11 April 2011

2011 Park Circle Spring Plant Swap

Plants I took to the swap
When I first started going to plant swaps, I tried to take as much as I could, because I knew I would be coming home with a lot more.  I even started propagating plants specifically for the swap.  I don't feel like I have that kind of time now, but I do try to take as much as I can.  Leading up to this weekend's swap, I had picked up a few plants from people's trash that I repotted, divided or nursed back to health; I had a number of plants from the previous swap that I never did anything with; and I had some plants from the yard that were volunteers or extras that I felt like I could part with.

Neglected Irises
On Saturday morning, as soon as I could see outside, I started gathering plants for the swap.  I put the obvious ones in a pile and then I started looking around the yard.  I had some Narcissus that I dug up who-knows-when that grew and flowered, just sitting next to the house.  I pulled up half of those.  While I was at it, I pulled up a couple of irises that had rooted where I dropped them.  I unpotted a couple of small cactuses that I had gotten from a previous swap.  Doing that reminded me of another cactus growing near our back fence where I had discarded a piece years ago.  When I went to trim the cactus out front, I saw some canna that I didn't really want, so I put those in my growing pile.  While looking for more plants, I found a couple of pine trees in an untended area of the yard as well as a couple of volunteer root beer plants.  After all of that, I was ready for the swap.

I mentioned before that I usually come home with a lot of plants - that used to be the case in the beginning, but not so much now.  I have to say I'm more particular these days.  This swap I had specific plants I was looking for - ferns, hostas and anything else for a shade garden, ajuga and other groundcovers, and possibly some hardy succulents.  I didn't find much of anything matching that description at the swap.  I saw maybe five ferns, a few pots of ajuga, a few hostas and five or six fairly large hardy succulents.  After perusing the several hundred plants, I decided my must-have first plant was the Agave attenuata, a hardy succulent with variegated leaves - it would be a good addition to my desert garden.  (I didn't want to be greedy, but there was another hardy succulent next to the one I had claimed, that I was planning to get next if no one did, but, alas, someone did!)  My next plant was going to be a hosta, but they were all gone, so I got some ajuga.  During the third round I got the last, sad-looking holly fern.  After three or four rounds, we got to grab two plants, so I started getting pots of this Japanese herb that Scott and Fred brought.  I'll use it as a groundcover like the ajuga.

By this point I was at a loss for what I wanted.  On more than one occasion, I would survey the remaining plants, identify my first choice, and when Darren gave the signal, I couldn't find the plant.  Obviously someone beat me to it.  I picked up a few more plants, but I didn't take all the leftovers like I once would have.

Plants I brought home from the swap
I am happy with what we brought home.  I've already planted the agave and the fern is ready for the shade garden and I have a number of plants I need to learn about.  I made a few contacts as well - the woman who brought the hostas gave me her number and said I could come and get lots more hostas from her anytime.  And the man who brought the large succulents has more he wants to get rid of.  Apparently there's another plant swap at the Elliotborough Community Garden this Saturday at 1pm - I'm not going to be able to go, but Robin's going, so I'll have to put together some plants for her to take.  The fun never ends!

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