Flower & seed exchange

Looking for some new plants or advice on sprucing up your backyard garden? Then plan to attend Saturday’s annual Bring One, Take One Flower and Seed Exchange in Upper Muskingum Park.

Sponsored by the local Ohio State University Extension Office, the exchange is an opportunity for area gardeners to share plants, seeds, tools and tips on gardening.

Tricia Sample plans to bring one of the variegated Solomon’s Seal plants and some garlic and chives bulbs to the event from her home garden along the Ohio River on Joe Skinner Road.

“You bring a plant, or seeds or bulbs-something you would like to share, and exchange it for another plant or garden-related item,” she said. “The idea is if you bring a plant, you can take one.”

Sample is a collector of native woodland plants and looks for those during the exchange. But she always finds some kind of flower or other plant to take home.

“A lot of people attend every year, and it’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Those participating should have their plants, seeds, or other items at the park in the 500 block of Front Street by 9 a.m. Local master gardeners will group the items alphabetically. Violets, for example, would be in the “V” group, roses in the “R” section, and so on.

All participants who have brought a plant or item to exchange will be lined up, facing the alphabetized groups. A bell will ring at exactly 10 a.m., and everyone dashes to retrieve an exchanged garden item. If everything is not claimed after the first bell, another bell will ring until all of the exchanges are gone.

“The whole thing only takes about 10 minutes,” said master gardener Ruth Vanlandingham, who coordinated last year’s event.

She said it’s a good idea to arrive early so that people participating in the exchange can have time to look over the items before the bell-ringing begins.

“It’s just lots of fun,” Vanlandingham said. “Area gardeners bring a variety of plants, seeds, tools, pots and potting supplies-anything related to gardening.”

The annual exchanges are usually very well-attended, she said, noting that last year’s event brought more than 60 people.

“And there is always a panel of area master gardeners on hand to answer any questions people may have about gardening,” Vanlandingham added.

Sample, a master gardener herself, said the event is also a time to recruit new folks into the master gardener program.

“You don’t have to have a green thumb or know much about gardening, we’ll teach you,” she said. “Anyone who can commit to 50 hours of training a year can become a master gardener.”

The master gardener program is administered locally each spring through the OSU Extension Office on Davis Avenue in Marietta. For more information, call 376-7431.