Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Seed Savers Exchange

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I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves today.  Last week, I took a trip up to Decorah to visit Seed Savers Exchange and Willowglen (will talk about Willowglen tomorrow).  I had a great time!

What is Seed Savers Exchange? 

(I’ll let  www.seedsavers.org do the talking because they can say it best!)  Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit, member supported organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations. Our loyal SSE members have distributed an estimated 1 million samples of rare garden seeds since our founding nearly 35 years ago. Those seeds now are widely used by seed companies, small farmers supplying local and regional markets, chefs and home gardeners and cooks, alike.

Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy to honor this tradition of preserving and sharing. Their collection started when Diane’s terminally-ill grandfather gave them the seeds of two garden plants, Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory and German Pink Tomato, that his parents brought from Bavaria when they immigrated to St. Lucas, Iowa in the 1870s.

Today, the 890-acre Heritage Farm, Decorah, Iowa, is our home — and Seed Savers Exchange is the largest non-governmental seed bank in the United States. We permanently maintain more than 25,000 endangered vegetable varieties, most having been brought to North America by members’ ancestors who immigrated from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world. Unlike Fort Knox, Heritage Farm is not surrounded by security fences and guards. Our perimeter is patrolled by Bald Eagles, red-tailed hawks, deer, raccoons and other wildlife. The farm is ringed by 8.5 miles of hiking trails that take visitors through majestic scenery, past some of our 23 acres of certified organic preservation gardens, historic orchard and ancient White Park Cattle.

The main focus of my trip was to buy heirloom vegetables for the Children’s Garden.  If you haven’t already heard, our Children’s Garden is going to be overflowing with produce this summer!  (Well …. if it every warms up, that is!)  I bought a variety of tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and much more.  Once the gardens are planted, I’ll share a plant list with you.

Is Seed Savers worth the drive?

YES!  Visitors are welcome at Heritage Farm from April through October. The Lillian Goldman Visitors Center is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations are suggested to help us with our preservation work. Guided tours and bus tours are available for a charge of $3.00 per person, and can be arranged by calling visitors center at 563-382-6104 in season. Please call our main number at 563-382-5990 for information in the off-season

For directions, check out http://www.seedsavers.org//Content.aspx?src=directions.htm.

See you in the gardens.

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Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 13, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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