Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Seed Savers

On our return trip from Minnesota, we had a side excursion to the university in Iowa where I am mounting an exhibit this winter. Not far from the home base of Seed Savers Exchange, we decided to make a visit, although it took us longer to get there on the side roads than we had hoped, and arrived after closing. Their place was wide open, enough so that we felt comfortable taking a look around the gardens. 

Trial hollyhocks at the entrance.

Nearly an acre of trial/display gardens near the entrance and store. In extreme northeastern Iowa, a bit of high country, often well above 1000 feet in elevation, is known as the Driftless Area. It's a fascinating landscape, outside of the monotony of plateau farming, and worth exploring more thoroughly. I suspect it is somewhat cooler in certain locales, as the woods were emitting cool air as we drove by that afternoon, and many plants seemed younger than expected in these gardens. The region is listed as USDA Zone 4b.

Many, many individually potted tomatoes and peppers for sale -one dollar each. I, and the beach farm, were lucky to be too late to rack up a collection.

I was attracted to this tomato -Velvet Red. With its grayed pubescence, I thought it might increase drought tolerance, useful at the beach farm, or anywhere. Indeterminate, 80 days.

A potted, mature specimen of Velvet Red.

A very dark red lettuce and cut-leaf kale.

Major asparagus hedge.

More trial beds.

The odd and entrancing Nigella, or Love in a Mist.

Lamb's ears, digitalis.

This was our campground, or the backdrop to it, at the Volga River State Recreation Area. We stayed here one night. Brand-spanking new facility, smartly designed hot water showers, clear night skies, tent canopy removed. Next morning, wild black raspberries. 


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...