Grant Benefits Mercer Botanic Gardens

Volunteers at Mercer Botanic Gardens have a new tool to help prepare for Mercer’s largest plant sale of the year.

In January, Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust awarded The Mercer Society (TMS) the Metal to the Petal Utility Vehicle grant to replace a utility vehicle damaged during Hurricane Harvey.

“The vehicle will help our volunteers transport plants from our greenhouses to March Mart and the Gift and Plant Shoppe,” said TMS President Maryanne Esser. “This grant will help us get back on track after floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey damaged our tools, greenhouses, and plants.”

Every year, TMS hosts a garden-wide plant sale benefitting Precinct 4’s Mercer Botanic Gardens. After Hurricane Harvey devastated the gardens, many volunteers believed they would have to cancel the plant sale.

Instead, Mercer staff and volunteers rallied after the storm and recovered most of the TMS plant stock. With repairs at the park also progressing, TMS planned the plant sale to coincide with the reopening of Mercer Botanic Gardens’ East Side Gardens, which has been closed since sustaining major flood damage in late August.

March Mart shopping hours are now scheduled for Saturday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the East Side Gardens. Early shopping for TMS members with VIP access starts Friday, March 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and for TMS members Saturday, March 17 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Early shoppers have the best chance of taking home some of Mercer’s rarest plants not available at local nurseries. Shoppers who would like to participate in March Mart early shopping can visit the TMS website to purchase a membership or upgrade their membership level for VIP access.

In the meantime, TMS volunteers are making do without proper equipment to provide a quality plant sale like the one’s held in previous years.

“Plants are currently moved by our volunteers on hand carts. Plants are transported from one greenhouse to another and ultimately to the Gift Shoppe or March Mart for sale,” said Esser.

“The existing carts can only transport 32 one-gallon pots at a time, whereas the utility vehicle can hold 80 one-gallon pots. This improved efficiency will allow volunteers to accomplish more in less time and work in inclement weather.”

Visit Friends of Mercer Botanic Gardens for more information on TMS.