I'm a Seed Snatcher 2

trudi_dDecember 2, 2003

The last thread was so excellent I thought it would be good to continue it.....

I suppose that at sometime ethics should come into discussion....such as not touching endangered species, trampling other people's plantings to get the seeds you desire or saving seeds of obnoxious weeds just so you can have something to trade.

Last week the cart-boy (of all people) at the Stop & Shop nearly scared the daylights out of me when I was gathering mature bush seeds from the meridian plantings between the car rows. (Obviuosly NOT an endangered species) I was bent over and totally engrossed because the mechanism for dispersal was so fascinating to me. These pods were small white spongy balls and as they swelled they pushed out one electric red-orange seed. It was like neon flashing at me in electric orange....pick me....pick me.....pick me. So I was picking them.

"What are you doing?"

Uh, uh, uh....I teach gardening, let me show you this fascinating thing.....

So, two minutes later the cart-boy knew more about saving seeds than he wanted and I drove off with a pocket full of electric red-orange seeds. They're now drying on a plate behind me, the spongy balls have dessicated and the seeds are still the same size and same color.

Ahhhh. I'm a seed snatcher!


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This past summer we vacationed in Colorado Springs and were at the garden of the gods and from the second story balcony I could see some really beautiful yellow flowering bushes. Naturally I could hear the familiar whisper "I'm here come pick me", so I told my husband I was going to the ladies room and made my way to that side of the parking area following the little whispering voice. as I got there and proceded to pick the little seed pods, that little whisper became a rattling sound very familiar to me. It was the warning sign of the infamous rattle snake. I went away with out seeds. I walked back to the facility and told the security that there was a rattle snake under the bush and he said "how did you know he was there?" I guess I must have turned a hundred shades of red, but did that stop me? NO WAY. Next day we went to the zoo and they had the most beautiful butterfly garden with ripe seeds everywhere so I started collecting and what da ya know another snake. Although I don't think it was poisonous. I love snakes but I do fear them also. So I got caught twice this summer but I won't stop. flora

    Bookmark   December 2, 2003 at 5:25PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Im a nurse at an old folks home and one day my co-worker and I were getting one of the residents up for the day. I opened the curtains to let the sunshine in and screamed out saying IÂll be right back! The red flowering Heucheras were seeding, so I quickly grabbed a paper towel and returned about 5 minutes. My co-worker thought it was an emergency that I ran off like that, or that I had to run to the bathroom. She laughed her head off later only to find out that I ran out for some seeds. LOL
Next year I plan on giving her some baby plants of these seeds just because she had to put up with a Crazy Gardener that day ;)


    Bookmark   December 2, 2003 at 6:22PM
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sfmiller(z7 MD)

I work at a university and sometimes collect seeds from plantings around dorms and offices (I also pull weeds and pick up trash from the same beds, so I figure the karma evens out). Usually I keep little envelopes in my wallet for such occasions, but one time about a month ago I didn't have one and there was this nice lavender plant with perfectly ripe seedheads. I plucked some and found a small rectangle of paper on the ground and proceeded to fashion a makeshift envelope out of the paper to hold the seed/chaff mix.

While I was engrossed in doing this, a student comes skateboarding by, sees what I'm doing, slows down and says "Dude, think I could have a hit of that when you're done?"

    Bookmark   December 2, 2003 at 6:34PM
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kalona511(z8b TX)

I'm a newbie here, and I just had to respond to this topic. You will often find seeds drying in a little dish on my kitchen counter. I'm guilty of swiping a few seeds from a plant along the way when I take my daily walk. I always hope the homeowner doesn't see me from her kitchen window and come running after me shouting "Thief, thief!" I didn't realize that I'm a member of a huge club of "seed snatchers!" I have come home.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2003 at 3:30AM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

hehehehehehe!!!! sfmiller, that is priceless!

I have been eying a veritable forest of daylily pods. Everytime we go to the mall, they are there, taunting me! "Pick me! Pick me!" They seem to shout. I say, "You're probably 'stellas' and I don't really want yellow..." But the urge is still there =) I know it would embarass DH beyond reason if I did such a thing with him around, hehe =)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2003 at 12:08PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Oh Yes!! Many prairie rattlers here. I live just west of Co Springs, Flora, and got a good chuckle out of your post. They've never stopped me for long either. I encounter them at my work on a regular basis-but continue to harvest the many native prairie species growing here.

I regularly snatch seeds from planters in Manitou and downtown Co Springs as well. Hmmm...never thought of the zoo tho, now that the kids are grown I haven't been there in quite a few years. I'll have to check it out!!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2003 at 8:27AM
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Nurmey(5 Omaha, NE)

The zoo is a great place to get seeds. I work there sometimes when the catering dept really needs help. Last time I was there I got some great daylily seeds but the reason I was really happy to work was they have a patch of blue obedient plants I wanted seeds from and I knew they would be ripe so I brought my little bags with me. I had to snatch really fast because I didn't want the zoo guests to see me. I pulled off as many ripe seeds pods as I could and stuffed them in the bag in my purse. Later when we were waiting in the catering area to begin working, I took the bag out of my purse to roll it up so the seeds wouldn't fall out. The catering director's sister saw me and asked me if I had brought a stash of pot to work with me!

Nurmey (who doesn't smoke pot but had some explaining to do)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2003 at 9:53AM
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cannahavana(z7a Knoxville)

The first time I had snatched seeds were this past summer. I was at a local trial garden and saw the lovely lotus in bloom and a few seed heads. Now these guys are about 60 bucks a plant at a local nursery! I had my family with me and I ended up talking my husband into snatching the seeds. I was so nervous and felt quite ashamed. When we got home, I got on the internet to see how to grow them. Well, lo and behold, all we got were empty hulls. We laughed till we cried. If anyone saw us, I bet they got a kick out of it. But, one great thing became of it. That day I first discovered Garden Web. The bad part, my eight year old keeps snatching random seeds everytime we go and wants to give them to me when we get home. I have to explain to him that we should not take seeds from the trial garden, and then I ask him what the plant looked like that he took the seeds from. Next year, I plan on donating extra WS plants and some Brugmansias from all the cuttings I have traded for this year just to ease my guilt.

I have gotten in the habit of snatching seeds in parking lots and nurseries. I keep an envelope in the car for emergencies. They will just go to waste if I don't take them, right? They just taunt me, "take me to your garden".


    Bookmark   December 17, 2003 at 8:55AM
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leann2800(z8 GA)

I have never snatched seeds but I did grab a leaf and a vine here and there. Really, they were growing wild at my stepsons apt and the college where I work plants new beds every three months. Do you suppose leaf snatching and unauthorized pruning is more evil than seed snatching?


    Bookmark   January 7, 2004 at 3:26PM
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Trudi - I think the seeds you rescued are probably from a shrub called "cleyera japonica", or "ternstroemia gymnathera". I've seen the terms used interchangeably, but I'm sure someone out there knows the proper term for the type you have. There are some varieties that have solid green foliage and some with red new growth, changing to shades of yellow and bronzy/orange. Very nice, low maintenance shrubs.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 11:08PM
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Just about all of us have snatched a seed or two, but from someone elses garden? Without them knowing? I'd get upset if I saw someone taking my seeds. Not every gardener is a seed collector, but it never hurts to ask the homeowner...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2004 at 10:30AM
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undercover_owl(8 Pac.NW)

Yes, ethics are very important. If someone wanted seeds from one of my plants (though that's not an issue since I live so far out in the sticks) I would be delighted to give them away, on the premise that those seeds would be planted.

For example, I would be irritated to see people raiding my Datura seeds for a cheap high, but I would be flattered if I saw someone gathering the Vine Maple seeds.
However, my rottweiler probably wouldn't appreciate unwanted guests in the yard. ; )

The last time I snagged seeds was when I was browsing through a local plant nursery last fall. I plucked them & quickly rolled them into the cuff of my sweater. I don't feel guilty, because the nursery had a lot of seeds to spare, and I DID plant them.

Anytime I snag seeds, I feel morally obligated to plant them. "Five-fingering" seeds is really not so bad, when you consider that the 'lifters have the intention of planting them. Birds do the same thing, really. Except birds are just stuffing their beaks, not knowing they're planting trees.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2004 at 11:39PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

I have to laugh at some of your comments, because it occurred to me, as my kitchen window faces my neighbors kitchen window who is in law enforcement, what he must think as I clean seeds sometimes for hours at a time.
My husband has already commented on what it looks like I'm doing!

I like to think of seed snatching as part of nature's plan. Some plants stink so they attract flies, others come in great colors! Look at how many of us snatch seeds here or want to. I certainly do and I don't even hide it most of the time. And in my case, seeds are no guarantee of plants. Plus I think we are so use to being charged for every little thing, its hard to believe something can be free!

Really, how many of your neighbors have flats of seeds outside? They may have flats but its full of nursery plants. How many in your neighborhood collect seeds besides you. I hardly ever take seeds from home gardens without asking. (I took some Japanese maple seeds for someone-nothing exotic; its actually a little weedy around here - I saved that person some weed pulling time!) Besides that they hardly ever grow anything interesting enough, (I'm a seed snatcher and a garden snob). I also feel funny about snatching seeds in a nursery because that's what they sell but I've done it. (And if I may rationalize my case, I traded most of those seeds out to people who don't live in the area and even went back and bought the mother plant in one case).

But in commercial and public gardens, I am hardly shy about it. I don't ruin a display. I don't strip a plant of seeds. I take a pinch here and there. I feel worse about sneaking into the beds sometimes to find or read a hidden nametag. If its berries, there are usually ripe healthy fruit fallen beneath the tree or bush that will just rot or I try to take it from a less visible side of the display. No one necessarily uses any of these seeds except us gardening geeks. I see crews clean up these gardens and throw it all in the back of a truck to be taken to the compost pile - although I'm sure some collecting goes on and sharing between gardens, universities and nurseries, etc, etc.

Anyway, this fall, I took a day to myself and went to a very nice public garden which perhaps I shouldn't mention. Knowing it was fall, :) I came really overly prepared. I had a very nice leather backpack stocked with permanent markers, coin envelopes, ziplock baggies the sandwich size and craft sizes and I had a lovely day. No scissors though. Now I really believe I was very respectful and most people couldn't have cared less and I do try to get a private moment but at one point I was alone in one part of the garden except for a man and woman who were talking on a bench. I was doing my thing and this woman looks like she stopped her conversation to gawk at me and I could tell she made a comment. But really, I was just taking seeds that had spilled from the plant already, some on the leaves, some on the gravel path but in very good shape. I was on the path...I didn't climb into the beds, even though there were plenty of stepping stones to out of reach seeds...but now this lady was keeping an eye on me. Not that she was anybody. A few minutes later while I was picking up capsules that had fallen from a styrex tree, she came walking by with her mouth wide open and exclaimed to her male friend "I don't believe it!" I wanted to snap at her, "What do you care? These seeds have just fallen to waste. I have people all over the country, even other parts of the world growing seeds I collect! Mind your own business!" But I just continued picking up the nuts from the ground and ignored her.

Sorry for the ramble,

Loretta - who also picks up lose rocks at construction sites and deserted fields and sea shells.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2004 at 7:22PM
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Good post Loretta. I recently visited a botanical garden with an enormous ilex collection. Any berries on the ground were a windfall ;-)

I have been known to brake for bricks. And logs. But only if I can get them into the trunk.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2004 at 7:28PM
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I see seed snatching as part of God's plan - we are doing his work by not letting his babies go to waste. I regularly go to the parks downtown and rescue fallen tree seeds of all the beautiful local trees. My friends are always asking where we got all our trees and I always tell them and offer them any they want for their yards. We have 20 acres and all the borders are planted with these trees for a windbreak. Happy Seed Snatching!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2004 at 6:31PM
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castiliana(7 AZ)

I Admit, I am a seed snatcher too now, worse than ever since finding gardenweb, and i think my "significant other" is getting wise. Or at least that was my take on the situation "Look honey they have a lovely path thru all this native landscaping lets take a walk!" (outside the library at the local college) 5 minutes later being physically dragged by my sweater to the truck, hand full of desert willow seeds popping open and leaving a feather trail the whole way "But honey you said we could take a walk!"

He doesn't approve.. not so much because im snatching tho as he thinks i "allready have too many seeds" psh like there is such a thing. So I have learned, scope things out when I am with him then take mom out for a ride and a soda, she gets a kick out of it since she is walker and wheelchair bound these days, and I don't get scowled at and dragged out of public places oO.

~Castiliana (of the stealth grow bulbs and sprouting trays in guest bedroom closets... Shhh...)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2004 at 12:58AM
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cedarcrkgal(z 7.va.)

hi my name is maureen and iam a seed snacher,,, i most always have an baggie or envvolop in my car for snatching. but not so last week when the only thing i could find to put some ilex seeds in was an emty 3 nuskteer candy wrapper ..but when my 3yr. grand daughter in my car seat cause she knows i have a sweet thooth but when she opened the candy wrapper and saw my snatched seeds instead she just looked at me and asaid graannyyyyy i thought i hadit written down the kind of ikex that i collected. karma i guess......maureen

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 12:57AM
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justmossy(z8 coastalBC CA)

I carry several film cannisters in my pocket at all times for just such an "emergency". I thought this came from the days of doing plant inventories as a biologist, but from this thread, I am gathering it was meant to be...
Last winter I observed the seeds of chilean pine (never saw the seeds before) in a city park. When those got scarce, I started searching out other locations in town, at first by visual checks as I drove, then I got more aggressive about it and searched the city web-site for heritage trees. To date, there has never been anyone around the houses to ask if I can take them and I have never gone into their yards except... One house that had a mature tree was for sale and no-one was living in it, so I did some weeding and collected as I went. Someone even approached me to ask about the house. I told them I just do the gardening and contact the realtor. LOL! They have sold it and now someone lives in it. I am trying to figure out how to ask the owners if they would mind if I collected the seeds next year, without them thinking I am nutty! Okay, so maybe I am!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2004 at 7:56PM
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dwayne_hoover(sunset 19 CA)

I felt kinda guilty the other day while at a local nursery I picked up a few date pits off the ground. The nursery wasn't selling any date palms, they only had fan palms and queens and a few majestics. The pits in question were from a palm that was a part of their landscaping. It was dropping fruit and there were about fifty seedlings allready coming up so since i was only grabbing three or four out of thousands of pits I didn't feel that bad. It just seemed kinda wrong being as they are in the buisiness of selling plants. I have spent hundreds of dollars there so of course they certainly wouldn't care anyway.
Lorreta, I find it amazing that someone gave you grief over your collecting. They probably were more refering to the fact that you were even collecting seeds. Most people find foriegn this much of an interest in plants and their propagation.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 8:08AM
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botanicals4u(zone 6 WV)

I find that I am not alone! Starting a few years ago, when I first saved seed, it would be rare or the dead of winter to NOT find a bunch of seeds in my pockets just from going to the mailbox. A trip to a nursery or botanical garden is rare, but a few seeds have managed to fall into my pockets. I am afraid I've been a bad influence on my mother, and she is worse than I am... but who would stop a little old lady in her eighties. If I admire one of her neighbors plants, next thing I know she has gone over and picked, plucked, or cut something. If anyone minds, they don't say anything and she does give out a lot of helpful plant advice to her neighborhood. However now that I think about it, she got me started about 35 years ago by requiring my assistance to dig up trees from anyplace that didn't have a fence around it for bonsai.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 5:16PM
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anne_h(z8 Vancouver)

I've done my share of seed snatching - I've been winter sowing and labeling things like - "seed pods look like neon pink burrs, came from park behind grocery store" and "mystery grass from outside Sophie's". But what I was excited to see was that next fall the Botanical Gardens is going to have a seed saving class, and as part of the class we will get to go out in the gardens to harvest seeds. Guilt free! And I will even be able to identify them too! Can't wait ...
How warped is that - I'm looking forward to next years seed harvest before even planting last years seeds

    Bookmark   February 12, 2004 at 12:52PM
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I "deadhead" flowers outside local restraunts,have collected a few ornamental grass seeds from parking lots. I also get them occasionally at my church. Which does not bother me much because I have put alot of my time in maintaining the grounds. I requested plants in exchange for my efforts. I never really took much in the way of plants but I grab seeds occasionally. I am going to do more work this year. The place is over planted and overgrown in many places. So far I have covered only one side of the building . Much more work to do. After church this Sunday I put down Preen in hopes of controlling that awful creeping vine we have everywhere(looks like moonvine) It has smothered many bush. My only really embarrassing momement was being seen by the owner of a local winery collecting hibiscus seeds who was talking to someone else of importance I knew. Nothing was said but I definitely earned some dirty looks and my husband was embarrassed.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 5:48PM
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bunnymom(z7 MD)

This is a great thread. I have been inspired!
You seed snatchers have the right idea. I don't look at it as stealing when done with respect for the plant and the owner. IMHO it is more of a sin to let those seeds go to waste than to take them and nurture them into what Ma Nature intended. We are propigating Her creations like the critters or winds would do naturally.
I have not snatched any seeds yet, but I plan to the next time I see something appropriate.

Off the topic sort of
I confess, I have however, stolen a cutting before.
I was on my Honeymoon in Orlando and at one of the theme parks when I spotted what I thought at the time to be a purple ivy.
I had never seen it before. It was Pinkish purple on the edge of the leaf and a bright green in the middle. It appeared to me to be an ivy shaped leaf. I was really struck with the beauty of this foliage. I thought it was some rare, exotic find.
I knew nothing about plants at the time.
As the day wore on (our last in town) I hemmed and hawed as to whether I should sneak a cutting of this (they had plenty). As we left, I made a bold move and snatched two cuttings. I put them in a wet napkin in my purse and hoped they would be OK till we got home to Baltimore. They were, so I popped them in a glass of water and attempted to look for the botanical name of this purple ivy. I found nothing, so I just left them in water and they got a few roots then died off gradually.
After much research to no avail I found out from a friend about a year later that cuttings that I had swiped were not ivy at all. They were sweet potato vine. She had tons of them in her window boxes.
Lesson learned. Just cause it looks like an ivy leaf don't mean it's ivy.
And to think I was soooo excited over this purple ivy.

I can't wait to snatch some seeds and see what grows.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2004 at 11:48AM
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My name is Jan and I will go to any length to get pansy seeds. In the fall I leave no seed unpicked.I have two pansy beds that none of the pansys are the same. They have cross pollinated. I go through and pick all the pods. I never just pick the ones that are the prettiest but last year I thought I'd save some to put in the fair this year, I couldn't find five ,the exact same, to put in. I didn't dry them enough and they all rotted. I'll just save them all together this year again.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2004 at 11:16PM
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tansy_mi_zn5(zone 5)

I did it! I snatched seeds! At the Menard's in Holland, MI. By their parking lot, they have this lot that is full of some kind of grass. They are tall & I would say the seedheads look like pampas grass, but I don't think it is. (not hardy in my zone) Anyway the seedheads were gorgeous & I snatched some!! I have no idea if you can get in trouble for this. I hope there is seed left in these heads, as they were gorgeous blowing in the slight breeze.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2004 at 1:04PM
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debbysunshine(san diego)

We live in San Diego and everything grows here but if seeds just blow off the plants and form suckers can I just throw seeds where there is great growth with succulants and semi sun and they will grow too or do all seedlings have to be dug into the dirt..

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 5:53PM
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AbbeysDad(z5 CNY)

Great thread with some really humorous and/or embarassing moments. Paints a picture of all these gardner cat burgler thiefs sneaking out under the cover of nightfall, raiding neighborhood gardens searching for spent seed pods!!! lol

I don't think I've ever snatched a seed, but I sure have collected it and you all inspire me to rethink it all...
Well, you and my recent seed purchases...I opened the $2 package of (anual flower) seed this spring from a famous seed company only to find a dozen or so seeds????

I think I will become a 'collector' (which sounds sooo much better than 'snatcher')!


    Bookmark   April 24, 2004 at 12:13AM
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OK you rookies.

I deliberately set out to collect seeds. I am equipped with paper lunch bags (always have a pack in your car, a few folded up in your pocket), a Sharpie pen (waterproof), and a good excuse.

I don't take anything from nurseries or private gardens. But shopping centers, median strips, parking lots, campuses are great territory.

After years of having a paranoia knot in my stomach, I finally asked for (and got) official permission from the city, and from the groundskeeper at the local college (where amazing things are planted). The only rules are don't climb the trees and don't damage anything.

I find that a camera is also VERY helpful. If you are photographing plants (and someone is watching you through their kitchen window), they finally figure out that you're studying something, not casing the joint. Then, when you reach over and pluck a few seed capsules, and write stuff down on the paper bag, you look like you're doing some kind of research, not just being a thief. Which is true.

I even bought a couple of safety vests, one orange and one forest ranger green, to look even more official, but I've never worn either. Once I got the Scientific Approach routine down, I've never felt self conscious.

Of course, if you're dressed for the opera, that's another story.

You're much better off making a production of what you're doing than trying to be sneaky. If you spend half an hour collecting cottony Chorisia (Kapok Tree) seed fluffs, chances are someone may come up and ask what you're doing, but only because they're curious. You can say "Look at the amazing way this tree disperses seeds. Its seed pods burst open and these cotton fluffs float away with the wind, each with one seed inside."

    Bookmark   April 26, 2004 at 6:56PM
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Nurmey(5 Omaha, NE)

That is an excellent idea. I know it works too as I found out by accident. I walked out of the building our corporate office is in and stopped to check out the seeds on a Serviceberry tree. They were ripe so I pulled out a seed bag from my purse and started picking. I couple of ladies from another floor were outside at the time and were watching me. Finally, they couldn't stand the suspense anymore and asked what I was doing. I said I was collecting seeds to grow into trees. They started laughing and said they thought I was a tree inspector or something.

BTW, I have eight 6-inch trees growing from those seeds right now. :o)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2004 at 8:35PM
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All of you, but, heck we are all pretty much guilty of it one way or another. Thanks to you folks, I'm getting into this, I don't mind asking neighbors for their seeds, heck, half the time, they pratically throw them at me. I have learned that open fields, vacant property can be a gold mind for seed collecting and that certain back yards are to be left alone, dogs can really play with your mind and body once you get into their territory and try to leave with those all precious seeds.

I still like to get cuttings from folks at work and else where too, heck, I'm getting giddy just thinking about all those seeds and cuttings just waiting for me to come along.

Now, why can't places like Home Depot let me have those cuttings, NO, they have a NO policy on letting folks like me have such simple pleasures in our lives.



    Bookmark   May 6, 2004 at 4:20PM
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jiggreen(zone 6b, carlisle PA)

hi all! newbie snatcher here! was walking by my neighbor's house and saw that her columbines were full of seed pods..ran home, got an envelope and started collecting pods..then i came home and spent the most pleasant 45 minutes bent over my kitchen table emptying the tiny seeds out onto a paper plate!! after that i went outside to my own garden and found a sad neglected dianthus that was covered with nothing but seeds just waiting to be picked. i think i found myself a new hobby..........i can see myself by the end of the summer having multitudes of envelopes of seeds....then what? i can't sow all these seeds over the winter or my kids will have to move out so i can turn their rooms into germinating rooms! should i start some seeds now in order to have plants available for fall planting?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2004 at 2:16PM
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Hi. I'm April ... and I'm a ... seed snatcher.
It all started really innocently. My mom used to take me on "nature" drives, and I only went to keep her company. Before I knew it, I was trying to identify seed heads before SHE could point them out to ME.

It was years later, really, that I got a home with a yard. It was a rental, but in a neighborhood FULL of hippies with lush gardens full of things I'd not seen before. On a neighborhood walk, I remember the first seed I snatched. It was a fascinating plant, and I watched it grow in amazement. It had spikey leaves, all tinged with rust. One day, the most beautiful seed heads, fat and covered in thorny-looking pods, showed themselves. When they opened, I saw large, lustrous beans begging to be taken. "Try me" they called. "We're easy, really."

I grew them a few years later in the home I bought. Neighbors stopped by on *their* walks and admired the plants as they soared up to our heights, not disappointing me in their beauty. Then one day, one neighbor identified the plant: castor bean. Deadly. One leaf, even, and I have *very* small kids. Those two beautiful plants were uprooted after a week of agonizing decision making.

I'm more careful now. I'm a bit more educated. I'm familiar with the plants whose seeds I snatch, or I go and look them up quickly. Among my flowers and veggies, I grow zinnias, so all the seed collecting I *need* to do is satisfied -- the snatching is a hobby now: shopping centers, median strips, parking lots, campuses, like chasmanthe said. It's under control.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2004 at 10:29PM
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My name is Les and I am a Seed Snatcher,
I am glad to know that I am not alone in this but then I have known this for a while and have gleaned info from other snatchers over the years.
I seal regular size envelopes with a glue stick (glue on envelope flap seldom goes from end to end), then I cut them in half. I keep a dozen or so of these halves and a pen in my purse/backpack at all times for all seed emergencies. When I spot seeds I open my purse, remove envelope and pen and while jotting down the plant particulars I scan (hawk) the area to see if I am being watched, if not I then pick the seeds, drop them into the envelope, fold the top with the seeds secure and all the information about them written on the envelope into my purse and I am on my way.
I must say that I have been lucky in not having come across any snakes or had anyone catch me but there will be a time, I am sure, Les

    Bookmark   June 6, 2004 at 8:57PM
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magus(8a BC)

I have a small coin pocket with those springy metal strips that hold the top closed for seed... err... borrowing... It works really well, and you don't have to fumble with envelope top and such. Just snatch, press to open, stuff, snap shut, and back into my pocket.

And there's a lovely boardwalk near my place that has the best array of plants, changed sometimes, deadheaded never. I found some nice hellebores going to seed there the other day... >>:-) I try to ignore the calls when I take a walk there, but it's just too hard. My wife just rolls her eyes every time I have to stop to pilfer... I mean heroically save the seeds from going to waste... When I'm by myself I just sit down, pretend to enjoy the view, and when there's no one around, covertly go for my prey...

anne_h, I took the course last Fall. It's quite useful, and you get to collect some nice stuff. We collected some Lobelia tupa seeds, Arum italicum marmoratum, etc. The best was when they let us loose on "last year's seeds for sale that they can't sell this year" bins... I wonder if they will do that again this year. Maybe I can take a... err... refresher... course... :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 10:32PM
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I invariably deadheaded the plants at the local nursery every trip through. I noticed the owner glancing at me on various occasions. Then one time she asked me pointblank, "Would you consider working here?"Oh no thanks I just like to visit your beautiful nursery." She never mentioned it but I'm sure she was aware of my collection. Fond memories.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2004 at 4:13PM
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enloopious(9/10 SOCAL)

I have the belief that nobody can OWN anything. All things in this life are temporary and when im dead they will be gone.

So I walk my dog at this Monastery up the street and they have small orchard with all kinds of fruits and trees. Well the fruit falls to the ground and rots every year so I decided to pick it this year. I got about 10 ripe delicious plums when some 80-ish looking priest tells me I can't pick the fruit. I say "why not?" he says, "because those are the rules." So I tell him, "how about this, I bring you some of my fruit in exchange for your fruit?" After talking a bit he says he will talk to the gardener and see if he needs what I got. I doubt highly that the gardener will have an opinion... or even be able to speak english but either way I'll be back!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2004 at 1:42PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I attended the funeral of a friends mothers this week, and later at the gravesite services...standing under this lovely tree with my mind wandering, I looked up a little and noticed this lovely fat flower not yet forming seed. The tree was gorgeous with outstanding foliage, I'm thinking maybe lirodendron but I'm going to have to check...

What I'm trying to figure out is how to time the ripening of that easy to reach overhead flower...not only would I like to have seedlings, but it would be great to offer my friend a seedling from a tree next to where his mother is buried for his own yard. You read of people snatching plants from gravesites, how about seeds?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2004 at 12:32PM
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Im so excited to see these posts!1 My firends and neibors have been cracking up watching me raid their garden..lol
I never paid to much attention before. We just bought this house and have no landscaping. I have received some seeds and my little guy and I have been plantin every day. But I am so excited about swapping this fall and spring that I have been looking everywhere for seeds and starts..LOL
I never thought about the zoo. I have a friend who works there and Im going to have her get a ok from the horticulture dept so I can go seed hunting there. Now I have a couple good ones...we build ponds and have several in homearama every year. I usually go around our pond and pick dead flowers etc from the ladscaping....the builder saw me do this the other morning and asked why are you putting those in the paper bags? he said you can let them drop...he cracked up when I told him why I was doing this. And the funniest is we have friends who own a garden store, and I got them good and liqured up one night and they agreed to let me come take cuttings off their roses at their store in the fall. But we are going to dinner at their house next weekend and you can bet I will have lots of zip locks for seed collecting lol I really need to keep some small lunch bags or zip locks in the van..lol
you never know..lol

    Bookmark   June 26, 2004 at 2:23PM
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Vallari(Zone 8 E.VA)

Oh what a thread! I love it. MY favorite places to snatch sneeds are Botanicle Gardens, Busch Gardens, and swanky neighborhoods like in front of say the big brick wall with the name of the neighborhood on it. Thanks for the laughs and I am looking forward to telling my husband I am not alone. He always gets a little nervous when I do it but he looks out for me. Happy seeding!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2004 at 1:09AM
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crazy_daisy70(Zone 3)

I've gone it too!

"My First Time" went like this: I was on a field trip with my kids and this lady was showing the kids how to pop these seeds. Well, yeah, I was right in there like a dirty shirt "helping" the kids. OH YEAH -- some seeds mysteryiously ended up in my pocket. I figured it was total fair game AND I noticed the teacher doing the same! ;) ;)

I was hooked! Now I specifically walk through the back alleys of our neighborhood. Its amazing what grows back there! However, I would never take from peoples private gardens or nursery. But I do go into the nursery when plants are setting seeds and they are going for 1/2 the price or whatever. Still a bargain.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 2:12PM
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jessay3(Ga Z 8)

Just a quick question. How do you know when it's time to to get the seeds? Should they be dry and fallen on the ground before you get them or can you snatch them when their still on the plant? I'm new at gardening so forgive me for my stupidity!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2004 at 1:32PM
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Hi, my name is Rani. I'm not a seed snatcher...yet, but you guys are my role models ;)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2004 at 9:03PM
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pepe85323(9 az)

I'm Joe and I'm a seed snatcher. I always have a few small plastic bags in my wallet. The easiest snatch for me was at a costmers house when she asked me to throw away some flower on my way out. They ended up in my truck. Then for the nerves, I did take a couple of mature hot peppers from a "Lowe's", and this is the first year gardening for me. An OK start I guess.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 6:53PM
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ive totally enjoyed all your posts lol. ive gone seend snatching myself around the park and once at Home Depot. Couldnt let them waste! lol Luckly my grandfather is a master gardener n he lets me have the run of his garden in Alabama. What fun! lol just got back from his house Friday with a bunch of daylillies and all kinds of fun stuff. Well i loved all your stories. have fun "collecting" lol

    Bookmark   July 11, 2004 at 5:53AM
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kristie8888(zone8 TX)

I snatch 2 inch tops off of mints at the nursery and pretend Im checking out the flavor then I let the baby sample it. If it survives the baby why not try to root it?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2004 at 4:37PM
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After reading this thread I was inspired. I've thought about snatching but never done it. And I knew What I wanted first. There are these gorgeous bushes with pink flowers on them planted all over the base where I live. So I went out, armed with a flashlight because it's dusk, a little cardboard jewlery box for my treasure, and my cell phone which happens to be my only digital camera right now.I was unable to figure out where the seeds come from. Paranoid to get caught lurking in the bushes at night I just picked a stalk and went home to photograph it. So here it is any one who can tell me what this pretty flower is and how to snatch it's seeds, I would greatly appreciate your help. P.S. you guys are a great influence:).

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 11:24PM
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I can't figure out how to get my pic to upload so I'll post it on name that plant.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 11:27PM
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I want to thank the forum for "jogging" my memory. I had a box of drying seeds that I didn't put the name on thinking I would do it later. Well, forgot about it and I wanted to label and bag them but couldn't remember what they were.
As soon as I saw "snatching", I remembered! They are a souvenier from Busch Gardens a couple of weeks ago. While we were waiting in line for the Rhino Landrover ride, there was a bush by the rail. I think it's called "powder puff" so something similar. Anyway, there were a few nice ripe seed pods within reach and well, ya just gotta have something to do in those long lines, don't ya?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2004 at 7:33PM
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mira_dunham(z7 MD)

I want to thank you all. I was at the Lowes nursery and it almost killed me to not take some dianthus seed pods, they were all over. But thanks to you all I know that it isn't really stealing, and I don't need to restrain myself anymore!!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 1:18PM
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Oh my goodness, I have found my family! LOL Reading this forum has been better than reading the comics! The best part about it is that I can identify with about 90% of what has been written! I have told my husband I have to use the restroom just to get close to some seeding plants, swiped seeds at nurserys, in parking lots, along backroads and highways.... even from a few yards(shhhhhhh!) But I do make it a practice not to take all of the seeds and also to delibertly sow a few of what I do take. Makes me feel like I've given something in return for my seeds. Thanks to all of my seed loving amigos. Gayle

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 8:25PM
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Do you think seed snatching is a disease we all suffer from?
Now that we are in the month of August, eat only at resturants that offer lovely seed pods "as an entrance appetizer on the way in the door." What a life, seeds on the way in and more on the way out. yippee time for dinner.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 11:22PM
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lilycrazy(Zone 5- Iowa)

I have been a seed snatcher/cutting nabber for years !! Heck, just a couple weeks ago when my hubby was in the hospital I got a nice cutting off the hibiscus by the main entrance !! I don't think there is anything wrong with grabbing seeds or pinching a little bit off a plant in a PUBLIC PLACE, especially if your city is like mine- every couple months the Operation Downtown people come along with their trucks and dump all the planters and replant with a new color/scheme/seasonal plant. I have been guilty of yanking a few small rooted plants too. They just go to the city compost pile anyway...........

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 4:57PM
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marie009(houston texas)

I finally did it! Drove 35 miles yesterday to a large nursery to buy orchid medium that is not available locally. While DH was loading the trunk, I noticed a big beautiful plant loaded with blossoms and lots of dry seeds. Found the label. Vitex Blue. Well, a few of those seeds found their way into my pocket. Yeah, I've read this entire thread, and I know what stealing is. But I did it, and I'm not ashamed. In fact, I'm going to make a habit of carrying small envelopes, pen, etc. whenever I'm going someplace where I can expect to see stuff growing. If anyone asks, I'm just going to say that the people on the Garden Web made me do it. Happy hunting!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 3:02PM
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"Seed snatching is a disease and it's contagious, so contagious you gave it to me" so my 21 year old daughter is telling me. I could think of a lot worse diseases to catch can't all of you? This poor kid went to her college today to pick up a few things on campus and the first thing she finds herself doing is checking out the iris seed pods in front of her dorm. Then she walks around and checks out what was planted over the summer (she know the name of the flowers at least and wrote them all down, including where they are located on campus). Funny though this senior of mine who is going to be student teaching HS biology this year really isn't to smart. After finding all the goodies for me to snitch in 2 weeks, she got back in her car and headed home. Half way home she realized she forgot to get what she needed and had to turn around. At least she remembered the paper with the info on it to give me. The fun of moving my daughter into her dorm at the end of the month. Dad does the work and I roam the campus with a piece of paper and dozens of baggies, and I don't embarrass her while I get the seeds to boot. heaven and fun for me.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 2:59AM
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RowanSGrowin(Pgh Z6)

I am home!!!!

i had to laugh reading these posts because I totally belong to this group.

my 3 year old and i often go on what she calls "nature walks". she points out flowers etc. then figure out if there are seeds. she even knows that you should pick seeds when they are dry and shrivelled up!

so she is learning about the whole proccess from the beginning... seeds grow into plants, plants flower, flowers dry up and bear fruits, then seeds!!!

yeah, so not everyone walks around with a sharpie, a pair of scissors and a stash of 2X2" plastic baggies...BUT, now i know i should have brown paper bags too!!


But at the same time we also throw flower seeds in overgrown lots which end up looking beautiful instead of trashy. My friends call me Johnny appleseed! so i think it's all a part of the big picture...

a planted seed is a gift to the world!!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 6:16AM
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My snatching fingers have been busy. Took a trip to the local Walmart to pick up some miracle gro potting soil, 2 cubic feet $8.88 and of course had to check the plants. There in front of me were dozens of purple fountain grass with seeds falling off. Started collecting seeds when realized I had no bags to use. In the pockets they started to go when an elderly employee came running over saying "what are you doing, thats stealing" Very inocently I said "I'm helping you, see all these seeds are getting all over the floor and you'll have to clean them up if I don't take them", With a smile he said "please take all you want." I then said "glad to help, would you happen to have a bag handy for me to put them in?" Within minutes I had a blue walmart bag and tons of blue fountain grass seeds. Gee saved on the tax cause it was tax free day in MA, and got free seeds too. Not a bad deal.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 10:12PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

Does anyone ever make returns for seed-snatching? A house is town has excellent columbines in a rather weedy garden of mostly Queen Anne's lace. I am thinking of lobbing a few tough seeds back over, like coneflower, larkspur and cleome. Surprise! Think they'd like it?

I try not to reach over the fence, but I figure next time I go back to Sullivans Island, I owe those folks for some cannas.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 7:39PM
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This thread is way to funny and timely. I'm planning a poppy seed raid for tonight from a public place. They are so ready and calling to me. My family would die if they knew. I just have to get some. These poppies are so pretty and seem to grow so well, I have to have some.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 7:18PM
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I have many a coleus in my garden and I haven't bought a single one. I snatch cuttings everywhere I go. I can't seem to make myself buy coleus plants now. I have plants that came all the way from colorado to michigan and all over texas not to mention florida (disney world) and some seeds were traded. I snatch seeds everywhere also. Problem is sometimes I forget and then I find them in purses, in my sewing baskets after I've been quilting. I have a friend who is just as bad. 3 of us travel once a week about 30 miles to quilt and afterwards we hit the stores. We are always looking for seeds or cuttings and the other friend keeps telling us "I don't know you guys". And then she wants some of our seeds. I finally told her I didn't know her either.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 2:50AM
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tansy_mi_zn5(zone 5)

Score at the local bank! Miniature daylily seeds! At least I think they're minature. :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 10:01AM
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Gwyn(6A, Mississauga)

I feel very guilty doing this. But last Thursday I was at the Toronto zoo with my sun and picked some nicotiana alata grandiflora seeds that was a first. So guess I can join the Seed Snatcher club.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 2:17PM
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magus(8a BC)

Welcome, Gwyn! I can assure you, it goes downhill from there. Heh heh. I've been slipping this year, though. I don't know what's wrong with me... Sigh...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2004 at 8:54PM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

If you keep a lapdesk clipboard (the kind that opens up to hold pads of paper, etc.) in your car with the pens, envelopes, paper clips inside you are ready. Take the clip board out and put a pen behind your ear. Walk towards the plant with dried seed heads and look at it intently. Write plant description or name on the clipboard pad. Then proceed to kneel down, get the bag out, label it , put seeds in, clip it shut and drop it inside your clipboard lap desk. Everyone around you will see that clip board and just assume you are supposed to be doing seed collecting. You will be an "official" seed snatcher. I do it all the time and no one says anything.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 12:03AM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

At the Lenexa Spinach Festival I got some pure white vinca seed that was bursting out of the pods. Later I was watching a man take pots off his balcony and head for the dumpster. I asked if I could "recycle" them for him. He was so nice, even loaded the seven large pots into my car. I came home and collected the seeds that were ripe and trimmed up the sad plants. After a good watering I think some of them may come back to life (he had not been watering the pots often enough). This winter I will use the pots for winter sowing, even reusing the good potting mix they contain. I plan to recycle the pots, the soil and the plants. Don't you just love free stuff!!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 11:18PM
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oneduck55(SC 7)

I went out for a Saturday adventure with my sisters to arecreational farm here in SC. We were so excited about all the flowers we started taking seeds and seed pods off of the ones we wanted. No one said anything but when we got to the transport bus/van to go to the car I felt so guilty (I was the one with the plant knowledge) that disembarking in the parking lot I slipped on the steps and sat really hard on the second step. Needless to say I either broke or badly bruised my tailbone and am just getting around well and sitting well a month later. The 1st few days I felt so guilty I thought on top of my pain the police were gonna show up at my door any minute.I didn't even tell my hubby. Then I came to realize it was my sisters car and she was a member of the rec.farm so if they were gonna get anyone it would be her!!! They never came for her either though! oneduck55

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 8:18AM
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I only found this thread yesterday. On the way home from work, I remembered a hugh stand of Joe Pye plants. I had to stop, see if they were seeding yet. Of course they were in the ditch and I had to jump 3 feet of water or else not get the seeds. and then I saw someone looking at me from his driveway about 200 yards away. I figure, that's it I'll be on my way, come back tomorrow. He's walking quickly towards me saying something I can't hear. He's offering me some seeds, but doesn't think the Joe Pye is good enough, he has butterfly weed in his yard. I have a stash of bags in the truck, so off I go to collect both types !
Now all I need to know is do I have to separate the seeds from the fluff, or can I plant it all in the ground.
I also have my eye(s) on the boulevards the the city has planted with some great african daisy and ornamental grass.
Hey how about in the spring when the city digs up all the tulips- they end up in the garbage dump. I'd like to get my hands on them too.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 3:27PM
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becky_jean(z8 GA)

Guilty, as charged, you honor! I keep a folding pair of pruners in the console pocket of my car & super sized flat head screw driver in floorboard (great for digging up seedlings & volunteers). I know the best alleys in town to cruise, get clippings for rooting, etc. (many just by rolling down window & never getting out).

I work for GA D.O.T. & last spring, one of the county PR paving projects we were doing had tons of red spider lilies growing on right of way, in rural area, near NO homes. So, I brought my super duper long narrow blade shovel to oven & had the project engineer out there digging up bulbs......I shared equally with her(after all, she DID dig them) & have gotten her interested in the seed, bulb, rootable cutting thing:)! However, occasionally, she questions my "stealing" babies. e.g. there is an agave plant on our state highway R-O-W in town, old section that actually bloomed this year. I've told her she needs to go dig the babies from around it, as is on vacant city lot, our ROW, & mother plant will die now. Even offered my super duper screw driver:)!

I literally cruis the alleys in the better, older, established neighborhoods looking for "finds". This year, hubby was impressed with purple Rose of Sharon....some in old neighborhood where we rented. Everytime I have ridden down alley to "collect" either the owners or the neighbors were there, outside, it close. I have finally rationalized that I would just stop & ask if I could get a clipping, they have a whole border of it.

On my new route home (we bought our house in April), I spotted a beautiful spider daylily that I would LOVE to have seed from. Every day, I ride slowly at that point, checking the rear view mirror to see if another car behind me, actually slowing down before I get to that curve when someone behind me so they would pass me & leave me alone. The one day I thought I had it made & the seed pods were there, I slowed, as usual, then, of all things, the homeowner was actually out in the other flower bed collecting! That made me really feel like I would have been stealing, so I've struck that one from my list!

I do have the majority of one of my refrigerator vegetable crispers filled with a gallon zip loc back of my treasured seeds! Hubby has gotten used to it & amused, probably because he doesn't realize how many of my weekend "errands" is spent on a treasure hunt.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 6:55PM
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threelegdcat(Z9 Tampa)

Funny story (well, actually a little scary if you know what the consequences could have been)

This past Saturday I sent my husband in to return something in South Tampa while I drove the minivan around a little trying to get my 1 year old daughter to fall asleep... I spotted what I thought for SURE were River Birch trees(my husband has been begging me for one--- all I know about them is that they have peeling bark) so I spot what I think are a row of them along the parking lot and they're FULL OF SEEDS-- yay! While I'm out snatching, a few people drive by and stare at me, I go back and pick my husband up showing him my treasure and he says "What in the heck are you doing picking Melaleuca???!!"

Anyone not familiar with the battle of the Everglades vs. the Melaleuca tree see here (they brought them in from Australia to try to "dry up the glades"/aka the land developers try to mess with Mother Nature):
http://www.invasivespecies.gov/profiles/melaleuca.shtml OR

WHAT A NIGHTMARE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN-- could have invaded my whole yard.... WHEW! Glad I wasn't seed snatching by myself, I would not have known until it was too late.

By the way, I keep pruners in my purse!

Sick, I know...


    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 4:49PM
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How funny, but smart. I'm going to start doing this (where appropriate). The birds around my house have done this for me. I have some beautiful red-centered sneezeweed (named for its prior use as snuff, not because it is allergenic) growing on my fencerow because of seed snatching birds, and now I keep finding berries in my birdbath. I just dump them out, so I'm interested to see what might come up.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 7:55PM
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I am glad I am not the only seed snatcher in this world!!.I Travel a lot , and dont come home wihtout seeds from other parts of the world.as I tour the coutry I visit I keep my eyes peeled for unusual flowers I could grow. I have snatched Ginestra from the mountain side of Etna in Sicily. Giant Cockscombs in Costa Rica's Park. Unusual Hot peppers in Greece from somebodys garden. an anusual flower bush that I dont know what it is called from a hill in Turkey. I have been all over and have seeds from everyplace I have visited.I have large purple angels trumpets from the grandcayon.and too many to mention from Florida. Also some Agapanthus seeds from Fiji. I had to hyde them in my Luggage not sure about the rules about bringing in seeds. but some of them are beautiful in my greenhouse.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 8:10PM
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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)

In the US there are very strict rules about bringing plants/ seeds from another country. In a new environment they can become invasive and smother our native species. In addition you could be introducing insects into a new envirnment.
I don't want to make you feel bad but my uncle was a chief
inspector at major airports and learned from him many years ago.
My mom brought home a plaque made from seeds when visiting haiti. She opened her suitcase and all these bugs came crawling out. yuck !!
It really is not a good idea to bring these things from other countries.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 3:11PM
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I've done my share of seed snitching, and have even been busted once, but I think people should think really hard before they start stripping seeds from botanical gardens, nurseries and private homes. For instance--I've done a little casual crossing of irises, and I might try it with daylilies as well--I'd be really irritated if I came out of my house and found a pod I'd been watching gone. And with many of my plants, I save my own seeds so that I may start them again next year. Again, if I had been waiting for that one perfect magenta dahlia pod to ripen, and someone beat me to my own seed, I'd be really annoyed. I do have plants that put out a lot of seed, and if any gardener came by and asked me, I'd be happy to share. I've asked other gardeners for things like larkspur and never been turned down.

Also, I've volunteered at our local botanical gardens. Not only is it against policy to go seed-snatching (let alone cutting-snipping), but half the people who do it don't even know when the seed is ripe. And if enough people do it (and often enough do), the plant can look unsightly, or at least stripped of its late-season interest, i.e. when all of the lotuses that grow within reach are scarred and pitted because people are pilfering the seeds. And in some public gardens, they do encourage plants to self-sow, so you can't always justify taking stuff from the ground, either.

And nurseries, no matter how much you justify, you have to know that you are, in fact, stealing when you remove any part of the plant to propogate to save yourself the expense of buying it. Not that I haven't snatched a nursery seed or two myself ('accidentally" bumping a seed head onto the soil of something I'm actually buying), justifying it by telling myself that I've already spent a small fortune there, but it really isn't right.

But in mall medians etc., seed-snatch on...

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 11:44AM
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gardeners_hands(8, coastal WA)

ahhhh, I came, I read, I laughed, I cried.
You nuts all fell out of my family tree and your stories have comforted me on a long day being sick at home.

I know the seeds and cuttings I get are not stolen, if I have any doubt at all I find someone to ask. I am confident you do the same.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 4:41PM
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Has anyone ever started aloe vera plants from seeds? No, I didn't swipe these particular seeds, although this aloe was rescued from the garbage. Other than some of it's babies, it's the only aloe I've seen bloom. What about seeds from bromelaid blooms?

I've been "collecting" seeds, flowers, fruit, and seedlings since I was a child, "gathering" from the best neighborhood gardens and from the university experimental farm.

Mom never asked where my sister and I got the roses we gave to her.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 12:26AM
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michelelee(z8 WA)

I get scared, but I do it anyway!!
I was at a local store and most of the pansies had mature seed pods. It makes me crazy and I can't keep my hands to myself. I picked up a few plants to buy, and casually plucked seed heads from all the other varieties I wanted onto the soil under the foliage. Better for sales, they will bloom longer!
The best time... this last summer. My neighbor was on vacation for 6 weeks. I fed her dogs.... and also deadheaded her plants :^) Michelelee

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 2:03AM
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iluvbonsai(z7b VA)

As all of you, I have gotten into the rotten habit of taking seeds off of other peoples' plants. This is a particular case. I have always been temped to get a few seed pods of of some neighborhood silk tree Mimosas. This past summer I finally gave into my erges to grab some. When I got home with them, I emidately began to remove the seeds from the pod. I noticed that some of the seeds had bug holes in them, but i didn't think that they all would have had bugs in them. Later that day, after I had finished peeling the seeds, I noticed this tiny worms crawling on my computer desk where I shelled them. I still kept what I thaught were good seeds. A few weeks later, I remembered the seeds. I then noticed that all the seeds were bad and little flying bugs crawling on my desk where i left them. Although I had found those bugs in the seeds, that is not going to stop me from swiping seeds from other peoples' yards.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 10:10PM
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Does'nt anybody think it's wrong to steal from peoples gardens? Even if they have 'tons', even if they are not gardeners, it is THEIR property, not yours.
I'm not a prude, getting seeds from shopping malls and highways seems okay. But some members here actually said they 'sneak' past private yards and 'snatch' seeds.
If somebody stole even a single seed from my front yard I would be hopping mad. Asking is better. But saying, "They won't miss em" ??!! Who are you to decide what their feelings should be on people taking seeds off of their property?
Nobody, flame me or anything. These are just my opinons, I'm not trying to preach or anything. Maybe I just had to write this, to make sure one of your club members does'nt snatch seeds from my yard. I need every seed I can get my paws on to use in trading.
Have fun!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 5:02PM
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I was the unfortunate victim of a seed snatcher. I had a hosta that I had been waiting for the seeds to ripen. One day as I left my home...I saw it...they were gone. I was extremely disappointed. Not because I didn't get the seeds (cause I can always trade for them), it was the satisfaction of collecting them from my own plants. NO, I do not agree with removing things from other people's private property. But....

I am all for picking stuff out of ditches, off the side of the road, in the medians at the mall, the park, parking lots, anyplace that is PUBLIC-ish property. Most of the time, if you ask, someone will let you have a least ONE dead flower head from their yard. Especially when you explain the benefits of having done so.

I snatch seeds everywhere I go that I can. I have little baggies in my pocketbook and my car. My HB and kids are so embarrased by me.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 5:06PM
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GawdinFever(z5b/St. Louis, MO)

I did it! I've been so chicken...(still am, but did it anyway!). Got me some various shrub seeds from public park and some mums from an island in the subdivision down the street I've been eyeing for a month!
Ok, I think I 'graduated', Trudi!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 6:11PM
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nlin0273(z9-10 CA)

I must admit to my crime. I pinched a sedum 'Autumn Joy' and a Arabian Jasmine about two to three inch big while the nursery wasn't looking. My mom taught me how to snatch plants. I'm also prune the neighbors plants. I don't ever take more than a two inch long cutting. I also trim wild growing bushes, too. Yes, I also clean seed heads.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 3:15PM
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undercover_owl(8 Pac.NW)

I think when it comes to private property, it's best to ask. Most of the time they say "yes of course", and you can be sociable and maybe it turns into a conversation about gardening.
Or, they may shrug their shoulders and say "go for it" (they are actually thinking.."sure, whatever floats your boat, whacko...what kind of a nerd wants seeds"), but at least you asked.

But if they say no, then it must be for a good reason. Most of us wouldn't want to rob someone of seeds that the owner wants to keep.

However, if the plant is right next to the sidewalk, and seeds are falling from the plant, and nobody's home ...I have been known to snatch a seed or 2!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2004 at 3:57PM
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bugsrus(z6 IND)

Me too!!!! Isn't great to know that you are not alone..I carry old pill containers with me..When I take a walk with my 4 dogs..we always find interesing seeds to collect.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 1:02PM
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I have'nt picked seeds "yet". haha. But a friend of mine took me to a deserted field area (used to be a railroad area years ago) and we dug up a few yucca and a couple cedar trees. There were tons of them everywhere. Those cedars are now mature grown trees and the yucca are still growing at my folk's house. I brought some yucca with me to my husband's and my home, and even tried to remove it at one time, and babies sprouted up, so I thought better of it. And I am so glad I did. My friend "Naomi" died several years ago, and now everytime I see my yucca or yucca blooms, I think of her. And the cedars have grown to be so pretty. We had fun together; even getting stone to put around our flower beds was fun. I have seen some ornamental grasses in public areas that have tempted me. My luck, I'll pick them after the seed have fallen. haha.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 8:52AM
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iluvbonsai(z7b VA)

Have very many people gone to there local nursuries and took cuttings off their plants? I haven't as of yet but am currious as to how many have.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 12:44AM
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I've never felt comfortable with that. However, if you volunteer at a arboretum or botanic garden ask to do some pruning and take home a few legit cuttings....they were destined for the compost heap.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 8:14AM
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I think this topic is so funny! Everytime I think about taking some seeds from a neighbors plant I think back to the time when I was a little girl and was playing with my friends and a beautiful flower caught my eye. I just had to have it, when suddenly out of no where the little old across the street came running out her house and said "You can't take that, that's stealing!!" Boy we couldn't run fast enough. So needless to say everytime I think about taking those seeds I see Mrs. Beanhead (our nickname for her) pointing her bony little finger at us....

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 5:09PM
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Oh, this sounds like sooo much fun!! I can't imagine why I never thought of it before! (Evidently my MIL had, because when I told her about it she confided that she had just been out seed snatching the morning before) Somebody please, please tell me where the hydrangea seed forms and when it might be ready to swipe here in zone 6. I'm kind of a newbie, so I don't know much about the seeds forming on particular plants. The other thing that I'm really interested in is cannas. Can these only be grown from Rhyzomes, or do they form a seed somewhere?
I've got a seed snatching kit with envelopes, a sharpie, and some scissors all set to go in my purse. Cant wait to hit the zoo and other nicely landscaped locations in late summer this year. My children will thank you for the extra excursions...if only they knew what mommy was really up to!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 5:38PM
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magus(8a BC)

I must say that seed snatching is the best way to learn about how and where seeds form (not to mention how to recognize plants that belong to which family)! I learned most of what I know about seeds from snatching, identifying, and finding seeds of relatives. Just be sure you don't snatch from botanical gardens. They often get a lot of desperately-needed revenue from the sale of the seeds of rare plants.

Hydrangea seeds are powder-sized (very tiny), and, as far as I can tell, is formed in the small "pods" that remain after the flowers go brown (and sometimes the petals fall off). I find that the best way to get to it is to cut off the upper part of the stem where the flowers were, then shake it until you see the powdery stuff fall onto a piece of paper or your hand - or roll the pods in between your fingers with the tops pointing down. I can't confirm that they are the seeds, though, as I haven't tried to grow the stuff I got, but I believe those are the seeds. You can harvest them late summer or early Fall, I think, in zone 6

Canna seeds form inside "fruits", if I remember correctly (I've only received seeds, not gotten them from plants), and they are almost marble-sized and -shaped (but usually a bit ovallish), dark brown, and hard-shelled. Scarify (sandpaper it a bit) to expose a bit of the ligher-coloured part inside, soak for a day, then put in soil. They are very easy to start from seed.

I hope this helps somewhat. I know it's all a bit fuzzy, but I couldn't resist wanting to help... :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2005 at 12:34AM
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I just spent an entertaining half hour reading all of these funny stories-thank you all for the entertainment! So far the only seed snatching I have ever done is in my own garden-but I could be easily influenced.I must admit I have entertained the thought ("sinned in my heart" like Jimmy Carter")...a nice man by the way.I was tempted when at Barnes and Noble I saw the gardeners there trimming the ixora and throwing the cutoffs into their truck.Bet they have a nice garden!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:03PM
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Count me in also :)
Although i am not bragging LOL!!...I have been known to pull over and snatch a few seed pods from the side of the road :)
I also took some lily seed pods, from the area around where i work, and once i took some Cleome seed pods from my neighbor :(
Which is bad, cause i know she would have given them to me..
I am so ashamed (head hanging low!)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 8:38AM
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Im bad... we went to the aquarium of the pacific a month a go and when we went for a walk out side I "borrowed" many seeds, and even pulled up a rhyzome from a plant on the side of a hill... well it was sticking up out of the ground anyway.... LOL!!! After I pulled it up I made my husband carry it so I could keep collecting :)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 5:26PM
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pondmaninfl(z9 FL)

I'm normally in the aquatic forums on Garden Web but was just searching through the other forums to find information on canna seeds. I collect seeds but have never snatched them, yet. The seeds that I have collected are mainly aquatic plants but have recently gotten into tropicals and some flowers. Half of my collection has be purchased from different places, mainly Ebay. When I collect from plants in other people's yards or public parks or gardens, I try to ask first. My neighbor has Tiger cannas and Aloe blooming. Some of the cannas have came up on my side of the fence but I plan to ask him for the seeds off of the ones on his side and also for the seeds from the aloe. The information that I was looking for was when canna seeds are ripe and whether it was a seed pod with multiple seeds or just one seed. I'm also going to collect seeds from my calla lilies that I planted this year as bulbs. I will have to make this forum one of my regular hang outs now. This is a great place for people like me.

Happy seed collecting,

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 10:15AM
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This thread still makes me laugh.
My other half and I almost everywhere we go we take sacks and such with us.
My friends now say ok you can have them just don't take them all ..
I just laugh and say no problem I will plant yours in your beds for you. LOL
I collect seeds most everywhere now. You guys are my inspiration. I love it....
to date have not been yelled at or told I couldn't collect a few seeds.
Keep it going love the stories.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 11:21AM
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I'm so excited to find others who share my "illness"! I've been lamenting to my family that I have no one who can relate to my obsession. I had to give up the local garden club meetings since I've been working full time, so my seed saving has been in remission. Now that I've found this site, and also have purchased a small greenhouse on clearance, I'm sure I'll be collecting in full force again this fall. I really enjoyed everyone's stories. I keep a folding shovel in my car, just in case someone offers plants. (I may collect seed on the sly, but of course would NEVER dig someone else's plants without permission!) I once scored BOXES of hostas from a house the fire department was going to burn for practice!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 10:53PM
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I just 'deadheaded' all of the Gerbera Daisies at Wal-Mart. They were just kind of blowing away in the breeze and hey--they can't take root in the parking lot. The plants look much nicer now anyhow--they were looking a bit sad.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 5:59PM
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spartangardener(z4 MN)

I'm looking forward to a new season of it. I ended up with many new varieties last year in addition to stuff I collected from my own yard. I was eyeballing some rosehips on some roses at work yesterday that survived the winter on the plants. I'm thinking that I'm going to have to trim some on Monday and see whether they'll still germinate.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 2:56PM
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Okay...for a month I've been watching the BIG Yellow Lillies outside the library (I go once a week - free magazine/book trades). So this week I KNOW the seed pods are going to be ready. I MEAN THIS IS IT! Yea! I'm so excited. So I pull into the lot and there is a huge white and blue bus with bars///the county prisoners are there cleaning, trimming, and
(tears in my eyes) throwing out all my pods. And the guy with the rifle does not look like he wants me to approach these fellas. Sob! And there's no hope of snagging a bag of trash...cause there's 20 of them stacked up and I can't tell which ones have lilly remains. Boo Hoo! And my hubby would absolutely KILL ME if I tried to bring home 20 bags of trimmings. It's bad enough when I get back from one of my kids' houses with stuff.....Since I don't want him to be in that bunch cleaning up the library yard, (he's got enough to do at home)......Maybe next year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 1:22PM
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woodenzoo(z6 OH)

Hello, my name is Cathy
I just got back from the store looking for a weeding tool and seeing what plants they had and if they had any on sale, when I found myself reaching out to a plant that was unmarked, about a foot tall and with what appeared to be these lovely purple flower buds hanging down. It also had some spent flowers on it and I deadheaded it. Looked inside and there were little yellowish 'bits' inside. Seeds??? well, I've already done the damage, I may as well see if I can plant these things and find out what kind of plant it was....
Does this sound like the beginnings of a snatch-a-holic???

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 4:36PM
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Wow, grits10, I can't believe they actually had a guy with a rifle standing there--my husband is the groundskeeper at menard penitentiary in chester il and when he takes out a crew of inmates he doesn't even get pepper spray, and they have chainsaws and machete's!!!!! I'm so sorry for your loss--I have my eye on several stands of huge lilies at the bank and I just don't know what i'll do if they get away from me!!!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 6:09PM
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FabesBabe(z7 NY)

Wow, I thought I was the only one who stole, oops! liberated seeds on my daily walks. I put them in envelopes and after the first frost I put them all in a zip lock bag and kept them in the back of my refrigerator. Some worked and some didn't. But you should see the crop of 4 o'clocks in my yard!


    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 11:44PM
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gardeningwithbaby(zone 4 NE)

I have to admit that I too am a seed snatcher. I take my girls on walks around the town and we take baggies with us and "deadhead" the flowers along the way. I have introduced myself to the owners and explained what I am doing when I first moved here so now when they see me bending over the plants they know what I am up to. My 2 yr old loves to help me clean seeds and then plant them. It gets messy but you know how little helpers are, you can't discourage them too much.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 11:39PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I'm only barely a seed snatcher: I have a small baggie of Moraea? Acidanthera? (well, some kind of South African Iris relative) seeds that I noticed on a visit to California last Fall. I gathered a few, and will be sowing them shortly.

Other than that, if anything, people help themselves to seed from plants in MY garden, provided I haven't chased them down and forced them to take plants/seeds/cuttings in the first place! If you don't want bearded iris, it is well to avoid my house and about 100 yards in any direction in July, or at least make sure I'm not out digging.

I noticed, though, that several of you mentioned photographing the plants whose seed you are gathering--that's a great idea for ID! I do photograph a lot of plants as a way to take notes on plants I might want for my own garden, and provided more than a little amusement for passers-by when I visited England in 2004.

I have never been above getting down on my hands and knees, or laying stretched-out to get a good shot of a plant I find interesting, and here I was, this size-18 redhead in a wool overcoat, hiking boots and jeans (can you say Obviously American?) sprawled on a lawn in a park with the most beautiful stand of Crocus speciosus interspersed with some sort of brown mushrooms. People pay a lot more attention to plants if someone is photographing them, especially if the photographer isn't just standing up. Funnier still, people started asking me about the plants I was photographing, and the next thing I knew, I was nattering on about the plants, their latin names, how to grow them--being what the English call an "anorak" (translation: "nerd").

I've also been known to suddenly just wander away, apparently into a group of bushes, when visiting California. I just HAVE to see what the plant is like up close...


    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 4:59PM
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Good Gosh Lisa, You've just described me! (Except I've nowadays got dirtyblonde hair.) I do have relatives in Cal. on both parents sides that I haven't ever met--I wonder if we're second cousins or some far more distant relationship.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 5:35PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Trudi, we are DEFINITELY related if you find yourself wondering HOW in blazes you managed to get dirt in your bra and underpants while gardening, and what's more, you do it EVERY time you do more than just stand outside looking at things in your garden :-)


    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 7:55PM
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Well, I have to admit I don't particulary like the term "Seed Snatcher". I prefer thinking that I am "helping" Mother Nature spread her glory, even if its only inside my own garden,lol.
I go to a local university botanical garden and the first time I liberated some seeds, I felt so guilty and ashamed. I really felt like a thief. But no one was around to ask if I could collect seeds.
The next time I went, I did find the head prof.,Master gardener..I guess. I asked if I could collect seeds and he told me to feel free to collect whatever I wanted. I nearly shouted out with glee, but I was afraid I would scare the man half to death.
I always come prepared with plastic baggies,pruners and markers so I don't harm the parent plant.
But one time.....I have to admit I went seed crazy. They had those really tall obelisks about 12 ft tall with glorious Moonflower vines growing right up to the tops. They were placed inside a circle of roses. At first I gathered the pods that were at the edges. But then the seed sickness took over my brain and before I knew it, I was inside the bed with the rose thorns sticking into my legs and arms. I collected at least 6 brown lunch sacks worth of moonflower pods before the Prof. who gave me permission started to scream at me. I thought he was yelling at me because I was taking the seeds, and I started to explain that he gave me permission before.
But No, he wasn't mad at me for that at all. You know why he was freaking out. I was standing inside of the raised bed! I almost started crying, explaining that I surely knew better and I kept apolygising to him. I offered to correct what I had done but he told me to just get out of the bed and to never do that again. I asked ( the awful nerve of me) if I could still collect seeds and he said of course, but to never go into his beds again.
Boy, was my face red!
btw, the suggestion to take pic's of what we are collecting is a great idea because that often happens to me. I see a pretty plant or flower, see the seeds and pluck away without ever knowing what in the world it is!
Ok, I'll admit it, I am a seed snatcher, and I think we should form a group like AA,only we can call ourselves Seed Snatchers Anyomous (sp?)....SSA!
Deb :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 8:37AM
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reign(z5 NY)

I'm rather surprised to see seed snatching without permission is such a common hobby. While some of the posts were down right funny, where I live, seed stealing is such a frustrating and intrusive offense.

Last summer a few ladies found out the expensive way that seed collecting at a nursery is shoplifting.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 11:25PM
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gardenmaker79(zone 4/5)

ok heres something I found out. I also am a seed snatcher but I also snatch plants. If I see something I like I will ask the owner if I can have a small slip. Normally I can get them. this past I did this. Theres some really nice flowers along side the road and its a gravel road so I asked the land owner if i could have this flower (bush). She says yes so I'm all excited as I leave. I go get a shovel and pitch fork not wanting to hurt the bush. What i didn't know is I had to dig to CHINA to get the roots. All I could do is say oh my what did I get into. BUT I got the bush and quick put it in water dug another hole to CHINA and planted it. Wow what an expernise that was. But this plant was worth it.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 9:38AM
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OMG the world is overrun with SEED SNATCHERS. no wonder I have a hard time getting to those seeds on time.

Daylilies are nothing. grab all those seeds.

Now I Know where to get some great seeds. Have not been there in 10 years. have to go back and try. maybe this year. I got some 10 years ago but they did not germinate. not a one. darn.

they come up wild in the lawn and the stupid maintanence people mow them all down. chop them up with the lawn mower. oh god. what a waste. I tried to dig some up with a spoon before they got chopped but none lived. I think they wanted to mow me down. haha.

it was fun. I have to go back and get at least one to live.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 9:40PM
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My name is Kathy and I am a compulsive seed snatcher. LOL I don't think there is anything wrong with it. I draw the line at trespassing, I don't go on to other peoples property but what ever I can reach form the the sidewalk is fair game to me. I actually have never thought of doing it in a nursery, but I don't see why you shouldn't. They probably aren't going to collect the seeds most of those plants are grown commercially and they buy them. I do sneak, but that is not because I feel like I am stealing. I just think most people wouldn't understand, they would think I was crazy. I love growing petunias from collected seeds, I know they are hybrids and they don't come true but you can get some really nice ones if you grow a lot of them. I think it is the anticipation of seeing what I get that attracts me to growing them. A few seeds nobody is going to miss, that's not so bad. Oh, I did take a cutting once. It was a local store that was sold plans out in the parking lot in the spring and summer. They had this really nice variegated spider plant, it was way over priced so just snipped off one of the babies and slipped it in my pocket. I swear I felt like a shoplifter, I never did it again, but I was rewarded with a beautiful spider plant.
One night many years ago I caught an old woman in my parents front garden, It was late, after midnight, and I happened to glance out the window and this woman was digging up my mothers rose bush. I swear she had a little shovel and was digging up a rose bush. That is taking it too far.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 1:26AM
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Hmmm. So that's my new label....seed snatcher/collector. My most recent 'find' was at a large top-end outdoor shopping area. Unfortunately I have no idea what the plant is or if it can be grown from seeds. I'm in San Antonio Texas and these plants weren't in sunny or shady areas, just interspersed throughout the landscaping. The plant seems to be some type of succulent/grass with very long thin 'leaves'(I hesitate to use that word) which curl almost making a tube of each leaf. The plant growth seems to be self-limited and most mature-looking plants were about 50 inches in diameter overall. (The leaves closest to the ground were approximately two feet long on each side) Plant had rounded shape overall. There are multiple four feet plus thin stems with many red (yellow??? bad memory)flowers on each. The weight of the flowers seems to pull the stems down in an arc similar to an orchid. Once the flowers are gone the seed pods dry out and hold quite a few black seeds that remind me of pumpkin seeds, minus the white strip and smaller. The dry pods are made of three identical parts (total size about same as medium walnut). Each section splits in half and each side has seeds layered orderly in it. How amazing is Mother Nature? The pods also have sharp spikes at the top as I discovered when I overloaded my jeans pocket. Ouch. I have to say that putting these pods in my jeans pocket was a cheap, though painful method of threshing. I just wish I knew what I have collected and how to grow them. Too bad my wandering mind (looking for other types of seeds)didn't recall the digital camera I carry in my purse. RE: Others making comments about collecting seeds; I was surprised when a passer-by made a somewhat joking comment about what I was doing. I acted hard of hearing. Can anyone help me out with IDing this flower? Texas, landscape (perhaps xeroscape)succulent?, flowers, large seed pods.

Whatever the opposite of green is, that is the color of my thumb(s). Neighbors on either side seem to look at their plants and they prosper, mine die. I have even managed to kill a vinca and an asparagus fern (which my talented neighbors assured me no one could finish off--HA!). Hopefully these seeds can be used and are truly hardy.

Thanks for any help sent.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 8:08PM
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This thread made me laugh. I've been a seed and cutting snatcher for as long as I can remember. I can't help myself , if I see something that I like and know I won't damage the plant I go for it. We took the kids to Hershey Park, Pa last week. I was surprised at the beautiful landscaping and came home with a purse full of seeds and about 30 stem cuttings. I've also managed to sneak some seeds and cuttings through customs when returning from various vacations. It drives my husband nuts. lol

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 11:27PM
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I collect seed sometimes at a public site, but I don't take from a private garden without permission. I wouldn't like people rummaging around in my flowers without asking me first (what if I was planning to collect those seeds myself?).

I'm too much of a chicken to do it in a nursery or store.

I generally have a theory that if I have to hide what I'm doing, I shouldn't be doing it, but I make an exception when it comes to collecting a few seeds here and there. ;) (Is that called hypocrisy, or what?--well things aren't always black and white, are they?)

There are some hilarious stories here!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 5:28PM
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I'd never take anything from a private residence without permission but I do admit to taking from nurseries (seed only) and public gardens (seeds & cuttings).

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 8:50AM
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my sis and I just returned from a 5 hour long road trip (oneway) so on the way she got an education in seed gathering, winter sowing and the such. I am a newbie to the forums and for now that's all I think about. Anyway when we arrived at our destination I walked thru the motel grounds and "snatched" red stella lilies, which got her all excited, to actually be a part of the process. Then I spotted some sunflowers but had to get the scissors out of the truck for those, she again was very excited. After returning from our trip we stopped at DM house for supper. She had a tossed salad which included cukes, toms, and green onion from uncles garden. So I grabbed a baggie and all the scraps went in it for my compost pile. When I hugged sis bye, she asked if I was taking the leftover salad home, I said no its scraps for my stink pile, she said yer always thinkin aren't you. I repled by saying "you'll thank me when you get your plants next year. She is now an avid GW'er.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 2:31PM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Today while pumping gas in my car, I found that I could actually reach the planter that help some beautiful carnation flowers (red, my favorite color) that were going to seed. One hand on the pump and the other reaching out to the planted I did manage to grab a few of the drying tops of the plants and pocket them before anyone noticed. Since I have given so many seed packages out to newbies and usually don't ask for a trade when dealing with the seed exchange I felt pretty comfortable doing this, LOL. I've also got my eye on some real tall cannas growing at the nursing home where dad is now, waiting for those babies to produce seeds.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 11:10PM
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this weekend I harvested seeds from my pink hibiscus, some marigolds, and other things in the yard

And I looked across the street, the idiot that lives there has red hibiscus and yellow marigolds. I'll go over there and raid his seeds!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 1:23PM
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I stopped in front of a large old home today and snatched some Red hardy Hibiscus seeds today.
I've been watching this plant for about 2 years now and it produces the deepest red flowers I've seen.
Well, wouldn't you know it, I got caught.
I ran right up to the plant and didn't notice the owner sitting on his porch until I looked up and saw his "What the hell?" look.
I said, "Uhhhhhh, is it ok if I take some seeds?"
He said sure, take as many as you want.
Sometimes being a fool will help people like you.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 11:47AM
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LOL!!! I've never heard of seed snatchers... I just read an article in Southern Living yesterday, encouraging all of us southern gardeners to snatch seeds from roadsides to plant for fall color!

Now, I have zinnia seedpods (in my own yard) should I just sow them now? or should I wait until spring?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 4:38PM
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I only found this thread today, but I read every one of them.
My love of flowers started when I was a little girl in Durham, NC. One day, I picked some beautiful yellow daffodils only to be told by older kids that I was going to make Mrs. N mad. I promptly stuck them back in with the other flowers. That night, Mrs N came to our house with
info from someone that I was the culprit (the flowers all drooped!). I received a spanking and had no flowers to show for it. I learned a valued lesson....ask. Most people will say yes, especially if you are not greedy. I have moved to the NC coast and have purchased tons of seeds the past few years with little success. I have purchased seeds on ebay, most of which have not germinated. I have not given up. I do study other yards in our neighborhood for
success. Since I live on the "third row" from the ocean year round, we have become the neighborhood watch. Neighbors are always glad to share. I do take baggies with me in the car and anything I see with shedding seeds, on
parking lots,etc...I do at least give them a shot a life
by planting them. I also share with others. Keep the thread going, we are all kindred spirits!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 7:13PM
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This is a great thread. I'm not alone anymore. I never take from someone without asking though. So far I have never been told no. And roadsides are a freebie. This year I'm on the hunt for butterfly bush. it grows wild here so I should be able to find plenty. At work there are plenty of plants I can't wait to identify this Spring. i had spotted some echinacia last summer when I started and this winter they bulldozed the entire are. I should have snatched them but only worked here for a few weeks. now they know I'm a plant nut and will let me have them. I also have my eye on a small shrub/tree with purple berries on it right now. i need to get it before they bulldoze it too. but I don't know what it is yet.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 2:13PM
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A friend of mine goes to the old little cemetaries and gets cuttings from the really old rose bushes. The ones that you can smell from the other sied of your yard. She has an amazing rose collection. If I were buried there I would be happy to share the plants that were planted in my honor.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 7:59AM
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This is a terrific thread.

I'm a seed snatcher too. One time I had my DH with me at a garden center. Their daylilies all had seed pods just begging to be picked. My DH told me I was stealing... Right-the seeds were just going to fall on the ground. I decided that it would be best if he wasn't around when I collected. One day we were at a mall and I noticed all of the pine trees had perfect cones for crafting. Again DH was with me. I just walked around and picking up fallen cones; at the same time eying the trees packed with them. My DH was watching me when I decided to collect some from the trees. I only took the ones that came off easily. DH finally came over and helped me. I ended up with 30 perfect little pine cones. Hey, what are seeds for anyway.....proliferation of the species right?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 6:33AM
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frugal_gary(alvin tx)

So ,this is where the real outlaws of the gardenweb are!!! I stay in the veggies and soil forum most of the time . The composters call themselves "whakos" when they get out of control.
I think most of yall should turn yourselves in,mabe they will have mercy.
At least some of yall know how to start; my name is______,and I am a seed stealer. Remember, admission is the first step to recovery,[there is no cure].
As I read it got worse and worse,from hearing voices telling you to do it , to stealing from the state ,college, church ,funeral home, gravesite, old lady down the street and total strangers!!!
WOW yall have all the fun and I just pick up a few bags of leaves by the curb[well they were going to the dump anyway ,right].
In my own defence I don't steal seeds[not patient enough], but I have "liberated" a few plants from my neighbors flowerbed when they were gone,[they were overcrowded and neglected anyway,right]
Isn't gardening exiting if you know how to do it!!!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:27PM
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I'm new to growing from seed, but I'll admit it, I've thought about it while walking thru a nursery. I'll probally come back in a few months and admit to seed snatching.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 11:57PM
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spicymeadow(6/Canyon, TX)

Y'all have inspired me... I have never gone seed/cutting snatching before... never even though of it really (I'm a VERY new gardener). Today however, while taking a walk with my darling husband, we discovered a rose bush, by a mall that is about to be bull dozed. Needless to say, we came home, grabbed a shovel and a pot and went on a rescue mission!! We now have a beautiful red rose bush in a large container by our garage and it looks lovely. I hope I can keep it going... Now if only I could figure out a way to transplant some of the honeysuckle they have growing around there, I would be a happy girl...

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 9:52PM
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headeranderson(8a-7b DFW)

I always take my camera with me and everyone thinks i am taking photos...little do they know.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 5:32PM
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leecb(5 MA)

I had no idea that seed snatching was an actual condition until I saw this thread.
I was at the grocery store with my mom yesterday looking at their dwindling collection of plants, now 3 for $10.
I saw a salmon pink oriental poppy waaaaaaay past bloom and snapped the seed pod off.
My mom didnt miss a beat, she pulled out a candy wrapper from her purse and quietly handed it to me. I ended up getting two which we split.
No way was I going to pay $3 something for dying foliage.
I consider it the same as the people who test the grapes and cherries before they buy them. ;)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 4:23PM
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seeders_husband(9 florida)

Hello all my wife and i are seed snatchers. as i was sitting here reading this post to my wife, she popped up and said "honey I think we need to take a seed snatching trip" we have hit lowes, home depot, asked before taking at the local nursery, i was working cutting down limbs from trees and my boss told me i was going to have to clean out his vehicle because everytime i went to a job i came away with either a plant, cuttings, or seeds, which just tickled my wife to no end.

thank you all for the good laughs and memories

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 6:30PM
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mrs_seeders_husband(9 FL)

Wellllll I am soooooooooooo glad there are more of you out there than just me!!!! I took some from my oral surgeons office and doctor's office. STILL don't know if I took the right thing at the right time though! hehe. Very very new at gardening here. I use to have a 'black' thumb. I would just look at a plant too long and it would die. But since seeders_husband and I got married and bought a house, he tells me my thumb skipped green and went straight to gold. Now several seedlings have died on me, but I have had alot of luck as well. I tell my co-workers that these seedlings are like my children. Good thing that I won't go to jail over the ones that I have killed, LOL. anyways... thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one out there.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 10:00PM
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For a good laugh, visit the topic, "Is it ok to gather seeds from a botonical (sic) garden". They think seed snatching is a felony! LOL

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 10:58AM
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Well I've been reading this thread off and on but never responded. I'm not sure if I would be considered a seed snatcher or not because I ask permission if there is someone to ask and there is usually someone to ask. I have gone into banks, businesses, grocery stores and even the information desk at rest stops if I see something planted outside that has gone to seed. I will even pull into someones driveway, knock on their door and ask. I do not take seed from botanical gardens or from plants that are for sale. There is a big debate as to whether this is legal or not. I say if you want to know, grab you a big handfull of seed and go to the store manager and tell them what you are doing. If someone came into my yard and asked if they could have some seed I would let them have have some. I might even get the shovel out and dig them up some plants. Come into my yard without permission and were going to be doing a three legged race to the hospital to remove my foot from your rear end.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 7:53AM
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This is my first hit on this site. Thank you All for that side-splitting read. You are definitely turning me on to a growing 'obsession' um, 'learning experience'. So far I've made just a couple of forays out, just to learn to 'identify' plants. Brought back a couple of "samples" though, on my nightly walks on the bike trail and roadside. Thanks for all the eer, 'suggestions'. Luckily I'm not as hopelessly addicted as some of you are...so far! As a newly-recruited SEED GLEANER I feel absolutely positive that I'm making The World a better place for all species.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 9:38PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I just happened upon this site while looking for seed saving information. I did not know this was such a disease!! My sister and her husband perfected it some years ago and did it internationally - even used to travel with a small set of pruners for clippings, but they now have an A-1 garden - was actually on the Victory Garden once - and I believe they have stopped. I, on the other hand, had my first foray into that dept. and it back-fired. We were visitng our local Experimental Farm and there was a display of amazing Cosmos. At this time I knew nothing about gardening or flowers, but a few were seeding and I just tapped on the side of one flower and I caught the seeds and wrapped them in a tissue (of course my DH was disgusted). I planted some of the seeds next spring in our front border and the plants just took off - they grew over 6 feet tall with stems more than 1/2 inch in diameter - were flopping all over the walkway - they were filled with flowers but were so large it was a dreadful sight, a total disaster!! We could not keep them staked and had to pull them out. The ones I planted in the back re-seeded all over and it took me years to get rid of them. For that reason you will never see a Cosmos in my garden. Last year I started taking walks in my neighbourhood and when I see something I want, I leave a note in the mailbox asking permission and I have never been refused. I sometimes never meet these people because I drive over with my pruners and paper bag, and they never see me. Or I knock on the door and ask. Last year I did my first snatch - ONE lupin pod from a meadow garden on the next street, but he leaves little bowls of seeds and pods out for the taking so this was prabably just one he missed. My second was last week- a few lupin seed pods which had been missed during the 'cut back' these neighbours always do. People in our neighbourhood are very generous with seeds and you will see tubers and cuttings left by the curb with a 'free' sign for anyone to take. This week I got a phone call to collect seeds from a double, pale pink poppy which I admired one street away. They saved some for me. This summer, I got to meet the neighbours who allowed me to cut Enchinacea White Swan seed heads from their garden - I was walking by and introduced myself. They even invited me in for coffee!!! I did a kind of snatch during our visit to a Botanical Garden in China in January. A beautiful yellow dwarf Canna was full of seeds and I picked some - but I did it openly in full view of our guide so I presumed it was O.K. I now have one growing in my garden. I snatched some of the red dwarf Canna from the waterfront in Zhanjiang, but they were not ripe enough. I strongly feel, however, that snatching from a nursery is going a bit too far. I want to get some petunia seed for next year, and I will buy a few straggling plants soon to get the seed (usually about a quarter at this time of the year), rather than try to gather the seed from them in the nursery. I am just not a risk taker and I hate to be in confrontational or embarassing situations. In other words B-O-R-I-N-G!!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 4:28AM
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This is the funniest. I thought I was all alone. Norther_or I'm with yah. I hate the fear of getting caught so always ask. I keep snack sized zip lock baggies with me most of the time, and like to collect from around the area. If it's goregous in this area, I know it's the right zone. By asking, I've met some really interesting gardeners. Wealth of knowledge, and I've never been refused.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 11:45PM
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I have just begun my seed snatcher days and hopefully I do not get caught, I would be so embarassed! I have learned a lot from this thread though! Thanks!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:05AM
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I have joined the ranks with the rest of you. I'm hooked. None from Bot. gardens or nursery's, but the rest are fair game. Only problem I am having is identifying the mother plant, when the home or business owner is not home/in (and the plant w/seeds is through the fence and over the public sidewalk.) I have alot to learn in regards to IDENTIFYING plants and their varieties. Hopefully this newbie will learn a wealth of info from the readings of all the veteran gardeners on this site. I can't wait to see if my seeds make it to seedlings, and so on etc, etc... I am truly as excited about this as a child on Christmas Day.

I also go to the city municipality area and dig through the sand mounds for those great (free) large rocks. Our city offers free dirt, mulch, sand, but they don't expect a gal to dig through just for large rocks. The guys there were wondering what was going on with me for a while.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 10:55PM
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I remember the first seeds I snatched way back in 198x...something.

Anyway, they were for castor bean plant and cleomes. I thought they were so kewl. I cleaome, I think I planted right away and the castor bean seeds, I think I carried around in my purse all winter and would occassionally take it out and admire it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 12:08PM
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I've embarrassed my children when I get out of the car at a shopping center and say something like "oh, look at those..." My girls will say "Mom, don't you have enough seeds?" Now I have so many seeds and not enough space! LOL - I guess there are worse things to get addicted to!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 7:42AM
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What a way to spend saturday night,you guys had me LMAO.This is my first time over here i usually hang out at KT,Quilting and sewing,cottage and container gardening,but they have all been slow lately,so i ventured over here,and am i glad i did.Now i have to make sure i come back from time to time.

I've also been known to snatch a few seeds or a cutting from empty lots.That's how i got my Joe Pye weed plant,and a couple others.I also do a lot of seed and plant swaps with my friends,and have stopped by peoples homes and have asked for seeds or cuttings.I've never been refused.

My sister in N.Y. and i exchange seeds thru the mail,and i've also exchanged with people in Texas,and Pa.

I have alstromeria seeds drying now to send to N.Y.
I also passed by this house on the way to wal mart that has different color alstromerias than mine and i plan on asking for some seed.Here in S.Calif they grow year round.
Happy seed hunting

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 2:03AM
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Glad to know there are so many of us. Me I come from a long line of seed snatchers. My grandmother was the queen of "The state relocation Project" She actually called it that. I remember her even making my mom Stop on the interstate to collect seed. OH! let there be a vacant lot and bulbs were not off limit. She collected seed no matter where she went. She was amazing. My mom is almost as bad. Me my favorite way to get seed is to go yard saling. When I see some thing I like I just ask if I can buy a cutting or some of the seed ect. So far I have not been turned down or been made to pay, they are flattered that I love there flowers enough to ask to buy some and they give them to me. Which my mother get a kick out of. She calls me the Plant begger and I call Her the Seed Theif. But every Sat she calls to see if I will go yard saling and then she wants her share of the spoils. LOL

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 1:25PM
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LOL I just snatched some seeds from a nursery (the girl working didn't care) but I have NO idea what I snatched! There were 6 of the same plants, not one marked! All I know is that it was on the full sun perrenial table, and the pods looked like a pea pod! I have a LOT, they were all ripe and spliting. I guess it'll be a surprise huh?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 10:57AM
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I did it, I finally snatched some seeds. We went to a very big garden place in PA where you walk around and look at the flowers. I couldn't help it, I took some Magnolia seeds from a beautiful tree. Ya know I waited for the hand on my shoulder the whole way around the park-"Miss, your going to have to empty you purse" I was sweating..

Then I did it again when we got the herb garden part-big huge Rue plant, how could I not they were calling me! So I took a few..just a few. They have all been dried and put away already-I can't wait to plant them next season.Watch them not work now for Karma!


    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 8:09AM
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MY PEOPLE, I am not out their alone any more, thank you all,
It all started when I was at my grandparents grave site, yup. I was planting flowers, all dirt head to toe, and then went for a walk up and down isles, then it HIT ME BOOM, seed heads, hundreds of them dead, just going to go to waste, well dug threw my van found a pen, always have scirrors in my dash, found paper, and went to town, cutiing off the dead heads and writing down what they looked like, I am very addicted to the wonderful world of SEED SNATCHING, I am giving back beauty, and I do shake a few back on the sites of others for respect, I grab out of yards too close to side walks, travel 15 miles to walk in the woods and also my passion is driftwood, love it all, have alot too. Found my true place in the world to share the beauty of wonderful flowers, really embaressed my dad on our trip to florida I took every thing I could find at every stop, he shook his head and just walked away, got worse when I got to florida got my step mom to go for walks with my paper sacks and pen and she was even stripping seeds with me, we still laugh she looks at seeds in a whole new light now, she is now a snatcher, it is a disease, but a good one, thanks all for your wonderful stories, I laughed alot. Lisa

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:21AM
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HAHAHAHA, this is a great thread, love it! I have spent this Friday evening reading posts to my hubby, and we are both getting a kick out of it. Wow, you guys are all awesome, and I don't feel so bad now for the few times I have taken seeds here and there.

I do want to remind you guys, that if you have your cell phone with you, since most of them are camera phones now, you can take pics of the unidentifiable plants you take the seeds from, post the pics on this stie , and ask for help identifying them. Then you won't have to scribble " pink flowered bush by the orthodontist's office"...LOL!

Thanks for the great read, it has been a blast!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 2:27AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Yesterday, I got ;amb's ear, golden raintree, and Carolina allspice. I only walked 1/4 mile. Next Monday, I'll get Datura, White Crape Myrtles, and Rose of Sharon. All on public property.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 8:11PM
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tailwheel(z9 CALIF)

Hmmmm! Frankly, seed snatching has never occured to me, but after reading this thread, the prospect sounds thrilling. In the future, I'm keeping my eyes open for opportunities to expand my growing experiences. To me, growing a plant is kinda like having a baby and watching it grow up, certain amount of pride goes with that, and the results are soooo satisfying.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 9:54AM
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MY KIND OF PEOPLE LOL ") everytime we would go camping I would always take extra newpaper, papertowels,& plastic sacks to keep the tree roots wet till we got home, rocks, & driftwood were always on the to look for list & when we would go to places like Worlds Of Fun or Branson, well just nothin but temptation at those places !!! LOL at first my friends would just shake the head & turn away but now they say did you see that one or I got these for you ! LOL
Jan ") and yes, I'm a seed snatcher to !! (& enjoying every minute of it!) ;-D

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 1:01PM
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Just seed snatched from Door County. If everything germinates (just hollyhock and hostas), I'll have great memories of an awesome weekend.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 9:05PM
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OMG! I never thought there were so many of us out there! I thought I was alone with this bug. It started two years ago on a trip to Florida. I picked up seeds off a small palm at a factory outlet. Came home to my zone 5a and germinated the seeds. They all germinated and I became the father of 30 beautiful Washingtonia Filifera. I guess I must have caught the disease when I picked up the seeds. Well ever since then, It's been all downhill for me. Needless to say that this year's trip to Universal and Disney was nothing short of a carnage. I came home with 4 ziplock sandwich bags full of seeds. If your looking for a cure, don't go there, I tried to look away, to walk past the seed pods dangling in my face. They were all over; up down, right ,left. Dodging one seed made me trip on two. I was outnumbered.

I so understand you, my fellow seed snatchers, when you talk about the looks, the stares, the comments and wise remarks we occasionally get. Well to all these people passing comments and judgment I say: Oh for God's sake. Get a life! It used to bother me but now I've accepted myself. I am SeedLova and I'm a seed snatcher please accept me in spite of what I am.

If I never find a cure, then the world will only be a greener place.

To all you fellow seed snatchers, I now officially join your ranks.

PS. No joke, Univeral and Disney is like a candy store for a seen snatcher!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 9:18PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Bethany Beach Delaware. There was a solid white hibiscus growing out by the curb. Between the two of us, there were 4 lanes of sun baked traffic on US 1. I don't have to tell you what happened next. I've already traded the seeds in the exchange forum. :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 6:56AM
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