Spring is for swapping plants. Our little group of about 25 - 30 avid gardeners meets twice a year to swap plants and share advice about gardening in San Antonio. It was chilly (50F), cloudy, and windy this past Saturday when we met at a local park but we're not just fair weather gardeners so we persevered and the sun came out eventually. I've been attending four years and hosting the swap for the past two years. I'm still trying to figure out how everyone seems to go home with more plants than they brought!
Here's Tally setting up her trades, she makes the four hour trip from Galveston to visit with us and share plants. Her garden was wiped out by Hurricane Ike in 2008, yet she always has so many plants to share, especially crinum and hymenocallis bulbs you can see on the bench in front of her.
See that cereus cactus in the pot? Tally traded one of those to me for rocks from my yard. She likes rocks because there aren't many rocks on an island in the Gulf of Mexico or as she puts it "all our rocks are pulverized into sand". Now that cactus baby is in my hellstrip. Several new arms will grow out of the top. Very cool.
Lisa, a nurse, knows how to simplify her setup by putting everything on a rolling cart which also serves as her trading table. She brought yummy cranberry muffins to share.
Lots of plant discussions underway, Lisa (l) is talking with Sheila who always has excellent advice on cooking with unusual plants and herbs and Ken who grows the best pepper plants.
Klaus, Tonya, and Barbra sharing plant photo albums on a phone.
That's Joey's table right behind them. Somehow I missed getting a photo of Joey. He works in the propagation greenhouse at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and is a great resource for plant info. This time he brought Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) ready to bloom. In addition to being a beautiful bloom, it attracts hummingbirds. It's been planted right next to the new cereus cactus in the hellstrip.
Linda lives in the hill country and always brings wonderful plants like this Hoja Santa (Piper auritum).
Even though Linda herself seems to have missed getting in the photos, this is her hat and I selected some native Antelope Horn Milkweed seeds for my butterfly garden. Linda's an expert on butterfly plants and we discussed an article I read recently about possible disease problems with tropical milkweed. She convinced me it's not a problem.
Ragna, Lisa, and Mizan (L-R) could be sharing photos of the kids and grandkids, but they're not. Those are gardens and plants they're admiring on the tablet.
Paul trimmed back his yuccas and estafiate (in the white bag) to share this time. He's in the red jacket above left. He has his back to the camera but at least I got part of him in a photo.
I decided to give the yucca a try. Here's my cart loaded up and ready to roll to the car.
I brought home a number of veggie plants this time. Champion tomato and Casper eggplant should be good in our heat. Holy mole pepper and purple tomatillo for salsa and our favorite chiles rellenos.
One of Paul's yuccas has been planted in the island bed near the terracotta pot.
My garden would not be nearly so nice or as regionally appropriate without the plants and advice I have received from local gardeners at swaps over the last few years. Thanks to all my gardening friends who help make this event such a success year after year. If you would like to attend our fall swap, simply "Like" my page on Facebook and I will post the information there when the next swap is scheduled.