Seedwise: Full Circle Gardening

by Ken Greene

I enjoy finding quotes that inspire me, challenge me, and remind me not just how to garden, but why I garden. Each week I'll choose one to share with you that you can pass on to your gardening friends. If you have favorite quotes let me know and I'll add them to my growing garden of quotes!

This week's quote:


This quote, from E.B. White in a birthday letter he wrote to his wife Katherine, reminds me that gardening is a full circle endeavor. In truth (although we may purposefully interrupt our plants at the most delicious moment in their life-cycles) there is no discernible beginning or end to a garden. This is all the more evident when seed saving is practiced.

By saving seeds in our gardens, we become part of the full circle of a plants life, from seed to seed. And, as E.B. White suggests, even in seed stage there is no finality, but rather the germ of new beginnings.

This time of year, plants begin to succumb to senescence. While their vibrant greens may fade and their vigor wane, we don't despair. Their energies are filling the seeds of next season's garden with thoughts of bloom. And we're ready to collect those thousands of thoughts from each fruit, pod, flower, and stalk, clear away confused debris, and keep them mindfully focused until next year.

Here on the seed farm, July is a New Year of sorts. A time when many of the seeds on our shelves need to find good homes to make way for the seeds coming in from the farm. Out with the old, in with the new! So, every July we have a big summer "New Year's Day" seed sale to get the remaining packed seeds off the shelves and into your hands.

Enjoy the sale and try your hand at some thoughtful seed saving in your garden!

Here's our first Farm Minute video:

And here's the full birthday poem from E.B. White:

To My American Gardener, With Love

Before the seed there comes the thought of bloom,
The seedbed is the restless mind itself.
Not sun, not soil alone can bring to border
This rush of beauty and this sense of order.
Flowers respond to something in the gardener's face—
Some secret in the heart, some special grace.
Yours were the rains that made the roses grow,
And that is why I love your garden so.

This blog is provided by the Hudson Valley Seed Library, a small group of dedicated growers and plant lovers working to provide good seed to gardeners and small farmers. Your purchases support our work. Thanks!