Gather round. The fire is slowing burning down, the last embers fading, leaving just enough light for me to make out the writing in an old gardening book, The Flower Garden – A Manual for the Amateur Gardener by Ida D. Bennett.
Illustrated and published by Doubleday, Page & Company in 1910, it is one of several books that make up The Garden Library.
What use could such a book be to us, 100 years later?
Let’s read it and see…
“Buying seeds is largely a matter of experience. So glowing are the descriptions sent out in the numerous catalogues that one may easily be led into ordering many worthless novelties, and many desirable ones for which there is neither room nor sufficient knowledge of their wants to grow them successfully. Cheap collections, where one is requested to send ten cents for a catalogue and twelve packages of seeds, are worst of all.” (Intro to Chapter Five, “Purchasing of Seeds”)
My goodness, not much has changed in 100 years.
Gardeners are still easily led into ordering worthless flower novelties, and vegetables, too, based on descriptions that are nothing less than glowing.
We still order more seeds to grow more plants than we could ever hope to have room for in our gardens.
And of course we order seeds for plants when we lack “sufficient knowledge of their wants to grow them successfully”.
So if nothing has changed in 100 years, will it ever change for us?
Will we always have to be warned that many of the seeds we buy, to put it bluntly, will be wasted because they either don’t live up to their descriptions, or we don’t have room for them, or we have no idea how to grow some of the plants, if we even get the seed to germinate?
But after 100 years, gardeners are not likely to change. We will continue to enjoy our traditional seed buying ways, ordering seeds based on emotions, falling for descriptions we know are pushed to the edge of truthfulness, ignoring the actual size of our gardens, unconcerned that we may fail at germinating the seeds and growing the plants to maturity.
Seeds are like dreams, some come true and some don’t. We always want to have dreams, and we always want to have seeds, too. ~