PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 6, 2012

Port Arthur Beautification Commission holds Share-A-Plant event

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Carol Munson attends the Port Arthur Beautification Commission’s Share-A-Plant event every time it rolls around.

She rolls in with whatever she has — this year, some seeds — and rolls out with whatever she can get. This time, she brought her daughter and two grandchildren, and they left with some red hibiscus and assorted bulbs and an iris that she won as a door prize. And it didn’t cost them a dime.

“I come every year,” Munson said. “I see what I got and see what I can get rid of.”

The Port Arthur Beautification Commission has been sharing plants for many  years now, said Regina Drake, president of the commission. People brought seeds, plants or cuttings from their gardens Saturday morning and traded them for other seeds, plants and cuttings. They could also recycle old cell phones.

But the event is more than just a flexing of green thumbs. It’s about community involvement, Drake said. It’s about getting people to know each other and beautifying the city.

“People love it,” she said.

They even cleaned up after themselves when they left. When it was over, the park in front of the Jefferson County Subcourthouse looked like it had before the plant-sharing began.

Rosalind Queen, who is also on the Beautification Commission, said four picnic tables were covered with plants of all kinds Saturday morning — plants she had never seen before and pricey plants that would not come cheap at a nursery. Some of the plants came from the commission itself.

“We give a lot of the things we grow back to the community,” Queen said. “It’s an easy way to get plants started, and it’s free.”

District 2 Councilwoman Elizabeth Segler, who was on the Beautification Commission for several years, came out to the Share-A-Plant event Saturday morning, as well.

“It’s a wonderful way for the community to meet and think of ways to improve the city,” Segler said. “Plants, plants and more plants, and it doesn’t cost anything.”

The Port Arthur Youth Advisory Council helped out with the event, and another Share-A-Plant day was scheduled for May, Drake said. Though it was her first time putting together this event, Drake thought it went really well overall.

“We had great attendance and all different types of plants,” she said. “And we got the word out there about the commission.”

The commission is always looking for more volunteers so it can hold more events like the Share-A-Plant day, Drake said. These events provide the commission with some visibility and show the community what it is doing to make Port Arthur a more beautiful place to live.

“You don’t see people fussing over a plant,” Segler said.

bcrum@panews.com