NEW: Nth (?) Annual Theme Garden Swap
It's that time again! I've lost track of how many years this has been going on, and St. Sandlapper Rose took over for me two years ago when my moving craziness was at its max (someday I will write a book on how NOT to move). This truly is going to be my last year at this, as I feel it's time for me to move on to other things. So, let's make it a good one! I hope you veteran players are watching, as I've no time to send out personal emails this year, and new players, come join the fun!
Here's a little background for newcomers: What is a theme garden? It is, essentially, any garden designed around any kind of theme. A vegetable garden is a theme garden, so is an herb garden. Popular theme gardens include Moon Garden (all white), Fairy Garden (dwarf plants or plants where faeries can live), Everlastings (flowers/plants that dry well). It can be a garden of a single color, or a garden defined by environmental conditions, such as shade garden or bog garden. It can be anything you dream up, from Pasta Garden to Shoes Garden. The seeds people send you will be those matched to your theme.
Time frame: I will take sign-ups through December 29, but I reserve the right to close sign-ups earlier if participation reaches 100. Gather your seeds together as you see other people's postings. Please note that I will not be sending my address out to anyone before December 30, as I cannot receive any seeds before that time. Post seeds to me no later than January 10. I anticipate having them back in the mail to you by January 31, still in time for winter sowing in most areas.
Post your name on this thread, and the themes of your theme gardens. Please limit the number of themes you are posting to 5. I will send you an acknowledging email (be sure your GW email is unblocked, and if you have a sensitive spam filter, be sure to check your spam folder). I have extensive holiday plans, so please be patient - I may not be able to acknowledge your posting for several days, but you WILL hear from me by December 31. Please note that this is not a wish list swap - you may mention particular seeds you'd like that would fit your theme, but there's no guarantee you will get them.
How to play: After posting your interest and the theme gardens you are collecting seeds for, gather seeds to send in for the swap. Due to some issues that arose last year, I need to be a little clearer on rules. The swap limit is 100 packs - anything above this amount will be considered seeds you are giving away. Please do not send more than 5 of any variety. Also, I got some really old seeds from some people last year, and must request that you send seeds that are no older than those packed for the 2008 growing season, and only if they have been well-stored, and you know they are not a short viable (delphinium family, aconitums, and alliums, and many others, fall into the short viable group). I can't stress this enough: newer is better. You may send seeds collected from your garden, or extra commercial seeds, or extra seeds received from a trade.
Seed pack amounts - I'm not terribly picky about this. Use the Golden Rule, and spare what you can. I am going to assume that if you only send in 5 seeds of a particular variety that you scoured your stash to meet someone's needs and that's all you can spare. Trust my judgment on working things out - I will ask my fellow veteran swap hosts for advice if I need it; everyone I've dealt with at GW has been very helpful.
You can package your seeds two ways: (1) earmarked for a particular player's theme(s) - to do this, please put the individual packets in a ziplock baggie with the player's name on the ziplock baggie only. This helps if I have to do any redistribution. For the most part, whatever is earmarked for a player's theme(s) will go directly to them, unless multiples of the same seed variety are received. This is the easiest method of packaging for me (2) packaged by theme, and let me decide whose bag they go in.
My work is way, way easier if you also send in a list of the seeds you are sending in. It is also easier if you have your GW name on your seed packs, although that is not absolutely necessary.
A note about "inside trading": Although this is not a wish list swap, if you are so inclined, update your haves/wants list, or you may post to the general thread any seeds you'd like to share that don't necessarily fit the themes. If you arrange a particular seed trade with a participant, please clearly mark that it is an inside trade when you send your seeds in, and I will be 100% certain those seeds go to that person. Inside trading has been a big hit in the past.
Postage: I do not return extra postage or cash; I "pay it forward" to another swap host, so your best bet is to get postage as close as possible to what it costs to send your packet. Please do not send metered postage; the post office won't take it. I really prefer stamps to cash, too.
One final note, for now - in the past, I have contributed a great many of my own seeds to this swap, but a combination of puny gardening season and participation in some other swaps I enjoy makes it so that I don't have a ton of seeds to contribute to this swap. Please don't send a lot to me personally (and nothing is okay!) - I will just have to redistribute it. I'm sure I will still enjoy hosting this. I do not need hostess gifts - I always get some great seeds out of this.
A final, final, note: Be creative! I always get a good laugh, that lasts past that swap's year, out of some of the choices. Here's an example - one year, one person sent in a whole packet of dog-themed seeds - it included cynoglossum (hound's tooth) and foxglove (for the dog to chase, right?) among other things. Another person sent me, for my astrology/ astronomy themed garden, Lettuce, Cos(mos?).
I think that's about it for now - feel free to email me (my GW email is good), or post any questions here.
Let the fun begin!