Oroville Mercury-Register

Community growth seed planting

- By Kyra Gottesman

The Dunstone Memorial Hall was busy Sunday afternoon as master gardeners, beginning gardeners, farmers, back yard gardeners and plant lovers of all varieties attended the Oroville Botanical Gardens & Education Center 4th Annual Seed Exchange.

“One way to create community is through gardening. Gardening brings people together. This is the fourth time we’ve hosted the event and each time more and more people attend which solidifies the idea that hosting a seed exchange is a good one, “said Dani Hartwigsen, OBGEC member and event volunteer.

Four long tables were located in the memorial hall meeting room, one each for winter seeds, summer seeds, flower seed and herb seeds. A few tables also had plant starts and bulbs. On the tables were pens and small empty envelopes so that people could make up packets of seeds to take home to plant.

Myra Blasi, who recently moved to the area from Southern California, was busy at the winter table making and labeling packets of pumpkin, kohlrabi. Squash and radish seeds.

“This is my first time (attending a seed exchange). This is awesome. I love it,” she said.

Paul Colvin, who owns a small farm in Paradise, said he came to the seed exchange to see if he could find anything “out of the ordinary.”

Cayla Sanford, Alicia Sandoval and Taneya Sperling were having

a “girls day out” at the seed exchange.

“It’s just really neat,” said Sandoval about the event. “It’s nice to know there’s something in town like this.”

Among the flowers seeds Sperling was collecting were “Chinese House,” “mock orange and “double French marigold,’ while Sanford gathered some lavender seeds and “curry soup pumpkin” seeds which she’d never seen before.

Gardeners also shared tips and knowledge about a variety of growing and gardening topics including how best to start herb seeds and what grows best in this climate.

Laree Shepard, a new OBGEC member and owner of Oro Garden Nursey, was the only nursery vendor selling at the event bringing a truck and trailer with plants ranging from baby olive trees to citronella plants.

“This is the first time I’ve participat­ed in this event so I brought a little bit of everything — flowers, succulents, trees — for people. It’s great the Botanic Gardens does this,” she said.

While there was no charge to attend the event and the seeds, plant starts and bulbs were all free whether you brought seeds to exchange or just came to gather seeds, the non-profit OBGEC was taking donations, selling t-shirts, plants and olive oil as well as signing up new members throughout the afternoon.

With the success of Sunday’s event Hartwigsen said OBGEC will continue to host the annual fall exchange but will also be adding a second exchange in the spring starting in 2022.

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