Little Plant Libraries are Sharing Blooms and Joy

Propagating plants and smiles for neighbors.


Plant exchange stand.

(DimaBerlin /

Little Free Libraries have been dotting communities around the globe since the first one was set up in Hudson, Wisconsin in 2009. During the pandemic, many people turned these libraries into little free pantries to help neighbors in need. The pantries were stocked with canned food, peanut butter, toilet paper, and hand sanitizers. In Australia, a mother and her daughter decided to open a free plant stand to share blooms and joy with her community.

Plant share stand
When Australia went into lockdown in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people were isolated and lonely. This was certainly true of Vicky Robinson and her daughter Rachel who live in Redan, a suburb of Ballarat in Victoria, reported ABC AU.

The pair were watching people walking by who looked sad and decided to come up with a way to cheer them up. “So we thought, ‘what can we create through our home education that can put a smile on people’s faces?’” Vicky Robinson told ABC.

She looked at her front lawn and blossoming rose bushes and had a eureka moment. Understanding that gardening was a natural therapy that helped her relax, Robinson came up with the idea for a plant stand that was like a Little Free Library.

Her partner is a cabinet maker so he built the two-tiered stand on their property line and filled it with seedlings and succulents propagated from their own plants. In bold letters, there is a sign that reads, “Need a plant? Take a plant. Have a plant? Leave a plant.”

Despite having lived in Redan for 30 years  Robinson said that she has never felt as connected to her community before. “It's all worth it just to see people and their smiles. It's developed trust with the community,” she said. “It’s leaving a legacy. It’s created a bond in a circle, from generation to generation.”

Little free garden stand
The plant share libraries are not just in Australia. In 2020 during the lockdowns, Eagle Rock, California, resident  Jacqui Bracey saw the idea for a Little Free Garden Stand” on her community Facebook group and thought it was a fantastic idea, according to Sunset. So she and her boyfriend got to work and built one out of leftover fence posts and paint.

The stand was an instant success. It’s been fun for the neighborhood,” Bracey told Sunset. “Once we put it up, people started riding by on their bikes and pulling over in their cars, like, ‘Aw, that’s so cute!'”

Bracey and her neighbors keep the shelves of the garden stand stocked with succulents, cacti , herbs, and seeds for people who want to grow their own plants. She had to be careful not to leave any of her gardening tools on the stand because people mistakenly thought that were give-a-ways too.

Stands like these have become a growing trend with Little Free Garden private Facebook pages springing up like weeds. One group in Arizona has over 10,000 members. And, there are now more than 60 official plant stands in Arizona according to the This is Tucson community website.

There is little cost involved in setting up a little free plant library and the stands can be as basic or intricate as you desire. Some stands feature house plants and some seedlings for a garden. DIY and bring some blooms and joy to your community.

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