March 24, 2013
I've been entranced with the ritual of seed starting since I was a kid. I bought trays with plastic domes and poked seeds of snapdragons, sweet peas, petunias, and coleus (to name a few) into flaky media. Eventually, my palette broadened as my taste in plants grew geekier. Seed planting was no longer an afternoon activity in March. Seed planting became a 12-month ritual, honing in on the biology of unique species, the requirements they had for germinating, the special treatments they occasionally needed, and the waiting (and waiting) required before I knew if I was successful or not.
Building a botanical garden is seed starting on an human scale. The seeds are more often ideas, the planting media more often the minds of our patrons, donors, and the community. The ritual is, however, the same--as ideas germinate and take hold, stewarding those budding thoughts becomes just as important as planting them in the first place. Today, we're stewarding and nurturing many such seedlings. As our 14-acre property grows and blossoms--from its acorn inception to an oak culmination--we will get the chance to plant lots of seeds and tend lots of seedlings, both figuratively and literally.
Today, the packets scattered on my desk represent everything from heirloom annuals to wild-collected accessions of herbaceous perennials from China. No matter the provenance, I celebrate them for what may come after their sowing. These seeds on my desk today are quite literally the seeds of our future, botanical gems from around the world that will come to grace coveted spots in our future gardens. From rare irises from the Korean peninsula (Iris sanguinea var. tobatensis) to unusual clovers (Trifolium spadiceum), the diversity of plants we're tending from tiny bits is very exciting. As you watch us grow, stay tuned to this blog for the stories of our journey, plants we love, news we want to share, and, of course, seeds we want to plant next.