Seeds of new plants

As evidenced by the pile of seed catalogs that I've collected over the past month or so, it's seed-buying time for us who live in colder climates (in the Northern Hemisphere). I get as excited about seeds as the next gardener, but I'm showing some restraint this year. I usually end up with lots of leftover seed, and after several years of doing this I have a couple of shoe boxes full of seed envelopes. So I'm not planning on buying a dozen or more seed packs this year -- but I'm not avoiding them altogether.

In fact I've already bought a few packets of various edible greens from local stores, and this week I did what makes seed-buying time so much fun for me: I ordered some seeds for plants that I've never grown before!


Not only were they seeds of plants that I haven't grown, but I bought from somebody that I haven't tried before: Onalee seeds. Onalee appears to be a very small operation: two people. On her website (which can use an update) Onalee says that "Neither of us are 'professional' gardeners or even a master gardeners, we're just regular gardeners and plant lovers sharing the flowers and plants that we love and that we find easy to grow..." Sounds like me!

I've ordered from many different seed companies over the years, and they've all been great -- why did I order from somebody new this year? Here's the main reason:

It's a form of castor bean that is a bit difficult to find right now. I saw some of these plants growing locally this past year and thought they were so much more attractive than the 'Carmencita' castor bean plants I've been growing -- I'm not a big fan of the fluorescent red seed pods on 'Carmencita'. After some research I found out that these plants are 'New Zealand Purple', or as Onalee calls them, 'Purple'.

Whatever they're called I jumped at the opportunity to buy some seeds!

The seeds are darker than those from 'Carmencita'

What I love about these seed packets is that they have plenty of information and include images of the seedlings in color:

Important information is shown in red so you can't miss it:

These appear to have been printed on an inkjet printer, which supports the fact that this is a small operation. I'm not criticizing -- I love these packets!

Since Onalee offers free shipping on orders over $6, I added  a second seed packet to my order to get me over that total: Senna alata.

Again, something I've not tried before (and another BIG plant!). Cool seeds, and the host plant for some butterfly caterpillars.

Onalee also has a "buy three items and get a fourth free" offer, so I had to choose another seed packet, didn't I? I chose the not uncommon Mexican Sunflower 'Torch' -- something else attractive to butterflies -- and then for my free seeds chose a flowering vine because I love vines and like try a new one each year:

I'm going to get a few castor bean and Cassia seeds started right away to see how quickly they grow and to ensure I have some bigger plants earlier in the season. The others will wait for another couple of months for it to warm up before I start them.

So here's another seed company that I'll add to my list for future purchases -- although since her selection isn't as large as bigger seed companies I probably won't be needing to buy from her again. I definitely would though.

Now, time to soak some seeds!


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Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (February 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM)  

Had a good giggle how you went from buying one pack of seeds to four! I love how Onalee have packaged their seeds with the info on the packs - I wish my online seed suppliers did that. Very nice!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (February 18, 2012 at 2:09 PM)  

I've ordered seeds from Onalee before and remember loving those packets!

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