One gardener wants to plant hollyhocks in unexpected places - another wants to turn her whole front garden into a mix of flowers and veges.

They were among about 25 at the Heirloom Seed Swap event in Whanganui yesterday. It was one of many in the district's sixth Permaculture Weekend.

Most people had brought seeds to share. Sitting in a circle they introduced themselves and talked about their growing interests.

In the second round they said what seeds they had brought, and told the stories behind them.

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Mark Christensen talked about the golden orange tomatoes whose healthful ingredients are available when they are eaten raw. Ian Jones said he fed his extra kamokamo to sheep, and forgot to save the seed.

When the moment came to approach the table of seeds and choose some, everyone surged forward.

Stephanie Lambert took green bean varieties, her favourites being Nell's and Major Cook's. She also took hollyhock seeds.

"I love them and I'm going to plant them in mystery places around the neighbourhood," she said.

Ian Jones is retired, and has lots of time for gardening.

He took seeds for sunflowers, Māori corn, globe artichokes, kamokamo, calendula, borage and Purple Star beans.

He said it was important to save seed from your strongest plants.

Airini Beautrais took bean seeds, for both green and dried varieties.

She also took pink banana squash seed, yellow carrot seed, and some marigolds.

She plans to mix flowers with vegetables.

"That way I can have a vege garden and it can still look nice from the road, because most of my section faces the road."

Organiser Angela Tinnion has been to many a seed swap.

She said there were no rules about how much people could take, but she had learned her lesson from taking too much.

"You only take what you can grow."