Plant swaps are a great way to get new plants for free and socialize with people who are also interested in gardening and native plants. But where do you get plants to swap? Propagating your own is the easiest way to get started, and what this series of blogs is about. But some people do just buy plants to take to get started in these fun events. One thing I do encourage is to make an effort to present the plant in a way that has a good chance of surviving. Common garden plants like irises and daylilies can be dug up and brought bare root, but many of our native plants would not fare well with that treatment. This is something we learn in plant salvaging too. So, at very least protect the roots with some moist mulch and a plastic bag that will never be exposed to direst sun.
Some plants are very easy to grow and share. Oxalis, bleeding heart, Pacific waterleaf, false lily of the valley, and native strawberries spread by rhizomes to the extent you will have plenty to share before long. Those will do fine if dug a couple days before an event and keep them in plastic bags in the shade. They will even survive another week if the recipient cannot plant them right away. But to get the most benefit from swaps take good care of the plants before and after the events.
Plant swaps can be a great social event. Swaps and propagating are also ways to reduce to cost of attaining our goals in our gardens and restorations sites. So, find an area in your yard for propagating and growing more plants. And find a spot in the home for storing a seed collection.
The following posts will describe methods for propagating in advance and also seed collecting so you have plenty of good things to bring and trade.