Visiting the Chieftans plant sale

The Chieftans Museum 26th annual plant sale.

I was honored this week to be asked to participate in the Chieftans plant sale.  I have attended the sale a number of times in the past, but it was quite an experience to participate from the “inside.”  I took my trusty little camera and was issued a nice yellow apron which would identify me as a volunteer.

johntheplantman is on the job

johntheplantman is on the job

The Chieftans Museum/Major Ridge Home is located in Beautiful Rome, Georgia and is “Dedicated to become a nationally recognized destination to experience 19th century Cherokee life and the events leading to the ‘clash of cultures’ that culminated in the Trail of Tears.”  I’ll tell you about the plant sale.  You may find more about the museum HERE.

The ladies who put this sale together comb the area to find herb plants, perennials, ferns, flowering plants, and many hard to find an unusual specimens.  They began the sale years ago in the yard of the museum, but it grew and grew until they had to move the sale to the cattle barn at the local fair grounds.  The ladies did an amazing job of putting this year’s collection together—there were thousands of plants, all labeled, priced, and identified with picture signs.

I got to the fairgrounds around 8 a.m. and found a lot of activity going on all around.  There were three sales tables being organized and stacks of “beer flats” at the entrance.  Visitors started showing up and the place soon filled up with browsers and plant buyers by the hundreds.

Thousands of plants were set up in categories with tags and pictures

Thousands of plants were set up in categories with tags and pictures

A holding area was set up in some of the stalls at the rear of the cattle barn and one of my jobs was to find people with full boxes of plants if I could “take this to holding, and, by the way, here’s another box.”  The holding area soon began to look like a garden in and of itself.

The holding area became a garden

The holding area became a garden

Marion is a dynamo.  I couldn’t believe her energy and her horticultural knowledge as she took on the role of resident expert.  It seemed that if no one else knew an answer to a question, they were told, “Just find Marion, she’ll know.”

"Find Marion, She'll know"

“Find Marion, She’ll know”

I enjoyed looking at one of the largest displays of herb plants that I had ever seen.  I looked and saw replacements under the tables.  Volunteers went around and pulled replacements out from under the table and replaced the ones that had been sold.  I enjoyed rubbing the curry plant and smelling my fingers.  Mmmmm. I like curry. I got hungry.  They had fresh donuts at the head table.  I like donuts, too.

Finding just the right herbs.

Finding just the right herbs.

Lots of lovely ladies had a good time finding what they were looking for and learning about new plants.

"Is this going to grow in the shade?  Why not? I want it to grow in the shade.

“Is this going to grow in the shade? Why not? I want it to grow in the shade.

I was delighted at the amount of fun everyone was having, especially the volunteers who were rather knowledgeable and extremely nice and helpful.

"This will give you the effect you want. That's my story and I'm sticking with it."

“This will give you the effect you want. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.”

I may have gotten the figure wrong, but I think I was told that last year the plant sale generated a $27,000 profit to donate to the museum. I thought that this was an amazingly successful fund raiser.

If you would like to read more about the history of the Chieftans museum, go to their website HERE.

I also thought that you might like a nice picture of my town–Rome, Georgia.  This is taken from the top of Myrtle Hill in the cemetary.  Rome was built around seven hills–sound familiar?

Rome, Ga. looking down from Myrtle Hill. Photo by Dekie Hicks

Rome, Ga. looking down from Myrtle Hill. Photo by Dekie Hicks

These articles are brought to you by John P. Schulz, author of the novel, Requiem for a Redneck .  You can read more of the adventures of John the Plant man here:


Or the print version:

Try “see inside the book”



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ponygirl
    Apr 18, 2010 @ 11:20:20

    Hey, I didn’t know there were curry plants. I want one. I always thought curry was ground up seeds of various spice plants.


    • John Schulz
      Apr 18, 2010 @ 11:33:48

      I thought so, too, but I rubbed on the plant and it made me want to run off to the Thai restaurant.


  2. bill amos
    Apr 18, 2010 @ 13:10:29

    thanks john for the memories..i used to attend that plant sale..glad to see its still there and growing..thanks dekie for that good shot of Rome..been there too…and yeah i feel a little pang of homesick on occasion..if i want to look down on a landscape here i have to climb a pinetree…..bill amos


  3. Jane Schulz
    Apr 18, 2010 @ 13:53:44

    John, you look so handsome in that yellow apron. I would have enjoyed that day also. I know you were right in the briar patch among the plants and the ladies.

    Dekie, nice shot of Rome. And of you.


  4. Darby
    Apr 18, 2010 @ 17:19:46

    That sounds like fun. I am sure it would have been well worth another drive.:)


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