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Blanket Flower (Organic)$3.25
Gaillardia arisata. Perennial to zone 3.
Beautiful, cheery daisy-like flowers on long sturdy stems are a great, long-lasting cut flower that bloom over a long season – even into November or December if autumn is mild. Flowers are red-orange in the center, petals have yellow tips. After each blossom is done flowering the seedheads make beautiful little balls that look like balloons and also look nice in arrangements. Blanket Flower is a great low-maintenance addition to any perennial flower garden. It is deer resistant, drought tolerant, and prefers full sun. Plants will grow 1-2′ wide and up to 3′ tall.
Cardoon, Argenté de Genéve Inerme (Organic)$3.80
Cynara cardunculus. Perennial.
Closely related to the artichoke, this stem vegetable is sown in spring, blanched with cardboard in fall, and then used raw in salads or steamed. Large, silver, slightly spiny leaves produce purple thistle-like flowers that reach 6′ tall. Pollinators love it. Heirloom originally from the Grosjean family in Chêne-Bougeries, Switzerland. We received it from Pro Specie Rara, the Swiss seed saving organization.
Nepeta cataria. Perennial to Zone 3.
Catnip is a member of the mint family and is especially suited for gardeners whose household includes members of the cat family. Our cats love catnip and can often be found laying in the shade of the catnip patch on summer afternoons, but cats aren’t the only reason to grow catnip. Drought tolerant and deer resistant, it may also repel aphids, ants, flea beetles, and squash bugs, even as it attracts many types of beneficial insects. A strong infusion of catnip leaves has been said to repel fleas from carpets and pets. Leaves may be used as a culinary herb and may also be used medicinally for humans for relaxation and as a sleep aid. Catnip has a history of being used in treating digestive disorders, reducing fevers, and a whole slew of other ailments. Plants reach 5′ in their second year. Germination can be slow and unpredictable.
Columbine, William Guiness (Organic)$3.25
Aquilegia vulgaris. Perennial in zones 3 – 8.
This old fashioned European columbine has hypnotic bi-colored purple-black and white blooms that reach 2” across. Flowers are held high above foliage and are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. The low growing ferny green foliage is also quite attractive. Shade tolerant and deer resistant. Harvest for bouquets or deadhead to prolong bloom. Plants grow 24-30″ tall. Originating from the gardens at the Guiness Family Estate in Ireland. Aka, Magpie.
Coreopsis, Lanceleaf, Sterntaler (Organic)$3.25
Coreopsis lanceolata. Perennial in zones 4 – 9.
Native to much of North America, lanceleaf coreopsis is a low maintenance addition to most gardens and natural areas. Daisy-like flowers have yellow petals with toothed edges and small red spots towards the center that bloom May through July. Attracts butterflies and is a good nectar source for beneficial insects. Prefers full sun, tolerates poor soil and drought conditions. Naturalizes easily. Aka, Lanceleaf Coreopsis.
Daisy, Giant Shasta (Organic)$3.25
Leucanthemum x superbum. Perennial.
Classic, 3-4” single white flowers atop 3′ tall plants. This variety was bred by plant genius Luther Burbank and released in 1890. Blooms throughout the summer if deadheaded regularly. Long stems on 3-4′ plants make Giant Shasta Daisy a great cut flower. If sown early in spring, this perennial will bloom in its first year. We would like to thank Restoration Seeds for introducing us to this beautiful variety.
Elecampane, Julie’s (Organic)$3.25
Inula helenium. Perennial.
One of the most highly regarded herbs of the Western herbal tradition and a very important part of the Pacific Northwest apothecary. The root is used for many ailments, especially respiratory issues including bronchial infections and chronic cough. We love having it in the garden because it is easy to grow and is a tough perennial which can turn into a very large plant after a few years. The root is harvested in the fall of the second year. Mentioned by Pliny and named after Helen of Troy, it is said to have sprouted up from where her tears fell. Also revered as a sacred herb by the ancient Celts, who called it elfwort. An Irish study has found extracts of elecampane to be effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and to generally be highly antimicrobial.
We have named this strain after our late friend Julie Mallalieu, who sadly passed away in 2012. She was a wonderful organizer of the Eugene Propagation Fair and seed swaps in the area and she gave this seed to us a few years ago. We miss her.
English Wallflower, Vulcan (Organic)$3.50
Erysimum cheiri. Perennial.
Unique, 1 ½” velvety crimson flowers start to bloom early in the spring from a mid summer sowing the year before. Blooms in clusters that make a nice sweet scented cut flower. The plants are somewhat dwarf, growing up to 2′ tall, and do well in partial or full sun. They prefer soils with good drainage. We have some growing under rhododendrons and the combination is delightful. This species has a long history as an ornamental in Europe and deserves to be more popular in North America. Thrives in our Pacific Northwest climate. In other areas English wallflowers are often grown as biennials and are hardy down to -5°F.
Fennel, Selma Fino (Organic)$3.80–$9.80
Foeniculum vulgare. 80 days.
A superior bulbing/Florence fennel with an excellent sweet anise-like flavor that mellows with cooking. In organic farm trials throughout western Oregon, Selma Fino is usually the sweetest tasting. Takes about 80 days to form full-sized bulbs, however it can be harvested sooner at a smaller size. Very white bulbs are fairly uniform and won’t prematurely bolt if planted in spring. Tops can be used as a fresh herb, adding a very mellow fennel seed flavor to dishes or salads. Unique when compared to other bulb type fennel, some plants can perennialize.
Four O’Clock, Don Pedro’s (Organic)$3.00
Mirabilis jalapa. Perennial in zones 9+.
Striking hot pink and bright yellow variegated, trumpet shaped flowers open in the afternoon and are frequently visited by beautiful moths. Tender plants grow to 3′ and are perennial in Zones 9 and higher. Tubers may be dug and stored indoors for replanting, but as this flower self-sows readily it may not be worth the effort. Some sources claim Four O’Clocks are poisonous, others that it is medicinal. This variety was introduced in 1982 by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Their original seed came from Spain, though Four O’Clocks are originally from Peru, and are also known as Marvel of Peru.
Green Onions, White Spear (Organic)$3.50–$12.50
Allium fistulosum. Scallion/Green Onion. 60 days.
Andrew’s favorite green onion on the farm. Dependably produces beautiful bunches of green onions. Upright growth with no flopping, vigorous and easy to clean. So perfect that you don’t even need to cut the tops off. Bright green leaves and white bottoms are tall yet stocky. We have been selecting this variety for overwintering with much success. White Spear will go perennial and slowly self propagate in our Northwest climate if you don’t eat them all.
Horehound, White (Organic)$3.25–$6.00
Marrubium vulgare. Perennial.
An attractive shrub with small, grey-green leaves that are covered in small white hairs, creating a fuzzy appearance. Tea can be made from the leaves and it is a favorite remedy for coughs (though it’s quite bitter so add honey). Horehound has long been noted for its medicinal qualities in treating numerous ailments. The essential oil is said to contain potent antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also traditionally been used as a flavoring for ales, sodas, and lozenges. Naturalizes easily and may spread, though germination can be slow and erratic. Best when direct sown in early spring or early fall.
Lemon Balm, Quedlinburger Niederliegende (Organic)$3.25–$12.00
Melissa officinalis. Perennial.
Living in the Northwest we have always wished we could grow citrus. You could try to grow lemons in a greenhouse or you could simply throw this seed all around your garden. A strong lemon balm tea is a great substitute for lemon juice in most recipes. Quedlinburger Niederliegende is higher in essential oil content than the common lemon balm, and yields lots of leaves. Lemon balm tea, when sweetened with honey, is used medicinally to help with stress, indigestion, and headaches. We have also used it when brewing mead (honey wine) with great success. This easy-to-grow perennial belongs in every garden.
You might ask why we love strange names, and we’re not sure why but we do. To translate/contextualize this tongue twister of a name is a delight. Quedlinburg is a town located in Germany north of the Harz mountains in Saxony-Anhalt. “Niederliegende” translates from German as procumbent, which is a botanical adjective meaning, “growing along the ground without setting forth roots.” This is interesting as we’ve observed this variety to be more upright and stretched out than others.
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Althaea officinalis. Perennial.
Common edible and medicinal herb native to Europe. Marshmallow has many medicinal uses which include treating stomach acid, aching muscles, insect bites, and dry coughs. Leaves can be eaten raw but taste better cooked, especially good for thickening soups as it is related to okra. Marshmallows of campfire and s’mores fame were once made by drying the root, grinding it into a powder, and then making the powder into a paste and roasting. Water left over from cooking any part of the plant makes a good egg-white substitute. Tea can be made from the flower or root. Grows to 4 feet. Naturalizes easily, but seeds benefit from some cold to germinate. One way to get good germination is to sow directly in garden soil in early spring.
Mint, Korean Licorice (Organic)$3.25
Agastache rugosa. Perennial.
Very delightful aromatic leaves for tea with a sweet minty licorice flavor. One of Andrew’s favorite herbs for tea, second only to wild yerba buena. The beautiful blue spikes of flowers can grow to 8” long and provide excellent forage for beneficial insects. Blooms over a long period and especially well late in the season. Leaves are best harvested before flowering & are a delicious addition to salad mixes. For tea we like them best fresh, but dried leaves are also good. It can be harvested like basil by coppicing the young stems for continuous regrowth and cutting. As a healing plant it can be helpful for cold symptoms and as an aromatic it can stimulate digestion, circulation, and general energy. As beneficial insect forage, Frank Morton recommends pairing Korean Licorice Mint with fennel for attracting and feeding beneficial insects, honey bees and birds bountifully in the autumn.
Seed produced by Wild Garden Seeds in Philomath, Oregon.
Artemisia vulgaris. Perennial.
An important part of the medicinal herb garden, as it has been used in remedies across many cultures for hundreds of years. Various preparations of mugwort have been applied to the skin to treat poison oak, rheumatism, or quicken the blood. Teas or tinctures have been known to induce lucid dreaming and are used to treat irregular menstrual periods, epilepsy, and stomach aches. In the United Kingdom, mugwort was even used as the poor man’s tea substitute (it’s fairly bitter though, we don’t recommend this use) and has been used to flavor beer – there really are too many uses for mugwort to list them all here. Beautiful slivery grey purple leaves grow to 4′ and would be suitable for a hedge. Perennial plants will spread, self-seed, and grow well even in poor soil.
Plantain, Buck’s Horn (Organic)$3.25–$28.00
Plantago coronopus. Perennial.
Tender crispness with a wonderful nutty flavor and succulent texture. A traditional European green, it survives the harshest winter weather here in Oregon. Plants are perennial and re-grow after cutting. A cultivated species related to the common edible garden weed. Collected by The Seed Ambassadors Project from an Italian seed company. Aka, Minutina, Herba/Erba Stella, Staghorn.
Rose Campion (Organic)$3.00–$20.00
Silene coronaria. Perennial.
A very popular, easy to grow flower. Small magenta blossoms held atop 2-3′ silver downy plants. We find it tolerates neglect better than most plants and will come back perennially for many years. Drought tolerant and self seeding – once you get enough going it can naturalize nicely. Tolerates partial shade and can flower in the first year if sown early.
Rudbeckia, Rustic Colors (Organic)$3.25
Rudbeckia hirta. Perennial to zone 5.
Rudbekia is usually referred to as Black-eyed Susan, but Rustic Colors is not your average Black-eyed Susan. Blooms profusely all summer long with 4” daisy-like flowers that range in color from yellow to orange, red and mahogany. Long stems contribute to it working very well as a cut flower; blooms last a long time in a vase and the diversity within this variety is as eye-catching in bouquets as it is in the garden. Plants grow to 2 ft, do well in partial to full sun, and can tolerate both wet and dry soil conditions. Blooms from spring through autumn. A selection of a North American native species that can naturalize but is not invasive.
Salad Burnet (Organic)$3.50–$12.50
Sanguisorba minor. Perennial.
A delightful salad green, sometimes added to mixed salads in Europe where it is native. The flavor is a nice accent in salad mix as it tastes like cucumbers. Cute pinnately compound leaves always receive the question, “Oh, what is that?” We love it for its hardiness and tasty greens all winter long. Its slowly spreading perennial nature is also a plus and would make a great edible ground cover. Rare in the US but we think it should be a lot more popular.
Scorzonera, Hoffman’s Schwarze Pfahl (Organic)$3.50–$12.50
This root vegetable has black skin and mild-flavored white flesh. Leaves provide reliable winter greens, and bright yellow flowers in second year are edible. That’s right: three vegetables in one! Not only is this a standby and delicious winter food but it is a true perennial perfect for the permaculture garden. We found it to be an important addition to our winter CSA alongside the burdock and salsify. Young leaves are delicious in salad and older leaves are great lightly cooked. The leaves and roots both have a nutty lettuce-like flavor. One of the few vegetables that can go through 5°F without flinching and is reputed to survive -10°F! Hoffman’s Schwarze Pfahl is known for good size, shape, consistency and flavor. From German seed company, Bingenheimer Saatgut. Aka, Black Salsify.
Silene inflata, Scuplit / Stridolo (Organic)$3.25–$20.00
Silene vulgaris. Perennial.
Salad herb native to Europe. Great for year-round salads as it is very hardy. Also good cooked in risotto and omelets. Used throughout Italy for its slightly aromatic flavor much like arugula or chicory, but milder and with an herbal note. Some avoid the older leaves as they have a strong bite. Very easy to grow with pretty flowers. May self seed. Aka, Sculpit or Bladder Campion.
Sorrel, Transylvanian (Organic)$3.25–$24.00
Rumex acetosa. Perennial.
A variety of garden sorrel with nice long, strap-shaped leaves. Good color and flavor all winter. Tolerates dry spells. Extremely hardy and perfect for the permaculture or gourmet garden. We like it added as a small part in salad mixes, sauces, and used in sorrel soup, of course. Collected by The Seed Ambassadors Project from a Hungarian farmer at the farmers market in Cluj, Romania, on our 2008 trip to Transylvania.
Valerian, Anthos Arterner Mix (Organic)$3.50–$6.50
Valeriana officianalis. Perennial in zones 4–9.
A mix of improved strains of valerian, preferred for commercial production because of their high yield of roots and high essential oil content. Valerian is a favorite herbal treatment for insomnia, and the small pink and white flowers were once used in perfumes. Considered a powerful brain and muscle sedative, valerian can have varying effects on people, even stimulating some. Dried valerian flowers are used in a biodynamic preparation that is applied to compost, to influence the processes of phosphorous in the compost. Plants can grow to 5′ tall and spread slowly via rhizomes.
Yarrow, Danish (Organic)$3.50
Achillea millefolium. Perennial.
Sometimes our penchant for seed saving goes a little too far – such is the case with Danish Yarrow. We saved seed from a bunch of plants growing along the roadside while out exploring the ruins of a 14th century castle about 20 km from Aarhus, Denmark, during the first days of our Seed Ambassadors Project trip in 2006. A patch of this perennial now grows in the backyard, in deep shade (though it prefers sun), where its feathery grey leaves make a nice ground cover for most of the year. Yarrow is also an important herb in biodynamics; its lacy white flowers are used to make prep 502, to stimulate potassium, silica and selenium in the soil. Slowly spreading via roots and seeds, grows well even in poor soil.
Yarrow, Parker’s Gold (Organic)$3.50
Achillea millefolium. Perennial.
A striking ornamental perennial. Gold flowers make excellent cut flowers and are even better dried as everlastings. The upright growth makes for easy cutting and the flowers last all summer. What we love most about Parker’s Gold is the captivating aromatic leaves that look like ferns but smell like the desert. It is one of our favorite smells from the plant world. Plants grow to 4′ tall and are easy to care for, needing little fertility or water once established. Prefers a location with full sun and good drainage. Hardy in zones 3-9 which means it can take a lot of cold too. Plants bloom in their second year, sometimes in their first if planted very early in the season. The species is known as fernleaf yarrow and is native to central Asia. Aka, Parker’s Variety.