By Agrippina Fadel
Don’t judge the book by its cover, they say. The Garden Club Coral Springs believes the same is true for plants — even the most beautiful flower may not be the right fit for the Florida yard if it is invasive and doesn’t serve the native wildlife well.
To help the community learn about the native and invasive plants, the Garden Club created the Plant Exchange Stand. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is held on Thursday, August 11 at 11:30 am, and the stand will have informational flyers about the invasive plants and Florida-friendly landscaping in general.
Jeri Decker, the Garden Club of Coral Springs president, said the idea came from the club’s Facebook page, where residents expressed a desire to have a neighborhood plant exchange.
“Now, instead of throwing away unwanted native plants after thinning or changing your garden, someone else can benefit from them. It’s like an island for misfit plants,” she explained.
Decker said the stand is built with pressure wood to withstand the weather and will be open to all residents for an ongoing daily exchange. Garden Club members will stop by the stand weekly to water the plants and check and remove any invasive greenery left by mistake.
“Hopefully, it will catch on and be a success so we can build another stand somewhere else in the city,” she said, adding that the residents had already brought some plants to the stand.
“We want everyone in the community to be involved. It is a “leave one, take one” system, but we are not going to police it. We want residents to take what they need for their gardens,” Decker said.
She added that the stand is an excellent educational opportunity for local plant enthusiasts and gardeners, and club members can’t wait to spread the word about it in the community.
“We want people to know they don’t have to always buy plants, and this is where the community can share,” Decker added.
She said some plants that look pretty and attract butterflies and hummingbirds, such as fire spike and porter weed, can still be invasive if they are not a Florida native variety. Big stores that sell plants don’t always care to vet them and give buyers the correct information, so it is better to go to smaller nurseries, ask questions, and always ensure you are getting the right plant.
“Some of these plants can quite literally take over someone’s yard or garden, and then the birds help them spread around even wider. The more we educate people, maybe we can get the spread of the invasive plants under control,” Decker said.
The Plant Exchange Stand is located in front of the Rotary Community Garden and Food Forest at 2575 SportPlaex Drive.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master’s in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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