Thanks for this article, the tone was wonderful. As a new gardener, this very morning was the first time I ever did any seed 'borrowing'; I felt a tinge of guilt. After reading this, I no longer feel that guilt.
I have a tremendous amount of 'legal' seed which I've purchased, but now I am getting more and more interested in gardening and I knew it for certain when I did the seed borrow.
I like the term "seed borrowing!" But I have to admit that I rarely return seed to the same place from whence I borrowed it. However, I do pass along a lot of seed to people who share it in turn to people who pass it along again... so I figure it all works out in the end!
You see, it's borrowing because we give it back to the earth. As one of my favorite seed suppliers says, "we gardeners share the beauty." I like to think I'm doing humanity a favor by returning more than I ever borrowed. (lol) They 'loaned' seven seeds fully expecting me to make it happen, with a little help from my research, the sun, water and fert.
I, in turn, gave seven plants, possibly more depending on the follow-up, i.e. propagation and sharing with others. So, henceforth, my rule of thumb will be, "If I borrow the seed, I must be true to my original intent -making something beautiful." Ain't it great? Enjoy!