Plant Swaps and Cold Feet

Today was the day of the Middle Tennessee Plant Swap at Henry Horton State Park. If you missed it I really can't blame you. The weather was cold, wet, and pretty miserable. It reminded me of early December Christmas parades back when I was a band director, and I sure don't miss standing around in that weather! My wife and I gave our oldest daughter a choice whether to come with us or go to her grandparents house and she chose the plant swap. It was probably more for the big fancy playgrounds at the park than for her desire to see plants. Maybe one day her priorities will switch but for now we'll let a kid be a kid! Unfortunately for her the grass was wet, the playground was wet, which meant her shoes got wet and her feet got cold, very cold. We dressed her up very warmly but there is little cure for cold feet when you've outgrown your boots. She was miserable. It's definitely time for new boots. My wife and daughter ended up sitting in the car warming up while I traded plants. They did fine in the end and got to spend a little "mother and daughter time" but the unseasonable temperatures were not a friend on this day!

I do have to say, if you missed the swap you also missed some great plants and great people. The temperatures may have kept some people away but the die-hard gardeners and swappers were there. And you know what? Die-hard gardeners have some really nice plants! I brought with me an assortment of herbs, perennials, cuttings, and a couple shrubs and came home with this:

Ajuga, variegated
Butterfly Bush, Honeybells
Canna, Purple Foliage - Pinkish Blooms
Canna, Red
Canna, Yellow
Elephant ears
Elephant ears, Black
Forsythia, Kumson
Grape Hyacinths
Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon
Hydrangea, Lacecap
Iris, White reblooming
Malaviscus arboreas
Oxalis, Dark Purple
Rose, 9 Various Cuttings
Rose, Catholic Cemetary
Salvia coccinea, pink
Salvia coccinea, red
Shasta daisy
Swamp Sunflower

Not a bad set of plants! The 'Kumson' forsythia is a variegated forsythia that offers more interest though the year than the standard yellow blooming shrub. The rose marked 'Catholic Cemetery' was a cutting the gardener took from Catholic Cemetery! The elephant ears will have to wait to go in the garden until after the spring frosts are done but should be pretty neat in the garden. What I like most about plant swaps is the increased diversity in my gardens when I come home. In my mind these are really free plants. The plants I bring to trade I either raised from seed or made from cuttings and are practically free which means anything I trade for is essentially the same. Swaps are a great way to increase the diversity of your garden without spending much money, and we're always looking for ways to save money!