Sunday, May 16, 2010

Plant Swaps

At the office the other day, a fellow gardener told me the plant swap flyer for his neighborhood had just arrived. He said he thought about bringing me a copy but he thought that I already had enough plants so I wouldn’t be interested in a plant swap! I laughed, and told him, “I’m ALWAYS interested in plant swaps.”

Some people avoid plant swaps because they think all they will find is the “standard fare” of Hosta lancifolia, day lilies, and Snow on the Mountain. And, it’s true. Those plants do show up at a lot of plant swaps. But, many times, I’ve gotten a lovely variety of Iris, or a peony, or a wild geranium. And, sometimes, “standard fare” is exactly what you need.

For me, though, plant swaps aren’t solely about the plants. They’re about the stories that come with the plants. At plant swaps, you get to meet the person who grew the plant you’re taking home with you. You hear about the environment in which it grew and how well it performed. And, many times, you hear how the plant came from the swapper’s grandmother’s garden, or mother, or dear friend. Those are the best stories.

The stories make plant swaps a much more personal way to add to and subtract from my garden. So, I guess that’s the real reason I like to go to as many plant swaps as I can during the season. It’s not really about the plants, it’s about the stories.

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