An heirloom in the garden: Antique fruits and flowers are popping up all over

TitleAn heirloom in the garden: Antique fruits and flowers are popping up all over
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsAmes, K, Underwood, A
Date PublishedJuly 8, 1991
Keywordsbiodiversity; gardening; genetic diversity; germplasm

With the expansion of agribusiness, companies are looking for crops which will grow rapidly and produce a standard plant. These crops fit well into the package and can weather long trips to the market.

Hybridization has caused many different varieties of crops to all but disappear from the market. Plants have lost their regional differences with attention given to standardization. Among some of these lost crops are the howling mob corn, ice cream watermelons, and mortgage lifter tomatoes. These regional varieties are considered "heirloom" crops.

Their seeds are kept in circulation by small groups of gardeners swapping seeds. Organizations such as Seed Savers Exchange are helping small time gardeners to obtain seeds of regional varieties of crops and flowers.


Comments on antique fruits and flowers that are popping up all over.  For years, small groups of gardeners kept endangered varieties alive by collecting and swapping their seeds. Recently word of their work spread.  Kent Whealy of Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa; Two mainstream catalog outfits, Gardener's Supply Co. and Smith & Hawken.

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Short TitleAn heirloom in the garden

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