Tag Archives: Luther Burbank

planting seeds and wondering into the new year

seeds.  i’ve written about seeds a number of times this past year. and things related to seeds.  seeds are the beginning of things. they contain the wonderful possibility of life,  sustenance, beauty and even of freedom.   i’ve always been a seed saver.  when i was a kid it was fun to collect seeds to play with-to make things with. i remember having great fun collecting nasturtium seeds- so plentiful and easy to gather.  all sizes, shapes and colors.  string them,  glue them, count them, eat them, plant them.  seeds.

edible nigella seeds from the summer garden.

edible nigella seeds from the summer garden.

a couple of months ago i had the good fortune to be in Santa Clara for a family wedding and came across the Luther Burbank  home and gardens.  if you are ever in Santa Clara try to make time to stop by (the docent tour was also fantastic). I was so intrigued by this man- i bought this book -A Gardener Touched with Genius and have been reading it off and on…so interesting! The place is beautiful, gardens diverse and the house is quaint and wonderfully restored.  but my favorite thing was this:

Luther Burbank's seed vault

Luther Burbank’s seed vault

this is how he thought of his seeds.  precious. so much so that they were kept in a vault. there also was a small shed with a little window from which he sold his seeds to neighbors and to the public. a walk around the neighborhood reveals that many of the yards still contain plants grown from his seeds. charming!  he also had an experimental farm at nearby Sebastopol. i hope to visit it sometime this year.  this video really speaks to who he was:

now i have mentioned once or twice before that silk moth eggs are called seeds by the Japanese.  and they do look like seeds.  i have a fair collection myself in the butter compartment of the fridge. i wonder if and when i will have a chance to raise silkworms this year?

silkworm eggs-seeds

silkworm eggs-seeds

of course i will grow indigo again, in fact it is already growing! seeds that dropped while collecting the flower stems have already sprouted in this mild climate of ours.  we had some nice soft rain that coaxed them…  i gave away most of my extra indigo seeds -i like to send them out into the hands of those who take the indigo workshops. i wonder how many will plant them?

sometimes seeds are dropped- sprout and grow! we don't always know how or where they will bloom

sometimes seeds are dropped- sprout and grow! we don’t always know how or where they will bloom

I am also growing something new this year- madder.  i will be experimenting with it. with combining  madder and indigo.  i thought it might be about time to add a second color to the natural dyescape of my studio.  i’m not one to try anything and everything- i like to delve into things fairly deep and that means taking my time with it and not rushing.  madder grows rather slowly and it will take  couple of years for it to mature to the point where it can be harvested.  honestly, i wonder if i will even get to that point with it.  but i have some madder root here now that i have purchased and watching some grow will only add to my knowledge base.  i was intrigued by madder several years ago when on the silk study tour we visited a natural dyer who showed me his experiments with it and some madder he had grown. he planted a seed in me that started me wondering.  it’s taken a while to germinate… i wonder what new things will come of this.

Natural Dyeing Master Youjiro Takezawa shows us his madder root from the garden (Mr.Takezawa passed away 2 years ago. His wife succeeded his studio)4-388 Umedamachi Kiryu city, Gunma japan japan,silk

Natural Dyeing Master Youjiro Takezawa shows us his madder root from the garden (Mr.Takezawa passed away 2 years ago. His wife succeeded his studio)
4-388 Umedamachi Kiryu city, Gunma japan japan,silk

seeds are a good way of spreading wonder i think.  that is what i intend to continue with this year. spreading wonder  and planting seeds in small ways.  there’s a lot to wonder about. may the ground be fertile!

happy new year!