Hundreds of shoppers went home with thousands of plants Saturday, purchases that represented being drought smart and supportive of the community all at the same time.

AIB Sale: Hundreds of shoppers go home with thousands of succulents

March 25, 2016
Santa Paula News

Hundreds of shoppers went home with thousands of plants Saturday, purchases that represented being drought smart and supportive of the community all at the same time.

Held in the courtyard of the Museum of Ventura County Agricultural Museum the America in Bloom-Santa Paula Chapter Succulent Sale offered everything from the smallest clipping to oversized succulents.

Tables were a sea of green with Mother Nature tinting many plants with grey, yellow, mauve and other colored washes; some varieties of succulents had blooms and flowers in lively colors. 

One thing all succulents have in common is their likeability and ease of care, attributes that were perfectly coupled with the AIB fundraiser.

“We’ve been swamped!” said volunteer Doreen Pitluk. “People have been so generous donating to America in Bloom,” including more than one person that stepped up to the checkout and just left money.

“I’m amazed at the turnout, it’s really wonderful,” said Jane Lax who donated numerous cuttings to AIB.

Lax was also selling custom potted mixed succulent creations featuring various varieties of plants and fey decorations tucked in the greenery. 

Luana Lindsey knew what she wanted and got it plus more for an ambitious planting project. 

But a second specimen for a matched pair eluded her as shoppers’ grabbed succulents up even as Santa Paula High School Future Farmers of America kids kept refilling the tables.

“I’ll just take these home and get them ready to pot them,” said Lindsey, whose husband Dean was standing outside the perimeter of the sale with the family dogs. 

“Do you think Luana got enough?” he joked as they switched places so he could carry the plants to checkout. 

Unique wreaths featuring succulents made by volunteers went fast as did other items crafted from the drought resistant plants.

“Well, now I know what to do with old shoes!” a woman said as she admired footwear transformed into planters.

Dianne Davis, the founder and president of the area America in Bloom was surprised at the turnout but pleased.

“It was a mob!” she said later.

“We had maybe three-thousand plants and we haven’t counted how many were left,” but many, many more plants found new homes than were left on the sale tables.

Davis was pleased by the reception given to the event: “We had a lot of comments, many people said this was a great idea, how much they love succulents and because of the drought they want to cut down on watering. 

“Others said they came out just to support AIB and the FFA because they like what we’re doing for the town,” with regular plantings, cleanup events and maintenance. 

AIB is famed for the hanging flower baskets and street planters in the historic Downtown area, an effort started by Davis and her husband Dudley, who recently retired from their Do Right’s Plant Nursery. 

America in Bloom also stages the annual Big Plant Sale with Santa Clara Valley Hospice-Home Support Group, this year to be held April 23 and April 24 at the former car dealership on South Hallock Drive.

The succulent sale very possibly will be back next year: “I was really surprised and pleased with the turnout…we had an awful lot of people show up for the sale,” including AIB members and community volunteers who were kept busy by the crowd.

And, noted Davis, “It was a lot fun! All the FFA kids were there with their official shirts on and were so helpful…they were waiting on customers, so helpful, such a great group of kids, the best, as is Alex Flores,” the FFA advisor.

“In our first hour when we were mobbed and I gave one of the FFA kids my cell phone and a sixty-second lesson on how to process a credit card on it…she took right to it, said ‘this is really fun!’ The FFA kids are great to work with!”

For more information on AIB visit the Facebook page: America in Bloom Santa Paula or the webpage,

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