WANTED: Have lilac, but nothing else. Need so many things...

nezbine(7b)October 29, 2006


I'm thinking of coming to the Green Elephant swap, but I have little to trade and want to know if anyone is interested in what I have & if I should come. I have some lilac volunteers growing under our lilac tree which I've been potting up (I think they're the old-fashioned kind, the bloom was a purple single and looked familiar), and I can bake cookies, but I have little else to trade. Ok, nothing else. There's very little here!

We bought our first house this summer and the yard is nearly a barren wasteland. We're aiming for a cottage-garden style, and we've been adding plants as we can.

I've been reading the posts on the swap, but it looks like most stuff is spoken for before the swap begins. I don't know if anyone will want my lilacs, or if anyone will have anything as-yet-unclaimed next weekend. Please advise!



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Laura, you're welcome to come even if you have little to trade. Pre-trading is only a part of a plant exchange. I know I have plenty else to bring and others will too. I have been dividing up phygelius 'Trewidden Pink', nepata 'Walkers Low', astrania, hardy geraniums, and oxalis. I will be dividing others too.

I also have a rhododendren to bring. Cookies will go over well. There are also the winter-sowing flats of plants.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 9:46PM
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Please come to the Green Elephant! You will meet very nice people that are willing to share their plants and their know-how. If you have a chance, make a want list. It helps us know what you might like. This time, I'm just bringing stuff and not doing alot of pre-trades. I will have bunches of columbine to give away. I will be bringing more to give away, too, if I have a chance to dig.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 12:09AM
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I can bring some red hot pokers, sedum and yucca, if you have a sunny spot in your yard. No trade needed, I will be happy just to find these plants a good home. There are pre-arranged trades at these things, then there are spur-of-the-moment trades that happen after everyone arrives. After all the trades are worked out, there is usually a "free" pile established, where everyone puts the plants that they didn't trade, and those are up for grabs, so grab as many as you can! Nobody likes to take their plants back home, so you would be doing people a favor by giving them a home. If you don't have plants to trade, we are having a seed exchange as well as a potting party. If you have packets of seeds packed for 2006, bring them along. You may be able to trade them, or you might be able to contribute them to the potting party. I am bringing several plants I got from the clearance table at Lowe's, so that's an option you could explore, too. So come to the trade, and don't be shy.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 12:51PM
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Laura, I do have a lot of volunteer Rose Campion I could dig up for you, also Digitalis, some ice plants and maybe wallflowers if I can find more time. Shasta Daisy too. Do come and lets enjoy ourselves in the swap.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 1:00PM
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jburesh1388(z8 WA)


I'll be bringing 3-4 flats of plants that were left over from the swap at my house a few weeks ago. they will all be free for the taking, with no trade needed. You'll find that the majority of plants brought to the swap aren't talked about here. Please come! there will also be tons of seeds for free that you can sow in flat that will be at the swap. you'll go home with at least a flat of sown seeds.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 3:49PM
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I'm bringing the 16 flats of "cottage garden" -type plants that Netta propagated and she does not need anything in trade for them.
I'm sure Jim would not need them all left behind.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 4:59PM
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Wow, thanks everybody! I am looking forward to meeting you all, and I appreciate Teresa's clarification that meeting people is an important part of the Green Elephant. I'll bring some lilacs and some cookies and a way to take notes, and it sounds like there'll be lots to learn and even plants or seeds to take home, which is more than I felt I should hope for.

My wish list would be laughably long, it includes too many trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, and edibles to list (Have I missed anything?). And decent grass, in the areas where we'll keep some. (We're considering ecoturf, if anyone has an opinion on that.)

The previous owners of this place must've been plant haters, they took out all but one tree and a few shrubs, and dumped tons of gravel on so they wouldn't have to mow much. But not enough gravel to keep the weeds down! I suspect they used lots of roundup, based on the way the gravel is green with weed seedlings now (the tiny blackberries coming up here & there might also be a clue), and chemical fertilizers, based on the creepily dead dirt. When we find an earthworm it's a big celebration!

It is a very sunny lot, with a few small shady places, so it'll do well as a cottage garden. We'll put in a veggie garden in the spring where the dandelion farm (masquerading as grass) is now. And we have ideas for lots of other areas, all of which will involve sifting out tons of gravel & putting in tons of compost instead. We're just so happy to have a house and a place to garden! I was really tired of having the landlord "forget" that he agreed I could have a garden, and rototill it periodically. Just before we moved out he tilled up my flourishing (and weeded) herb garden and when I protested he said "But it was just a bunch of weeds!". I was able to salvage some of that, so maybe next year I'll have some herbs to share.

One nice thing the former owners here allowed to live is a few roses, and I'm trying to teach myself to propogate them, so maybe in a year I'll have something a little more interesting to offer. Next year we'll build some cold frames so that will help with propogating things too.

Anyway, thanks again for making me feel welcome, and excited to come and meet you this weekend.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 1:56AM
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Laura, at the last plant swap I attended, a nice lady in much the same circumstances as you took home over 70 plants.

It was fun to watch her marvel over all the wonderful plants she got. If I were you, I'd bring a vehicle with lots of room and maybe have a nursery bed ready to overwinter plants for planting in the spring. Don't be afraid to appear 'greedy'. We have a lot to bring because we couldn't pass up a plant to save our life. Susan

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 8:14AM
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Laura, I got a nice e-mail from a lady who saw one of my other posts. She has crocosmia corms, for which she is asking only postage. I have plenty myself, but she said I could pass on the offer to you. Her 'handle' is 'greenlydia', and her e-mail address is lsnat53@yahoo.com. Crocosmia is a very prolific multiplier, and a great hummingbird attracter. This sounds like a good deal, but I advise that you exercise caution in paying for promised items before you actually receive them, unless you have done business with that person before, or have a referral, or just feel like taking a chance. Most people you meet in these forums are nice, honest, generous people who love plants and want to share their bounty, but there are occasional instances where people pay in advance for things they don't get, for whatever reason. Maybe she would be agreeable to meeting you somewhere, or you could arrange a visit to her house?

Anyway, in addition to the sedum, yucca and red hot poker, I am setting aside a variety of other plants for you at the green elephant. Hope you like them.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 1:37PM
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greenelephant(Woodinville WA)

You "need so many things?"

We're here to help!

I am sure there will be piles of free plant materials at the Green Elephant. I've been digging for weeks already.


Jim Eichner

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 3:51PM
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I started going to Green elephant 2-3 years ago. The first time I went I felt the same way as you feel now but I am glad I went. You will be amazed to see the generosity and kindness of all gardeners. I went home with so many plants and they have multiplied.
I have some orange Crocosmia that I got from my first time when I didn't have anything to trade and can get some for you if you want. Don't hesistate to come we all were like you once.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 4:52PM
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Thanks again to all of you!
I have been looking up all these plants you've named. Everything you have mentioned sounds wonderful, except the rhododendron, as Joe hates them and we have a few already, which he'll probably want to take out one day (I might defend them, they were pretty in the spring when we first looked at this place). I don't even mind pushy spreading plants if I know they are pushy up front, so I can grow them in pots. We have one whole side of the house that's paved & needs some cheering up with potted stuff, if it's not something that will blow its seeds into the neighbors' yards and make us unpopular!
See you soon.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 2:43PM
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nightnurse1968 (Suzy)

2 years ago I attended my first Green Elephant in much the same shape as you. The only difference...I didn't even have Lilacs to share. I came home with a trunkload, backseat load, front seat load..pockets full of seeds...you get the picture. I got so many plants between it and an another fall trade that I actually had things of my own to share by the spring. Definitely come and let us share our abundance.
See what 2 years can do..click on the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden Albums

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 2:00AM
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Wow, Nightnurse, I'd love to have a garden like yours! Only with even less grass.
Your before pics look a lot like home right now... Makes me feel more hope!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 8:39PM
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nightnurse1968 (Suzy)

Well if it was up to me I'd have less grass too!!! My hubby likes his grass so its a compromise. I am slowly whittling it away though :-)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:35PM
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Sorry I missed you at the trade. I asked around, but nobody had seen you. I will bring extra plants next spring for you.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 11:02AM
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Wow, bejoy2, I'm sorry I missed you too, I'm not sure how we did but as another poster said, maybe we need name tags or labels. I had no idea how the plant swap is done, so I was pretty shy and wasn't sure who to introduce myself to.

We wandered around for maybe an hour and a half, visiting with people and trying to get them to take our cookies. We were given so many plants that I'm not sure we could have fit much more in the car! Ok, that's not really true, I would have kept them in my lap if I had to. (grin) I was soaking wet anyway.

Thanks for thinking of me, and offering to save things for me! I am so grateful for everyone's generosity and I hope the lilacs are useful to someone. We will bring more next time, and more sweets or something healthy even. I was sorry the humidity was so hard on the cookies! I hope they didn't get too limp.

I have lots of things that I do remember the names of, and lots that I don't. Do any of you have ideas for how to deal with that? Like a grease pencil or something that will will write on pots in pouring rain & not wash off for a long time? Or a way to make tags on the spot? What pens do you like? What labeling devices?

It seems like a grease pencil & plastic bags might have worked for all the stuff not in pots, but we would have needed an awful lot of bags, and it would be a shame to waste them. Maybe the stick-type labels, & rubber bands?

Any thoughts?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 4:25PM
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jburesh1388(z8 WA)


Your cookies were great. My husband and I have been eating them all week. For me, a pencil and plastic miniblinds do the trick for labeling. Permeneant markers aren't in the rain. Pencil really stays on for a while. I write on the blind section and pop it into the pot, grocery bag, etc.

Signs on the cars are a great idea, anybody have a button maker? those would be waterproof. :)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 10:23PM
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Hello Laura,
Old blinds can be cut up to make tags. Pencil actually seems to last longer then anything else. When I have time, I like to make up labels for everything that I'm expecting beforehand, so I can just slip them in. That said, my labels tend to disappear. I found one in a birds nest!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 11:13PM
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Thanks jburesh and Teresa, I will try the pencil & miniblinds.

A button to identify ourselves is a good idea. Maybe I'll make myself something for next time using laser-printed paper coated with gel medium, or fabric with paint or something. Or maybe I should try pencil! (grin)


    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 1:51AM
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