SAFFORD — The Gila Watershed Partnership’s Fall Plant Sale returned last weekend, bigger and better than ever.

The sale marks the second this year in the group’s inaugural year of plant sales.

Guests from as far Greenlee and Cochise counties numbered among those who arrived to take advantage of the many botanical offerings, according to Native Plant Nursery Manager Steve Plath. The GWP had found success at the spring plant sale; and by all accountsn the first day of the fall sale exceeded even those numbers.

“Yesterday was definitely our boom,” GWP Director Melanie Tluczek said, speaking with the Copper Era on Sunday. “We saw a lot of people in the morning. A lot of people came in before work, and a lot of people who were off came in. We were very happy with the turnout. It’s been a really fun sale, and we’ve had lots of enthusiasm.

“We’ve had a lot of people who’ve never heard of us before. That’s the one question we ask everyone when they walk in, ‘How did you hear about us? What brought you here?’ A lot of it was newspaper, Facebook and the posters around town. We’re just really happy with it.”

The GWP has been working on the format of the plant sale to see what people enjoy best. Last spring, the group partnered with the Graham County Chamber of Commerce to host a mixer onsite. This year, the focus was on workshops being offered.

On Sunday, several guests joined Graham County Extension member and one of the GWP’s co-founders Bill Brandau for a workshop on rainwater harvesting.

“Tell me about your land,” he said, going around the table to hear about guests’ different land conditions.

Brandau is a decades-long veteran of the area and well familiar with its terrain. Discussing the water conditions going back as far as a century ago, Brandau said, “I can give you an average (of rainfall), but one of the things you will learn living out here is everyone has to find their place. The amount of water on your property won’t be the same as someone else. Rainwater harvesting isn’t rocket science. It can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it.”

Those who have missed out on both plant sales this year do not have to worry — Tluczek confirmed that the success of the sales ensures that it will continue to thrive and return in the spring.

“We’re going to do our spring sale and our fall sale, and they’re going to be a little bit different. We’re going to be doing something unique every time. Look forward to some fun things,” she said.

The GWP is an organization that works to improve and preserve the health of the Upper Gila Watershed for communities in Graham and Greenlee counties. Meetings are free and open to members of the public.

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