House plants, perennials and more all up for grabs at Bring One, Take One event

DOUG LOYER Special to the Times Adrianna Wellspring, of Beverly, enjoys looking at plants with her daughter Savannah, 2.

The annual Bring One … Take One Flower and Seed Exchange was held Saturday in Upper Muskingum River Park.

Put on by the Washington County Ohio State Extension Office’s Master Gardeners Volunteers, the event was held in an effort to educate and to encourage people to garden and give them an opportunity to go home excited about nurturing a new plant, organizes said.

The plant exchange was free and is always held the last Saturday in August. Basically, whoever wants to participate brings plants, bulbs, seeds or other gardening items such as shovels, aprons, gardening pots, unopened soil and fertilizer to exchange for something they will be getting.

A large variety of plants were put in alphabetical order under signs in the park and the gardening enthusiasts were given plenty of time to look over the selection before the fun competition began. The participants were then lined up on the sidewalk for the start.

When they were ready, Chairperson Kim Henry rang the bell and they raced to the one plant they wanted. They regrouped and she rang the bell a second time and they grabbed a second item. Then Henry rang the bell a third and final time, they could grab as much as they wanted until everything was gone.

Everything was done in a fun and fair manner and with great sportsmanship.

“People brought house plants, perennials, miscellaneous containers, lawn edging and other various items,” said Henry. “It’s all things having to do with flowers and plants.

“We all have fun,” she said. “Some people have come to this for years.”

Over 50 people attended this year and Henry said the participants love the selection of plants available and are eager to get a plant that they don’t already have. There was a large variety of participants as well, from many walks of life and of all ages.

All seemed to have a common gardening passion and a desire to share and learn more about gardening. Many Master Gardeners Volunteers were on hand to answer gardening questions and offer expert advice.

The Master Gardeners Volunteers is a program that works through the OSU Extension Office. They go into schools, do programs for kids and adults and have educational events. There are about 35 Master Gardeners now in Washington County. They help gardeners learn more about flowers, vegetables, plants, shrubs, soil, when and where to plant.

“The Master Gardeners make sure that the plants are healthy,” said Washington County Agriculture Agent Marcus McCartney, who is also the Master Gardener Coordinator.

“This Bring One … Take One event is excellent. It’s quick. You come down, get your plants in 15-20 minutes and the program is over,” said McCartney. “It’s a way to add beauty and color to enhance where you live. You can get some nice plants!”

Ericka Wallace, of Marietta, has enjoyed being a Master Gardener since 2005 and said the plant exchange event is a great way to encourage people to grow plants.

“Gardening gives you something to look forward to and watch grow,” said Wallace. “This event is free and it’s exciting for them to go home with something new. I wouldn’t miss this for the world. It’s so much fun.”

“We come every year, if we can. We enjoy it,” said Darlene O’Neill, of Vincent, who attended with her husband and children. “It gives you a chance to talk with like-minded people who are interested in plants, landscaping and things like that. This is a good natured competition to get the plant you want. It’s fun.

“I look around to see what’s interesting,” said O’Neill. “I tend to go for the ones that nobody else wants to take home.”

Anyone can learn a lot at the event, according to O’Neill. People are willing to provide information about any of the plants that they bring.

“I think that people like gardening because it’s a relaxing, peaceful thing to do,” said O’Neill. “You can nurture something and watch it grow. It’s an accomplishment.”

Allison Sayre, of Marietta, had similar thoughts.

“Gardening is the joy of cultivating. Watching something come from nothing,” she said. “It’s about putting in the time, effort and love into watching something new grow. Today’s world is just so busy and rushed … you just can’t rush gardening.”

Sayre was attending the event for the first time with her daughters, Ava, 10, and Ella, 6. They found out about the event through a neighbor and thought it would be fun to come and learn a little bit more about gardening. They had their eye on a couple of things that they would like to add to their garden.

It was a family affair for Adrianna Wellspring, of Beverly, who was checking out some plants with her daughter Savannah, 2.

“We always have a good time,” said Wellspring. “My grandma invited me to this a couple of years ago and we usually try to come and take advantage of the plants available. My daughter loves plants, planting them and playing in the dirt.”

For more information about gardening, events and workshops, visit