What are some good seeds to give as gifts?
February 25, 2011 12:41 PM   Subscribe

This is for all of the green thumb mefites out there. I am looking for unique seeds to give as a gift to a friend who lives in southeastern Alabama. She is an advanced gardener with a degree in horticulture, so it should be something rewarding, but with a bit of a challenge I think. She enjoys interesting flowers as well as food goods. Any good suggestions?
posted by ozomatli to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't know too much about about sourcing novelty seeds, but you might check out Logee's. They sell beautiful tropical seedlings and small container plants, and they always have an interesting and fun selection. Their shipping process is reliable, though at this time of year, they'll wait until the temperature in the northeast U.S. is above 0ÂșC before they ship (to prevent damage to the plant).

I've also heard very good things about Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, which you can plant and/or eat.
posted by Spinneret at 1:01 PM on February 25, 2011

Best answer: The Hudson Valley Seed Library preserves and promotes heirloom seeds, and one way of buying them is in artist-decorated gift packs. You might contact them to find out if their seeds are appropriate for the Alabama region or if they know similarly minded seed retailers they could recommend.
posted by paindemie at 1:12 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are a lot of interesting melons that grow okay in the northern US that would be much sweeter with warmer weather.

canary-type 1, 2
"Savor" orange sweet
banana melon
"rich sweetness"
A mixed set

In fact, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is probably a good bet no matter what type of thing you buy for her.
posted by aimedwander at 1:19 PM on February 25, 2011

Bhut jolokia plants, a.k.a. ghost chile, a.k.a. the hottest pepper on the planet, are notoriously difficult to grow from seed. It's also still relatively difficult to find the seeds.

I'm an avid vegetable gardener, and I'd love to receive some as a gift, even knowing that I wouldn't eat them (more than once). Partly it's the challenge, partly it's the fact that no one else around will have them, partly it'd be fun to foist them off on people and trick them into eating the things.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:38 PM on February 25, 2011

Oh, I should specify, I did not pick those melon types specifically for Alabama; I'm an inexpert gardener and a big fan of melons, and just chose some links of plants that looked interesting (pretty, flavorful, and unusual), because the idea of a selection of unusual melon seeds sounds like a great gift pack. Obviously, no matter what you buy, make sure they'd grow okay in a hot, humid (but somewhat drought-prone) environment.
posted by aimedwander at 1:42 PM on February 25, 2011

Sarracenia alabamensis, commonly known as the Cane-break Pitcher, is a endangered species of carnivorous plant native to Alabama. It has absolutely gorgeous flowers and foilage and while it isn't edible, it offers the useful service of voraciously eating garden pests. Seeds can be obtained from the seed bank of the International Carnivorous Plant Society, mature plants from the Meadowview Biological Research Station.
posted by jamaro at 2:38 PM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]

How about making a nice basil collection? Some of these cultivars are easy to find and order online, and some of them are quite difficult to find. Basil is decorative and beautiful, and always a welcome addition to any garden. I would be happy to receive such a gift.
posted by leigh1 at 4:52 PM on February 25, 2011

Also, she might be interested in growing giant vegetables just for fun, like exhibition onions.
Search for Kelsae and Ailsa Craig onion seeds.
posted by leigh1 at 5:01 PM on February 25, 2011

Seedman is a good source for this sort've thing.
posted by pilibeen at 6:02 PM on February 25, 2011

I found some nice Vintage Seeds Packets (35-50 yrs old vintage seeds) and Seeds in a Sack which would make a lovely gift.
posted by leigh1 at 7:26 PM on February 25, 2011

Came in here to also say Baker Creek Heirloom seeds has all kinds of crazy shit, I don't know about the challenge level but check it out. They personally collect seeds from all over the world and have particularly huge collections of melons and squash.
posted by dahliachewswell at 10:44 AM on February 26, 2011

Talked about this with a coworker (I am interning at a garden) and she suggested trying Plant Delights and getting some Dahlia imperialis, which are giant tree dahlias. Of course these are tubers and not seeds.

I don't know a good source for lithops seeds, but that really appeals to me. I found a source, but don't have experience with this place.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:29 PM on February 28, 2011

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