Vintage style seed packets captured my attention as we stepped into the well-manicured garden. The boxwood-lined Colonial Garden is one of several historic gardens of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Flowers and vegetables were easily identified with a little stake bearing the intricate black and white drawings on the packets. A closer inspection of the seed packets revealed the seeds came from Monticello, The Thomas Jefferson Center For Historic Plants. As much as I enjoyed the plantings and design of the symmetrical garden, I would have to say I loved the seed packets the best.
It would be several years before I acquired some of those artistically packaged seeds. I have a rather long wish list, I suppose. Last year, while looking for a specific rose for my English Rose Garden, I found Duchesse de Brabant in stock at Monticello. It was the only place I could find the Duchesse in stock. I was thrilled to find the 2 gallon potted rose and adding a couple beautifully illustrated seed packets to my shopping cart was very satisfying.
If you have a need for seeds, March is a good month for shopping at Monticello. They are offering free shipping this month. Most of us appreciate knowing about a good deal! This is not a sponsored post, but when I called to confirm a few details about the seed packets, I did ask about it.
Maybe you have a seed catalog that you love to pour through. Please share the details! I’ve lost track of an old favorite that I looked forward to receiving in the mail each year. The graphics and descriptions would make you want to order everything!
Monticello sells seeds that could have been grown in the Jefferson gardens. Our third president kept detailed plant journals, carefully documenting his many trials and errors, growing over 300 varieties of more than 90 different plants.
We are less than a month away from our frost date, so it’s time to get some seeds planted! This link to the Nora Barlow Columbine Seed displays the lovely rose shaped columbine. If I would have sewn these into our garden last fall, we would have plants already. The description on the back of my Nora Barlow seed packet says that this ancient type of “rose” columbine has double sepals with an unusual greenish tinge. These types were illustrated in European herbals of the early seventeenth century. It will thrive in fertile, cool soil in sun or partial shade in zones 3-8.
Our columbines started blooming a couple of weeks ago. They are a favorite! Plan B will be to plant my Nora seeds inside after stratifying or sow them in the ground between now and fall.
Amaranth seed varieties come in many forms. This love-lies-bleeding variety comes in green also. I love their unusual blooms. Amaranth is a complete source of protein and contains all of the essential amino acids. It makes a nutty flavored flour, and is often included in ancient grain blends.
I’ll start my love-lies-bleeding amaranth seeds inside this week and also sow some directly into the soil next month to stagger the blooms. This cascading favorite can be used in fresh or dried arrangements. In the Victorian language of flowers it means hopeless love. It’s supposed to grow 4-8 feet tall and the leaves and seeds are edible.
The Gilcrease gardens are worthy of your visit if you are traveling through Tulsa. In addition to the large display of American West artifacts, the museum has over 100,000 rare books and documents, including the only certified copy of the Declaration of Independence. I presume it is no accident that the Colonial Garden featured seeds of Monticello, considering Thomas Jefferson is credited with penning the first draft of this historic document.
Seed starting is one of the joys of spring. I enjoy seed saving and have printed up various vintage style printables to enhance my seed box. You can visit my collection of printables here. The thought of digging in the dirt and watching new life spring forth makes my heart pound with anticipation. It’s probably no secret that I have a hopeless love of gardening. This love helps me appreciate our amazing Creator and his intricate design in nature. I’m thankful for artists that can depict this beauty. Wishing you a happy and fruitful first week of spring!