Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Changing Look of Seed Packets

Has anyone noticed how different some seed packets appear these days?  They are actual works of art.

We expect a lot from that little seed packet: the plant description including its common and scientific names, its height at maturity, how many days to harvest or bloom, and its habit, such as climbing or upright. We expect it to tell us when and where to grow the plant and planting directions. A picture, of course, is a MUST showing the plant at its best in flower or at harvest time and identifying the type and color of the flower, fruit, or vegetable. In addition to all these requirements of the humble seed packet, now we can also contemplate its role as a beautiful expression of creative skill.

Seed companies traditionally have used photographs or simple paintings on their seed packets
Annie's Heirloom Seeds may be the simplest - with all the sowing information on the front of the packet.

I don't purchase from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange as they are especially suited to the Southeast; my garden is in the Northeast, as most of you know. I do enjoy their seed packets, however. And just take a look at the details in the cover design of their catalog:

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog
Southern Exposure Seed Packets

Botanical Interests, located in Ohio, redesigned their packets in 2018 with updated information and more vibrant art. Incidentally, I've been tempted to join their affiliates program, providing a link on my blog to their website. Every time a reader would make a purchase from my link, I would receive 15% commission. I have never monetized my blog and would be interested to hear the opinions of other bloggers. Please let me know your experience or thoughts, dear blogger friends.

Botanical Interests seed packets with updated artwork
Botanical Interests Seed Collections


The seed packets of Hudson Valley Seed Company (HVSD) are in a class of their own. The company was founded by Ken Green in 2004 in a public library. (He inspired more than 400 seed libraries in the country.) Nowadays, HVSD claim to produce 'one-of-a-kind seed packets for one-of-a-kind gardens.' At the Philadelphia Flower Show last month, HVSD had an exhibit of their 'Seed Pack Art.' They say their newest collection tells '12 colorful new seed stories told by 12 new artists.' The artists include a coloring book artist, woodblock print maker, botanical illustrator, and encaustic painter. Here is a taste of the art work they displayed at the Flower Show:

I am full of admiration for the artwork on these seed packets.

Before purchasing seeds for 2019, I made a plan of this year's kitchen and cut flower gardens as I always do. I decided not to try any new varieties for 2019, but would stick with the 'tried and true.' Thus, I'm embarrassed to say (having written this article) that I ignored all those beautiful new seed packets and purchased from Annie's again.

As always, I checked last year's plan and rotated my crops.
I organized my seed packets (by date of sowing) in the old wooden tray. I set up a seed-starting station in the dining room
I also have seeds started under lights in the potting shed. These are zinnias for the cutting garden.

Those beautiful seed packets with their original artwork are begging the discerning gardener to buy them. I'm sure that next year I will succumb. What about you? Have you been tempted by beautiful seed-packet art?

Happy gardening,
Pamela x

I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! 
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Seed packet art is beautiful. I can imagine a collage of nothing but seed packets. I'd hang that on my wall!

  2. Wow, It looks like you've been busy Pam! I agree with you as far as the seed packets. They are works of art. I'd like to frame the one from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange! Great post as always!

    1. Thank you, Lee. I thought the topic would be something a bit different.

  3. An affiliate link to a product you do, or at least would, use - yes, why not!
    One of the German blogs I read writes entertaining reviews of garden products. New loppers is one I remember. Not buying, just reading thanks.

  4. Thank you for this post. I LOVE, LOVE those seed packets. Some are worth framing!!!

    1. You can buy the prints of certain seed packet for framing from Hudson Valley Seed Co., Glynda. I'm tempted.

  5. I have been tempted by beautiful packet art but what really gets me are "antique" packets or those that look as if they were from the early 20th century. No packets for me this year, may recall that I'm on a self-imposed "seed diet" this year so may goal is to use up only what I have and not purchase a single packet. It's been kind of fun and it's forced me to really look at what I have & I'm growing several new varieties that I purchased in the past, but the packets hadn't been cracked open yet :)

    1. Which seed company makes the 'antique' packets, Margaret? I believe I would like them too.

    2. Hey Pam - Sorry for the late reply...for some reason, I missed your comment. I don't know if there are any companies that replicate antique packet design but I do love it when I see it - I think you can actually get either old packets or replicas of old seed packet art in some Etsy shops (minus the seeds, though!).

  6. I haven't bought any new seeds this year at all but some of those seed packets are very tempting, they're little works of art, absolutely beautiful. I just wanted to thank you for the lovely comment you left on my last post about the death of my mum, it was very much appreciated and helped so much to know that people were thinking of me at this sad time xx

    1. You were equally kind to me, Jo, when my Mum passed in 2014. I can't believe that was five years ago -- I still miss her so much. You are in my prayers.