Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wildseed Farms

My Dad and I have been talking for a few months about planting Bluebonnet seeds at our farm.  Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, TX has long been known for their wildflower seeds, and is known for having most varieties of wildflower seeds available here in Texas.  I have wanted to visit this nursery for many years.  I have heard other gardeners come back with stories of their fields of flowers and rave about their gift shop.  So, yesterday my Dad and I took a father-daughter trip to Fredericksburg to buy our Bluebonnet seeds.  I know what you're thinking.  Why drive 4 hours to a nursery for seeds when you can order them online or even mail order them?  1) I've really wanted to visit this place for a really long time and 2) My Dad refuses to order things online so his credit card is always secure.  So, off we went to Fredericksburg in the rain to buy our seeds.

My day started at 5:00 am when I left my house at 5:30 to meet my Dad at our farm.  We left Pattison just after 6:00 and headed on our way.  The rain started just as daylight was breaking and never let up.  Funny how the rain matched my nostalgia for the hill country though.  I have always felt like I was coming home when I visit the hill country.  I have German and Czech roots, so I feel like I'm visiting a piece of my history when I see all the old buildings and architecture built by my ancestors who settled in Texas so long ago.  I've never felt like a tourist there, just a simple feeling like I belong there.  The rivers remind me of lazy summer afternoons floating down the river with my family.  Schlitterbahn is there which has been my family summer vacation destination as long as I can remember.  The rolling rocky hills are so much more interesting than Houston's flat prairie.  I mean don't get me wrong, I love Houston, but the hill country is just a sight to see! The slow pace of life is a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Even the air seems crisper.  And let's not forget that we get to leave the humidity behind.  Can you tell I am truly in love with that part of Texas?!  I could go on and on!

As we drove through New Braunfels and Gruene, we took the scenic route to come into Fredericksburg.  We arrived into town just at 10:30.  I knew going into the trip that we were visiting Wildseed Farms at the wrong time of year to see their wondrous flower fields, but I have a vivid imagination and really didn't care that the flowers weren't all in bloom.  Most of the fields were fallow, but a few had sunflowers and cosmos still in them.  We went inside and walked through their gift shops for awhile so the rain could slow down.  Finally, I walked around their display beds with my camera under my jacket (yes, it was chilly.)  I'd snap a photo here and a photo there as the drizzle came down.  I found lots of butterflies that were perched under leaves waiting for the rain to stop.  I'll post another blog of the photos after this one is finished.  The rain picked back up and we headed back inside to purchase our seeds.  Here is what I bought:

Castor Bean: I was very excited that I happened to find seeds to a Castor Bean plant here.  I was just about to order some online and have them shipped to my friend Sarah in Colorado so she could send them to me.  For some reason the seeds are illegal to ship to Texas.  I have no idea why.  The plant is not illegal here, so why the seeds?  I have wanted one of these plants for awhile.  The foliage is a beautiful red/purple color and the flowers are a fuzzy red ball.  The plant gets 5-6 ft in one season and then dies back in the winter.  It is a really pretty tropical!

Cypress Vine:  I love, love, love this vine!  The foliage is very airy and is covered in tiny red blooms that the hummingbirds flock to.  This vine is an annual, but reseeds very easily and readily.  Once this plant is in the ground, you will have it for years to come.  The vine can reach 20' in one season, so make sure you give it enough space to grow.  A trellis, arbor or fence is the perfect place for this vine.  I think of my grandmother when I see this vine.  She had it growing in her yard for years.  I was excited to find the pink and white version of this plant in the Valentine blend.

Nasturtiums: These annuals are great for Fall containers.  Simply place the seeds into a hanging basket and let them sprout into beautiful flowers of orange and yellow.  I bought a second packet of burgundy and I am going to mix the two together.  The foliage and flowers are edible on this plant.  The flowers are sweet and the foliage has a peppery flavor to it.  I just like them because of the color they provide!

Morning Glory 'Grandpa Otts':  I bought these seeds because I came across this in the display beds at Wildseed:

Tell me that ain't the most gorgeous thing you've seen in awhile!  I just love it!  I know, I know.  I'm a dork! ;o)  The beautiful purple/blue flowers with a red/purple star in the center covered an arbor there.  I love morning glory vines, which come in a multitude of colors, but this one is just fabulous!  I had to have it!

Seashell Cosmos:  I love regular cosmos for their wildflower look and pretty pastel colors of pinks, purples, and white.  This flower caught my eye though because of the way the petals are positioned.  They look like little shells on the stalk.  I thought I'd give em a try.  Hopefully they are as cute as the picture!

Last but not least I bought my Bluebonnet seeds.  The drought had taken its toll on the seed production this year, so they only had 1/4 lb bags instead of the 1 lb bags I wanted to buy.  I can't wait to spread them out at the farm.

Dad and I went back into town and walked some of the shops in town as the rain kept coming down.  Dad bought a couple of metal signs to hang on our barn.  They had pictures of a Minneapolis-Moline tractor on them, which is the tractor we have from my Grandfather.  It still runs too!  After we walked awhile, we left town for Kerrville, where we ate lunch.  We headed back home after that only to stop and buy some cedar fence posts for Dad in Comfort, TX.  Apparently the cedar up there is better than what we get in Houston (all according to Dad.)

So, seeds, signs, and fence posts in hand, we headed back to Houston in the rain still.  I was already missing the hill country as we left.  I had Dad pull over so I could take a picture of the Liatris in bloom along side the road.  (You know me and purple.)

We made our stop at Buc-cee's and bought beef jerky, then arrived back at the farm around 6:30 pm.  I was exhausted, but I had a really good day.  I can't wait to plant my seeds and watch them bloom!  If you ever get to visit Fredericksburg, stop by Wildseed Farms.  It definitely made my list of favorite nurseries!  I know it will make yours too!

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