Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heirlooms in the garden

Are you familiar with Seed Savers Exchange? It's a non-profit organization of gardeners and plant collectors who save and exchange heirloom seeds from our garden heritage. Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 in the home of Kent and Diane Ott Whealy in Missouri. Years later, Seed Savers Exchange and 900+ acre Heritage Farm resides in beautiful Decorah, Iowa. Hundreds of thousands of garden seeds have been handed down from gardener to gardener. The precious heirloom seeds are stored in 3 places worldwide to assure their preservation in the event of disaster.

To learn more about SSE, click here.

Do you grow heirlooms? This year I am growing some heirloom lettuce and spinach in my garden, and for a few years now I've grown heirloom flowers.

This is Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale). It likes full to part sun and rich soil. It's a self-seeding annual that grows to about 6 feet tall.
(photo taken summer of 2011)

I fell in love with Love-in-a-mist (Nigella) the first time I saw it in someone else's garden. Since that time I've grown it, and am happy to say it self-seeds prolifically. I have large stands of this beauty in my rocky garden.
(photo taken summer 2010)

  • Are you a seed saver in your own garden?
  • Do you grow heirlooms?

Tell me about it!

"Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it. When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed." ~Lewis Gannit

Thanks for visiting!


Linking to Fertilizer Friday


  1. This is beautiful and "OH YES" I do save those seeds! I also have bought certain plants and flowers "JUST FOR THEIR NAMES". Like your above. I have a daylily named "When Your Sweetheart Returns"! It has given seeds the last few years, although the offspring will NOT BE what the parent plant is. IF You would LIKE SOME, "Just let me know and I'll send you some in the fall when they produce"???
    Thank you for this beautiful post.
    Have a wonderful week in your garden,

  2. I don't know where to get seeds! I do grow my columbine all over. I take the dried heads and crush them over other beds to seed them... and I have passed them on to others who wanted seed. I do like the ones you have shown and will look for them. I am thinking of adding sweet peas as soon as we get the small fences set in place. I think they will look pretty hanging over the pickets.
    I would also like to find sweet william seeds, too. Used to them 30 years ago, but they were dug out by a back hoe for a new foundation and just never planted them back.
    I also want to add more bulbs and shoots this year. Glads are one on the top of the list.
    I always love your garden.

  3. Those plants are both so pretty, Beth, and the names are wonderful. You've reminded me that I picked up some seeds of each and never planted them! Where did I put them and are they still viable, I wonder.

  4. Yeah, I've ordered from them. Love the story.

    I enjoy saving seeds and sharing them with others. It's like a treasure hunt that you get to share!

    That Nigella is spectacular!

  5. Hi Beth
    I like nigella too and sprinkle the seeds I collect from year to year throughout the garden. The heirloom cottage garden plants are my favourite. This year I'm growing several varieties of sweet peas from Renee's Seeds.
    Just back from a garden club meeting with snow on the way home. Our poor plants just want to hide their heads and hibernate some more.

  6. I've heard of this Beth and I think it is so neat! And your garden pics are again just breathtaking!
    Honestly I think you could sale tickets to see your garden in full bloom!

  7. I have heard of this. Your photos are beautiful and yesmam I save seeds...

  8. I love nigella too! I saved seeds from last years old hollyhocks, made pretty little packages and handed them out as my Easter guests left. I love all the old varieties. For several years I had huge "love lies bleeding", a type of amaranth I think. They were gorgeous, but over time they stopped reseeding. Yep, should have been saving those seeds!
    Last year I grew heirloom 'black' tomatoes. I picked them up at a plant sale where the lady planted a whole slew worth and they ALL came up! She was so overwhelmed by the amount and that they had indeed all sprouted. She was practicly giving them away LOL The produced well and tasted good too.

  9. Beth, sounds like you are having some great fun in your garden. We are waiting for the weather to start cooperating here...Our neighbour just gifted me an old vegetable garden book ~ The Vegetable Garden by MM.Vilmorin-Andrieux - I 'm going to give a try at growing veggies the "old fashion" way ...

    Your cake is gorgeous! I did help myself to a slice with tea... thank you!!! happy week-end..xo HHL

  10. I don't save seeds, I just hope the plants I put in will re-seed themselves and come back each year!

  11. Gorgeous flowers, Beth. I just love self-seeders and do collect some - I'd love to have some Nigella in my garden...I need to go seed shopping! Have a great weekend,

  12. Hi Beth,
    I love your kiss me over the garden gate picture! It reminded me of years ago when I grew them. I had alot of room for annuals then, but now my beds are full of the perennials. I've tried growing nigella but it didn't do well in our climate. Thanks for sharing,

  13. I always enjoy your garden pictures, Beth. I wish I had a green thumb. I have day lilies because they seem to survive no matter what.
    I'm thinking about planting a small herb garden. Hopefully I can handle that!

  14. That is so neat about Seed Savers, and the heirlooms. We had not heard of this before!

    As always, we love the pictures of your beautiful garden, Beth.

    Have a great weekend!

  15. Hi Beth,
    I have gotten seeds from them before when I saw them locally. I think it was from a food coop I don't make it to often. I should check there again when I need more seeds.

    I got seedlings of kiss me over the garden gate from a friend a few years ago, and they have seeded themselves again each year. I'm thinking love lies bleeding is an heirloom flower, too. I have some of that that self sows as well, and have given seedlings of each of them to others. I got some heirloom marigold seeds last year from Baker's Creek, and they are coming up quite thick this year. I have given a number of those away, too. I am also in the process of finding more native plants for my west front yard where the tree used to be.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I am not coughing as much, so hopefully, I'll get my energy back tomorrow.

    Happy gardening!

  16. Seed Savers Exchange is incredible and not only do they provide heirloom seeds but also has unlimited amount of information about growing and harvesting seeds. I love the selection of planting above and will look forward to reading your next post.

  17. I have enjoyed my visit today...good post!
    I wish I had more time to visit all of my favorites every time you all post!
    Thank you so much for linking in and sharing your post with my party today! I am sharing this post on my Tootsie Time Facebook page! Have a wonderful day!!!
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

  18. oh, that love in a mist is a beautiful color! Fishtail Cottage's garden party is up and running as of today! Hope to see you come by! oxox, tracie


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