Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Seedy Truth About My Corner of Katy

All right, children, gather round, it's true confessions time. I feel that I must unburden myself of a secret compulsion ...

one that compacts my cabinets ...

clutters my closets ...


and shambles my shelves ...

and makes near incessant demands on my time and energies. And yet I am helpless in its grip for loathe as I am to admit it to such august company, I am she who is unable to resist the ineffable lure, the limitless potential, the seductive promise of future glory ...

Oh, screw it, I save seeds. Which means I also save bags and jars and bottles and envelopes and tubs and cartons and cylinders and whatever other containers I think might serve my cause. As you can see from the picture below, this year I pressed old sushi trays into service. Now if only I could remember what plant these seeds came from ... I always think I'll remember or that I'll be able to recognize the seeds without difficulty and so I skip that pesky little step of LABELING them.

Don't think I can't hear what you're thinking. "Well, gee, that doesn't look so bad." Let's take a closer look, shall we?
This is one side of the table ...

And this is the other. (There are a few more bags & jars in the garage, but I didn't feel like hauling them in to be photographed.)

Right about now I can hear you saying "hey, there's an awful lot of seed packets that obviously didn't come from your corner of Katy!" Well, damn skippy there are! Shoot, some of them are heirlooms, although not in the usual horticultural sense. The three packets below were my grandmother's; my mother found them amongst Grand's belongings after she died ... in 1978. The Burpee packet is Iceberg Candytuft (Iberis) and the two from Park Seeds are Chamomile and Curled Cress.

I also have packets dating back to 1998, when KringleBob bestowed upon more than 20 lucky gardeners the gift of 200 some packages of seeds. It's a long story ... suffice it to say for now that 2 East Coast members of my e-mail group, the GardenBobs, discovered a dumpster full of discarded seed packets. Diving for delphiniums ... what a Christmas treat that box was!

There are also some very special seeds, given to me by gardeners who are no longer with us and are saved because the handwriting on the labels is one of the few tangible memories I have of those dear friends.

And try as I might, I can't stop myself from buying more seeds. This is how gardeners gamble. We place a $2 bet, hoping to be rewarded with weeks or even months of glorious blooms. We can't help ourselves: we're sure that this is the season when every last seed will germinate and become a breathtaking vision of horticultural beauty. We're aided and abetted in our wagers by the purveyors of seed who seduce us with tantalizing descriptions and mesmerizing photographs.

By and large, though, it's seeds from the plants that grow here on my corner of Katy that I can't seem to stop saving. I cringe mightily at the thought of all the possibilities come to naught if I throw the spent seedheads in the trash. Some of them make their way into compost but way too many of them (at least I think so) still end up in the back of the big blue truck. I tell myself that perhaps somewhere in the landfill, an Echinacea or Gaillardia is brightening an otherwise dull horizon. It's a nice fantasy and it makes me smile.

Right now, though, if you'll excuse me? I have to go sort through all those seeds and clear the table before the Executive Producer sees it and starts fussing!




13 comments:

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

You've got quite a seed saving business going there. And it's not like a useless endeavor--like making the bed--you just get back in it in a few hours and mess it up all over again, right? No, you are saving the lives of countless beauties, and hopefully sharing. ;-)

I knew I was saving all those neat sushi trays for something--now I know what to do with them.

I love your novel way of not labeling seeds. First of all, the labels would just get lost or mixed up anyway, so why bother! Second, I think it makes for a more interesting garden. It's like Forest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Wow! My friend, you have more seeds than me, and I thought *I* was obsessed. Here's to having fun in the garden and out and always thinking about growing good things.~~Dee

Carol said...

I feel like I've just found a kindred spirit, a long lost sister of the seed! I've got old seeds, too, but not nearly as many seeds that I save myself. I feel now like I should buy some more seeds...

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I can't decide if this could be an episode on "Horders," or the beginning of a private seed museum. I need to get more into saving seeds from my plants. I'm trying, with seeds stuffed into envelopes with the name on the front. Now I just have to put them into little packets & stuff them in the mail.

Kathy said...

Thanks for sharing your secret.

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

MG, I do label some of them! And some are recognizable enough that they don't need the labels. But yeah, sometimes I just toss the seeds out into one spot of the garden or another and see what happens!

Dee, that's my problem ... I can't stop thinking! I'm working on making myself leave seeds on plants for the birds. We'll see how that goes.

Carol, we're SOTS! If you're going to buy some more, maybe I should too?

MMD, we can still walk through the house without stepping over seed packets so no need to call Hoarders just yet!

Kathy, that's just one of many secrets!

Rose said...

I've never been much of a collector--other than useless stuff I can't throw away--but seeds seem the logical thing to collect. I think it's neat that you have seeds from your grandmother and lost friends; I wouldn't be able to part with those either. I like the image of echinacea and gaillardia in the landfills--hey, maybe we can start a sort of guerrilla gardening movement that way?:)

Jean said...

Wow girl, that is one big obsession! I hope you feel better now that you've shared it with us. ;-)

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Rose, I've thought about scattering seeds in the utility easement between alleys near me. I may do that. Shoot, I may put some bluebonnets in the circle at the end of our cul-de-sac, too. Oh, my, I'm getting all sorts of ideas ...

Jean, yep, confession is good for the soul. I feel the need ... the need for seeds!

Gail said...

Cindy, What a glorious sight! I am glad you save seeds~~I hope a few poppies sprout from the seeds you shared with me! I love seeds, too! You can't see the top of my desk for all the seeds~old and new, from the nursery or the garden! They need a basement; someplace cool and dark to keep them viable! gail

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ConsciousGardener said...

I've got the same sickness...I seem to only be able to remember the "pretty" seeds...like Mountain Laurel or the pokey Datura pod. Grow a potpouri garden and watch the war of the roses...so to speak!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Now I don't feel so bad about my boxes of seeds all over the compter table! Hubby did ask a few weeks ago if I wouldn't like a place to keep them....yeah..on the computer table! :)