Plants for auction at Sycamore Shoals Saturday

Spring is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and plants across the county are blooming in multiple colors. For those without their own plants at home, now is the time to get some.

Sycamore Shoals State Park is hosting the annual Plant Auction Saturday, April 13, with organizations like the East Tennessee Nursery Association, University of Tennessee Extension Office and the Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce all pitching in to make the event a success.

Former UT Extension Agent Keith Hart said it is a 20-year-old tradition based on a conversation with a professor at UT.

“We tried to base this on plant introductions,” Hart said. “We like the rare and unusual plants.”

Multiple individuals and organizations donate both plants and financial resources to the auction, providing it with roughly 600 to even 800 plants per year for the auction.

“Our goal is for everyone to leave this auction with a plant in their hands,” he said.

Of these hundreds of plants, he said they come in just about every variety. Each one comes in a container for easy transportation and has a number they assign to it.

During the auction, each plant also comes with a brief description on the type of plant, where it comes from and how to care for it, an educational focus he said helps everyone involved learn more about the plant in question and determine whether they can properly take care of it or not.

He said the auction’s contribution to the community is immensely positive.

“People say this is one of the good things that happen in Carter County,” Hart said. “I love family events like this, getting involved in something good.”

He said several Master Gardeners from Carter County and the surrounding area will also be in attendance to provide education and resources.

The auction will take place at Sycamore Shoals State Park at 1651 W. Elk Ave. Though the auction begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Hart said he recommends people show up earlier than that, at around 8:15.

“We want everybody to feel comfortable to come in,” Hart said. “We concentrate on doing it once a year and making it good.”

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