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. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Suitable for both the novice and the experienced gardener, this book describes heirloom varieties of 50 species of flowers, vegetables, and fruits. These older varieties are often better tasting or more richly scented than their modern hybrid counterparts. Coulter (journalist and writer; contributor to Family Circle and other publications) organizes the entries by season, then alphabetically by the common name within each season so that the flowers are intermixed with the vegetables. Each entry begins with an introduction to the plant, including its history, then lists a sampling of the plant's heirloom varieties and their history, description, and days to maturation. The final section of each entry, "Growing Tips," reveals sun, soil, and temperature requirements, how to sow the seeds (indoors and outdoors, if applicable), germination tips, harvesting, and how to save the seeds. Lovely color photographs complement the text, although not all the varieties are pictured. A bibliography and an extensive list of companies offering heirloom seeds for sale conclude this title's heirloom coverage (although the list of seeds for sale would have been more usefully placed at the end of each variety's entry). Recommended for public and horticultural libraries.-Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A well-written, useful, nicely organized, and beautifully illustrated book. For die-hard gardeners who grow plants from seed, it's a great experience."
"The 'living antiques' of fruit, vegetable, and flower worlds get their due in Lynn Coulter's premier book, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds. Through lush photography and fascinating stories about seeds lost and found, Coulter inspires the urge to plant these rare beauties, and provides some basic growing tips to boot."
What People are saying about this
From the Publisher
[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.Charlotte Observer
[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
Gardening with Heirloom Seeds is one of those books that warms the heart and connects us with not only nature but our personal histories.Robert E. Rhoades, University of Georgia; Co-founder, Southern Seed Legacy