A correction has been made to the website link at the end of this article.

Gardeners are invited to swap seeds, plants, roots, cuttings and stories at the 11th Annual Master Gardener Seed Exchange from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 29.

The event will be held in the library and dining room of Blandy Experimental Farm at the Virginia State Arboretum at 400 Blandy Farm Lane in Boyce and will include a gardening book and magazine exchange.

Admission and parking are free.

“We have a great source of seeds,” said Lynn Hoffmann, a Master Gardener with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association.

Not only will Master Gardeners bring seeds to the event, but she said they’re hoping that seed companies will donate seeds as well.

Most seeds will be from the previous season or two, though she said that seeds properly stored at a consistent temperature could last several years, depending on the seed.

The Seed Exchange is great for anyone who has some extra commercially grown seeds left from last year’s planting.

But even if you don’t have seeds to share, join in anyway, learn more about gardening, and go home with up to five packets of seed, an event news release says.

Seeds and plants are likely to include vegetables, herbs, perennials, annuals, bulbs and cuttings, vines, woody plants and commercially packaged seeds donated by growers, retailers or fellow gardeners.

Guests can also enjoy vendors with plants and other items for the gardener, information stations and hands-on demonstrations, activities for children and an “Ask a Master Gardener” table.

“Each year we just try to add stuff that we know people enjoy,” Hoffmann said.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group will be ensuring there’s enough space inside for people to social distance and find seats.

Event coordinators ask that people who bring plant materials to share label their items and carry them in small bags or containers suitable for swapping. Seeds can be put in envelopes and labeled.

Each envelope should contain enough seeds appropriate for planting a home garden area.

“People are always looking for something different,” Hoffmann said.

“Seeds that would attract insects or birds, that’s always great.”

Other consistently popular options are annuals and perennials, she said.

Attendees should make sure not to bring any nonindigenous or invasive plants. They can check plants on the State Arboretum of Virginia’s Invasive Species List at blandy.virginia.edu/arboretum/virginia-invasive-plants.

Though the event is in mid-winter, Hoffmann said that if the ground isn’t frozen solid, gardeners can go ahead and plant bulbs for the coming season.

“If you can still dig your bulbs, you can get ’em in the ground and they should pop up for you.”

The Seed Exchange at Blandy is co-sponsored by the Foundation of the State Arboretum at Blandy Experimental Farm and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association.

For more information, visit nsvmga.org/events/seed-exchange.

Contact Josette Keelor at jkeelor@nvdaily.com

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