Barb Melera, owner of the D. for David Landreth Seed Co., looks like she hasn't sat down in days. Judging from the consistently long lines at her booth at the show this week, she hasn't. This venerable heirloom seed company, so recently on the brink of financial oblivion, is inching its way back to solvency, helped along by strong response to its 2012 catalogue.
Barb does the garden/flower show circuit - where does she get the energy? - and she's drawing big crowds here. (I intend to join them this weekend when I'm off duty. The balmy weather has me and everyone else in the mood to plant, and Landreth's seeds are consistently cheaper than the Seed Savers Exchange seeds, also heirlooms, at the show's Meadowbrook Farm Store.)
Landreth has been around since 1784, making it the oldest seedhouse in the country. It's counted among its customers every president from George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt and been responsible for the introduction of many flowers and vegetables that remain favorites today. Among them: the zinnia, the first truly white potato (they were yellow up till then), various tomato varieties and Bloomsdale spinach.
I've grown Landreth garlic and love-in-a-mist, but this week I've had my eye on the lettuces and beans. It's plantin' time!