"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Spring Fever: Heirloom Flower Seeds

 Many years ago when we took the kids to see the mission in San Juan Capistrano (the one where the swallows return every year) I met and fell in love with hollyhocks -kind of like Frank Lloyd Wright devotee, heiress Aline Barnsdall -only without the oil money, but I digress...

 The tall cottage-style flowers with sturdy stems and happy, colorful petals dotted the pathways like wildflowers and I immediately went home and planted my own.

Along with sunflowers, foxglove, and delphinium (Wow, I am realizing a clear penchant for tall flowers!) they have been in and out of our garden for years.

This year, I am craving them. About a week ago, I went to the seed section at one of the big box home improvement stores and -nada, nothing. So this morning, while many of my friends and relatives are shoveling their way through an epic storm of legendary proportions - I began browsing heirloom flower seeds from online companies.


 For my snowed in friends, I humbly suggest from my sunny room in Southern California -that the process of browsing and planning for spring and summer (yes, it really is coming) is like a working daydream -completely absorbing and a whole lot of fun for very little money. Spring fever as the cure for cabin fever?

Rareseeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds was the catalog I spent the most time looking at because it was one of the first ones I found, and they had a large variety of hollyhocks -of which I ordered several. I also ordered several other cottage-garden flowers and a few vegetables. I'll show you all the packets when they come in! (I might have gone a teensy bit crazy...)

For more online browsing/dreaming check out the Seed Savers Exchange,  the Hudson Valley Seed Library (I ordered the Skyscraper Sunflower: "Nearly a tree in one short season!" although not sure where to plant it yet...), and Victory Seed Company. If you have a favorite heirloom seed supplier I would love to know! Please share the name in the comments below!

The photo above is the Indian Spring Hollyhock I ordered from Rareseeds...

 Fig-Leafed Hollyhock at Rareseeds

Photography and illustration from the Rareseeds Website.

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