Heirloom seeds are those that come from open pollinated plants before the days of hybridizing. Their seeds were collected and passed down from generation to generation with great care and diligence. Some of these plant varieties have been lost because no one was there to save the seed. Many have been saved by those who have taken the time and care to do so.
These seeds are now prized for their variety, beauty, and taste. Fashions in flowers come and go and what was once old has become new again. Tomatoes in stores are perfect in size and color but the taste has disappeared. So many have searched out the older varieties putting appearance aside for great taste. Following is an article written by one who treasures variety and has discovered a new place to find it in……..
A new seed company from an old friend
While passing the nursery manager’s desk recently, a beautiful watercolor picture on a flyer caught my attention. The flyer was an ad for a new seed company, Renee’s Garden. Several empty seed packets were enclosed and I was immediately impressed with the completeness of horticultural information printed on the back. Beneath the water color illustration on the front was a quote from Renee Shepherd. “Could this be the same Renee Shepherd from Shepherd’s seeds?” I wondered.
I have long been a fan of Shepherd’s Garden Seeds. Their seeds have always been top quality and their selection unique. I also loved all the recipes scattered throughout their catalog. Upon further reading I discovered that this indeed was the same Renee Shepherd. Renee founded Shepherd’s Garden Seeds inCaliforniain the early 80s. After a couple of years she sold the business to Connecticut’s White Flower Farms nursery, but continued to run it for about 10 more years before getting out of the seed catalog business altogether last year. The ’97 catalog was the last one she wrote. This time there’s no catalog. Renee’s Garden seeds are sold only through better garden centers and nurseries.
Renee knows lots of seed people all over the world. She offers a diverse, international selection of specialty seeds, including time-tested heirlooms, exciting new hybrids, and fine open-pollinated strains. What I’m really excited about is her collections of seeds with three color-coded varieties in the same packet. Jewel-Toned Bell Peppers, Three Flavor Melons, Old-World Peppers, Rainbow’s End Heirloom Tomatoes, Victorian Posy Antique Pansy and Scented Trio Basil are just a few of her collections. Even if you only want to start a few seeds of each variety, you will have no problem with the color-coding. A fine cook, Renee will also be offering her recipe books alongside her seed packets. I’m really looking forward to trying both her new seed varieties and her recipes this year!
Available this spring at Allisonville Nursery, 11405 Allisonville Road, Fishers, IN.