Sunday, July 9, 2017

Why Grow Heirlooms

I am a sucker for history and all things old.  Old houses, (I live in one.), old furniture, and old books.  That means I also have a love of old flowers.  Usually they are flowers that my grandmothers, and my mom, grew in their gardens.  Both of my grandmothers would save seeds and pass them on to my mom, who would grow them in her garden.  We lived far away and my my would receive seeds in the mail and plant them in the spring.  Quite often people would stop to ask where the flowers came from.  They were beautiful and not like regular seeds found in the stores.  


First Cleome of the Summer season, in my garden.  


Generally speaking a plant is considered an heirloom if it was grown before 1951, is not grown commercially, and it not a hybrid.  Heirloom plants are open pollinated, just like nature intended, and don't always have a perfect shape/form.  

Now, this isn't to say that I don't like hybrids plants.  I do have a couple of hybrid tomato plants in my garden this year, but......heirloom plants, of all varieties, outnumber everything at the farmette.  

Heirloom plants perpetuate  history, nature, and are healthy and true.

I grow them at every opportunity and I hope you do too.





19 comments:

  1. I love to see old stands of iris and daffodils where houses once stood.

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  2. I love growing old time flowers. I have a bleeding heart form a great great aunt. Also a pussy willow from Sweden. Mom brought it back in her suitcase. I love to grow perennials. I just love flowers.

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    1. I do too and usually save my seeds each year. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a great place for all kinds of seeds....veggies, flowers, and everything in between. Their annual catalog is huge and free.

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  3. I like to find volunteer plants in the garden and try them for several years to see if they have any better results than the others I grow. I am trying a tomato this year that I found growing up on the hill where a bird or animal dropped the seed. It could have come from a hybrid so is kind of a new variety and may take a few years to settle down as far as results. That is kind of what heirlooms are, something that people liked and continued to plant for one reason or another. I noticed this year that plants and seed that was being sold this year suddenly all were labeled heirloom if it wasn't a hybrid, some were clearly commercial varieties like Rutgers tomatoes. So now heirloom doesn't mean what it once did. I will call my varieties "non commercial" varieties to separate from corporate ad campaign.

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    1. I usually save seeds each year, but if I am looking for something new and interesting I do order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They are a great company that offers a huge annual catalog each year and it is free.

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  4. What a wonderful way to grow the plants you love.

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  5. When I see Bleeding Hearts & Hollyhocks I think of my grandmother & my mum who both grew them. I have had no luck with them!

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  6. I have a ton of volunteer flowers in my garden.. I let them thrive to their hearts content. Lily-of-the-Valley is one of my favorite volunteers. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  7. ...oh good, I'm a heirloom too!

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  8. Cleome is always in my yard.I like the heirloom veggies to try different flavors

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  9. my neighbor has these Cleome ... they kind of look like aliens to me. my MOM has heirloom tomatoes. nice! ( ;

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  10. Those cleome are beautiful! I have both hybrid and heirlooms in my garden. I have some lilacs that came from my great grandma's garden and also some lily of the valley from her place. I wish I had some of my grandma's iris. She had a huge iris bed full of many kinds of irises. She was an amazing gardener. Enjoy that beautiful cleome. I have some at the back of my pond garden. :)

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  11. Hello, I think your heirloom plants are wonderful. You can be reminded of your family every time you look at them. The cleome is a beautiful bloom. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

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  12. you are a vintage type of girl!!!

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  13. I don't Michelle, but I will be doing some research pronto to see what heirlooms grow in our Australian climate!

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  14. I love heirlooms. There's a book called "Passalong Plants" by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing. Bender was an editor at Southern Living and Felder is a retired extension agent from Mississippi. Felder also has a book called "Gardening Southern Style" that you'd also like. If you should have the chance to hear him speak, take it.

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  15. My mom has also a heirloom flower, she takes good care of, and replantes every now and then ~ her friends have gotten some seeds from mom, so they also have the flower in their gardens.
    Your flowers is pretty ~ lovely to caress about history and old things!

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  16. I've taken some hens and chicks from my moms garden and have planted them in the last 4 places I've lived. Not old enough yet to be heirlooms.

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  17. Neat! I love the idea of sharing flower seeds across generations in different locales.

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