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Toledo Plant Exchange Offers Fun Outlet For Plant Lovers

Sometimes, it’s simply an idea whose time has come. Such is the case with two local plant exchanges that began with a yucca root the size of a 1987 Yugo, a box of plants and a “Why not?” attitude.
It was a Saturday in May 2005, just south of downtown Toledo on a Broadway sidewalk. A couple dozen people had read about it in a newspaper and arrived with their own vegetative largesse.
Since then, the Toledo Plant Exchange has distributed tens of thousands of free plants and inspired a second giveaway in Bowling Green.
The dates are April 27 at the Wood County Fairgrounds (Haskins and Poe roads in Bowling Green) and May 4 at the Lucas County Fairgrounds (1406 Key St., Maumee).

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Like a Brigadoon garden market, these events pop up, bustle and vanish in a few hours. And after 19 years, they’re as well-organized as a garden center: plants are grouped in a dozen categories ranging from Full Sun and Shadeto Edibles, Perennials andGround Covers.
“You just never know what will show up,” Tahree Lane, founder and one of five who run the show, said.
There’ll be prickly raspberry canes, canna tubers that will soar to eight feet, hostas, day-lilies, seedlings and indoor plants. One year, a fellow divested himself of his decades-old cactus collection. Another time, a van brought dozens of landscaping rocks.
The zoo once delivered dozens of orchids from its February show. Alpaca keepers brought their pets’ poo, a soil amendment. One time, a landscaper heaved a dozen grand ornamental grasses off his truck. “Change of plans,” he shrugged.
And there’s a section called “Junque,” with used tools, edging, books and garden kitsch. Yet to appear are garden gnomes or Dutch kids with puckered lips, but one can hope.
Most attendes dig plants to share, and receive a ticket for each. But even empty handers will receive a few tickets. Plants must be healthy, weed free, labeled and not invasive.
Plant drop off is 8:30 am to 9:50 am, when people can peruse informational tables.
At 10 am, admission to the plant area opens on a first-come basis. By 10:45 am, the inventory has mostly gone to new homes.
Master Gardener volunteers organize donations and answer questions. New gardeners should know how much direct sunlight various parts of their gardens receive each day: 6 hours is considered full sun.
Boxes and sturdy bags are suggested.
More information is on Facebook and at 419-578-6783.

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