Gardening with Heirloom Seeds

Tried-and-True Flowers, Fruits, and Vegetables for a New Generation

By Lynn Coulter

328 pp., 8 x 9, 135 color and 10 b&w photos, 1 map, bibl., index

Not for Sale in Canada

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5680-2
    Published: June 2006
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-0871-6
    Published: December 2012

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Heirloom seeds are more than the promise of next summer's crookneck squash or jewel-colored zinnias. They're living antiques handed down from one generation to the next, a rich inheritance of flavor and beauty from long ago and, often, far away. They are sometimes better adapted to pests and harsh conditions than many modern varieties and often simply smell or taste better. Gardening with Heirloom Seeds serves as a resource for gardeners, cooks, and plant lovers of all levels of expertise who want to know more about finding, sharing, and propagating the seeds of heirloom flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

In these beautifully illustrated pages, Lynn Coulter describes fifty treasured heirloom species, from Frenchman's Darling, a flowering herb whose seeds were pocketed by Napoleon Bonaparte when he invaded Egypt in 1798, to Snow White beets, an old Dutch favorite that will not stain the cook's fingers red. Most of the plants included here will grow all across the United States; a few are best suited for warmer climates.

The text is sprinkled throughout with practical advice from heirloom gardeners and lists sources for finding the seeds of many old varieties. Because it also provides ample room for making notes, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds can be used year after year and can become an heirloom in its own right--a personal journal to pass along to the next generation of gardeners.

About the Author

Lynn Coulter is a journalist and writer whose work has appeared in Delta Sky, Family Circle, Southern Living, and other publications. She lives with her husband and son in Georgia.

For more information about Lynn Coulter, visit the Author Page.


“This pleasant book leads us cheerfully and invitingly through the seasons, sowing and growing heirloom plants. Lynn Coulter's light, informative style makes this book good reading for both new gardeners and those already smitten with seed sowing and heirlooms. . . . Gardening with Heirloom Seeds is delightful to peruse with morning coffee, with evening tea, or anytime the gardener needs a break from daily cares. Whether you read it straight through or in bits and pieces, you'll find it informative and diverting.”--American Gardener

"[Gardening with Heirloom Seeds] is a detailed delight."--Southeast Gardening with L. A. Jackson

"A well-written, useful, nicely organized, and beautifully illustrated book. For die-hard gardeners who grow plants from seed, it's a great experience."--Washington Gardener

"The 'living antiques' of fruit, vegetable, and flower worlds get their due in Lynn Coulter's premier book, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds. Through lush photography and fascinating stories about seeds lost and found, Coulter inspires the urge to plant these rare beauties, and provides some basic growing tips to boot."--Midwest Home

"[In Gardening with Heirloom Seeds] Coulter sets out to provide readers with 'a sampler for heirloom seeds' to learn about and grow. . . . The listings . . . include a wide enough range of edible and ornamental plans to populate a large and varied garden. They also provide well-researched, lively descriptions, including fascinating facts about common plants and their uses throughout history. . . . Her stylish, interesting text, an exhaustive listing of sources for heirloom seeds and numerous color and b&w illustrations make this a welcome addition to every gardener's bookshelf."--Publishers Weekly

"Suitable for both the novice and the experienced gardener."--Library Journal