Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Local church encourages gardening with Gardeners Swap

By: Shelley Widhalm | The Surveyor | May 13, 2022 | Local News

Are you thinking about starting a garden this year and don’t know where to begin or what plants are ideal for your yard?

The First Presbyterian Church in Berthoud is giving novice and experienced gardeners the opportunity to swap seeds, plants, and information May 21 at the Second Annual Gardeners Swap in the churchyard.

“You don’t have to bring stuff to come,” said Eileen Brown, organizer of the swap and wife of The Rev. Christopher Brown, pastor at First Presbyterian Church, 531 Eighth St. in Berthoud. “You can just come and look at the plants and take the plants, but we ask you to be reasonable.”

Brown, an avid gardener, came up with the idea for the swap when she had more plants than she could split, replant or give to family and friends. She already heard about clothing swaps and thought a swap for gardeners would be an opportunity to avoid wasting seeds, cuttings, starters and plants.

“I cannot stand killing things, killing plants,” Brown said, who got into gardening as a way to enjoy the outdoors. “I like being able to grow my own food, but I’m not a diehard homesteader. … I like digging in the dirt and being outside.”

The swap is an opportunity for gardeners to clean out their garden beds by digging up and dividing plants to share with others. They can add variety to their gardens with plants they might not have considered growing before. And they can learn about plants and care tips from other gardeners and gardening-related organizations, including the CSU Extension Colorado Master Gardeners, the Berthoud Community Library District, You + Me Floral and Gifts, and Natalie’s Unique Bouquets.

“This year it will be bigger. More organizations are coming to this swap,” Brown said, adding that the library, which offers a seed exchange program, was the only organization to participate in last year’s swap.

The library and the other organizations will be set up booths to provide information about native plants and invasive species. There will be information about how to divide up and care for plants, where to plant shade-loving versus sun-loving plants, how to take into account soil and moisture needs, and what does well in the local climate.

“It’s always fun to do see what people do and learn about it,” Brown said. “It’s fun to share plants.”

Additional booths will have plants that can be swapped out, including annuals, perennials, fruits and vegetables, and houseplants. Volunteers will help identify the plants to label and place them.

Last year, gardeners brought close to 100 plants, but there were extra that ended up going to waste. The extras this year will be donated to the Loveland Youth Gardeners, a nonprofit youth gardening program in Loveland.

Gardeners donating are asked to bring non-infested, clean and labeled plants, but to avoid bringing invasive species. There also will be a variety of free seeds, plant trays, row cover and other items available thanks to a generous donation.

The Gardeners Swap will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 21. For more information about it, visit

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