Plant exchange ready to sprout again

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 6, 2015


Plenty of green will change hands at an upcoming Sterling Heights gardening event — no money involved.

The Sterling Heights Beautification Commission will hold its annual plant exchange May 9 at the Sterling Heights Nature Center. During the free event, local gardeners and green thumbs will swap plants. Selling plants is against the rules.

According to Beautification Commission Chairman Gary Isom, dozens of people come to the plant exchange every year. He said the event introduces visitors to unfamiliar plant species and provides an opportunity for gardeners to get together.

“I’ve been on the board 15 years, and it’s been around since I’ve been here … as far as I can remember,” he said.

Isom said one of the Beautification Commission’s missions is to come up with creative ways to get the community more involved with landscaping efforts. He said the event tends to draw the same people, but it is constantly getting new people, as well.

“They’re just now starting to get their gardens ready,” he said. “Traditionally, they’re putting them into our plant gardens. They’re not only beautifying their community, they’re beautifying their residences.”

Isom said the plant exchange accepts all sorts of plants, adding that some people start growing their items, such as perennials, during the wintertime. Other people bring their hosta plants, house plants and even vegetable plants, he said.

Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Bridget Doyle said people always look forward to the plant exchange, and participants don’t have to be city residents to take home something special.

“It’s a great way for citizens and residents of our community to come together,” she said. “The price of the plants is free, so it’s a great way to build your garden.”

Doyle explained that the city is very supportive of efforts that encourage residents to plant, landscape and garden to enrich the natural appeal of their properties. Initiatives like the Pride and SHINE volunteer days and a May cleanup month are examples of this, she said.

“We take great pride in the way our community appears,” she said.

Although it won’t be part of this year’s activities, Isom said he hopes to get permission to branch out from just plants next time.

“I’m probably going to see if we can expand it to gardening tools and gardening books,” he said.

The Sterling Heights Beautification Commission will hold its annual plant exchange from 10 a.m.-noon May 9 at the Sterling Heights Nature Center, 42700 Utica Road. Admission to the swap is free, though participants may not sell the plants. Learn more by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489.