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: