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Plant swapping – short and long distance

  • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  • Plant swapping – short and long distance

How is your plant swapping going? Have you got lots of new plant swapping friends after joining the GPS site, or have you just dipped your toe into swapping or perhaps not really got around to contacting anyone asking to swap? Perhaps you are waiting for someone to contact you instead? Now that you have created the page, listed your swaps and sells, perhaps you are wondering where all the swappers are? My best tip is, if you want to swap plants, take the first step and contact people! You will probably find very nice gardeners that are very happy you got in touch and who are more than willing to swap with you.

But what if there isn’t really anyone living close to you that you can swap with? I have been swapping plants with Angie who lives in Scotland, 431 miles from me, not exactly a trip you do on a Sunday afternoon! And I have sent off plants to other parts of the country too, and I also have two plant swapping friends that live fairly locally.

I use a courier company called Hermes, they do door-to-door delivery and for me that’s great since as a disabled and housebound it is difficult to get to the post office myself. Delivery is usually 3 days so all the plants have a good splash of water before I wrap them up for the journey. Some courier companies won’t take live plants so check before ordering a collection, you can also use Royal Mail if you have access to a post office - and if you pay for 24 hour delivery the plants will have an even better chance at arriving in a good condition.

Make sure to wrap up the plants well, I always save boxes, padding and wrapping from when I get plants delivered from nurseries, but if you don’t have access to that you can use a sturdy cardboard box, plastic bags and crumpled up newspapers. Also, label the box to show which way is up, that’s very important! To save on the weight you can send some plants bare-root, depending on what plants they are and what time of year it is, other plants can be dug up and most of the soil taken away and then put in a plastic bag.

But of course, sending plants long distance is not the only way, let’s not forget about swapping with your locals too. Meeting likeminded people who probably share the same love for gardening (just as crazy about gardening as you..!) can lead to new friendships, and by actually meeting the person you are going to swap with you will get to see the plants before the swap takes place and one of you get to see the other person’s garden if you meet at home. The advantage of that is that you can have a look around and possibly find other gems that can be put on a list for the next swap. But sometimes it’s just not possible to meet in person to swap, for all sorts of reasons, in those cases it’s a good solution to use a courier.

Swapping plants is a great way of acquiring plants you can’t afford to buy whilst finding a new home for surplus plants from your own garden. My garden is in its 13th year and many of the plants I have are divisions of divisions. I have not been so good at saving seeds, but I often take cuttings. Often way too many. I try to give away plants, but I don’t know that many people to give to, my neighbours are not the slightest interested in gardening. I hope my post has given you some new ideas or at least gives you confidence to go ahead and send your precious babies off in the post. It is always a risk to send live plants and I would definitely avoid Christmas and Easter week for this kind of shipments, but as long as you wrap up securely and always send in the beginning of the week so you are more likely to avoid the week-end, you should be fine. And although it feels like sending off the children to live on their own every time a parcel with plants is picked up at my address, I still do it, and I love to hear how the plants are doing in their new home :-)

It would be great to hear from others with experience with swapping plants and especially if you have been sending them off in the post or by courier. Has anything got lost or been dead by arrival or do you have good experiences?

Comments (13)

  1. Grower

    Amanda CW

    Our swapping is going well. We've done some great ones, but they have mostly been local. We have quite a lot of members with Grower pages in our area. I like meeting up and seeing their gardens too.

    I've also got some swaps going through putting posts in this forum. If you show an interest in a plant, other members then engage with and sometimes offer you things - like my last humming bee tree post. However, some prefer messaging back 1-2-1 than commenting in the forum. It's funny how shy many users seem to be of writing or commenting on posts. I guess the forum hasn't been going long and it's all about breaking the ice.

    I absolutely agree that if you want to swap plants, take the first step and contact people. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as my Dad used to say!

  2. Grower

    Helene U Taylor

    Great to hear swapping is going well for you, I hope you have got some good gems.
    I agree that it seems people are a bit shy here, we are not that many users making the conversations going compared to the total amount of growers. I did expect a lot of comments on the topic I have chosen this time, but after 3 days there’s still just you…so thanks for your comment :-)

    But I also assume that for each comment posted there might very well be many, many more people who has been here and read the different posts, but for one reason or another not left a comment. It would be lovely if more people left comments, it’s not necessary to write a lot, but a comment often starts a dialogue which can then go off to a one-to-one messaging later on, so just give it a try!

  3. Grower

    Angie's Garden

    A bit late in coming to the party here Helene but I've been patiently waiting on the first rose flower before I post :)
    Yes, I agree that plant swapping needn't be on the door step. I thought readers might like to see one of the roses that features in your pictures in flower. The plant is still relatively small, which I would expect anyway, as I've kept this in a large container to grow against the front panel of my shed. The other in the ground is a wee bit bigger and will also flower this year.
    There aren't many Scottish members yet but hopefully that will change in the future.

    Although I've not done much swapping, I'd like to say that thus far all my experiences have been positive and acquired some smashing plants that I probably wouldn't buy if I saw them in a GC.
    As you know Helene, I am also indulging my mother's passion for Fuchsias thanks to you - she's happy to have some blooming in the garden now.
    Here is the first bloom of your baby Rosa Crimson Cascade. It's beautiful but such a difficult flower to photograph as the red is so strong.
    I would like to encourage other members that haven't tried it yet, to give it a go.

    • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  4. Grower

    Helene U Taylor

    Hi Angie, I am so happy to see ‘Crimson Cascade’ has given you the first flowers :-) There will be many more! Yes, it is a bit tricky to photograph, I tend to avoid taking photos of the flowers in sunshine, and I don’t use flash either, and it’s best late afternoon or even early evening. Before you know it, your ‘Crimson Cascade’ will look like this!

    Like you, I have only positive experiences with swapping and I have also got plants in my garden now that I would never have thought of buying otherwise. By the way, the Campanula 'White Bali' you gave me is just about to flower!

    • Plant swapping – short and long distance
    • Plant swapping – short and long distance
  5. Grower

    The GPS Team

    We're so glad to hear users have had positive swap experiences. It does, perhaps, take a little leap of faith to approach another member for the first time. But you both stand to gain, so there is mutual interest, and there's a lot of goodwill out there among gardeners. So do give it a try if you haven't yet.

  6. Grower

    Home Farm - Wendy

    I have just joined! thank you for this post that I find very helpful - especially your pictures of how to package plants for post. I need to be able to post out but didn't really know where to start - thank you!

  7. Grower

    Helene U Taylor

    Thank you for your message, nice to hear from you and good to hear my post from 2014 has been useful to you. Since then I have moved house and I am now living in a bungalow and I am creating a new garden. Exciting and a lot of work!

    I have had a look at your grower page and I can see you aim to send plants on a lot bigger scale than I have done, you can get those green plug plant plastic packaging from E-bay, but unfortunately I don't know any company that sell reasonably priced cardboard sleeves to go with them so I usually just save cardboard boxes and make sleeves myself for small plants and cuttings. For larger deliveries with a mix of plants and seedlings it is best to do as described in my article.

    I hope GPS will be useful to your nursery, due to moving house and being very busy the last 2 years I haven't been as active here as I wanted, but I hope to come back when things get a bit more quiet. My goodness it is stressful to move house - and garden! I moved with 700 plants in tow from my previous house....from the smallest pot to the largest container with a 4m tall magnolia :-) I still have several hundred plants left to put in the ground - a lot to keep watered, thank heavens for every time it rains, which it doesn't do very often here in London.
    Good luck with your mail-order business, I might pop in an order next year :-)
    Best wishes,

  8. Grower

    Helene U Taylor

    Oh, I forgot to say, it is very useful to all of us if you put your name somewhere on your grower page, that way we can relate to you better, and know what to call you when writing to you :-)

  9. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    I agree, Home Farm Lady - we need a name! I love your Farm Gate Stall, very nice, it made me laugh because at first glance I thought it said "Herbs: Free. Range Eggs, £1."

  10. Grower

    Home Farm - Wendy

    Thank you ladies. My name is Wendy 😊

  11. Grower

    Helene U Taylor

    Nice to meet you Wendy :-)

  12. Grower

    Home Farm - Wendy


  13. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Hi, Wendy! (waves enthusiastically)

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