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HAVE: The Great Perennial Garden Trading Party (Dotty's Swap)

15 years ago

I just received my information- so I thought I would share it with you- See you there?! Julie

The Great Perennial Garden Trading Party

Remember this is a plant trading party so bring what you can even if it is common.

WHAT IS IT: You know how the perennial flowers (the ones that grow back every year) tend to spread so much you find yourself pulling them out of the garden like weeds. If youre like me, it breaks your heart to do it, especially when you consider how much they cost from a nursery. Well, donÂt do it. Dig those "orphans" up, pot them, bag them and bring them (bare root if they can handle it) to the Great Perennial Garden Trading Party.

WHY IS IT: To have fun, indulge in light snacks and libations, talk garden talk and find homes for all of the orphan plants. Everyone who comes, unless they live at the arboretum, should be able to leave with something new and different for their garden. Sun, shade, wet, dry, woodland or bog, all plants are welcome. Seeds, annuals, bulbs, houseplants, small trees or shrubs are good for trading too. The best part is the priceÂÂfree. We do request that if you have plants you can trade that you bring them; however, if you are new to gardening and do not have garden plants mature enough to divide for trading you may bring a snack to share instead.

WHEN IS IT: Saturday, September 6th, from 10 until 11 or so. We do it every spring in May on the Saturday of the MotherÂs Day weekend and again every fall in September usually on the first or second Saturday following the Labor Day weekend. We do it rain or shine. Tornadoes or blizzards, however, are grounds for cancellation.

WHERE IS IT: 3500 190th Avenue N.E., East Bethel, MN 55092-9527.


10:00 Â 10:30 Drop off your plants to the designated areas, mark them if they need identification, enjoy bagels and other snacks and talk garden talk. Take a self-guided garden tour. Fill out a postcard to receive notice of the next party, enter the raffle (optional) for one dollar for some special perennial give-aways. Proceeds are used to defray mailing costs, paper products, coffee, etc.

10:30 Â 10:35 Final plant review. This is a final independent walk around to review what plants are up for trade. There are pictures identifying most of the plants and experienced gardeners are available to answer any questions. I recommend bringing a notepad and pencil to keep track of the plants you want.

10:35 Â 11:00 Rounds. When the rounds begin, for the first round each person selects 3 different plants. When everyone has finished making their selections, we start round two. Everyone selects 3 more plants and the rounds continue until all the plants are gone.

11:00 Plant Drawing (optional). Usually about 10-15 special perennials are given away in the drawing.


For the first round everyone is asked to select three different types of plants. This seems to be the hardest rule for people to follow and generates the most complaints. By three different plants we mean like a Hosta, a daylily and a cactus, not three different varieties of Hosta. This is to give everyone a chance to pick some of the more popular plants. When everyone has completed their picks we begin round two. For round two everyone is asked to again pick three different types of plants, however, you may select the same types of plants you picked in the first round. So by the end of round two you could have 2 daylilies, 2 Hosta, and 2 cactuses if that is what you want. By the third round you may select any three plants you want even three of the same kind.

Children are welcome to attend the party and enjoy the snacks, but they are asked not to participate in the rounds.

Be gracious, we have never had anyone fight over plants, if you miss out on what you want come next party and try again.

No moving plants to facilitate picks.

You may invite guests but be careful how you explain the party, it is not a come and take free plants kind of deal. It is a trading party and we hope that if you and your guests have plants you will bring them to the trade.

As pretty as the pictures are please leave them, we do use them again.

No guarantees on any of the plants, we don't even guarantee that they are really flowers. We do try to screen for Creeping Charlie but sometime new gardeners do bring it for trade, after all it does have pretty purple flowers.

No taking plants from boxes/wagons or wheelbarrows once they have been picked, this is usually an honest mistake made during the frenzy of rounds.

I do not get into squabbles over whether or not attending couples can both make picks, my rule is, if you are a gardener you may participate in the rounds.

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