‘Propagation Stations’ stations sprouting across county

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2024

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

“Propagation stations” have been sprouting up around Crenshaw County, and as summer rapidly approaches, downtown Brantley is gearing up to welcome another one. Spearheaded by Crenshaw County Extension administrative support associate Jayden Powell, the station will be located in an area maintained by the Brantley Garden Club. 

The station is part of a broader community-driven initiative to make plant swapping more accessible across the county. The project aims to rejuvenate the once-common practice of swapping plants with neighbors and friends, an activity that according to Powell, fosters a closer-knit community.

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“I want to ensure that all residents of Crenshaw County have the opportunity to swap plants and learn about various plant species and how to grow them,” Powell said. “This initiative offers a fun and free opportunity for plant enthusiasts and those interested in plants who might be lacking the extra funds for such a hobby.”

The concept is simple yet impactful, creating a communal spot where residents can exchange plants, share gardening tips and cultivate a love for horticulture.

The stations follow the successful model established by Megan Conrad in Magnolia Shores. Conrad created a plant swapping station in her yard, then promoted the set up via Facebook and has organized a few monthly plant swaps. 

Honestly I kept seeing a bunch of pictures in my plant groups on Facebook of what was called a plant library and it gave me the idea of a take-a-cutting-leave-a-cutting effort because that’s where most of my plants came from over the years,” said Conrad. “My best friend Sarah and I are always swapping clippings from new plants we get and I figured it would be more feasible for people to swap cuttings instead of the whole plant, and I also thought that the in person plant swap would be a great turnout for people to bring what they have and swap for other things they see. 

“I honestly didn’t think it would go as far as it has but I’m so glad that it did. I really think one of the main things is that it will bring new ‘plant parents’ around and get them into the hobby without going to a big box store and spending so much money on a bigger plant and chance of it not making it. I also love seeing younger people get into plants, whether it be house plants or gardening. I know for me it’s my therapy and it’s also just a way to bring a bunch of people together who have a common interest and perhaps make a friend too.”

Despite the county-wide enthusiasm, some residents in the southern end of the county found the 45-minute drive to Magnolia Shores daunting. Recognizing this, Powell informed Conrad about Alabama Extension’s available resources and their focus on countywide accessibility. Powell then, with guidance from Conrad, established a propagation station at the Emmett C. Strickland Pavilion on Airport Road in Luverne. 

A propagation station typically consists of an 8- by 4-foot section, complete with a sign, a wire panel with cups for clippings, a seed box and labels. To give a clear picture of what Brantley can expect, Powell shared images of the existing station on Airport Road.

In addition to the new station, a plant swap event is scheduled for July 20, at the Emmett C. Strickland Pavilion beginning at 11 a.m. Attendees will receive free printed resources on plants, weeds, gardening and insects. Horticulture Regional Extension Agent Emily Wismer will also be present to share her expertise.

Powell is calling on the community to help spread the word about the upcoming event and the new Propagation Stations. For further information, interested parties can contact Jayden Powell at the Crenshaw County Extension Office at (334) 335-6312.

Photos courtesy of Jayden Powell.