Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seed and Plant Sources

One of the questions often asked of me is, "where do you get your plants and seeds?" My answer is always many places! Hopefully this article will share a little of my years of experience and favorite vendors with you.


I shop locally whenever I can - and I'm not talking about your "Big-Box" stores like Lowes and Walmart. I urge everyone to visit your locally owned and operated nurseries. They are people who know and love plants and will be willing to work with you. They will help you make the best choices plus your dollars will be going back into your community.

Ok, yes. The Big-Box places have great prices on flats of summer annuals like petunias and marigolds. Get those there if you that is your thing, but shop at your locally-owned nurseries for everything else.

Vegetables & Food Crops

I have a lot of favorites here. Not every place carries all the varieties I want so I end up placing seed orders to a dozen or more vendors each year. Many of these vendors also carry herb and flower seeds as well. Some seed vendors also carry vegetable transplants if seed-starting isn't an art you've mastered.

Abundant Life Seeds - Organic and biodynamic vegetable seeds
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - One of my favorite heirloom seed sources.
Comstock Seeds - A 200 year old tradition of selling seeds
Johnny's Selected Seeds - A wide range of vegetable and herb seed. No genetically modified seed.
Miller Nurseries - A local company that specializes in fruit tree, shrubs, and plants. Get a variety of plants and varieties. Great edible landscaping source.
Pinetree Garden Seeds - A favorite place to get not only a wide range of vegetable varieties but a place to get small amounts of seed for a small price which is a wonderful way to test out a variety
Raintree Nursery - All manner of fruit-bearing plants and trees are available here. Great edible landscaping source.
Seed Savers - Heirloom vegetable seeds.
Seeds of Change - Organic vegetable, flower, and herb seed.
Territorial Seed Company - A wide range of heirloom, open pollinated, and hybrid vegetable varieties. No genetically modified or treated seed.
Totally Tomato - Can't find a particular tomato or pepper variety elsewhere? Find it here.
Terroir Seeds - Heirloom and open-pollinated seeds.
Kitazawa Seed Company - Specialty Asian vegetable seed source.

Medicinal & Native Plants

Other than the food plants I've planted in the vegetable garden and the edible landscaping I've done, this is where I spend the most gardening energy. Given the number of medicinal native plants, I rolled both this two categories together, but the sources are easy to pick which is which.

Horizon Herbs - Medicinal plants and seeds of many herbal traditions
Nichols Garden Nusery - A nice selection of culinary herb and vegetable seed
Richters - A wonderful source for medicinal plants and seeds of all sorts from nearby Toronto
Forest Farm - While shipping from the westcoast is costly, this is a wonderful place to find many hard to find plants, trees, and shrubs.
Musser Forests - A nice place to get many native trees and shrubs in small amounts or in quantity. Located in nearby Pennsylvania.
Prairie Moon Nursery - One of the best native plant and seed sources around.
Amanda's Garden  - A local nursery specializing in native perennial plants
White Oak Nursery - A local nursery specializing in native trees and shrubs
Ion Exchange - A great source for native plant seedlings


I don't do much ornamental gardening these days but I do always slip some flowers into the vegetable beds to attract pollinators.

Select Seeds - Get antique flower seeds from this company including some of my favorite poppy varieties

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Even Pandora Prefers Natives

A couple of years ago a starved kitten started coming by our place. It was as wild and as untouched by human hands as cats can come. It would raid the compost bin of whatever was edible to vanish at the first sight of a human. Sometimes it would vanish for days or weeks at a time. So wild was it, that I started calling it "Pan" after the Greek god Pan who was the god of the Wild.

The weather turned colder and Pan roamed less and stayed more. We had 2 old barns filled old hay and straw that do provide a haven to many a critter. But it was clear that Pan was starving and I began to leave food out. I would call "kitty-kitty" and shake the food container to let Pan know that the human left the food and it just didn't fall like manna from the sky. Pan came to know the call meant food but was very secretive about coming for it and often waited until the human vanished again.

This went on for months....a year. Pan came more and now would let itself be seen but would keep a very safe distance. My husband began occasionally feeding the cat. He began talking to it. And over the course of many months and numerous hours of patient waiting, he was able to touch Pan. Over the following months, he came to be able to pet our feral cat. The cat even changed its scheduled time for visits to match his schedule. My husband also came to realize the cat we thought as male (red cats usually are) was female. Pan had become "Pandora."

Now 2 years later, she is still wild but she loves to be petted. She often hangs around our deck not only for food but for pets. Even though we speak of her as "Pandora" she knows her name as "Kitty-Kitty" from those early days of being fed.

She loves my "woodland" native plant garden. My woodland garden is on the east side of our house under a huge, old crabapple tree. It provides the copious leaf litter and shade to grow many native woodland plants. I grow wild ginger, twinleaf, bloodroot, jack-in-the-pulpit, black cohosh, blue cohosh, solomon's seal, spikenard, goldenseal, wild geranium, ferns, white baneberry, ramps, bellwort, and more in this garden. Some of the larger plants (like the solomon's seal and spikenard in the picture above) make a nice place to bed under. I couldn't resist snapping a picture of her snoozing there - of course she woke as I was going to take the picture, but you get the idea.