“The wonderful diversity offered by heirloom plants can help you create a deeply satisfying garden that looks good, preserves historic plants, and provides you with color, shade, food, flowers, herbs, and an all-around happy place.”
Garden writer Judy Barrett opens her second book with a conversation about the characteristics of heirloom plants and why their toughness, ease of propagation, and wide variety make them ideal to grow in any garden. Add their occasional oddities, complex flavors and scents, histories, and family stories, and these plants can become as valuable and treasured as a cut-glass bowl or handmade quilt.
Having collected, grown, and propagated many heirloom plants, Barrett has favorites in every category--from food to flowers, trees, and herbs--and stories to tell about all of them: the headstrong pumpkin; the all-potato diet; the yam van; the porch petunia. Covering thirty-seven plants or groups of plants (such as annuals or perennials), Barrett provides practical information about growing them, eating them, enjoying them, and propagating them. Seeds are a particularly important topic in heirloom gardening, and Barrett teaches us why and how to save, store, and share all kinds of seeds, from vegetables, flowers, and trees. She also provides a primer on self- and cross-pollination.
Nutritional information and well-tested recipes appear throughout, presented in Barrett’s signature informal style. The manuscript is written for anyone who has clipped an old rose or bit into an heirloom tomato and wanted to know more.