The Story of a Seed - Joker Lettuce
Bred by the famous joker himself, Frank Morton, Joker Lettuce is a beautiful, savoyed crisphead with sparkling red-splashed leaves, guaranteed to stop you in your garden tracks. We like to think of Frank as a plant reader as well as a plant breeder - he is like an entire tarot deck of auspices balancing the known and unknown with the energies of the plants. With each plant cross, a myriad of possible futures unfolds.
No surprise, then, that artist Jessica Roux, who has a passion for plants and for tarot, seemed the perfect choice for the Joker Lettuce seed pack artwork. Jessica is a freelance illustrator inspired by flora and fauna who has read tarot for the last few years. Reflecting on why she makes art, Jessica told us, "I love capturing small details and textures, and I prefer to use subdued colors with an old-world feel. I love working as an illustrator because I get to use my artwork to problem solve and communicate concepts by incorporating beauty and a respect for nature."
Jessica, tell us about the three tarot cards. What do they each symbolize? On the left, we have the three of cups. This card is all about celebration, abundance and good fortune. It has a lot to do with community, new partnerships, and the positive outcomes those can bring. I thought this would be a great card to include because Joker Lettuce is a three way cross of three different lettuce types and colors, and the combination results in a beautiful and bountiful harvest.
The center card is the Fool, also known as a Joker. The three pronged hat the Fool wears bears the colors of the three lettuce varieties. In tarot, the Fool card is numbered 0 and is all about beginning new journeys and adventures. Planting seeds reminds me of the limitless opportunity—as well as the unknown but exciting future—that the Fool card stands for.
On the right is the Ace of Wands, which stands for the spark of creativity. It’s my favorite tarot card, and I thought it would be perfect to include because of it’s message of beginning new projects with passion and invigorated energy. It’s how I feel every Spring when it’s time to start planting my garden!
Could you tell us a little more about the center card. Is there anything you'd like folks to notice that they might overlook? I based the imagery of the Fool on the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, but with a few changes and additions. The central character shows Frank Morton, who created Joker Lettuce, as the Joker, tossing seeds on the ground below. Instead of a cliff, he is standing on a large Joker Lettuce plant, and he carries a smaller Joker Lettuce with him. Next to him is a small white dog, who I based on my own dog, Molly; I loved getting to sneak in my canine muse! The repeat pattern the three cards are placed upon shows lettuce flowers and seeds.
We love how Jessica's artwork depicts Frank dancing his way atop a Joker Lettuce plant. May your own garden journeys be full of new adventures—and good omens.
Growing Joker Lettuce
Direct sow as soon as soil can be worked. Continue until late Summer. All lettuce appreciates steady water, so provide irrigation during hot and dry periods. Lettuce generally prefers fertile soil and cool to moderate conditions, but adaptable Joker will also perform well in a variety of other growing conditions. Full sun is ideal, but a bit of shade—especially in the heat of summer—is just fine.