Archive for the ‘free’ Category

Plant Swap

Saturday I attended a plant swap organized by some people on and it was fabulous!  This was my third swap I’d attended over the past couple of years after a gardening neighbor alerted me to this fun plant goldmine.

Here’s how these swaps work:  Well in advance of the swap, you assess your gardens and see which of your perennials can be divided,  check if anything has made any new seedlings you don’t need in that area,  take cuttings of plants that can be propagated that way and get them started, or if you start things from seed determine which extras you’ll have.  From this you create your trade list or “Have” list, and you post the list of the names of the plants on your Gardenweb profile and/or start a thread with “HAVE” as the subject line and list your available plants.  You also create a “Want” list for plants you’re most interested in. Other gardeners planning to attend the swap look through the Have lists and post replies to people who have plants they’d like to have and they offer a trade based on the person’s Want list or just invite the person to look through THEIR Have list and pick something.  (I’m surely making this sound far more complicated than it is!) You now have a prearranged trade!

Most people prearrange many trades with several different people and know exactly how many and which plants they need to dig up and stick in pots for the swap, but everyone also brings extra plants for spontaneous trading.  Best of all is the Freebies pile — any extra plants you brought that you don’t care about getting a trade for get placed there and then anyone can have whatever they’d like! Gardeners in general are super generous and are especially happy to help out a new gardener who has very little or even NOTHING to trade.  I came to my first swap with maybe six tiny pots of two different plants (one of which was strawberries) and I left with nearly twenty new, different plants!   It is sooo great for expanding your plant collection, and then of course once those plants grow for a year or two, you can divide them and bring them to a swap and maybe end up helping out another new gardener.

It is really cool to see what people bring to trade and to talk with other gardeners about where they have had success with a particular plant (partial shade? full sun? deadhead the flowers or let ’em stay?).   Oh!  Did I mention the food?  There’s always FOOD, too, and gooooood stuff!  It is done potluck style, and sometimes people munch a bit while they’re trading and then at some point everyone fills up their plates and gets serious.  Free plants!  Free food!  What more could you ask for on a Saturday?

Here’s what I came home with:

My new babies

There is lamb’s ear, a Pacific Coast iris, Centaurea Montana “Alba” (Bachelor’s Button; this is a white flowered one), three little sedums,  a mystery salvia (hoping for purple), Monarda (bee balm) in a color I don’t have, Bloody Dock, European Ginger, Welsh Poppies,  Society Garlic, three sweet Golden Marconi Peppers,  a purple aster, Motherwort herb, some annual grass called “bunny tails”,  a campanula, and a coreopsis.  SCORE!