After much thought and failure to eat my sanity Wheaties :), I have decided to host the Theme Garden Swap again this year. A big, big thanks to Jeanne (Sandlapper Rose), who hosted it last year when all my moving around began, thus keeping interest in the swap high. I think I have the timing worked out alright, but I have one (unscheduled as of yet) more move yet to make, so you will need to be patient with me if I have to extend the seed return by a week or two.
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 10, 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. Post seeds to me no later than January 8 (but not before December 10, as not everyone will have posted). 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. 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). Around December 10, I will send out my address to participants - I may be in the middle of what will be my (hopefully) final move, so I don't want to send my address prematurely.
How to play: After posting your interest and the theme gardens you are collecting seeds for, gather seeds to send in for the swap. You may send as many as you like, but please note - I WILL ONLY GUARANTEE 100 DIFFERENT SEEDS IN RETURN. Many of us have way more than that to send in for swaps now, but it is sometimes difficult to match veteran players with new and different varieties - I work on the quality vs. quantity principle, so don't send 300 seeds if you have to have 300 back. That being said, past players have been satisfied with results, and often do get more back than 100 - it all depends on what is sent in, of course.
Seed pack amounts - I don't care 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.
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. When you see my list of themes (which I will post soon), you will realize that probably every seed in your stash could fit into one of them, but please limit yourself to sending no more than one or two to me personally (and none is okay!) - I still enjoy hosting 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.