In the Community

Community Plant & Seed Swap

Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:00AM-12:00PM

Spring is on its way once more, and the lure of the soil runs strong in many Eastern Shore gardeners’ veins. If you, too, are itching to sink your hands into the dirt, the second annual Community Plant and Seed Swap is a wonderful way to start the season.

Pickering Creek Audubon Center will host the Community Plant and Seed Swap on Saturday, April 15th from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM.

The idea could not be simpler: Review your seed packets or saved seeds from last fall. Dig up extra plants (roots, tubers, corms, or bulbs) from your garden. Clean and label them. Bring them to the event. Drop off your items. Shop around and choose plants and seeds others have brought, and take them home with you to try in your own garden.

This event is 100% free and open to the public. The success of the swap depends entirely upon what you bring with you to share, so be generous! Think about the kinds of plants you would be interested in trying out. If you have anything particularly unusual, try to bring several samples of it in root or seed form. It could be a favorite heirloom vegetable variety, a beautiful native wildflower, or your prolific raspberry canes. Flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, shrubs, and tree seedlings are all welcome.

Whether you are an experienced gardener or are just starting out, the plant and seed swap is a great place to meet other gardeners and find new things to try.

While all kinds of plants and seeds are welcome (except invasive species—see below), this year will feature plants for birds. What does that mean? Birds have various requirements to prosper and successfully reproduce each year. Just like humans, the basics are food, water, shelter, and a decent neighborhood. Specifically, birds need the right nesting habitat and readily available food sources, which all start with the plant life surrounding them. Please see below for more details. A more complete list of bird-friendly plants for the Chesapeake Bay area is available at the website listed below.

As always, the Pickering Creek Audubon Center will be open for exploration. It is open from dawn to dusk every day and is free for visitors to enjoy. The Center is a 400-acre working farm dedicated to community-based conservation of natural resources through environmental education and outreach on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Common Invasive Species to Avoid: Periwinkle (Vinca spp.), English ivy (Hedera helix), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), all grasses (unless you are certain you have a native species). For a full list of invasive species to avoid, please visit the website link below.

For more information about the Community Plant and Seed Swap, contact Vanessa Goold, volunteer, at vanessa.goold@gmail.com.

2017 Plant and Seed Swap Highlight:

Plants for Birds

This year, the Community Plant and Seed Swap is all about supporting bird life in our yards and gardens.

Did you know that the great majority of songbirds, even those seed eaters you love to watch at your birdfeeder, depend almost entirely on catching caterpillars to feed their young chicks? Even hummingbirds feed insects to their young.

Incredibly, the average nesting chickadee pair needs to find 6,000-9,000 caterpillars to rear just one clutch of chicks. But caterpillars are picky eaters. They require specific plants and trees to live, all of which are native to this area.

So, if you want to brin more birds onto your property, a great way to do it is to provide the food and habitat they require, especially the native plants that host caterpillars. As a bonus, you will get to enjoy the sight of beautiful adult butterflies and moths as they flit through the summer warmth!

Here are just a few favorites. If you have any of these plants to share, please consider bringing them to the Community Plant and Seed Swap:

Rudbeckia sp. (Black-Eyed Susan)
Asclepias spp. (Milkweed, Butterfly Weed)
Symphiotrichum spp. (Asters)
Aquilegia Canadensis (Native Columbine)
Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry)
Morella spp. (Bayberry or Wax Myrtle)
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
Quercus spp. (Oaks)

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