CLIFFORD– Since inception of the first Plant Exchange in 2004, the local Mountain View Garden Club’s free annual event has become a much-anticipated early summer happening in this area. This year’s Plant Exchange & Marketplace will be held Sunday, June 2nd, at the Clifford Township Community Center, 19 Cemetery Street from 11:30am-3:00pm.

“Year after year, both novice and experienced garden lovers from throughout the area look forward to shopping here and exchanging plants with one another,” said JoAnn Hall, event co-coordinator. “The ‘exchange’ aspect is definitely the most enticing aspect of this event. Shoppers can bring two ID-tagged potted perennials from their own garden, for which they’ll receive a ticket, and when they shop, they can literally exchange them for two of equal size and value. And since many of our club members and gardening friends and neighbors generously donate still more plants to sell when they seasonally clean out their own gardens, the selections offered here are amazingly varied and plentiful. It’s really wonderful to see how many local-area gardens have literally grown and flourished thanks to this yearly event.”

Garden enthusiasts are not only sure to find some of the best selections of perennials at this event, but the plants are unquestionably all NEPA-climate friendly. “If it grows successfully in your own garden, a similar exchange will surely be welcomed in someone else’s local garden too,” Hall added. “And, the prices are just as great!” Hall noted that many shoppers bring their own carts and totes, but “Healey’s Christmas Tree Farm has once again very generously donated wagons to help our shoppers carry their plant selections.”

In addition to the plant exchange itself, the club also features its ever-popular Second Hand Rose flea market. Here, too, shoppers can often find something fun and unusual among a widely varying selection of someone else’s so-called junk that quickly becomes another’s treasure. Planter pots and baskets, framed art and gardening books, an unusual nick-knack, hand-made items, household gadgets, and more … the second-hand items are a thoroughly fun aspect of this event that never ceases to amaze those given to seeking and salvaging something that was otherwise discarded.

Through the years, the garden club has expanded upon its event by adding the ‘Marketplace’ to its plant exchange. “Earlier in the year, we invite various artists and vendors to share the day,” said Hall. “And this year, we’ll have about two dozen vendors who’ll also sell their wares. Before the gate to the exchange area opens at 1:00pm, shoppers can roam the township garage and the adjacent park area. Here, they’ll find things like honey and maple syrup products, goat milk soaps, crafted jewelry, photography wall art and gift cards, concrete garden items, hand-painted signs, delicious fudge, and much more. Representatives from the Master Gardeners of Susquehanna County, Greenfield Power Equipment, LuLaRoe fashions, and the NEPA Rail-Trails will also be available. And the Clifford Township Historical Society will offer tours of its Museum of Local History and the adjacent Children’s Garden.”

So as not to overlook hearty appetites, food vendors offering BBQ chicken, pulled pork, and tasty church-baked goods will also be on site. And to entice shoppers still further, co-coordinator Deb McNamara noted that “the House of Flowers, All-in-a-Basket, Elk Mountain, and members of the Greater Forest City Business Alliance have made some generous contributions that will comprise a number of great basket raffles.”

The Mountain View Garden Club’s nearly 60-plus members gather year-round to expound on its mission to “share our knowledge and love of gardening while beautifying the Elk Mountain area and surrounding communities,” Hall explained. “We generally meet on the third Tuesday of the month at the Clifford Fire Hall at 6:30pm, when we’ll have interesting and educational programs and speakers who’ll discuss a wide range of garden-related topics -- and the public is always welcomed.”

Hall explained that the club periodically offers lectures and workshops, field trips and tours of major gardens, and they do various community projects. “Our annual Hometown Pride Award recognizes local-area businesses or organizations that upgrade their establishment’s exterior, therein improving the appearance of their neighborhood and beautifying the region. And every year, we also offer two $750 scholarships to deserving seniors from Mountain View HS and Forest City Regional HS who are enrolled in a trade school, college, university, or a certificate program and who have an interest in nature and/or the environment.”

Membership to the Mountain View Garden Club is open to the public ($25 annual dues). For further information, contact membership chair Louise Guszick at 570-222-2233, email lmfuszick@aol.com, or visit www.mountainviewgardenclub.org.