Aroostook County plant cuttings come with a story and a history

8 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — Lynn Tuck’s Thanksgiving cactus’ history spans more than 50 years and several generations. And with the local plant swap on Saturday, pieces of the cactus will move on again.

The Thanksgiving cactus came from one of Tuck’s Houlton area patients which came from her daughter-in-law who lived in Arizona and belonged to her daughter-in-law’s grandmother. 

Tuck is a homecare nurse and she often brings clippings of her plants to others to brighten their day, she said. 

With all that is going on in the world right now, plants are a good way to focus attention away from worrying and just on caring for the plants, Tuck said. 

Several studies show that even 10 or 15 minutes around a houseplant can elevate mood. A North Carolina State University scientist found that being in an environment with plants helps people feel recharged and grounded. 

The clippings have stories, she said, admitting that she has named all of her 60 plants. There’s Cedric and Mr. Fugli who is ugly, she said laughing. 

Cedric, a lifesaver cactus, recently bloomed for Lynn Tuck, who loves sharing plants and clippings with others.  (Courtesy of Lynn Tuck)

The plant swap started last year after COVID-19 by Sandi Lee as a way to bring people back together and cheer people up after so much time in isolation, Tuck said. And now Tuck, Lee and Diane Kinney keep it going through the Roots & Shoots  Facebook page and plant swaps. 

On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. they will have 200 plants that they started from their own plants available for swapping outside on the corner of Prospect Street and Powers Avenue behind the Elks Club downtown.

People interested in getting a clipping do not need to bring a plant. Some of the plants available on Saturday include wandering dudes, fuzzy bunny butt, purple passion, peace lilies, Christmas cactus, lifesaver cactus, orchids and spider plants, Tuck said.There will also be repotting demonstrations.

The plant swap private Facebook group has more than 200 members and it brings people together, she said.

Additionally on Saturday there will be a raffle for two large baskets filled with plants. The proceeds from the raffle will be donated to Ark Animal Sanctuary.

The sanctuary has many kittens right now and is also asking people who come to trade plants to bring donations for Ark, like litter, cat and kitten food, bleach, white towels and laundry soap.