Lillies were among the flowers for sale Friday. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Five-foot-tall lilies blooming with colorful pink and white flowers awaited those on their way to the Salem Art Fair.

But art isn’t the only thing for sale at Bush’s Pasture Park this weekend. Plant lovers have dozens of flowers, herbs and succulents to choose from during the Mission Street Parks Conservancy’s plant sale.

The sale runs on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next to the Bush House Museum.


Gretchen Carnaby was shuffling bright begonias across a table on Friday, simultaneously giving plant recommendations to a woman holding a succulent.  

Carnaby is a member of the conservancy, formerly known as Friends of Bush Gardens. The nonprofit helps maintain the landscapes at Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park.

She said the sale used to be inside the Salem Art Fair, but it moved five years ago. Now, people just wanting to buy plants don’t have to pay admission.

Carnaby said the location at 600 Mission St. S.E. is fabulous because people can drive up to the sale to pick up their plants.

A miniature garden in a steel tub. (Anna CK Smith/Special to Salem Reporter)

The plant sale was busy Friday afternoon -- many containers sat empty just four hours after the sale opened. Carnaby got on the phone to order more for the weekend.

She said colorful cone flowers, pollinator-friendly plants and herbs sell well at the event. 

“The bright flowers are really flying out of here,” Carnaby said.

One of Carnaby’s favorites is the anise hyssop, which has purple flowers that are attractive to butterflies and bees.

She walked over to a couple of California fuchsia plants, holding up the trumpet-shaped, scarlet flowers.

“It’s my passion. It’s about putting plants and people together,” she said.

The conservancy holds another plant sale at the end of April. But Carnaby said the July sale comes at a time when not many growers are selling -- most people buy plants in the spring or fall.

She said the group has been working with area growers for more than a decade and each year, “They bring what’s looking good.”

On a good year, she said sales gross $32,000 – a quarter of which goes toward fundraising. 

A woman reads the sign on one of the plants during the plant sale Friday. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Fuschias were some of the flowers at the plant sale. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Bonsais were for sale at the event. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

A miniature garden in a steel tub. (Anna CK Smith/Special to Salem Reporter)

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.