At last year’s HSWCD Great Plant Auction, HSWCD Executive Director Betty Jo Tompkins (right) with HSWCD board member Sonja Brookins.

By Linda Chion

The Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District’s (HSWCD) sixth annual Great Plant Auction is set for Sunday, November 13, the last day of the 11-day Hillsborough County Fair.

The annual auction features donations from more than 60 area nurseries, whose owners in turn are committed to raising thousands of dollars to support youth programs and initiatives run by the HSWCD. All auction proceeds are used for these purposes.

“We’re expecting another very exciting live auction headed by auctioneer and chairman Roy Davis, who at age 90 has been in the nursery business since his teens,” said HSWCD Executive Director Betty Jo Tompkins. “The auction is a win-win for everybody because nurseries get to give back and promote their offerings and residents learn a lot about the wide range of available plants in Florida and how they can be incorporated into their community or home landscaping.”

Added to the auction this year is the opportunity to buy singular plants.

“Instead of just having lots for people to buy the plants in groups, we’re also going to have some plants available for individual resale,” Tompkins said. “We’ll also be featuring some special youth-decorated rain barrels and entries from the Youth Horticulture Show.”

The auction is set to kick off at 1 p.m. on November 13, with viewings of the offerings available before then in the HSWCD county fair tent. Billed as an opportunity to take home “high-quality plant materials at reasonable prices,” the auction is set to include annuals, perennials, landscape and butterfly plants, ferns, bushes and tree and plant nutrition items.

Overall, “the auction offers a wide range of plants, from little, tiny starters that are 1-inch tall up to a wide range of major trees,” Tompkins said. “The important thing is the auction, along with all the other programs, projects and activities we feature under the HSWCD tent, is an opportunity to learn a lot about conservation from a lot of different perspectives.”

For more information about the HSWCD, visit www.hillsboroughswcd.com, or contact Tompkins at 813-433-8332 or by emailing bjt6890@yahoo.com. The Hillsborough County Fair is at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in Dover, located at 215 Sydney Washer Rd.

For more information about the fair, call 813-737-FAIR (3247) or visit www.hillsboroughcountyfair.com.

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