With more people than ever in attendance, the 5th year of the East Tennessee Plant Swap was bigger and maybe even better. The event held on May 18 at the large pavilion in Tyson Park from 9:30 a.m. until around 2 drew approximately 45 to 50 people as those who love gardening gathered to share a wide variety of plants. Irises, lilies, yarrow, forsythia, lilac, aloe, wisteria, cannas, Japanese maple trees, begonias, and much, much more were traded.
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 is requested, but not required, to help 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 at their web site www.easttnplantswap.com. Freebies/giveaways are at the digression of the attendees and should never be requested, but attendees are always generous 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 who did not yet have plants to share have brought such garden-related items as 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.
Pot luck lunch this year was especially good. There was not so much as a spoonful left of the fresh strawberry cake and the chicken salad croissant sandwiches and hamburger sliders were awesome. Trays of fresh vegetables, sliced fruits, cheeses, cakes, pies, cookies, and cold drinks were spread out and shared over discussions of plants and gardening ideas.
One of the organizers and web master for the group, Brandon, said, “We had a wonderful swap. I estimated 40-45 people in attendance, but others said it was closer to 50. We had quite a few come late and many left before the pot-luck lunch (they missed some really good food).
The morning, here in Knoxville, started out with rain. But, by setup time, the rain was gone. Most of us set up under the large pavilion, but a few took advantage of an uncovered pad near the pavilion. The rain didn't begin again until everyone had plenty of time to get home and unpack.
I brought a full pick-up truck load of plants and managed to find homes for every single one!!!!!! My goal was to come back with as few plants as possible, but I just couldn't say no to about a quarter of a truck load. Many of the plants I got were rare and unusual. I also got some tools and a awesomely gorgeous stepping stone.
Thanks so much to everyone that came and made the swap such a success. I heard many participants expressing their satisfaction with the plants they found and with the event, in general. We were pleased to see several new faces and happy they found out about our event.”
East Tennessee Plant Swap will meet again in the Fall (probably October) of 2013. Check their website for the announcement of the date.http://www.easttnplantswap.com/