by Martha Rose Woodward
For the 4th year the East Tennessee Plant Swap was held on May 19 at the large pavilion in Tyson Park from 9:30 a.m. until around 1. There were approximately 30 people in attendance. A wide variety of plants were exchanged.
The plant swap was started by a group of plant enthusiast who wanted to find an inexpensive way to increase flowers, trees, shrubs and vegetables in their gardens. They also wanted to share information and help first- time gardeners and those on a tight budget. They have met those goals and more.
The swap is entirely free, but it does cost the coordinators a little to reserve the park and pay for hosting services for the website. A donation of two or three dollars per person, with a maximum of five dollars per family helps cover these expenses.
Rules for the East Tennessee Plant Swap are simple: No alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Bringing pets is discouraged, but is allowed if you keep them on a leash and clean up after them. Children, other family members, and friends are always welcome.
No selling or commercial activity is permitted. (No money allowed) Prearranged swaps are welcome and are posted on the forum on line. Freebies/giveaways are at the digression of the attendees and should never be requested. If you have special plants that you’re saving for someone or have swaps previously set up, please make sure these are clearly marked or separated in some way so that no one walks off with them by accident.
Plan to bring potted plants, freshly dug plants (properly conditioned to survive until they can be planted), cuttings, well-developed seedlings, seeds, small trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, annuals, gardening tools, gardening supplies, gardening crafts, and gardening related art are all welcome. Some swappers have brought garden-related magazines, fresh hen and duck eggs and wind chimes to swap. If you have made arrangements for pre-swapping, please pre-label your plants so that the recipient will know what he/she is getting.
There is usually also a pot luck lunch. Sandwiches, finger food, picnic type dishes, desserts, and utensils are welcome.
Organizers for the event, Brandon and Cheryl said that everything went really well. “People are always so kind and helpful,” said Cheryl. “We would like to see more people attend our swaps, but we are pleased with those who show up.”
Two gardeners, Elaine Trent and her son, Johnathan, wowed the group with a photo album of their flower gardens. Johnathan is also a photographer and had made photos and organized the plants by their “official” names. They also brought tons of plants for trade and swappers were happy to swap for the beautiful plants.
East Tennessee Plant Swap will meet again in the Fall of 2012. Check their website for the announcement of the date.http://www.easttnplantswap.com/