Last Minute Seed Orders (Part One)

Standard

Like many gardeners, I live for these two months of garden planning and plotting between New Year’s and March. Here are my thoughts:

1—I am looking at the bones of my garden and I have realized that there are not enough to hold the body up. Like me, the landscape seems to be getting a bit flabby.
2—This year I intend to begin adding more and more to the verticality of my garden since that is pretty much all I have left to plant. Maybe this action will be a bit like lifting some weights too. (Oh the watering nightmare I am just ASKING for right now. Ugh!)
3—I need to make a serious plan for my 200 square foot vegetable garden. I want to harvest both in the spring and the fall so maybe that simplifies it all a bit for me? Having the husband at home, and not in California so much, would probably simplify that even more but the grapes will call him, and when they do, he must go.

As for the seeds, I failed at planing to plant fewer than I did last year. Since I am so organized, and I have a lot of leftovers from last year, I am actually able to order more. Yikes! In the picture I’ve posted you can also see USDA seed importation tags. If you haven’t gone through the process yes, I really recommend it. The process might be a bit convoluted, but in the end, you can buy your seeds from virtually anywhere while feeling responsible. (USDA: Small Lots of Seed)

Chiltern Seeds is a great company in England that I have ordered from for several years. They walk you through the process of how to order seeds with your permit on their site. (Chiltern Seeds UK).

Oh, and if you have a permit, you can order from a place like this: Chileflora.

Domestically, I order from large seed companies, but I truly prefer many of the smaller, quirkier, and more botanically oddball kinds of assortments. Many of my favorites also have a large number of native plant seeds from all over the country as well as many alpines. Supporting local plant groups, national gardening organizations, and botanical gardens are also always on my list.

Alplains This catalog has native alpine seeds from all over the West. I simply love how the plant descriptions tell you which state and from which county and at what elevation the seed was collected. So botanical!
Everwilde Farms, Inc. Amazing selection of wildflowers that are hard to find and are gorgeous. Possibly where I found a selection of perennial sunflower seeds last year but I cannot recall.
Plants of the Southwest Native plants of the SW that can be used virtually anywhere it’s hot and dry on your property.
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello I love to tell folks something came from Monticello! Great heirloom selection.
Rhododendron Species Foundation AMAZING seed collection of species Rhododendrons. They have an annual plant sale too.
American Horticultural Society: Annual Seed Exchange This is by far my favorite membership. I love supporting their cause while they support my habit.
Trade Winds Fruit Lots of tropical stuff that I either push in my climate or else I protect in the winter.
Cactus Canyon Nothing but cacti.
Rare Palm Seeds Nothing but palms.
Horizon Herbs Lots of herbs and the catalog is really informative.
Seed Hunt Small seed company in CA that rocks my garden each year. I have put off ordering so far because the list I want right now is so big but I WILL get it in soon.
Hortus Botanicus Amazing Web site and I love so many of their hard to find seeds.
Butterfly Encounters (Nothing but Milkweed Seeds) How can’t you love a business dedicated to selling seeds in order to encourage us to feed the butterflies.

My Favorite Garden Membership

Standard


With October 1st only hours away I am proud to say that I have renewed many of my memberships—finally. By far, my membership with the American Horticultural Society is the most rewarding. Their publications are great, annual seed sales splendid, and they have a wonderful education program. (My dream is to be one of their publishing interns. You work for 6 months-I think-at their offices located on a farm which once belonged to George Washington.) In addition, they have one of the largest reciprocal garden programs I have ever seen. You are allowed discounts all over the place.
The Berry Botanic Garden is a local membership I renewed today. With an annual membership you are able to choose 10 free packets of seeds each year during the winter months. I usually buy an additional dozen because the varieties are often hard-to-find plants.
I renewed my Leach Garden membership a few weeks ago. I just cannot say how much I love visiting there. As part of the local Portland Parks System, it is a jewel, and during my trip over there I bought tons of native seeds. I just couldn’t resist. Their gift shop is full of all kinds of things I really enjoy. (They offer special plants for sale and have a great compost display area showing you urban composting ideas for your own home.) Photo taken at Leach Botanical Garden, Spring 2008