Winter Dreams of a Summer Garden

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

January is the beginning of the gardening season, when dreams are planted for the coming year’s garden. The ritual of looking through seed catalogs, whether printed on paper or illuminated by the computer screen, stirs the soul. The images of flowers, fruit or foliage in glossy colors and vivid descriptions plant seeds of wonder and hope into the womb of gardeners’ hearts. For seeds of next year’s garden must first be planted in our imaginations and hearts before planting in the soil.

The planning and planting of summer dreams begins in January with the ritual of looking through seed offerings from the many catalogs. I gather my computer, printed catalogs, a warm blanket and warm tea. A couple of hours are spent in dreamland as I look and read about all the possibilities. I dream of the acres of land I would need to plant all the seeds I want. After looking at all the plants I would love to grow, I begin the narrowing down process. I imagine my own gardens with their less than acres space, the sunny and shady spots, the limits of my time and money and all the other defining realities of what I can really plant. I’m not heartbroken when reality sets in, in fact I feel a relief knowing acres of flowers, edibles and other plants would be more than I could handle. I also look at the bigger picture of what works for not just me, but also the needs of bees, birds, butterflies, insects and other garden life that needs nurturing.

The biggest question I ask is how can I help preserve the purity and diversity of seeds, those miracles that connect the past and deserve a place in the future. Heirloom and organic seeds are first choices. The biggest heirloom catalog anywhere is Missouri’s own Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com). The beautiful coffee table catalog has green, orange, pink, red, purple, black, brown, striped, blue, white and yellow tomato varieties with ninety choices. There are many many other tempting edibles and flowers. High Mowing Organic Seeds (www.highmowingseeds.com) has over 700 organic seed offerings of edibles and flowers. Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa (www.seedsavers.org) was the first heirloom seed company that started with people exchanging seeds. They have a large catalog and also an exchange where you can get seeds directly from home growers. Turtle Tree Seeds (www.turtletreeseed.org) grows most of the their own organic and biodynamic seeds, adding the energy of homeopathic like preparations into the seeds. Our own local Seed Geeks (www.SeedGeeks.com) grows many of its seed offerings.

They support and are part of many organic, non-GMO and heirloom seed grower organizations. Their seeds can be found at locally owned garden centers. There are other heirloom and organic seed companies that can easily be found online. Support these companies who are helping ensure pure diversity of plants.

I’m narrowing down the list of seeds I am buying this year. It includes a few I can’t live without or am trying for the first time. The list includes: cosmic purple carrots, queen lime zinnias, strawberry spinach, celtuce, lemon cucumber, bull’s blood beets, yard long beans and blue butterfly pea. I can’t wait to plant.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and creativity workshop leader. Her blog and website are: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. Her phone number is (314) 504-4266.