Plant Swap Etiquette
First things first, where do you find a plant swap? I like the GardenWeb, you can find swaps all over Texas and the Country. Go to www.gardenweb.com click on forums and then click on Get-togethers, in addition the Texas Gardening or Texas Garden exchanges are also good choices. Now that we have found a swap with time, date, and location, don't forget to RSVP the person or persons putting the swap on. That way they can estimate the room they will need at the swap area. Always bring plants that you have a lot of.
Don't think what plants you have will not be good enough for a trade. The plants should be potted up and looking good. Bare rooted plants, tubers, bulbs etc. are fine if left in plastic bags. Cuttings should not be taken to a plant swap, I don't like them because if you have to drive any distance at all, the cuttings will never make it. Do your research on the plants you will be taking. Genius/Species and common names are a must to label your plants. I have used wooden Popsicle sticks in the past, however I in the future will use plastic strips cut from gallon water jugs. Make sure all plants are marked and the labels are correct.
Seeds, bulbs, and plants are all exceptable trade material. I would suggest bringing small ziplock bags for seeds and small bulbs. I would also bring a few larger plastic bags for the larger plants and bulbs. Plant swaps usually follow like this: you have your plants grouped in a certain area, with your name this is if anyone wants to trade you a plant and you are not around, they can locate you. Everyone else has his or her plants in a similar arrangement. If you see a plant you like from a person at the swap you say, "I sure like that plant over there would you like to trade"? Most of the time it is "Yes, I would love to trade for X".
Now you both have come together and worked out a trade. After you have worked out the first trade the rest is fast and easy I usually give a lot of my plants away to first time swappers and people that show up with nothing to trade. For, is it not the way of a gardener to share and give? I usually say, "I will get a trade from you in the future. That always makes people so happy to have something that they really wanted but thought they could not have. I would bet you the next time you see that person, They will say "come over here and get whichever plant you like for that plant you gave me last time".
When I go to swaps I look for the unusual and interesting plants.(some
people say I have an eye for it). That is why "I" have never
met a plant swap I didn't like. I go to Houston, Austin, Ft.Worth and
Waco once or twice a year for swaps. I think the advantage in going
to different plant swaps in other areas is the plant material. The different
regions of Texas have different plants, in Houston it is tropical, in
Austin it is more native etc. A real no-no during a plant swap is the
following: DO NOT TAKE other peoples plants without the owner's permission.
Other than that it is real fun. I have made fast and long lasting friendships
with other plant people just like me, all over the state. It is such
a fun experience to talk to other gardeners