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Photo: Mark Lohman
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The Beauty of Plant Swapping

The Christensens also saved money by starting many plants from seed and buying others small, rarely in containers larger than 1 gallon. Brigitte spread the word that she was interested in swapping plants, too. Soon, friends who'd divided perennials were calling to share with her. She signed up for online gardening groups— is a favorite—and began swapping plants with people she never met. A Northern California woman mailed her boysenberries, one of the edible plants the Christensens enjoy most.

Shown: Bea Grow, a locally famous gardener who died in late 2012, gave homeowner Brigitte Christensen a start of this 'Louisiana' iris. Brigitte has many plants given to her by other gardeners who have since passed away. The plants have turned out to be a lovely memorial; when they bloom each year, Brigitte sees the blossoms as her old friends waving hello.
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