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Our Seed Exchange

Our seed exchange is one of the largest in the world. Every year, members swap unusual seed with one another that they wouldn’t find elsewhere.

Fancy getting involved? Read on!

As autumn descends in the UK, our seed exchange team’s engines start roaring. For when the weather cools, the Alpine Garden Society seed exchange starts hotting up! The process is simple…

1. Seed Exchange Donation

First, Alpine Garden Society members collect and donate seed from their own gardens. Some of them donate as many as a hundred packets every year!

Donations range from Fritillaria to foxgloves, Sempervivum to saxifrage and everything in between.

Despite our name, plants on our seed list range beyond what you might think of as a classic alpine plant.

In our book, alpines are all plants that are hardy throughout the UK without cold protection. That’s a lot of plants!

Note: This year (2020), you need to be a UK-based member to take part. Find out why here.

Fancy donating seed? Fab!

If you're based in the UK, get started by joining our society, then visit our seed donation form (link below) to tell us which seed you have available.

Join Now

2. Seed Checking & Packing

Second, our team of volunteers checks the seed donations for quality and accuracy. This stops us from sending packs of chaff out to members in their seed orders and ensures botanical names (which change regularly) are up to date.

The seeds are then sorted and packed into standard-sized, labelled glassine envelopes by our experienced volunteer packers – who we couldn’t do without!

They pack everything from chunky bulbils to very fine, dust-like seed and everything in between. It takes them several weeks working all hours, to pack all of this seed for us.

We keep track of how many packets of which seed types we’ve got and put together a master of list of seed available for order.

3. Seed Exchange Ordering

Third, the seed list goes live on our website! This is one of the highlights of our calendar year.

Members excitedly browse the list and place a seed order, ideally through our online system. Usually, they’re asked to make 1st and 2nd choices. We try hard to give people their 1st choices, but if these run out, we turn to their second choices to make up their seed order.

People who’ve donated good amounts of quality seed that’s in demand get priority ordering and a few more packets of seed in their order. This is a thank you to them for making our seed list as fabulous as it is!

We charge a minimal amount for placing seed orders. This is only possible due to the support of the countless, dedicated volunteers who make all this possible.

Our members get a good deal – they pay less than they would for seed in the shops, but with access to far more unusual varieties!

We’ve very proud of our seed exchange and the countless volunteers who get involved every single year.

Browse the 2019 Seed List

Seed ordering for the 2019 seed exchange closed in Dec 2019, but you can still browse the seed list to get an idea of the sorts of plants that are offered in our exchange.

Seed Lists

Alpine Garden Society membership gives you access to our fabulous seed exchange, our quality journal, The Alpine Gardener, our members-only Facebook group, an array of virtual events by our alpine gardening experts and much more.

For more information or to sign up for membership, visit our joining page now.