(Note: here is the 2013 edition of this article.) AS I’VE SAID BEFORE, I rarely buy annual, perennial or vegetable seeds from local vendors. Why? Because their selections are limited to what will fit on a rack. Take, for example, petunia seeds. The local big-box store might sell 3 basic varieties (if you’re lucky). But visit an on-line seed specialist like Summerhill, and you will find 61 petunia varieties, including the delightful ‘Shock Wave Rose,’ pictured above. The following seed-sellers get most of my business:
Diane’s Flower Seeds. Diane Linsley offers open-pollinated, heirloom perennial, annual, and vegetable seeds. Seeds have been tested for germination. Her columbine collection is extraordinary; I winter-sowed several varieties one year, including the stunning, blue ‘Alpine.’
Summerhill Seeds. I already mentioned Summerhill’s petunias, but their hollyhocks are equally impressive. You can buy them in mixed or individual hues. I had to restrain myself with these, for I wanted them all. I settled for ‘Apple Blossom,’ a 7-foot variety with fully double, soft-pink blossoms.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds. You can have a field day on this site, too, whether you are looking for flowers or vegetables. Last year, I couldn’t resist Johnny’s lime-green variety of Love Lies Bleeding, nor his extra early, ‘Premium’ peas.
Pinetree Garden Seeds. If you need seeds at low, low prices by all means visit Pinetree. This is the place to buy seed potatoes, onions, artichokes, and bareroot raspberries and blueberries. Their online catalog is far from glitzy, but who cares? Packets of flower and vegetable seeds are often under $2.00.
Renee’s Garden. Love cottage gardens? So does Renee Shephard. I winter-sowed her double cosmos ‘Rose Bon Bon’ last year, and enjoyed the rich, romantic, frilled flowers from spring through frost. You might like her knee-high sweet peas, in mixed tones of salmon-rose and soft mid-blue, which grow to only three feet. Renee’s love for flowers and vegetables becomes obvious when you visit her website.
Seeds of Change. My friend Randy introduced me to this company which sells only 100-percent organic seeds. I’ve already placed an order with them for ‘Nutri-Bud’ broccoli, ‘Golden Giant’ amaranth, and ‘Roma’ and ‘Amish’ paste tomatoes.
Seed Savers Exchange. This non-profit group of gardeners is dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. I rely on them for almost all of my heirloom veggie needs. I can heartily recommend their ‘German Pink’, ‘Golden Sunray’, ‘Italian Heirloom,’ and ‘Striped Cavern’ tomatoes — for these performed brilliantly here last year.
Now it’s your turn. Who gets your seed money?
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