Don’t forget the simple flowers of yesteryear



Since January seed starting is a daily event around our urban potager in the city, I find myself surrounded by tiny green plants. I love growing most of my plants from seed. When you grow many of your plants from seed, it opens a vast world of choices of what you can grow in your urban potager. Many of the heirloom herbs, vegetables, and flowers are some of my favorites; meaning seed saving needs to become a priority in the next few years for they are disappearing from our seed catalogs. I am motivated more than ever to save seed.

In 2016 + 2017, I am setting some goals to design a seed saving rotation cycle for many of my herbs, flowers, and vegetables that grow best in our zone 5 area. The past few months have been days of sifting through my seed supply to determine which ones I would like to save seed. I live in an urban area, so I have to save my seed for one year and grow it out, to determine if I get the original “true to type” plant. I never can determine what others are growing down the street or a few blocks over in our city. It is a gamble but so worth the time!


I wanted to get some updated photos of this lovely snapdragon known as Black Prince this summer. I just love the color red in flowers, so when I read about this heirloom snapdragon years ago, I just had to have this snapdragon in my gardens.I missed this lovely heirloom snapdragon in my Urban Potager last summer, so I was relieved that I had saved seed a few years ago from my original plants.

I love old-fashioned flowers that graced the gardens of years ago. I need to go back and introduce some of these heirloom flowers again to my garden. I had been so busy trying to get all the food growing right that when rotating my garden beds and adding more native plants in our Urban Potager, I lost some of my favorites!


Due to lack of space in an Urban Potager you have to be selective to what plants you include in your garden. I am trying to introduce more native perennial plants to our  garden the next few years.


They describe the color as “crimson red” or “blood-red” or one of the deepest reds. Its common name is “snapdragon” or scientific name is “Antirrhinum Majus.” According to Select Seeds “Gorgeous deep crimson flower spikes are paired with green foliage that darkens to bronze-purple in cool weather. This heirloom variety has the classic flower shape that gives it its name, for the blossoms open wide when gently pinched.( circa 1915). Purchase your seed from this company that sells many old-fashioned/Heirloom flowers on their website. I live in the city which means seed saving may be a challenge to get true to type at times. I count on  businesses like Select Seeds to keep these going. I figure when we get seed from these companies and save our own, we all are working together to keep these lovely plants around for the next generation.

calendula marigolds 2011 ocotber 22 047
Common Buckeye butterfly(Junonia coenia)

I am trying to convert over to a more native garden with beneficial annuals that help with food growing in my rotation beds and provide for native pollinators.Host plants for our common Buckeye ( Junonia coenia) butterfly are snapdragon, toadflax, and plantains.


Today I am potting up my Heirloom Black Prince snapdragon. I was worried my seed was a bit too old which meant I overseeded some of my pots. Snapdragon seed is so tiny that it is easy to do. It looks like the seed I saved germinated pretty well.


All my  germinated Black Prince are in their paper pots. I will start to harden them off with my cole food crops the next few weeks. They can tolerate cool spring weather just like pansies. Spring is just around the corner I can hardly wait!!!What about you?