I had our toddler with me and it became obvious once I arrived that (a) it would be impossible for me to sit through any of the talks and (b) no one was milling about during the talks.
This meant I had about two-and-a-half hours to kill with the two-year-old. This was all laid out in the registration but I didn’t realize how strict the format:
1. Show up, check in and hand your seeds over.
2. Attend the two talks behind closed doors while volunteers divide seeds into categories on the tables.
3. Have a brief snack (crackers, fruit and baked goods provided), look at all the seeds on the tables and make notes as to what you want.
4. Attend Name Tag Contest and Show and Tell.
5. Calmly go make your seed selections when your group is called. There are multiple rounds so everyone gets a fair selection.
This is how the seed exchange was experienced by me:
1. Same as above - Check in and hand seeds over.
2. Notice no attendees are milling about outside the conference room. You are half an hour late. Someone eyes you and the child, shushes you as you quietly approach the seed tables and conference room.
3. Go walk the garden grounds for an hour with your small child you now realize you perhaps should not have brought.
4. Thoroughly enjoy walking the garden grounds with small child as she says “Hi, pansies!” to all the pansies and drives her Hot Wheels on every bench.
5. Come back in during break time.
6. Go back outside during Name Tag and Show and Tell time. Keep an eye through the windows for when the seed selection begins. It’s raining a little but you and the child are having a great time.
7. Come in during seed selection, choose two common flowers and realize you’re doing it all wrong because you weren’t in the conference room to get assigned a group.
8. Decide it’s best just to leave since small child is losing interest in staying by your side after three hours of hanging out.
9. Say bye to the awesome gardener you chatted with during the break.
I am so glad we went, this was my first seed exchange. I seemed to have broken a major code by bringing our child, but that said, I knew signing up that wandering the gardens was our backup plan. B, the small child, helped me prep the seeds for the “seed party” and, as far as she is concerned, things went exactly it they should. It was a great to be out in chilly weather.
Rooting DC is in two weeks – has anyone been?