include divisions from Botanica's wildflowers, grasses and water lilies; Botanica's tulip bulbs; and "a wide selection of perennials and shrubs, and some herbs and vegetables," Mia Jenkins of Botanica said. "We'll have a lot of plants that Pat McKernan and Janet Gordon thought were underutilized in the landscape that you're not going to find everywhere else." McKernan is Botanica's landscape supervisior, and Gordon is its horticulturist.

"We're getting plants in from Kaw Valley nursery — the annuals we can't really grow in bulk to sell but wanted to make available," Jenkins said.

In the lobby, meanwhile, a selection of horticulturally related used books and periodicals will be for sale. People can also shop at the book sale for free, but admission will be charged to go into the gardens.

Proceeds from the plant and book sale will benefit Botanica, as will attendance at Plant-A-Palooza, the preview party. People who attend will be able to buy from the plant-sale collection as well as bid on rare and unusual plants. Gourmet picnic food, desserts and beer, wine and cocktails will be served, and there will be live music and the chance to stroll through the gardens. The party will be from 6 to 9 p.m. and costs $30, or $25 for Botanica members. The reservations deadline is today; call 316-264-0448.

Among the plants that will be auctioned: Eureka Variegated Pink lemon, variegated English holly, Bartzilla Itoh peony, Kasagi Yama and Glowing Embers Acer palmatum, Butterflies Magnolia acuminate, variegated viburnum, Traveler weeping redbud, weeping threadleaf arbovitae and bush clover.

One plant that will span auction and plant sale is a tropical hibiscus with exotically mottled foliage that was a talker at Botanica's booth at the Wichita Garden Show last month, Jenkins said. "We had so many people ask about it," Jenkins said, that Botanica decided to offer the plant for sale and auction.

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