Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Visit To The Seed Bank

I'm on my way to Petaluma, California...along with two friends who have been coerced into driving a bit over an hour to buy garden seeds. They have been promised good food at Della Fattoria and time to wander the multitude of antique stores and other cute shops on surrounding streets. On a busy downtown Petaluma corner stands a 1920s bank building that has become the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds storefront.
We are grateful the rain has mostly held off...after parking around the corner we enter the front door and are immediately drawn to the racks running the length of the store holding hundreds of envelopes of seeds.
The store itself is quite beautiful with decorative molding around the walls and (unfortunately unphotographed) medallions on the ceiling. Tapestries and quilts hang to warm the look of the large space and friendly salespeople wander among the racks offering help.
Now that I'm home I'm glad that I had studied the catalog in preparation for my visit... even so we spent quite a bit of time looking at the many choices available. Let me just say...if you need tomato seeds you'll be here for a long time narrowing down the possibilities. And talk about dangerous! At $2.00 or so per pack it is easy to get carried away. There are so many varieties of summer squash, zinnias, sunflowers, beans and pretty much everything I could barely limit myself to a reasonable amount. I did, however, control myself to the extent that I believe I can plant at least some of everything I bought.

One rack at the back of the store holds larger farm size packages. Around the racks and down the center of the store were racks of tools (including CobraHead weeders , one of my favorite gardening tools), baskets, gloves, artwork, dried spices, hydrosols, seed potatoes, and a large number of books and magazines devoted to farming, gardening, cooking and natural lifestyle issues.
While seeds are easily ordered from catalogs it was fun to make this pilgrimage and see all those seeds, to see in person all that potential food, beauty and life. The Seed Bank was a busy place on this rainy, misty February Sunday. It struck me that the bank building was performing a sort of reverse activity from its function almost 100 years ago. Instead of people leaving money here to grow they were taking seeds home...seeds that will grow and provide sustenance in the form of food and beauty in the form of flowers, fruits and vegetables. All in all a pretty noble use of a lovely old building.
This couch was not at Baker Creek but at a consignment store down the block. I include it simply because it is so amazing! A local artist recovered a down-and-out vintage couch and this was the result:

17 comments:

Cindy, MCOK said...

The Seed Bank looks amazing! I'd have a terrible time choosing what to buy ... and I don't even grow that many veggies!

Cool couch, too.

Carol said...

What a wonderful place to visit. Seeds everywhere! I could spend a lot of time, and money, there!

Thank you for sharing it with us!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh wow, what a beautiful store! And I love some of those quilts--were they just for decoration, or were they for sale also?

So... c'mon. Spill it. What all are you planting this year?! :-D

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'm so jealous - that's the kind of place I'd love to wander through for an afternoon. It must have been very difficult to restrain yourself.

Kathy said...

I love to see an old building repurposed like that instead of being torn down. And wow! That couch!

MA said...

oooooh, I wish I could have been there with you!!!

benbes said...

I love this seed bank, good to buy some of it.
john deere gator

donna said...

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds looks like a fascinating place. I also took a peek at Della Fattoria. Couldn't open the menu but was able to see the cakes. Think I'll order a Tuxedo Layer Cake....dark chocolate. Yum!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I love their humor. I ordered quite a few seeds from them this year. Wish they would create a seed bank here, but with our crazy weather, they probably couldn't make it. I'd like to take a trip to Missouri for one of their homestead days.~~Dee

notsocrafty.com said...

I just went there recently with a couple of friends myself. I managed to get everything except for one elusive pepper seed variety.

Annie in Austin said...

Love the idea of a Seed Bank in a real bank, Leslie - don't have much space for planting seeds here, but one could always buy some for little gifts!

The couch is gorgeous! Artist is right.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gail said...

Leslie, I like Baker Creek Seed catalog and having a store within driving distance could be a lot of fun...Love the couch~Now, I think I must head out to a antique store to get a fix! gail

Commonweeder said...

First I have to say I love that wisteria! I have a poor excuse for one myself. And the seed store is terrific. I wish I could have joined you - except then I've have to plow up an acre or two.

Patsy Bell said...

I am so glad to see the photos of the seed bank. It is very similar to the original one here in MO. It would be hard Not to take that couch home. Amazing.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

i have yet to go but am so close! great post...

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I've been curious about this place, but was under the impression that they weren't open on the weekends.

funyhony said...
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