Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fertilizer Friday, Plant Exchange

It's Friday, and that means a visit to Fertilizer Friday over at Tootsie Time.
Check out her blog party and see what other people have blooming in their gardens.

I went to the plant exchange, sponsored by the local newspaper last weekend. Diann didn’t get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning, so I snuck out quietly so as to not wake her up.

I took some Greek Oregano and some French Tarragon, to see what I could trade them for.

This was my first time at one of these so I didn’t know what to expect. It was raining, the wind was blowing and it was a cold, yucky day. Perfect for flowers and gardening and all that stuff!

First, I have to say that I was amazed at the wide differences in what I saw there.

The guidelines suggested that people pot their plants beforehand.

I saw some plants meticulously potted in little sour cream containers, and even the plastic pots the nurseries use, carefully labeled, and well tended.

I saw other people with big clumps of plants, tearing off small clumps and tossing them into grocery bags for whomever wanted one.

I saw people who were caught up in the spirit of the event, wheeling, dealing, generously giving plants to those who wanted them, (and even to those who didn’t) and I saw people stingily hoarding their plants as if they were Milano Cookies.

It was an event made for watching people first, and trading plants second.

I was amazed at how many people had plants that they could not identify, or knew almost nothing about.

One man had a whole tailgate full of potted plants that all looked the same. I asked him what they were, he told me they have big red flowers. I asked him if the grow in sun or shade, he didn’t know. He had no idea when they bloom, how big they get or anything else. I got the impression his job was to stand at the truck and trade away the "big red flowers", while his wife made the rounds, wheeling and dealing to see what she could get.

I think in the future an event like this will work better as a two person endeavor, for that very reason. One to be stationary, trading away plants for whatever they can get, and one to walk around to all the other stationary people.

One man informed me that I needed to have some cactus, then gave me a big clump of garlic. Both nice plants, but hardly interchangeable. When I asked if he had any other herbs, he was excited to get rid of his “Mint”. I asked what kind of mint. His answer, the kind you make tea with.

Oh, that kind, I should have known!

Upon smelling a leaf, and looking closely at the plant, I determined that it was not actually Mint, but Lemon Balm. A very healthy Lemon Balm plant.

I quickly ran out of Oregano plants. Mine were large healthy thriving plants. There was a group there selling plants for charity and they sold out of Oregano. Theirs were potted in 2” pots, scarcely 3" tall, and sold for $2 each.

I brought one French Tarragon Plant home, to rejoin our garden. Not a problem, I debated as to how much I wanted to dig anyway, so I didn’t feel too bad bringing some home.

Both herbs were very well received.

Not a lot of people there had herbs. It was mostly flowers. I did manage to get about 6 Raspberry plants though.

I brought home about 25-30 plants, many of which I cannot identify. A couple of them I don't remember getting, and I did see one man with a whole box of plants randomly dropping one into unsuspecting wagons and boxes, so I may have also been the recipient of something that way. It is going to be a fun challenge this year, seeing if anyone knows what they are.

Most of the plants weren’t labeled, but this is what I remember getting:

Spider wort
Lambs ear
Ornamental Rhubarb
Multiple Lilies, Day Lilies, Lily of the Valley, Easter Lily among others.
Chocolate Mint
Bee balm
Lemon Balm

As I was leaving, there was one person still set up and trading, I wandered over to see what she had left.

I asked her what she had and she named a few things then pointed to a large pot and said that it was a Mum. A man next to me immediately grabbed it and said, “I can take that one I guess” . She smiled and said, “I’m still looking to trade.” He made a face and plopped it back down muttering about how the event was over and she wasn't going to get any trades because everyone was done. After he left, I heard the lady tell her mom that before she was going to just give her plants to someone who acted like he was doing her a favor, she would take them and sell them at her garage sale.

Yep, it was entertaining.

So, here are some random pics of some of the things I got, as the year progresses, I'll try to identify them.

If there is anything here you think you recognize, feel free to let me know. I even numbered them to make it easier.









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Be sure and join me each Tuesday for Tuesday Trivia Tie-in, where readers are invited to share trivia and show off their treasures.
Read all about it here


  1. How fun to exchange plants! I got about 10 flowers the other day and made up some planters for my deck...I am so proud of!!

  2. Great post, my garden club used to have a plant exchange at our meetings. Gives you a chance to collect varities you may need or want. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Troy, #7 might be columbine, and #9 looks like a hosta. What an interesting time you had. Sounds like you really enjoyed the people watching and got a lot of plants! It will be fun to watch your garden grow, Troy! Looking forward to your next gardening adventure and the continuing development of your vegetable garden!

  4. Visiting from the FF linky...
    I think I can help with some of your plant IDs.
    1 looks like a Sedum. Sorry I don't know which one
    3 is probably Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) - I can't tell from the picture - is is silvery-whitish very fuzzy foliage?
    7 is a columbine (Aquilegia)
    8 looks like bloody dock.

    I went to my local plant swap last Saturday. Great people-watching, as you said. We do a lot of pre-arranged trades, and generally the "extras" are all free for the taking - trying to arrange a trade at the event would be chaos! As it is, often the pre-arranged trades go "missing" as they get mistaken for freebies.

  5. I sure wish we had a plant swap here. Could #5 be morning glory? How fun.

  6. What a fun event. I am one of those who cannot remember the names of plants except fot he real common ones so I cannot hlep you but I am sure they will be pretty when they grow....Christine

  7. didn't see a single hosta lol. Good luck identifying everything. great idea.

  8. A plant swap-
    What a great idea.
    Your observations sound like what I have witnessed at the flea market.
    Same craziness and fun- different stuff.

    Enjoyed visiting-
    I linked to FF too.

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