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.