Dogwood Festival Plant Auction, May 2

Ed Burns, UT Ag Agent
April 17, 2015

Are you looking for something special for your landscape this spring?” Then check out the Manuel Statham Plant Auction at the [11th] International Dogwood Festival on Saturday, May 2.

Registration for buyer numbers begins at 8 a.m. with Kenneth Beachy of Winton Realty and Auction (TN firm # 88) starting the bidding at 9 a.m. The plants will be lined up in the order of the sale early that morning giving potential buyers a chance to inspect the plants and make their selections for bidding. Each plant will have a sale number and a plant tag with a description of the plant and planting instructions.

The sale will take place at the Winchester downtown fire hall on First Avenue Northwest. This location will allow buyers easy vehicle access to the auction site to pick-up their prize.

This is an excellent opportunity to buy high quality plant material grown by local nursery producers, which is somewhat of a rarity. Due to the nature of the nursery business, most of the plants produced here are shipped out of state. In the past we have had a good selection of traditional woody ornamentals, along with some rare and new plant specimens, and some steep in Franklin County heritage.

In 2002, leukemia cut short the life of Manuel Statham (1951-2002) and the leadership he provided to nursery production in Tennessee. In his honor, the Manuel Statham plant auction was created in 2003 with three goals in mind. Promote the value and unique status of the Middle Tennessee nursery industry, offer high quality plants normally not found in retail outlets, and raise money to fund a foundation in the honor of Manuel Statham, who was a true ambassador of the trade.

While there are many Dogwood Festivals conducted around the state and country this time of year, Franklin County nursery producers have laid the foundation for Winchester to lay claim to being truly an international affair. Our nursery producers and the plants they produce literally touch the four corners of the world truly making them international ambassadors.

There are more than 80 cultivars or named selections of Cornus Florida or Flowering Dogwood. Franklin County nursery producers have been instrumental in the discovery, introduction and naming of nearly twenty percent of these cultivars. Our nursery producers are often sought by plant breeders and Universities from around the globe to assist in the propagation and development of new cultivars. With nearly one-fifth of the named Dogwoods coming from Franklin County, more than any one other location, Franklin County is truly the Dogwood capital of the world.