Trading flowers, gardening tips at Sycamore Shoals event

Published 9:31 am Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring is the time of year when plants start blooming and growing. It is also the time that gardeners find they have too many, or in some cases, not enough, plants sprouting in their flower beds.

The Community Plant Exchange set for this Saturday at 9 a.m. at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park just might provide a solution for those gardening dilemmas.

Through the community plant exchange, people are invited to bring plants that they don’t want to the park. The plants will then be shared with other attendees who can pick and choose what they would like to grow in their gardens. All of the plants are swapped through trade only and no money is involved in the process, organizer Melita Kardos said.

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“It is so much fun,” Kardos said. “It is a unique event and everyone always enjoys themselves.”

Kardos started the exchange around 10 years ago, and the event is always held the last Saturday of April. Before the exchange was open to the public, Kardos and her friends would swap their extra plants among themselves.

“I had a lot of perennials that were in my yard,” she said. “I hated to throw them away, but I didn’t want them. I started exchanging them with friends and then I thought others might like to do this too.”

The exchange typically features more decorative plants than fruit, vegetable or herb plants, Kardos said. The plants could have been grown from seed and are extra for the original planter; are seedlings that have appeared in the yard; or are plants that have been split off from a larger, growing plant. Sometimes seeds are also available.

“The exchange always has a wide variety of plants,” she said. “There are Hostas, daisies, groundcovers, moonflowers and small trees. There are annuals and perennials. Typically it is mostly decorative plants like flowers, trees and shrubs.”

The exchange is a fast-paced event that is usually over within an hour, Kardos said. Participants will come to the lower parking lot at Sycamore Shoals and display their plants for others to see. People will then walk through the available plants and make their selections.

“People simply select whatever plant they want,” she said.

In the spirit of the event, people who plan to take plants home with them should bring plants for others. However, that is not always necessary, Kardos said.

“We never turn anyone away,” she said. “We encourage new gardeners to come down and get information from people who have been doing this for a long time, and get some plants to get their own gardens started.”