A houseplant swap allows people to diversify their collection in a cost-effective way, or get rid of plants they no longer need; and sometimes a pet or space issue is an incentive to cull. It’s also a social gathering where people can discuss growing techniques and favorite varieties among fellow hobbyists.
Kayla Mitchell and her boyfriend were only two of nearly 50 people who attended the Arb’s first swap — many of whom were first-time visitors of Landis.
On a map, Kayla’s apartment is technically in the city of Troy, NY. But inside, the nearly 100 houseplants make her space feel more like a jungle. “I love that each plant is different and has its own unique characteristics –even among the same species,” Kayla said, mentioning how much she enjoys caring for her plants and seeing the results of the work she puts into them.
Although Kayla and her boyfriend consider themselves “collectors,” they had never been to a plant swap until the one held at Landis Arboretum on April 15. “I thought it would be a fun way to get new plants, explore a new place and meet new people,” Kayla said, after seeing the event on the Upstate NY Plant Swap Facebook group.
Of those who attended, some stayed for the entire event, which ran from 11 AM to 1 PM, while others drifted into the Meeting House throughout the swap. Entry was a $5 donation. Participants displayed their plants or cuttings on tables. A matching nametag and index card allowed swappers to mingle throughout the room and locate the individuals they were interested in swapping with.
Caryn Lediuzet, of Schoharie, was also browsing a plant group on Facebook when she scrolled past the swap’s event flyer. “I hadn’t been here before, but I love gardening, plants and nature,” Caryn said.
Erica Hayes, from Canajoharie, just started getting into houseplants. “My husband and I attended and were floored with the abundance of plants people were exchanging, and the range from clippings to full plants.” she said. “Being first time swappers we weren’t sure what to do, but a lovely attendant gave us the rundown.”
Not only had Erica never been to a plant swap, she also had never visited the Arboretum.
“Trying to be modest, we only took three plants home with us, but man, were they beautiful! I can’t wait to attend the next swap, now that I know what to expect,” Erica said.
Keara Macintire and Ken Stevens, also from Canajoharie, had visited Landis previously, but only made it as far as the barn. They were impressed by the beautiful view of the rolling hills visible from the Meeting House. The duo attended the swap hoping to find a variety of plants and to trade cuttings inexpensively.
Kayla, who brought home a beautiful variegated philodendron ‘Birkin’ and a fiddle leaf fig she referred to as a “hidden gem,” also remarked on the scenery. “I would love to go to more plant events at the Arboretum and meet other plant lovers,” she said. “We also definitely plan on coming back to explore the grounds more and go on the trails and have picnics. It’s so beautiful there.”
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