A number of you have supported my thoughts for a Cuttings Swap page, so here goes. I really would appreciate any ideas and feedback as this goes forward.
I guess in this litigious society of ours, I need some kind of a disclaimer. This Cuttings Swap page is intended only as a volunteer service. I take no responsibility for persons not honoring their part of the swap, for bugs, plague, pestilence, or any other natural or unnatural disasters that may occur as the result of swapping these cuttings. I have no idea if there are any international, national, state, or local laws regarding swapping of cuttings like this - so you are assuming all liability in these transactions. I guess that's enough to satisfy most judges, if you can think of any more words to help me cover my backside please let me know.
The procedures are quite simple.
1. Register your name (first names or nicknames are fine) and your email address. Indicate what kinds of hydrangea variety cuttings you are looking for and/or what kind you have to offer. Some of you may not have anything to offer now, and some of you may not know the names of what you have, we'll deal with these situations in a minute.I have written a CUTTINGS page relating how I plant and grow my cuttings. As usual, your input to imporve that information is welcome.
2. Contact by email someone who has registered and arrange your swaps. Please do not use the Message Board to do that since this swap is just between two parties. Hopefully our little corner of the internet world won't require me to shield email addresses and force registration by both parties to get each others address. Please no spam. I do ask that everyone who does use the swap program register below. That seems only fair to other users and serves as a check that everyone agrees to these procedures.
3. Shipping. I have swapped a couple of cuttings with others and here is the procedure we used. It has seemed to work well so far. Make the cuttings to 6-8 inches long. Either cut the top of a shoot with a bud, and down far enough for one additional node. Or, cut the interior of a shoot and be sure there are at least two nodes. Cut all but the smallest leaves away, but leave any buds. If you have the top of a shoot, keep a couple of the small leaves. I'm going to say six cuttings should be sufficient for one variety.
Wrap the lower half of the cuttings in slightly damp paper towel, don't make them too wet as it may rot the cuttings. Put in a plastic bag, send in a small box or bubble envelop. We used UPS and delivery was delayed as long as five days with no apparent harm to the cuttings.
This is trial and error science folks, so we'll have to see how this works.
4. The rules are that you pay for your own shipping if someone has agreed to a swap and they pay for their own shipping. Hopefully everyone here is honorable enough to make good if a shipment is lost, damaged, etc. BE SURE TO SUPPLY THE CORRECT SHIPPING ADDRESS TO THE OTHER PERSON. REMEMBER IF YOU USE UPS OR OTHER DELIVERY SERVICE, THEY DO NOT DELIVER TO POST OFFICE BOXES.
If you are asking someone to send you cuttings and you have nothing to swap in return, you are expected to reimburse the sender for the shipping costs. This should run no more than a few dollars for continental US shipments. For international, you need to work out the details with the other person.
5. Be sure to label the plastic bags with the name of the variety inside, especially if you are sending more than one variety in a shipment. If you don't know the names of what you have or are not sure, please let the other person know that up front. Surprise packages can be fun also. It's just important to be fair and let the other person know if you are not sure of your variety(ies).
6. Open requests for many different varieties are fine, please indicate generally on the form below what you are looking for.
7. Please send me an email message when you have completed a swap. Please don't use the Message Board. I am interested in knowing if this program is useful or not. I don't need all the details - that's between yourselves, just the the name of both parties and that is was a success - or not. I guess I should have that information also if somebody is not living up to their end of the bargain.
Here's the SWAPS WANTED / OFFERED page with the folks who have registered so far. Get in early to get on top of the list and get a big discount - on what I don't know, but it sounds good. Use the Swaps Wanted / Offered page also to edit or delete your registration.
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