“Plant the Seeds, Frame the Art!”
When Ken Greene founded the Hudson Valley Seed Library a dozen years ago at the Gardiner (NY) Library, it was the first seed library hosted by any public library in the United States. The concept was that patrons could borrow seeds in the spring, grow them into plants, and then harvest the seeds and re-deposit them in the library collection for others to use and enjoy.
Since then, Greene’s seed library has grown into an independent business, a seed company that focuses on heirloom and open-pollinated vegetables and flowers. It no longer shares seeds for free, nor does it depend on patrons as sources of its products. But it remains just as dedicated to a do-it-yourself, locally sourced style of gardening. Its criteria for including a cultivar it its catalog is not only the quality and, commonly, the history of the plant but also that it must be suited to seed-saving. Many of its seeds HVSL raises itself (organically) on its 3-acre farm; the rest it buys from other organic growers. Currently it offers a list of some 400 different cultivars.
What I enjoy most about HVSL, though, is another aspect of its effort to preserve our garden heritage. Old time catalogs were full of original art – for some rural customers, I suspect that the arrival of the seed catalogs in late winter was their main exposure to the fine arts from one year to the next. In this spirit, HVSL commissions original art to adorn its seed packets. Produced in media as varied as paint, ceramic, needlework and even stained glass, these images are varied in style, but all are contemporary and fresh. Each takes as its theme the type of seed contained in the packet, and lends a special context to the crop. The Seed Library calls these its “art packs”; I like to think they contain seeds of aesthetic as well as horticultural growth.
GIVE AWAY: Share a tip from your experience with seed saving and you may be the person to win a free set of Art Packs from Hudson Valley Seed Library.
The give-away will include: 2016 Art of the Heirloom Calendar
7 gallon “fabric” planter, with handles for easy transport
2 gallon fabric planter
9 seed packs: an assortment of some of our very favorite varieties!
A retail value of over $55.