Time for a little garden refresh, and what better place to shop than the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, which will have more than 5,000 plants to choose from at its Plantfest!, set for Oct. 5-6. A pre-sale teaser, featuring botanist Brian Sean Early, will be held Sept. 29.
The 36th annual Plantfest! runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the arboretum, 11855 Highland Road between Bluebonnet and Siegen Lane. This year, shoppers can enter the gate to the arboretum at Pecan Grove Court in Oak Hills subdivision at 8 a.m. to shop in Vendor Village under the open-air pavilion before the plant sale begins in the nursery at 9 a.m.
On sale will be trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, ferns, fruits, gingers, camellias, edibles, ornamental grasses and more that run the gamut from native and traditional to eclectic and electric newcomers. Plants are imported from a diversity of nurseries located in Louisiana, Alabama and Texas. One week prior to the sale, check lsu.edu/hilltop for a list of the plants being offered.
Landscape architects, contractors, designers, arborists, horticultural specialists, growers and Master Gardeners will be on hand to help with plant selections. Plant display vignettes will help spark ideas for getting the right plant for your space.
The Hilltop Gift Shop will be joined by specialty plant and craft vendors in Vendor Village. Both a tax and a membership incentive will be offered that add up to 20% in savings on plants purchased during the two days of the sale, 10% discount in the gift shop and a free Hilltop T-shirt.
At the pre-sale PlantFest Teaser on Sept. 29, Early will talk about his “Top 25 Native Plants” that are underutilized in urban gardens. All participants will receive a copy of the book, "Louisiana Native Plant Resource Guide for Gardener’s and Landscapers." The event, which runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., will be held at the arboretum’s Imo Brown Education Facility. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. The cost is $15 and 410 for members.
Early is a botanist in the Wildlife Diversity Program at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He is part of a team studying and working to preserve Louisiana’s coastal prairie remnants. He also serves as a botanist for the Kitsatchie National Forest and maintains the native plant garden at LDWF.
After his program, Early will lead a walk through the plant sale area that will already be set up for Plantfest! the following weekend.