Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

At Landreth, the lines are long

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.

At Landreth, the lines are long

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!

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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