Before you shout at the screen, “But you promised you weren’t buying any more seeds!” I must explain. I’m a member of Garden Writers of America, a delightful, helpful organization that has many benefits of membership. One benefit is that many manufacturers an seed companies give free products, in this case, seeds in the hope that we will grow them, love them, and write about them. One such company is Renee’s Garden.
In the mail, I received an envelope containing a free packet of Renee’s heirloom nasturtiums, “Climbing Phoenix.” Look carefully at the photo above and you’ll see that the petals have unusual “fringed” edges. I love nasturtiums (as do hummingbirds!) so I was delighted with my free gift. It is a blend of yellow, red, orange, mahogany, and coral blooms. I use the spicy blooms in salads, stuff the flowers with cheese mixtures or tapenade, use petals to decorate canapes, or steep them in vinegar. Nasturtiums are a valuable companion plant since they deter squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and potato bugs. I’ll plant them with my melons, potatoes, and cole crops, too.
Upon reading the brochure, I discovered I was invited to choose 12 more packets to trial. Twelve more FREE packets from their extensive listings! Look at the above photo to see what did I chose: A new crisphead lettuce called “Queen of Crunch;” an heirloom lettuce “Red Deer Tongue;” a Chinese cabbage “Little Jade” and another tiny regular cabbage named “Baby Pixie.” I’d been feeling as if there wasn’t enough spinach seeds on hand to also do fall crops, so I added two more: “Summer Perfection” and “Gangbusters.”
Renee also offers beautiful flower seeds, so I added Foxglove “Apricot Faerie Queen,” Hollyhock “Apricot Peach Parfait,” and a bright orange, shaggy zinnia called “Mighty Lion.” After reading Julia’s lovely article on sweet peas (her blog is JuliasGardenDelights) I chose Sweet Pea “Pastel Sunset Classic.” And, after thinking about all the bugs those nasturtiums will chase away, I added Nasturtium “Copper Sunset.” Maybe this year, I’ll have enough flowers to satisfy me in the borders and still be able to pick some for the house.
Thank you Renee Shepherd Seeds for their gift. I know I am going to enjoy the growing seeds, and reviewing them over the season. Visit the website http://www.reneesgarden.com to see her extensive listings and full descriptions of plants. If you are new to gardening or seed-sowing, you will especially appreciate the accurate information printed on each packet.