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Pledge to Plant’s Top Seller in 2021

We interviewed Liz Hogan of Naas, Co. Kildare, who held a sale at her house in 2021, Pledge to Plant’s inaugural year. Liz raised over €25,000 for Irish Hospice Foundation’s Nurses for Night Care, providing about 80 nights of nursing care. Thank you Liz! You are an inspiration.

What inspired you to join Pledge to Plant? 

A week before my daughter Sadhbh died aged 23, we had a long conversation about my garden. She told me: “You know Mum, you could help people with their gardens.”
Then I read Kathy Whyte’s article in The Irish Times launching Pledge to Plant and immediately I knew it was the right fit for me.

What plants are suitable for Pledge to Plant Sales?

All plants are suitable – from perennials you may have divided to a pretty pot of summer annuals. It’s a good idea to provide something for everyone – from the novice gardener who wants a decorative flower in a pot, to the keen gardener who will be delighted to get a cutting of some of your favourite plants. 

What were your bestsellers last year? 

Bestsellers were my bright pink daisy-like flowers. They flew out the gate!

Tell us how you organised your Sale 

Last year, I held my sale over three afternoons. I placed all the plants for sale and the donation buckets at the front of the house. People picked their plants and then went around to the back garden, which was in full bloom. I had lots of bistro tables with colourful table cloths set up on the patio. My friends and family helped serving tea, coffee and cake. People loved having a chat and catching up with neighbours and friends.

How did you let people know about your Sale? 

I used Instagram mainly, where my posts were shared, especially by Sadhbh’s amazing friends who were so supportive. I also shared on WhatsApp groups plus family and friends spread the word. 

Are you doing anything differently this year? 

This year I’m holding the sale over two days instead of three and opening at 11am each day instead to capture the morning coffee crowd.

Where does your love of gardening come from?

From my mum, who at 85 years still raises plants from seeds every spring. She is a living testament to the benefits of gardening. She has a huge garden that she cares for on her own and spends every spare minute outside. It has kept her very fit and active.

What type of plants do you enjoy? 

I love spring bulbs and perennials, so when the bulbs die back, the leaves are quickly covered by the new growth. It is always lovely to see a plant you have forgotten about come into flower.

Did you charge fixed prices or let people decide?

I didn’t price the plants but if someone asked I said €10 for a 1 litre sized pot. I found people came with a certain amount to donate and the plant was a nice extra, as was the tea and coffee. No one asked for change. I had a large bucket with a lid with a hole in the middle.

What benefits do you get from gardening?  

I just get lost in my own thoughts when I’m gardening. And there is always something to be done – it gives me a sense of purpose every day and has been a great comfort to me in my grief. I find great solace in the garden and it keeps me very busy. 

Not all plants bloom in June. Are people still interested in buying them?  

Only keen gardeners will buy plants that are not in bloom. But here is a top tip! If you have potted up some perennials and they are not in flower in the pot but are in flower in the garden, pick a few flowers and put them in a jar of water beside them.

What seeds could people sow now that would flower this Summer?   

It’s getting a bit late now for sowing seeds that will flower this Summer. Cosmos are very quick to germinate and should bloom late August if sown now.

What are your top 3 tips for those holding a Pledge to Plant Sale this year?   

  1. Display your plants on tables not on the ground, people like to pick up the pots easily and look at them.
  2. Have as much colour as possible, lots of people just want a small pretty plant to take away.
  3. Don’t stress, it will be ok on the day.