An annual plant exchange draws together serious home gardeners in Los
Altos, California. They arrive at a community center on a Saturday
morning, laden with excess bounty from their gardens and
greenhousess–bulbs, plants abd trees in containers, rooted cuttings,
boxes of succulents, flats of seedlings, and edible plants anf fruits.
Displayed on outdoor tables, this cornucopia is free for the
The Los Altos Parks and Recreation Department and the Los Altos
Garden Club cosponsor the low-key, 4-hour event. Last year, club
members started things rolling by bringing pots of rooted succulents and
staying on hand that day to discuss care, feeding, and best location for
each plant. They also encouraged other local gardeners to donate plant
You could plan a similar program in your own neighborhood or town.
There should be no cost–all it takes is display space, time, and
volunteers to staff the event. In the Los Altos exchange, garden club
members received help from recreation department employees who proved
invaluable in moving some of the larger, heavier trees and in setting up
The giveaway takes place in late spring, but start planning now.
Start cuttings or divisions of perennials in plastic pots so
they’ll be presentable in spring. A summer swap could share
For more details on the exchange, write to Jack Hatton, Los Altos
Parks and Recreation Commission, 1 N. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos, Calif.