I’ve been a Plant Heritage member for a few years now but have never had the nerve to enter the Plant Exchange before.
Well, at first because I thought it was a truly an exchange, so you couldn’t take a plant out unless you put one in. That’s just not true. It’s an exchange more in the sense of the old Corn Exchange, where some people went to sell, some to buy, and some to do both.
And then I didn’t want to take a plant in case I killed it (and those of you who know my heavy clay garden will know that I kill a lot of plants!).
What was different about this year?
The main difference this year was my friends in Plant Heritage, who persuaded me that the most important aspect of the Plant Exchange was to make sure that rare and threatened plants were cultivated in as many gardens as possible, so that the ones which did die would hopefully be offset by the ones that survive.
Add to that the fact that I’ve decided to finally do what my garden is telling me to do – grow more roses! – and I decided to take a punt.
How the Plant Exchange works
Well, it’s not exactly hard (unless you’re one of the coordinators). Never having contributed a plant I can’t comment on that side of it, but if you want to take a plant you just look at the list compiled annually, decide what you want, tell the coordinator, then sit back and wait for it to arrive.
My request this year was for any rose. I looked at the list, I didn’t have any of the roses on offer, so I really wasn’t fussy. Plus I didn’t actually think I’d get one!
So my Rosa Zweibrucken duly arrived at our last meeting of the season in May this year and I quickly planted it in my soggy garden. It was only tiny so I really didn’t expect much, so imagine my surprise when a little bud appeared. And then a few days later another few buds appeared.
And now it has one glorious, deep red flower, and about half a dozen buds ready to burst into life. The red really is lovely – it’s consistent across the whole flower so it makes an amazing impact. My only complaint is that it has no scent, but I think its beauty more than compensates for that.
Oh, and I should also mention that it arrived with a red label, so not only is it a beautiful flower, it’s also a threatened one. My next step is to get it entered into the Plant Guardian scheme – so much to do and so little time!