I don’t know about you, but whenever I spot a garage sale on my morning walk my heart leaps and I break into a jog, hoping I’ll nab another vintage Bauer pitcher or yet one more charming watercolor of a dreamy landscape. When I stumbled upon the first Lakeshore Plant Exchange a few years back, I thought I’d died and gone to free-plant heaven.
Succulents, orchids, mystery grasses, garden tools, funky pots . . . all free for the taking. But to gain “entry” to this sidewalk sale, I needed to run home and grab something from my own garden (or tool shed) to bring in exchange. Last year I brought a rusty old lawnmower. This year I’ve dug out a bunch of volunteer euphorbia babies and stuck them in some old plastic nursery containers.
I’ll be heading down again this weekend (Saturday, March 31, noon–4 p.m.) to 3811 Lakeshore with an open mind and an empty trunk. Yes, most of the plants are on the ratty side because they’re unsold items from local nurseries or just-plucked cuttings or divisions from a neighbor’s garden, but that’s what makes it an adventure! They’re diamonds in the rough that just need a little TLC.
Sound a little overwhelming? No need to panic. The Plant Exchange has real live horticulturists on hand to answer your questions. What a great way to spend some of your afternoon — finding intriguing specimens, learning about unfamiliar plants and meeting new neighbors.
Not to mention, the notion of a neighborhood plant exchange is just so deliciously sustainable I get green goosebumps all over. And the good feeling lasts forever. Every day when I look out the kitchen window at my handsome adopted Agave americana (see photo), I think about my first plant exchange adventure and wonder what nice person donated it. Then I wonder who’s getting a weekly workout with my creaky old mower.
Check out http://plantexchange.wordpress.com/ for more info.
If we’re lucky, we’ll have some more glorious spring rain to help get our one-of-a-kind finds established in just the right place in our gardens.