Harper Woods welcomes back perennial plant exchange

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published May 17, 2017

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HARPER WOODS — For those looking to exercise their green thumbs this spring, the Harper Woods Beautification Committee is inviting the public to join in on its annual perennial plant exchange from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 20, at Salter Park.

The exchange allows residents to, at no cost, trade a flower, vegetable or other plant from their garden with those from their neighbors’ gardens.

“We do it early in the spring, so it’s a good time to do it,” said Harper Woods City Councilwoman Vivian Sawicki. “The plant exchange has been going on for several years, and it’s wonderful to have so many residents involved in this. It’s a great way to meet neighbors and allow planting and gardening enthusiasts to come together.”

This is the 26th year that the plant exchange has been hosted. Formerly taking place in the parking lot of Harper Woods City Hall, it was moved to Salter Park, 19430 Harper Ave., four years ago to allow for more room and to provide better shelter for those in attendance.

“If you have some nice hostas and you have too many, you can exchange them for a neighbor’s good pachysandras. This gives people an opportunity to thin out their own perennials and get some new ones,” said Beautification Committee member Mary Kingston. “The only thing we don’t accept are trees and shrubs, because they are too difficult to handle.”

Those wishing to take part are asked to bring only perennial plants that are individually packed and labeled in a container with fresh soil. Flowers, plants, herbs and other ground cover are all accepted.

“When you bring one, you get a ticket that you can use to exchange for something else. So if you bring four, you get four tickets, for instance,” explained Kingston. “We also will have a gardening expert there who will be able to tell you what plant is what, and what goes with what, and when the best times to plant are.”

Complimentary refreshments will be provided by the Grosse Pointe South High School foods class, and raffle prizes have been donated by local businesses, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot.

In addition to helping make homes and neighborhoods beautiful, those organizing and supporting the event say that it is a fun event for families who want to spend more time outdoors.

“I started when my children were very young,” recalled Kingston. “We would go out in the backyard, dig up some of our perennials, load them up in a wagon and roll them down to City Hall. The kids would love to see all the different plants and then come home and plant what we picked up. It was a great family activity. I think there are a lot of people on the Beautification Commission who are really interested in plants and gardening. This is a nice way to meet people in the community and even other communities.”