Seeds, Glorious Seeds!
Typically, I celebrate Mother's Day weekend by making the rounds at the many wonderful, local garden centers and farms to purchase my tender annuals, a.k.a. summer flowers. It's something I look forward to every year, but over the last few years it's becoming more and more frustrating. Often times it's the same old, same old--wax begonias, impatiens, geraniums, lantana, super bells, petunias, and marigolds. Variety is limited, colors are limited, and I have to drive all over town to get what I want. However, for bedding plants, with a little creativity, I can make it work. However, during the height of the growing season, I'm still buying flowers at the grocery store.
Years ago, I decided I was going to grow flowers from seed. This was in the early days of the internet, so choices were very limited. I had to settle for whatever I could find locally. Again, frustration. I soon gave up on seed sowing, mostly because of the limited variety, but also because my energies went into growing something more important--my daughter.
I never did forget that feeling of accomplishment though--nurturing a seed to flower. I want to try again. Looking for seed sellers is much easier now. The internet is a game changer--there are literally thousands of choices out there. Seed sellers range from big mailorder houses (think Burpee) to boutique seed sellers (think Floret), to literally thousands lying in the in between.
I have to share a cautionary tale--seed shopping can become a bit addictive. When I realized I needed to devise a storage system for my seeds, I knew... I had a problem. I guess there could be a lot worse addictions, right? Of course, my favorite YouTubers are serious enablers and when you add in FOMO (fear of missing out), well, it's a sure recipe for a big credit card bill.
So just to put this into perspective for you, my backyard is small. I'm carving out a spot for three, 3x6 raised beds, and an 8x6 in-ground bed. Mind you, two of those raised beds will be housing my veggie garden--first ever! Woot! Stay tuned, I imagine there will many yarns spun from that journey. Considering that, check out how many flower seeds I bought--this doesn't include the spring bulbs, glad croms, dahlia tubers, etc. Ha! I'm not sure where I'm going to fit it all!
Interestingly enough, this tendency to overbuy, is nothing new. As I was looking for my old seed sowing supplies down in the basement, I came across a number of, um, vintage seed packets. More about that in another post--we'll be conducting an interesting experiment with those 20+ year old seeds.
I wanted to share my experiences with the companies I shopped with this fall. Hopefully these companies will provide you with options when you start your seed shopping. My advice is to start your shopping early so you get what you want. I've also included the flower varieties I purchased from each company. We'll talk veggies in another post.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - This company is also called Rare Seeds, which is appropos, as it specializes in a unique varieties of heirloom seeds. What I like best? The beautiful photos on their seed packages. I could frame these packets up as artwork. Every one of my orders came with a free seed packet. What? Yup... it's true. Shipping? FREE! I have no cons with this company other than some of the things I wanted were sold out--Oh how I wanted Queen Lime Orange Zinnias.
Tequila Sunrise Snapdragons - Orange King Calenula - Globosa Mix Gomphrena
Eden Brothers - I purchased my Dahlia tubers from this company and because I found many of the zinnia varieties I was looking for as well, I tossed them into my order (see below for my full list). What I like best? The selection, super fast shipping, and the free packet of seeds with my order. What i didn't like? Some of my packets didn't have the correct photo on the seed packet. I also think they could flesh out their sowing and growing information a bit.
Pulmila Salmon Zinnias - Over the Rainbow Zinnias - Bells of Ireland - Twilight Zone Dwarf Sunflowers - Appleblossom Snapdragons
Fruition Seeds - This company specializes in seeds for the Northeast gardener. Since I'm in the Northeast, I figured it was a match made in heaven. I have to tell you--I fell in love with this company. I received a handwritten thank you on my invoice, a Fruitions Seeds sticker and a quick reference planting guide. What I like best? The personal touch and selection that's tailored to my climate. The seed packaging is delightful too! I have to say, I don't have any cons--shipping was reasonable.
Queen Sophia Dwarf Marigolds - Soraya Dwarf Sunflowers
Johnny's Seeds - Easy to navigate website. Incredible variety (both organic and not). I bought flower and vegetable seeds from Johnny's. What I like best? The amount of information they pack into their packaging. Everything I need to know to sow and grow are listed on the packet--no running to my phone or computer. Love that. The only con? Your order better be all inclusive because the shipping is steep.
Queen Red Lime Zinnias - Queen Lime with Blush Zinnias - Johnny's Potamac Blend Snapdragons - Senora Zinnias
I hope these resources help you get started with your sow and grow journey. Check back often as I'll be sharing my experiences from seed growing set-ups to cutting my first bouquet. Happy gardening from the Bumbling Gardener--Flowers. Vegetables. Weeds.