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Gardening with Heirloom Seeds: Tried-And-True Flowers, Fruits, and Vegetables for a New Generationby Lynn Coulter
Synopses & Reviews
Heirloom seeds are more than the promise of next summer's crookneck squash or jewel-colored zinnias. They're living antiques handed down from one generation to the next, a rich inheritance of flavor and beauty from long ago and, often, far away. They are sometimes better adapted to pests and harsh conditions than many modern varieties and often simply smell or taste better. Gardening with Heirloom Seeds serves as a resource for gardeners, cooks, and plant lovers of all levels of expertise who want to know more about finding, sharing, and propagating the seeds of heirloom flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
In these beautifully illustrated pages, Lynn Coulter describes fifty old-fashioned species that have their roots in the past, from the Frenchman's Darling, a flowering herb whose seeds were pocketed by Napoleon Bonaparte when he invaded Egypt in 1798, to Snow White beets, an old Dutch favorite that will not stain the cook's fingers red. Most of the plants included here will grow all across the United States; a few are best suited for warmer climates.
The text is sprinkled with practical advice from heirloom gardeners and lists sources for finding the seeds of many old varieties. Because it also provides room for notes, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds can be used year after year and can become an heirloom in its own right--a personal journal to pass along to the next generation of gardeners.
"Coulter sets out to provide readers with 'a sampler for heirloom seeds' to learn about and grow. Each of her four chapters focuses on a single season, with an informative essay on its tasks and pleasures and descriptions of heirloom garden plants, including an overview, recommended varieties and helpful growing tips. While the listings are far from exhaustive, they include a wide enough range of edible and ornamental plants to populate a large and varied garden. They also provide well-researched, lively descriptions, including fascinating facts about common plants and their uses throughout history. For example, readers will be delighted to learn that the green paint used to illustrate medieval manuscripts was made from spinach, and that carbon dating has placed the pea as far back as 9750 B.C. This makes Coulter's book an ideal armchair companion to seed catalogues — an extremely popular genre in their own right. Coulter's organization does violate some conventions: vegetables are intermingled with flowers, and annuals are not clearly distinguished from perennials. Still, her stylish, interesting text, an exhaustive listing of sources for heirloom seeds and numerous color and b&w illustrations make this a welcome addition to every gardener's bookshelf." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[In Gardening with Heirloom Seeds] Coulter sets out to provide readers with 'a sampler for heirloom seeds' to learn about and grow. . . . The listings . . . include a wide enough range of edible and ornamental plans to populate a large and varied garden. They also provide well-researched, lively descriptions, including fascinating facts about common plants and their uses throughout history. . . . Her stylish, interesting text, an exhaustive listing of sources for heirloom seeds and numerous color and b&w illustrations make this a welcome addition to every gardener's bookshelf." Publishers Weekly
"Suitable for both the novice and the experienced gardener." Library Journal
“[Gardening with Heirloom Seeds is] a fine gardening book and a beautiful, fresh look at a subject of great interest in the past decade. . . . Coulter uses a catalog approach, with each flower, fruit, and vegetable pictured, its assets described and recommended heirloom varieties named. She writes with authority, salting the text with informed observations and lore. . . . The photographs are especially good, sharp, and colorful." The Charlotte Observer
This book serves as an introduction and sourcebook for gardeners and plant lovers of all levels of expertise who want to know more about finding, sharing, and propagating the seeds of heirloom flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Featuring historical information on fifty heirloom plant species, this richly illustrated book also offers practical gardening advice, sources for growing and sharing heirloom seeds, and writing space for notes and records.
About the Author
Lynn Coulter is a journalist and writer whose work has appeared in Delta Sky, Family Circle, Southern Living, and other publications. She lives with her husband and son in Georgia.
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