I used to think the only way you could get a new perennial plant (besides sharing plants with neighbors and friends) or special seeds was to shell out the cash at the local retailer, or at that dream garden window shopping heaven, the internet. About 10-12 years ago I learned there was yet another way! I started meeting other gardeners interested in trading plants on an amazing site called GardenWeb. There have been so many trades over the years... most of them went into my gardens at the old house in Papillion and were left behind there when we moved in mid-January. The ones that come to mind as special - tobacco seedlings, a gorgeous purple wisteria vine, a Fried Green Tomatoes Hosta, lilac bushes - really too many to remember without looking back at pictures.
There is nothing like opening a garden trade box. It's like Christmas in July, or April, or whenever! Many traders tuck in special little gifts like garden decorations, candy bars, packets of seeds... whatever!
As long as you follow the special rules of etiquette of garden trading, you'll build a great online reputation and people will be glad to trade with you. And if things get messed up even once - (let's say the mail carrier puts the box in your metal mailbox in mid-August in blazing 100º sun and you don't take it out until evening) - it can really hurt your trading reputation even though it wasn't your fault. (That's why you always mail on Mondays, so it won't sit in the mail facility over the whole weekend, too).
Last year such a thing happened to me. My plants must have had something happen, because the person on the receiving end said the plants were brown and withered. Well, they left here happy and green... so I will never know. They were really upset, and said so. Ouch. Anyway, this year the trading hunger finally got to me so I answered an ad about a trade and just received my box Monday. It was awesome - I received a Twilight Butterfly Bush (purple with pink centers), a Rose Mallow (hardy hibiscus), and a Butterfly Wings Daylily as a special surprise gift!
Twilight Butterfly BushYesterday I took the newcomers out to their new home in my Out My Window garden and planted them. Then I went over to dig the trade, she had wanted Strawberries & Cream Grass. As my surprise, I selected a baby Elderberry tree and a really good Peppermint plant. All in all, the trade took half an hour of my time, $5 in postage, and I have beautiful new plants that would have cost me at least $15 had I bought them at retail (had I even been able to find them locally!) Garden trading is just cool.
Strawberries & Cream Ribbon Grass