Seeds Of A Dream Garden

by Linda Wiggen Kraft

In January gardeners begin to feel the pull of springtime and summer gardening. Dreams of the upcoming gardening season start when seed catalogs arrive in the mailbox or email inbox. The photos and descriptions pull at the heart and plant themselves in the visions of the soon-to-be here gardening season.

I like to spend a day or two immersed in the seed catalog ritual of sitting by the fireplace, snuggled in a blanket, sipping hot tea while looking through catalogs and going online to see each plant’s photo delights. My body is in its winter wrap, while my head is in the summer sun. There are seeds that are sold every year, seeing their photos is like finding old friends in a crowd. There are the new stars, given first page billing. And sometimes, old favorites are nowhere to be found.

This several day indulgence ends when I have to get down to the business of what will really work for my garden, considering space, time and money. As an aide in making choices, I created an excel spreadsheet that lists seeds I want, where they come from, how many in a package, cost and code number. The look of a spreadsheet sobers me from the drunkenness of wanting it all. For most gardeners a simple list on paper will do.

Over the years favorite catalogs have emerged. Companies that sell organically grown and heirloom seeds are top of the list, especially ones owned or controlled by founders and others with a dedication to organics and sustainability. Catalogs meeting those criteria are: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seed Saver Exchange, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Johnny’s Select Seeds, Territorial Seeds and Renee’s Garden.

Missouri’s own Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has more varieties of vegetable seeds than anyone else. Their catalog offers over 1400 kinds. Along with cool weather plantings of peas, beets, swiss chard, spinach, lettuce and arugula; I planted beans, tomatoes and flowers. Last summer purple-podded pole beans grew on a twig trellis in my front garden alongside ornamental flowers. The purple beans pods from lavender flowers looked great in the front yard. The Chadwick Cherry tomatoes grew on my back deck. Mother of Pearl poppies and Pink Senorita zinnias bloomed in the flowerbeds.

As for zinnias, I can’t live without them. But I want certain colors not found in mixes. The apricot or salmon colored Benary Giants come from Johnny’s Seeds or Renee’s Garden. The number one favorite flower from seed is Queen Lime Red zinnia, with multicolored subtly shaded lime green and dusty rose. It’s found at Territorial Seeds.

There are other seeds that I grow and way more that I want. Perhaps this year I will try a few new ones. As I gaze outside now at the white snow, I can dream the colors of blooming flowers and green foliage, knowing that those dreams are the first step in planting the seeds of what will soon be a real garden.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and sustainable gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Visit her blog: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or website: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. Contact her at 314 504-4266.