Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mercer Plant Swap

I prepared for the swap on Friday night, digging up plants & taking cuttings, part of the time wearing my headlamp since it is getting dark earlier. I loaded the car with plants, extra plastic pots, chips for the potluck, and a chair. Saturday started with an early morning 7-mile run as part of my half-marathon training. After a quick wardrobe change, I was on my way north to Mercer Arboretum. There must have been around 30 swappers there plus friends, children, and spouses.

IMG_1549 There is a lingo to the plant swap and there is definitely etiquette. There are what we call pre-trades, these are trades you set up ahead of time with other people, usually through email or message boards. Pre-trades are always kept under your table so everyone knows they are not available. There’s also the orphan pile. It’s usually started toward the end of the swapping. It’s a pile where you put the plants you don’t want to take home with you and it’s a free for all for anyone who wants a few more plants.

There’s great camaraderie at a plant swap and you can always find a new plant that you’ve never heard of, but will grow in your area. Over the years, I’ve come home with several new plants from the swap. Many of them have shown up on a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Some that I can think of are firespike, pinecone ginger, rock rose, angel trumpet, hibiscus, salvia coccinea, daylilies, clerodendrum bungei, variegated duranta, gold edge duranta, crocosmia, & mexican turk’s cap.

IMG_1551 When my garden was smaller I always came home with more plants than I brought, but this year the goal was to come home with less. I decided to do all of my trades as pre-trades this year. Anything else that I brought with me was anyone’s for the asking. I brought home a great selection, some plants that I already have, but want more of as I work on my garden expansion project and a few that are new to me. Some are cuttings, while others are already in pots. I’m sure you’ll see a few of these show up in future GBBD posts.

A big thanks to our swap organizer and support crew! They did a great job as usual!


  1. How cool! Who set up the plant swap? Was it a garden club? I've only been to a couple but I know what you mean about trying not to take home more than you brought. I laughed at your post about a nursery bed. Yes, not buying on impulse is the way it SHOULD be, but rarely is with us gardeners, ha! Love your new flower bed and mulched pecan tree. New beds are too much fun.

  2. There is a group of friends that started this swap about 10 years ago. Now, they have a website and they invite anyone who wants to swap plants.
    Yeah, the new beds are fun, I have a bunch that I'm trying to get in over the next couple of weeks. Yours look great, can't wait to see how you fill them in.