Susan Reimer says “No tacky seed promos!”


Guest Rant by Susan Reimer, Baltimore Sun columnist and blogger

Every new year begins with resolutions, and every gardener makes

  • No buying another plant unless I have a spot for it.
  • Stay on top of the weeds.
  • Plant for fall color, too.
  • Don’t water at night, even if it is easier.

But Burpee, the seed company, has taken New Year’s resolutions to a pretty absurd point: seed
varieties for the resolutions on your list.

For just $10, you can buy seeds for The Resolution Garden, “one that will inspire positive changes in nearly every area of one’s life.”

The resolutions and their corresponding seeds are:

  • Lose weight – Lettuce Heatwave
  • Exercise – Pole Bean Blue Lake
  • Save money – Tomato Supersteak
  • Reduce stress – Mixed cutting flowers
  • Steward of the environment – Monarda Bergamo
  • Spend time with the family – Sun Forest Sunflowers
  • Better food choices – Carrot Burpee A#1

Ouch. Can you say marketing ploy?

I admit that plowing through all the seed catalogs that arrive in January is a full-time job. And it might help to narrow the choices and focus on what exactly you want to do in the garden this year, instead of just picking seeds because the pictures are pretty.

But this marketing approach makes gardeners look simple and dumb, and even beginning gardeners don’t want to feel that way about themselves.

And, as far as New Year’s resolutions go, how about this one:

Simply garden for the sake of gardening and you will get a little closer to
being the better person you resolved to be in 2010.



  1. It never occurred to me to make New Year’s resolutions about my garden. Usually my notes for future stuff are wrapped up in October.

  2. I agree with Michelle G. I grow Blue Lake Pole Beans, and I haven’t made that part of my exercise regimen… Hmmmm, I’m formulating an evil plan… Or is that plant?

    Grow Pole Beans = get out of exercising. HAH!

  3. I think marketing “ploy” is a bit harsh.

    Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, however; others might like the idea of planting something for each resolution and being constantly reminded of the resolution when they see their plant every day.

    aside: It could even be fun to try and accomplish some resoltuion before something blooms 😉

    The more ideas the better, and I think their resolution idea has some merit.

  4. Now wouldn’t it suck if none of your sunflowers lived to flower. Awe, my family isn’t a priority because I can’t grow sunflowers.

    Or what about if I didn’t eat the lettuce and it bolts. Guess I won’t be skinny.

    Giving plants too much meaning is a bad idea. Moral of the story never give a difficult to grow plant as a funeral flower.

  5. I guess Burpee is struggling to sell seeds. I hope they come out with a “Dislike Your Neighbor Variety Pack”. This could be a seed packet with 10 different types of weeds, and you could sprinkle them in your neighbor’s garden when they aren’t home.

    Hmmm…. I just might pitch that idea to Burpee.

  6. I guess it depends on your mood at the time. I found it kind of funny, not really really funny, but certainly not offensive. It would be difficult to come up with something clever every year, something different to catch the imagination.

  7. I cited Burpee’s resolution garden, too. I thought it was a different type of hype made to make people think about spending a little more time in the garden, maybe. I think that anything that gets folks off their butts and outside doing something productive can’t hurt. I also cited their recession garden package last year. They pay big bucks for these ad ideas, why not re-use them?

    The other thing I mention is that these cute package deals may not work well for Florida,(despite the frigid weather we’ve been having these past two weeks). Those cool weather veggies need to be planted now or very soon otherwise they’ll be stressed by the heat in late spring.

    I buy Burpee seeds on a regular basis. I find that the germination rate is significantly higher than others.

  8. I’m okay with it – at least it’s showing some creativity (tho’ it didn’t really make a ton of sense…). I like Tee’s idea above, to have a pack of ‘dislike your neighbor’s variety pack’ – now THAT’S clever and funny….I’d include morning glories that re-seed everywhere for eons to come…

  9. Susan, you know I luv ya, but I didn’t get the same impression. Two thoughts come to mind. Fist, anything that can light a spark in one new or fallow veteran gardener, I’m all for it. Secondly, Burpee is a business so you can’t blame them for trying to put their marketing hats on sell more seeds.

    And to Tee’s comment, I LOVE it. I’d start with Erigeron philadelphicus, aka “flea bane”!!!

  10. check out a wild idea about borrowing seeds from the library, growing the crop and returning the seeds from the crop. Over time seeds develop traits specific to the Hudson Valley where the seed library is
    The TROLL


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