If you thought Richmond Branch Library would stop its eco-friendly programming with an indoor honey bee observatory, an abundance of house plants placed among the books and an outdoor pollinator garden, think again.
The Port Richmond staple is now offering plant cuttings to anyone looking to cultivate their green thumb.
“The Richmond Branch is offering our neighbors the opportunity to share house and garden plants with others and to pick up some new plants that you may not have,” said Amy Thatcher, branch manager.
Currently, the library has about 40 test tubes filled with water to hold the cuttings, according to Thatcher.
For those just getting started in the gardening realm, Thatcher offered up a brief description of the initiative.
“Plant cuttings are small sections of a plant taken from a larger potted plant,” she said. “The cutting is placed in water to grow roots. After the roots are formed, the plant can then be potted in soil and grow to a mature size.”
Like many recent River Wards initiatives and adjustments, the idea took root around the same time COVID mandates were put into place citywide.
“The swap idea began in March 2020, the week before the city library system shut down due to COVID,” Thatcher explained. “After the libraries reopened, we partnered with a library volunteer and active member of Philly Plant Exchange, Ross Forester. Ross provided the initial cuttings.”
The Philly Plant Exchange provided cuttings, too, according to Thatcher.
Additional cuttings come from the library’s own collection of house plants.
“We offer a great variety of houseplants, some common ones like spider plant, pothos and begonia. And, some not-so-common plants like peacock peperomia, red cup leopard and prayer plant. It’s a great opportunity to create a hobby and share resources.”
The plant cuttings are just another way the library hopes to share resources outside of books.
“The plant swap is an initiative that promotes the Richmond Library’s overall vision of providing environmentally interesting learning activities,” Thatcher added.
The pollinator garden has been expanded, the Almond Street lawn will have shade perennials and a Koi pond, and the goal is to express honey from the two outdoor Longstroth-style hives next September, according to Thatcher.
Even as initiatives at the library are added and expanded, the goal still remains the same.
“It’s a way of fostering communal cooperation that the Richmond Branch has always strived to do, but with the added urge for inclusion after a year of isolation,” Thatcher said. ••
Cuttings are free to anyone. Guests are encouraged to leave a plant cutting of their own. The Richmond Branch Library is located at 2987 Almond St. For hours and updates, call 215-685-9992 or follow Richmond Library – Free Library of Philadelphia on Facebook.