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In case you missed it…Saturday, January 29th was National Seed Swap Day. There was even a second chance to participate in seed swapping this past Saturday, February 6th. Washington Gardener Magazine hosted the local Seed Swap event and a great day for some serious seed swapping! I KNEW that it was going to be my season kick-off event, so I had to dress for the occasion.  A creative name tag, the invite said, so I got quite creative in making certain that the other participants knew my name….and that I am a pollinator plant promoter by the seed packets that were included in my “name tag”.

The crowd varied from regular Seed Swappers to new Seed Swappers and all ages were represented.  People came from as far as the Eastern Shore …and beyond. Everyone who showed up came to listen to some awesome speakers Linda L. Jones, Prince Georges Master Gardener and Owner, Elements of Nature USA and of course, Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine.

Linda L. Jones spoke on Winter Sowing.  Sharing information on how we can start our seeds for spring and summer planting outdoors now, with the proper protection, Linda empowered us to gather recyclable containers and let nature help us along.  I know I gathered some containers last week from the office.  I made time over the weekend to prep my containers and decide on what I was willing to sacrifice in the event this winter sowing project does not work.  I am however keeping the faith.

Kathy Jentz spoke on cutting gardens and gave us quite a bit of information such as what is successful in this area with our weather conditions, what plants are tough as nails and which ones might not be worth starting from seed. Once again – empowered by the speakers, I was chomping at the bit to get ready for swapping. Kathy Jentz, however, shared with us how awesome the goodie bag was…and I am glad she did.20160204_122416

I am a shopper and I am crazy about a bountiful goodie bag.  THIS BAG WAS BOUNTIFUL!!! Rainscapes provided a terrific reusable bag – perfect for carrying seeds from a seed exchange as well as other offered items. I can see this will be in my truck for those times when you just need a great reusable bag as well as showing that I am a good steward of the land www.rainscapes.org. Rainscapes, based in Montgomery County, has an awesome website that is filled with information that can be useful, no matter where you live.

I just want to mention a few items that were donated to make attending the Washington Gardener Seed Swap a worthwhile event:

www.coronatools.com 20160204_123205

A beautiful pair of curved grape snips were in every bag. I love my Corona tools and won’t be caught in the garden without them. Knowing that each participant of the Washington Gardener Seed Swap has a pair in their possession, I feel like I am in good company.  Although they are called Grape Snips…and I do not have a vineyard YET, I am sure that I will find other useful ways to make use of my Corona Grape Snips.

www.botanicalinterests.com  20160204_123138

Recycled Paperboard Pots for seedling starting were also a great find in the depths of my bag.  Recycled food grade paperboard with a perforated bottom so that root disturbance when transplanting is  minimized – talk about a win -win!!!  I am excited to use mine.  What a novel idea and a great inclusion in a goodie bag where all levels of gardeners might find them useful.  I will certainly put mine to good use!

Washington Gardener has two seed swaps – one held in Maryland at Brookside Gardens and the second one the following weekend at Greenspring Gardens in Virginia.  I attended the one held at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland.

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Growing up in Montgomery County, Brookside Gardens has offered numerous programs to get the community outside and engaged with nature.  Recently the parking lot has been under construction, however 2016 will once again invite Montgomery County residents, neighbors nd friends to enjoy such things as the Garden Gateway Plantings, The Green matters Symposium, The Earth Day Festival, the Wings of Fancy Exhibit….trust me this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to programming of interest to most ages. I look forward to visiting Brookside often and repeatedly this  year and how awesome is it that they hosted our local Seed Swap??? THANK YOU!!!

www.ahs.org20160204_123504Who can even think about gardening without becoming a member of the American Horticultural Society, which comes with a subscription to The American Gardener.  One could step right into the pages of the informative articles that are featured bi-monthly.  Each participant received an issue in their goodie bags….my issue featured design tips for Evening Gardens.20160204_123631

The ideas were endless and certainly have me yearning for warmer weather, so I can go outside and consider how I can make my outdoor living space more inviting. Thank you for being in my goodie bag AHS!!

www.ProvenWinners.com20160204_123348I love plants.  I love plants that work hard to make me look good!!!  Using a plant from the Proven Winners ColorChoice Collection is a sure-fire way to have a quality plant or plant combination make you look good as well.  I had to stop for coffee as an excuse to read this idea magazine before I made it home.  I salivated at the hydrangea’s…got quite excited about the dogwoods and was amazed at….well…every page.  I’ll take one of each Hydrangea and …well….I will wait til Spring and look for the ColorChoice Collection at my local Quality plant provider.

www.thegardenersworkshop.com20160204_123732A quality company that I am quite familiar with – The Gardeners Workshop. Talk about a class act where one can find seeds, seeding equipment, books, thorough information and good people.  I have known Lisa Ziegler for many years and have watched this woman owned company grow and there are times I wish I was in the Newport News area of Virginia just for a cut flower subscription to their CSA.  I can still have some of their flowers via the seed that they sell.  I always have a few flowers specifically for cutting in my garden. Thank you The Gardeners Workshop for donating some seeds…I can’t wait to see my Monarda ‘Lambada” blooming in my garden this year.

I told you the goodie bag was awesome!!!  So many vendors, too numerous to mention that provided terrific items for the raffle. I had #61 and I won something that will prove to be quite useful as I partake in another garden adventure this year…

www.zanfel.com20160204_123244Just in case I happen upon some Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac, I will be more than prepared.  Urushiol is a known toxin that creates an allergic reaction to specific plants.  Zanfel forms a bond that allows the Urushiol to be washed away in as little as thirty seconds. I am going to be certain this is in my garden bag at all times!!!

I know…NOW you wish you had been there, right??? Well, there is always next year – mark your calendar for Saturday, January 28, 2017.  If you have an organization, school garden or community garden that  needs a few seeds, contact Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine, www.washingtongardener.com

Off to dream of what seeds to start next…..as I patiently await next year’s Washington Gardener Seed Swap!

 

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