The 2013 Rare Plant Auction® on April 27 raised more than $110,000 for the Delaware Center for Horticulture through ticket sales, three silent auctions, two online auctions and an exciting live auction hosted by celebrity auctioneer Marc Porter, president of Christie’s Americas exclusive auction house.
Hundreds of plant lovers from across the nation plan their calendars around this event, because they know that renowned experts have carefully curated a premier selection of unusual, newly-introduced and difficult to propagate specimens, as well as exquisite and unique garden accents.
The show-stopping plant this year at the gala was Euscaphis japonica (Korean Sweetheart Tree), which sold in the live auction to a Malvern Pa. couple for $4,000.
The specimen’s pedigree is noteworthy, according to plant bon vivant Charles Cresson, who said that in 1985, the world renowned plantsman JC Raulston travelled to Korea on a collecting trip sponsored by the United States National Arboretum. Among the hundreds of seeds that were collected was one from a Korean sweetheart tree, Euscaphis japonica. Its appearance is equally noteworthy: in late summer, clusters of heart-shaped fruits ripen. They transform from green to pink to red, and in early to mid-October they split open revealing a tiny, shiny, black seed.
Top plant nurseries from across the continent also take part in this gala by donating to the fund raiser, because they know that the prestigious event puts them in front of hundreds of discriminating horticulture enthusiasts. This year, donations came from as far as Oregon, Washington state, Canada and California, including a Davidia involucrata “Kylee’s Columnar.” Ted Oorsprong, owner of Northern Gardens in Ontario, drove seven hours to personally deliver his gift of beautiful Medinilla magnificas to Longwood Gardens, where the event was held.
All event proceeds benefit TheDCH Community Greening Program, which uses horticulture to beautify Delaware and to improve the quality of life for residents in urban and suburban neighborhoods.