08 May 2009

Plant Swap Brunch

Four years ago, in an effort to promote gardening in the community, I began a Garden Club forum on our community association web site discussion board. Its purpose was to exchange ideas and information, and to possibly have tours of members' gardens during the year. Membership was simple - sign up for that group on the discussion board.

Several neighbors signed up, but participation was far below expectations. So, I tried another way to get gardeners together. A one-day neighborhood plant swap was set up in the spring. To entice more participants, it was organized as a plant swap brunch, with neighbors bringing something to share in the food department, too. There was a good turnout, so we organized a Fall Plant Swap Brunch in November, too.

I received my "Lets Boogie" iris and two no-name hostas in previous years. A few other gifts didn't turn out - angel trumpet ballerina seeds, lily, nandina.

Saturday was our third annual Spring Plant Swap Brunch. For about an hour, neighbors meet inside the community center to snack, gossip, thumb through plant catalogs, and sometimes talk about gardening. This year I picked up St. Johns Wort ground cover, lettuce seedlings, nandina (again), scented geraniums, and coreopsis. I donated Red Karma pepper seedlings, obedient plant, New England asters, purple basil, canna, as well as seeds for red cosmos and castor bean plants.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: Bridal wreath spirea, azaleas, allium, purple salvia, bearded iris, dutch iris
  • Planted onion, amaranthus, pepper seedlings
  • Planted lettuce seedlings from plant swap
  • Lifted emperor, apeldoorn tulip bulbs


Peggy said...
I am curious as to how one organizes a plant swap. Can you please explain?
Swimray said...
This is how our plant swap works for about 12-14 gardeners:
1. Upon arrival, plants are placed outside our community center on the sidewalk. Most people label their plants. Food is brought inside. Seeds are brought inside for the seed table.
2. The organizer, me, brings utensils, plates, napkins, cups, and drinks and sets up the food table.
3. We help ourselves to the food and then sit down to snack and chat.
4. We talk about gardens, plants, tips, neighborhood gossip, what plants/seeds we brought to the swap, and what plants we might like to claim from someone else.
5. Those wanting seeds take some. I bring envelopes and markers so labels and planting instructions can be written on the envelopes.
6. For the last 10 minutes, we head outside to pick out and grab what plants we want to take back home with us. We also pitch our plants we brought like a carnival barker if there appears to be little interest in them. We talk to the owners about conditions and how to grow what we picked up.
7. I go back inside and clean up.
Swimray said...
To organize one, I first got our community center to reserve the large room for us for the date we selected. We have a spring swap and a fall swap. Then, we sent out notices to everyone on the neighborhood association email list, and placed it in our newsletter, listing information and explaining how to participate. Voila, it was organized!