Jill: Loved this article! I must confess that I too am a seed snatcher! Although not as obsessive as some, I too have snatched seeds! Your article brought back memories of one fall while visiting my niece at college ... walking around campus and "snatching" seeds from different plants. One of my sisters tried to act as though she didn't know me ... couldn't believe I was doing such a thing! She wondered what would happen if security at the airport went through my suitcase and saw all those little baggies of seeds & pods. I told her I was sure they had seen it all before. That trip I even saw a woman walking through the airport terminal to get to her connecting flight, carrying a good sized house plant in her arms! I asked her if they allowed her to carry it on the plane and she said yes ... no problem! I usually don't have an extra hand for an actual plant while traveling, what with a carry on, my purse and laptop. I have been known to buy plants and ship them back home but the seed snatching is much easier. I highly recommend it!
oh my the memories this article did bring back.. My coup was many years ago when visiting an ancient church in England (14th Century) where some of my ancestors were buried.. out in the lovely church yard.. filled with ancient yews...there were Honesty plants.. and in seed...well, you know some of them ended up in my pockets and came home with me.. where they have happily bloomed every summer since...
Yeah, I hear you! I learned my skills from the best--depression era grannies who couldn't afford to have gardens but found ways to have them anyway.
Snatch and grab was a major sport back in the day. The best snatch and grabs occurred in the yards of "mean" well-to-do folks who invited guests to tea, bragged about their plants, and then would arrogantly deny requests for seeds or cuttings. The wily, poorer grannies just backed up to a desired shrub or plant and, with their hands behind their backs, used tiny sewing scissors to snip a sample! Revenge of the poor gardening grannies!
The other end of snatchin', though, was (and still is) sharin'. Our garden is a seed and sample snatcher's dream come true--on purpose!
When we bought this 1955 ranch house all we had were a few trees and a diseased climbing rose. One of our first tasks was to replace the bermuda all along the drive and along the street with flower beds. We bought plants, grew some from seed, and accepted very gratefully the contributions of a lovely sharin' granny who lived nearby. The front and back lawns have gradually disappeared until, now, we only have a few feet of lawn surrounded and punctuated by tons of trees, vines, shrubs, and other plants.
Nature abhors a void, and I can't stand a boring landscape. Way too many of the houses in our neighborhood had only a few boxy hedges near their foundations, a tree, and nothing else. However, something wonderful happened after we moved in and began gardening. The second year we were here, our neighbors began spiffing up their own yards! First it was a few annuals, then came the ornamental grasses, an actual flower bed or two, and so on.
From the beginning, some folks would slow down when passing by our house. They seemed to enjoy all the flowers and plants, but if I smiled and waved, they'd speed up as though caught in the act of committing a heinous crime.
So I put a box at the end of the driveway with a big sign on it saying "Take me home and plant me, please!" As I gardened, I put bits and pieces of plants I'd pruned or divided, seeds, etc., into the box. Everything I put into the box would disappear within 24 hours! It was like feeding birds and squirrels. Later, I'd spy those bits and pieces in pots on neighbors' front porches.
Eventually, the braver ones came by to while I was outside. I invited them to snip and snatch and even showed a few how to take babies from plants without killing the mother. Can't tell you how many people now stop by--whether I'm around or not--with baggies for seeds, a trowel and a pot, pocket knives, or scissors to "sample" plants from the beds by the road.
Better still is watching new plants pop up in neighbors' yards and then finding a piece of that plant or a baggie of seeds addressed to me in the "sharing box"!
I live a "fer piece" from OK, but I'm sure I'd like to have Jazzy for a neighbor. I've been busy snipping seeds from my own garden today and think I'd better take a walk up the road to check out what's available.