“Though the group was launched in 2019, it became active only during the 2020 lockdown. Many started working from home and were interested in taking up gardening. Currently, there are around 3,900 members in the group. Some are experienced gardeners and some are beginners. When it is a mixed group, it is beneficial to all — beginners can get plants/seeds from others and those who have excess can give it away. Members can also trade plants. Gardening is a wonderful hobby and is a great stress-buster. Last year, many people visited my house garden,” says Vijaian.
Initially, some members in the group were trying to sell plants and seeds for money but Vijaian nipped it in the bud. “Another important rule is no selling or advertising in the group. Either the members can exchange plants or give them away for free. People also share interesting gardening tips – the community is a great platform to know about plants and their care. Not only from Chennai, but people from various parts of the country are part of the group,” he adds.
A gardening enthusiast Priya Dharshini has traded plants and also received seeds from other plant lovers in Chennai. “Instead of buying flowers and plants from nurseries for a big price, many are getting/swapping plants and seeds from online communities. Many in the city have some rare varieties of plants and through online groups, we can get them for free by exchanging plants that we have. I am a member of the Chennai Plants & Seeds Exchange Group — the group is active 24 hours and there will be at least three discussions per day. If the houses are nearby, members do self-pickup; some opt for courier and a few prefer services like Dunzo,” shares Priya Dharshini.