Cherrywood Plant and Book Swap #18

Written by Jack Darby

On Saturday, October 12, we defied the rainy forecast and held our fall plant and book swap. We had a good turn out with people bringing yuccas, aloes, salvias as well as books by Tom Robbins, JFK/Ted Sorensen and Shelby Foote.

In 2005, Erika Allbright and I hosted the first Cherrywood Plant Swap (http://cherrywoodswap.com). Actually, a year before our first event, my neighbor, Elizabeth McMahon, had a plant swap on Giles Street. To me, it was a novel idea and I took home a bunch of new plants. Elizabeth passed away about a year later and I like to think of the Cherrywood event as a tribute to her memory. There are two events a year: one in the spring and one in the fall.

At some point, we added books to the swap to widen the appeal (and we frequently get gardening books). Erika collects and donates any leftover books to one or more charitable organizations. We also started inviting Travis County Master Gardeners to attend and advise us on gardening matters (thanks to Sheryl Williams, Plant Clinic Coordinator).

Over the years we have had several live music performances. The Maplewood Elementary School Ukulele Choir and Drum Group (Wilson Marks, music director) has frequently performed for us for the spring event (their Youtube video from a performance is adorable). Renowned Austin musicians and Cherrywood neighbors, Kathy and Bill Jones, have regaled us on ukes several times. Sam Hammerman has also performed at the swap. In 2009, Libby Malone, Director Community Relations for Grande Communications, contacted me about sponsoring an event. Grande provided a generous donation which we used towards plants at several events.

The event has continued as a modest event and attendance is usually from 20 to 100 people. It has always been hosted at Cherrywood Green where we have seen many enhancements made by Friends of Cherrywood Green (FROG). Over the years, we have had a coffee truck (Elixer Coffee) and an ice cream truck (Y’all Scream Ice Cream) on hand to serve the swappers. We have had a booth on urban chickens and Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms.

The events have developed a social facet and we have met many Cherrywood neighbors as well people as from other neighborhoods. Jennifer Potter-Miller has been serving as photographer recently and others have done that in the past. There have been many times that neighbors have stepped in to help out with the event. It is impossible to remember all the regulars over the years but here is a quick pass: Rachel, Ruthie, Dolly, Dave, Liza, Corinne, Rick, Lisa, Trudy, Kathy, Bill, Iumi, Ross, Sully, Ann, Girard, Mike, Kat, Wendy, Priscilla, David, Caroline, Sherri, James, Martha (Ridgetop), Kevin (Windsor Park)–apologies to everyone I missed. I also want to acknowledge help from Jane Walton and Priscilla Boston of CHULA.

Erika has co-hosted and been a tireless advocate for every event since the first one. We are closing in on our 20th event, which should take place in the fall of 2014. We are hoping to pull a few stops for that event with a commemorative T-shirt, music and food. Please or if you want to play a role in an upcoming swap.

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