Saturday, January 30, 2016

Planning- A Cut Flower Garden?

Blame it on the blizzard. Last Saturday afternoon I was on the computer googling something. I honestly can't remember what, and found myself on one of the best sites I have seen. I followed a link from a picture of a peachy cream scabiosa named 'Fata Morgana'. Simply titled Floret, I spent the rest of the day exploring the site. A small cut flower grower, just two acres, they had just launched a new seed line. Cut flowers of course. the seed line is not extensive, but very discriminating. Many items from seed wish list were among their offerings. The photography is excellent and each item has several different shots, giving you a good idea of what the flowers really look like.
I have always had it in the back of my mind I'd like to row a cutting garden. I can't bear to cut flowers from the regular beds, and only make a few bouquets at the end of the season, when frost is predicted. Having very limited space has also been a hindrance. I can give up the vegetables, but I like to eat, so it's not really an option. The next day as I was shoveling 36 inches of snow I had my "aha" moment.
One of my most accessed bookmarks is an article about growing a "Flower Farm in a Box". I have plenty of pots, even a few self watering. I then remembered that the flowers that I had grown this passed summer, the potted ones far outshone their companions in the ground. At this point the bells were going off in my head.
I found myself obsessed with the idea this week. Trying to figure out color schemes, plants etc. Of course, I can't make up my mind. Then again, can you ever have to many seeds? I do have some good cut flower varieties from last falls sales from Select Seeds and Renee's Garden Seeds. I can use these as the core and would then need just some foliage and fillers.
At least it's a pleasant obsession...
'Black Gem' corn flower. One of the few flowers I did cut last year.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Seed Orders Placed- Part 2: Pinetree Garden Seeds

I've been ordering from Pinetree for years. I believe I placed an order from their first year of operation. They were one of the original "alternative" seed companies that sprung up from the backlash to the then new trend of big corporations buying venerable family run seed companies. Pinetree's niche was smaller amounts of seed for a much smaller price. It's target consumer being the home gardener.
Over the years their have been some changes, but their target consumer has remained the same. While many of the original "alternative" seed companies have faded away, Pinetree has prospered.
I have to admit that I'm not as loyal as I once was. When I discovered Fedco back in 2008, from a mention in their catalog ironically, my order size shrank drastically. I still usually place an order each year. This is my "fun" order so to speak.
When they updated their website for 2016 I was overjoyed to find a few items from my most wanted list available. The order arrived in today's mail.
Pinetree # Seeds Price
Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit 15 4.95
Garlic Chives Geisha 100 2.25
Geranium Multibloom Lavender 10 2.25
Geranium Multibloom White 10 2.25
Impatiens New Guinea Divine Mystic Mix 25 1.95
Marigold Double Mr Majestic 20 1.75
Petunia African Sunset 10 3.25
Snapdragon Brighton Rock 100 1.25
Shipping   3.95
Total   23.85

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Seed Orders Placed- Seeds n' Such

The first order of the year was actually placed last year. It was a gift order from Seeds n' Such.
I happened to notice a seed package in a photo on the Piedmont Gardeners blog. Curious about the company I did some research and found their website. The owner is the former owner of
R.H. Shumway, Totally Tomatoes etc. After selling these companies he decided to start another one. I then looked at their offerings. A nice selection of the older, tried and true varieties along with the newest. Then I looked at their pricing structure. The more you buy the more you save. Twenty or more packets for $1.99 each. Everything on their site is included.
I anxiously waited for the website to be updated for 2016 and was not disappointed.
I was then asked if I would like a seed order for Christmas. Of course I did, and immediately decided to take a leap of faith and come up with 20 varieties. The icing on the cake was a $2.95 flat shipping fee. Great deals for some of the hybrid tomatoes and peppers. They also have a large selection of the All-America Selections.
It's no secret I have a seed fetish. Don't judge me.
Here is what I received-
Seeds n'Such # Seeds Price
Broccoli Artwork 30 1.99
Cabbage Stonehead 100 1.99
Cucumber Diva 30 1.99
Cucumber Pick-A-Bushel 25 1.99
Cucumber Salad Bush 10 1.99
Eggplant Patio Baby 10 1.99
Geranium Multibloom Mix 10 1.99
Geranium Multibloom Red 10 1.99
Lettuce Sandy 500 1.99
Onion Super Star 200 1.99
Pepper Fooled You 15 1.99
Pepper Mama Mia Giallo 20 1.99
Pepper Orange Blaze 10 1.99
Pepper Sweet Sunset 10 1.99
Radish Halloween Mix 250 1.99
Squash Bossa Nova 15 1.99
Tomato Chef's Choice Orange 30 1.99
Tomato Chef's Choice Pink 30 1.99
Tomato Fantastico 10 1.99
Tomato Lemon Boy 30 1.99
Tomato Lizzano 10 1.99
Tomato Mountain Merit 10 1.99
Tomato Pink Girl 30 1.99
Tomato Rutgers Select 50 1.99
Tomato Sun Gold 20 1.99
Tomato Terenzo 10 1.99
Pepper Emerald Fire 5 Free
Tomato Premio 5 Free
Shipping    2.95
Total   54.65

Monday, January 18, 2016

Which Shall It Be?

Don't you just love it when you are reading a gardening blog and the blogger relays an idyllic picture of choosing seeds? They talk about settling back in a comfy chair, snow falling outside the window, a steaming beverage on the side table, seed catalog in lap. They talk of leisurely studying the pages and dreaming of things to come. I wish my reality was like that!
In my reality, selecting what I'm going to order for the upcoming year is fraught with anxiety.
Will I make the right selections? Can I find a way to cram a few more in that space? Why can't one company sell everything I need? All of these questions are constantly running through my head.
I'm not sitting with a catalog in hand. I am at the computer, several windows open, googling that variety for pics of what it actually looks like in the garden, then trying to find it for a reasonable price. My list is usually five times more than what I can find room for and afford. Then comes the endless addition and subtraction until a few weeks later I find I have to place the order as things are beginning to sell out. Once the order is placed, buyers remorse than kicks in. Did I make the right decision? Would that color look better. Maybe I can grow those long carrots in my rocky, clay soil. The list goes on.
One of the guiding forces in my reality is having to be frugal by necessity. We still have not completely recovered from the economic down turn. Even after eight years. Then there is my major peeve about shipping costs. I know for a fact that it does not cost $6.95- $8.95 to ship 20 packs of seed. Free shipping or reasonable shipping rates are what I am looking for. Then there is quality. You do get what you pay for. Renee's Garden Seeds is one my favorites. Her seeds cost a bit more, but I know from experience that they will live up to their descriptions. Plus, she has discriminating selections, wonderful mixes of vegetable's and a very generous seed count. The icing on the cake is her end of season sale. This is when I will pay $6.95 for shipping.
I do have the advantage of having a mid January birthday. My family and friends know that a gift of seeds or a seed house gift card will be VERY well received. This year I was lucky. A great gift from Seeds n' Such for Christmas and Fedco and Pinetree for my birthday. I'm almost there! I just have to narrow down my Swallowtail Seed order and maybe a few things from Select Seeds. Sigh... this could take a few more weeks.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Baker Creek Seed Order 2014

I finally placed my order to Baker Creek Seed. Their are some old favorites on the order, but most are things I've never grown before. After all that's what makes gardening fun, their is always something new to try.
Purple Peacock Broccoli
Purple Peacock Broccoli
Item No: BR107
    Batavian Full Heart Endive
    Batavian Full Heart Endive
    Item No: EE101
      Riccia Cuor D'Oro Endive
      Riccia Cuor D'Oro Endive
      Item No: EE107
        Red Wonder Wild Strawberry
        Red Wonder Wild Strawberry
        Item No: GR110
          Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry
          Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry
          Item No: GR122
            Serpente di Sicilia Edible Gourd 1$2.50$2.50
            Red Orach
            Red Orach
            Item No: OG103
              Butter King Lettuce
              Butter King Lettuce
              Item No: LT154
                Gentilina Lettuce
                Gentilina Lettuce
                Item No: LT130
                  Albino Bullnose Pepper
                  Albino Bullnose Pepper
                  Item No: PP105
                    Charleston Belle Pepper
                    Charleston Belle Pepper
                    Item No: PP133
                      Bellvue Mixed Abutilon
                      Bellvue Mixed Abutilon
                      Item No: FL904
                        Red Skin Mix Dahlia
                        Red Skin Mix Dahlia
                        Item No: FL302
                          Chabaud Picotee Fantasy Mix - Carnation 1$2.75$2.75
                          Mary Helen Marigold
                          Mary Helen Marigold
                          Item No: FL467
                            Spun Orange Marigold
                            Spun Orange Marigold
                            Item No: FL920
                              Bright Jewels Cactus Flowered - Zinnia 1$2.50$2.50
                              Redman Super Cactus Zinnia
                              Redman Super Cactus Zinnia
                              Item No: FL820
                                Lime Green - Nicotiana
                                Lime Green - Nicotiana
                                Item No: FL521
                                  Fig-Leafed Hollyhock
                                  Fig-Leafed Hollyhock
                                  Item No: FL428
                                    Order Total
                                    Merchandise Subtotal$46.25
                                    Used Certificate Amount$49.75
                                    Charged Amount$0.
                                    I'm going to try broccoli for the first time and thought this one would be great since red and purple attract far less cabbage worms. 'Serpente di Sicilia Edible Gourd' also known as Cucuzzi is something I haven't eaten since we would visit my grandparents in Brooklyn. They were commonly grown in the tiny back yards. Red orach should look great in the ornamental borders and supply spinach like leaves well into the summer. 'Butter King' lettuce is supposed to be very heat resistant. 'Charleston Belle' peppers are nematode resistant. The wild strawberries should be fun to grow. Fig leafed hollyhocks are supposed to be rust resistant. Finally think how great those green nicotiana will look with green 'Envy' zinnia's.
                                    Despite the warnings of more snow, I know that spring can't be that far away!

                                    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

                                    The Gift of Indecision

                                    One of the last things that I need right now are more seeds.
                                    Due to my very limited gardening last year, I still have plenty. So... what does my sister get for my birthday earlier this month? A $50.00 gift card to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
                                    I have been poring over their catalog and website for the past two weeks. If I'm going to place an order, and you KNOW I will, it should be placed very soon. Don't get me wrong, they have a lot of stuff it would be interesting to grow. My tastes have been changing. I've gone from wanted to grow heirlooms and older varieties, to falling for the newest thing.
                                    I NEED to have the latest petunia 'African Sunset'. It is the first true orange petunia.
                                    Petunia 'African Sunset". Photo from All-America Selections.

                                    I'd also love to get my hands on the newest filet bean 'Mascotte'.
                                    Filet Bean 'Mascotte'. Photo from All-America Selections.
                                    There are number of other cutting edge varieties that are at the top of my want list. I should wait and see how actually grow. Heirlooms at least have along history and their attributes and faults are well documented. Then there is the price. I am going to have to pay for newness and novelty. The petunia averages around $4.95 for ten seeds and the bean $3.95 for 100 seeds. Then we have my "thriftiness", yes folks I've become VERY cheap since the great recession.
                                    Case in point-
                                    Last year I purchased several of the mew colors of sweet alyssum.
                                    'Aphrodite Lemon', 'Aphrodite Salmon', 'Aphrodite Wine Red", 'Wonderland Cotton Candy' and 'Aphrodite Apricot'. I also purchased seeds of my old favorites, 'Carpet of Snow', 'Rosie O'Day' and 'Royal Carpet'. I was disappointed with the new varieties. They did not spread well and the colors were only really noticeable in the late fall when it got very cool. The older varieties spread as expected and the colors were vivid. Hmn... I spent over ten dollars for the new, and less than three dollars for the old.
                                    If I were to spend the same amount on the newest I'd be getting less than ten packs of seeds. I've already modeled several Baker Creek orders and for $50.00, which includes shipping, I can get at least twenty packs of seeds. My head tells me what I should do. My greedy heart tells me otherwise.
                                    Thank goodness she didn't give me two gift cards!