Steal this idea: A perennial plant exchange

My friend Stephanie hosted the most awesome springtime party – it helped us all unload the perennial plants overtaking our yards and grab some new and different plants for our flower beds.

For free.

After this little get-together, each of us ended up with a trunk-load of new plants. We calculated that if we’d have purchased the plants from a garden center, it would have cost us upwards of $900 total for everything.

The idea all started with a Facebook message asking if a group of us wanted to swap perennial plants from our garden. Umm … yes. Stephanie planned and hosted the swap at her house. (Thanks, Stephanie!) We each dug up plants in our yard to bring (I brought lemon balm and lots of iris that have overtaken my flower beds.)

There were eight of us participating – some didn’t have any plants but wanted to start gardens. Some didn’t want to bring home any plants but wanted to unload perennials. Then, there were a few like me who wanted to give and get. This is part of the stash of plants at the party when I arrive.

Stephanie also asked us to label the plants with all the info we had. I didn’t do this well, but some folks were really detailed and included sun requirements, height, planting info, etc.

We each brought an appetizer and made a game of picking our plants. Each of us got to pick a few at a time. At the end, I ended up with a great variety of new plants – ornamental grasses, purple coneflowers, hosta, daylilies, columbine and a few other mystery plants.

I was able to get all my new plants planted in the yard the next day (which unfortunately meant this momma could barely move afterwards).

And that, my friends, is my favorite party idea ever! I think we’re going to make it an annual event. I still have tons of irises to split this fall and I’m planning to swipe some peonies from Stephanie’s yard if it’s the last thing I do. 😉

(Read more about the planning and details at Stephanie’s blog – Homeowner Rookies.)

Sound off: How do you stock your gardens for the season?


  1. says

    THIS IS AMAZING!!!! I so need to do this!!
    My friend Karla came to visit yesterday and we had a grand old time digging up some herbs for her to take home.
    A garden has so much more meaning when you have plants from friends. It’s the whole cottage garden concept, and I love it. :)

  2. says

    I love this idea and I need to get a group of friends together and do this next year! We just started our gardening this year along with landscaping and we purchased tons of hostas and other plants. Great great idea and it all sounds fun.

  3. says

    Ah, what a great idea! I had a friend trade me some of my hostas for some of her lilies, but I would LOVE to do this on a bigger scale and I have two beds literally overflowing with irises.

  4. says

    This is flipping brilliant. I want to come next year since none of my Colorado friends garden. Or I need to make it my goal to make gardening friends in the next year.

  5. Caroline says

    This is the greatest idea EVER. I already do this with my /om to some extent, but man! Now i am eyeballing my neighbor’s irises! Pretty genius if you ask me!

  6. says

    That is an AMAZING idea. I desperately need more plants but don’t want to spend a ton of money because we all know I’m just going to kill them all anyway. Our neighborhood is hosting a plant sale next weekend, so I’m hoping I can score some on the cheap and keep them alive for at least this year. Can’t wait to see your yard all dressed up with your new plants!

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