Book review: Starting and Saving Seeds by Julie Thompson-Adolf.



Starting and Saving Seeds – Julie Thompson-Adolf  (Minnesota: Cool Springs Press, 2018)

I’m a bit gaga over this book – as far as I’m concerned, for new gardeners, it is the best book on the subject of seed starting and saving that I have seen so far.  Beautifully written in accessible language that you don’t need a botany degree to understand, Thompson-Adolf’s Starting and Saving Seeds covers all the important stuff: germination, grow lights, heat mats, seed tape (DIY!), propagation and growing media, containers, winter sowing, and wet/dry processing of harvested seeds.  Most of the book is taken up with plant profiles and specific seed starting/saving tips for each one, delving into veggies, herbs, and flowers.  I was pleased to see crops such as asparagus included – not one that we here in zone 4 often grow from seed (we usually use crowns), so the tips are especially valuable.  The expanded section on tomato seeds – apparently a subject near and dear to the author’s heart – will be bookmarked by many readers, I’m certain. This fantastic reference guide is a must-have!

*Quarto Publishing Group generously provided me with a copy of Starting and Saving Seeds; as always, my opinions about the book are my own.

Floral notes: September 2016.


Eeep!  I can’t believe it’s mid-September already!

I had a bunch of projects and work to attend to at the end of last month and although I had scheduled a few blog posts during that time, I failed to offer personalized replies to many of your wonderful comments (although I did leave a general message on each entry). I just wanted to let you all know that I really, really appreciate all the feedback on Flowery Prose, and please do keep those comments coming – I love to read your insights and experiences! Going forward, I will strive to be a bit more timely and dedicated to commenting – both here and on all of your amazing blogs!

On to the links…I have a nice eclectic mix for you this month:

Kerry posted this on her blog Love Those “Hands at Home” way back in July but I think these cooler days of late summer/early autumn might be the perfect time to make these amazing balsam pillows – I absolutely love her reuse of vintage linens and I am dreaming about that splendid fragrance….

This post about seed-saving from LifeoftheOriginalHortBabe is very timely for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and full of excellent advice!

Are you trying to get your fall (or spring?) cleaning done, and doing a bit of organizing in your kitchen while you’re at it?  This essay will perhaps make you rethink the necessity of having a perfectly tidy spice cabinet – and it will definitely make you smile!  (Check out Margot’s blog while you’re at it!).

Pure eye candy:  Time-lapse photography of cacti blooming. Love this!

Fun, whimsical flower art:  These drawings by artist Jesuso Ortiz are a mixed-media delight!

This wonderful post about Harvard University’s Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants is a fantastic read! Don’t miss the links at the very bottom of the entry; you’ll be forwarded to more photos and information about the collection.

Finally…I’m not sure why anyone would outfit a squirrel with a GoPro camera, but if you want to take a breakneck journey through the treetops from a squirrel’s perspective, you can – just click here for the video. As expected, it’s a bit on the dizzying side. Now, if only the little critters would stay in the trees instead of digging up my newly-planted bulbs….

A few add-ons –

Book “reviews” from my other blog The Door is Ajar:

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl.

Joe Fiorito – Rust is a Form of Fire.

Don Gutteridge – Coming Home.

And my yummy recipe Green Beans with Chervil from

Enjoy the rest of your month!  ♥

Flowery blurbs, volume 11.

This week’s Flowery Blurbs contains great links to a short-season veggie growing tutorial, some absolutely incredible extreme close-up photos of seeds, and a series of humorous cautionary tales about shopping in garden centres.   ENJOY!

Seeds Up-Close and Personal.

A short video created by the Millenium Seed Bank Partnership in conjunction with Kew Royal Botanical Gardens offers a little background on the seed preservation project and features some amazing photomicroscopy by Rob Kesseler.  If you click through the link below the video, you’ll find a TEDtalk given by Jonathan Drori of Kew Gardens, where he discusses the absolutely imperative need to keep saving seeds for the future.  As a bonus, you’ll also find some superb examples of vintage seed catalogue covers…the artwork on these is simply marvellous, well worth checking out!

Veggies for the Abbreviated. 

In the final talk of the 2012 Hort Week Speaker’s Series offered by Olds College, Peter Johnston-Beresford (Horticulture Program Co-ordinator) gives some excellent tips on what to grow in climates like Calgary’s – you know, with our two month summer and all.  Take a look at The Best Veggies to Grow in Our Short Season (and bear in mind that if you live in a region with a longer growing season, these vegetables may also be fantastic selections for your own garden!).

Garden Centre Giggle.

Finally, regardless if you’re just getting out into the garden centre or nursery to gather ideas until it is time to plant (we’re still fretting a little about frost and snow here) or if you’ve been out doing some earnest shopping, you’ll get a chuckle out of this series of photos depicting some merchandise to avoid at all costsHave you seen anything like these poor plants when you’ve been out and about this year?