Once Upon a Seed: Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa
Saving heritage seeds
Diane's seed story began in 1975 when she began saving and sharing heritage seeds--those passed down through families for generations. Inspiration came in part from a morning glory vine given to her by her grandfather and still clambering up her barn. Now the passion blooms all around Heritage Farms.
The main drive opens to display gardens, a visitors center and gift shop, which includes garden supplies and, of course, a buffet of seed packets. Sunflowers. Borage. Coneflower. Prairie blazing star. Bunny tails.
Trails wend through the woods to other garden areas, greenhouses, a herd of rare white cattle, and an apple orchard of thick, scraggly trees ancient in feel. They bear in a proliferation of red, orange, purple, green and brown. Some apples grow gnarled as potatoes; some waft a dizzying sweetness. The array brings home the point of how intriguing variety can be. Only about 700 varieties of apples remain of an estimated 8,000 in 1900.