My First Experience with a Neighbourhood Plant Exchange

Have you ever done a neighbourhood plant exchange? No? Well, neither have I. I like the idea, though…in theory…

I’ve been thinking about neighbourhood a lot lately. And by “lately,” I mean this past year.

We first moved into this neighbourhood about 14 years ago. I know. That’s a LONG time ago. And we didn’t really talk to the neighbours much until last year. Something kinda clicked inside me, it occurred to me that we need to know who the people are that live around us. As far as I can tell, for the most part, they’re all really wonderful… and I had zero idea of this for the longest time, because I was so busy running from the car to the house, zipping off on errands. Also, I don’t have much time for or interest in yard maintenance or gardening. I think if I spent more time contentedly gardening, there’d be more chance to chat.

So what changed? I think it’s a combination of becoming older and more mellow… and also friends talking about getting to know their neighbours. It just makes for a better, friendlier, likely safer neighbourhood.

Like most writers I’m a bit of an introvert, so the run-and-hide tendency is strong with me. I began fighting it last year, and it was amazing. I began wandering by my neighbour’s houses and chatting. I haven’t gotten to all the houses on the block or anything, but just finally conversing with the people whose backyards join ours. That kind of thing. It’s important.

It’s the kind of thing that makes plant exchanges possible.

Or, perhaps, its the opposite. Plant exchanges make conversation possible…

Anyway, one day the doorbell rang, and there was my neighbour, one of those I hadn’t spoken to much over the past decade and a half, handing me this handwritten invitation to a neighbourhood plant exchange… and I felt my heart just melt.

In the end, only three of us went. But it was a lovely time, and I think my Grinch heart grew a few sizes that day.