Row upon row of flowers, vegetables, succulents and groundcover were displayed, some in tiny pots and multi-packs and others in overflowing hanging baskets and enormous containers.

Giant Plant Sale a giant success
for America in Bloom, SCV Hospice

April 25, 2014
Santa Paula News

Rachel Bustillos admitted that due to her work schedule, she shopped early and now had “Quite a stash hidden away,” in a secluded area away from the main shopping area of the 5th Annual Giant Plant Sale.

“I’m working and buying at the same time,” said Bustillos, president of the Santa Clara Valley Hospice Home Support Group board of directors, whose work was volunteering at the event.

The plant sale, held April 12-13 at Faulkner Farm UC Hansen Trust to benefit Hospice and America in Bloom, brought out hundreds of flower lovers ready to garden. 

And there was plenty of choose from: this year Do Rights Nursery, Dummen USA, Ball Horticultural Company, Flamingo Holland, Greenfuse Botanical Garden, Plant Haven, GroLink and Crown Disposal generously donated plants and materials to the fundraiser where wheelbarrows were the transportation of choice and there were dozens of volunteer helpers to answer questions, haul plants and tally orders for checkout.

But first people had to get there: “It’s been really busy by what I see,” said Ron Merson of the Optimist Club, which handles the parking at many major events.

“The weather’s been nice,” so nice said Optimist President Cathy Hicks that she was going to purchase tomato plants when she had a break from parking duties.

Other volunteer groups included Santa Paula Rotary, Future Farmers of America and Isbell Middle School.

Jane Lax had shopped for flowering coleus plants: “They get really big,” she noted but need shade and must be kept out of direct sunlight.

“It was freezing this morning but has been really-really steady all day,” said Dianne Davis, president of America of Bloom, and co-owner with husband Dudley of Do Rights.

She said the steady flow of customers was preferable to previous years when those eager for flower bargains stormed the gates often before opening and created traffic and buying havoc. 

This year’s Giant Plant Sale again lived up to its name in more ways than one: “We have some very, very big plants, mulch, decorative pots, lots of good stuff, all priced from $2 to $15,” said Davis. 

Row upon row of flowers, vegetables, succulents and groundcover were displayed, some in tiny pots and multi-packs and others in overflowing hanging baskets and enormous containers.

It was the latter that interested “Coco” Aguirre who was shopping with her husband, former Councilman and Mayor Gabino Aguirre. 

“I want a nice pop of color on the patio,” she said of the large, orange flowering plant she was having Gabino put in a wheelbarrow.

“When you go outside and read a book a plant like this automatically calms you. People will come over and see it and say, ‘oh, you have a green thumb!’ which,” she added with a laugh, “I don’t have... “ 

Rotarian Chris Bartleson had a green thumb, or rather a smudged one from writing up orders for shoppers to speed checkout.

He wasn’t sure when his stint at helping two worthy organizations would end but said he was told, “As soon as you get through your order pad you get to go home!”

Later Dianne Davis said the plant sale, “Was our most successful ever,” and one that goes far in helping to spruce up Santa Paula and other communities.

After all, said Davis, “The nicest thing you can share is beauty... “ 

Hospice provides for the emotional, social and spiritual support to persons with life-limiting illnesses and their families with a variety of services that are all free of charge. Hospice provides everything from equipment loans to respite for caregivers, transportation to medical appointments to home cooked delivered meals and flowers, to an extensive loaner library of books, DVDs, cassette tapes and sickroom equipment. 

The mission of America in Bloom Santa Paula Chapter is to partner with residents, businesses, organizations, churches, schools and city staff in the task of beautifying the city, displaying civic pride and increasing environmental awareness. 

The hanging flower baskets and planters featured at city entrances and Main Street are just an example of the successful projects America in Bloom has spearheaded throughout the city. 

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