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Seed Packet Art 1

by Margaret on March 8, 2011

Seed packet art is centuries-old. If you’re a collector, you’re likely to have hand lithographed botanical art from companies like Burt’s seeds or Card Seed Company, two of the main seed companies in the 1900s that printed images from the garden on their packs.

As early as the 1800s, though, D. Landreth Seed Company created seed packs from original designs presented on their catalog covers. This local-to-me seed company celebrated its 226th birthday last year, making Landreth the oldest seed house America. It all began in 1784 when David Landreth started his first garden center on High Street––now 1210 Market Street––in Philadelphia.

Today Landreth offers a vintage seed pack collection from catalog art dating back to 1839 and touched up by graphic designer Victor DiPace.

I am told that a fire at Landreth in the 1850s burnt much of the paperwork identifying each artist. But thanks to Landreth, the creations still live today.

In fact, some of the vintage illustrations show off varieties of vegetables and flowers no longer available to us.

I’m not a collector. Just an admirer of the craft.

When my seeds come wrapped in the handmade works of art, I can hardly wait to open them and start planting.

The colorful seed packets are gifts enveloped in a composition of possibility. Oh how I want that flower or that tomato right now!

I’ll keep my seed packet prints awhile for inspiration.

Sometimes, just like that tempting book cover that persuades me to pick it up and read its story, I order seeds based on the image on its pack.

Why not?

If I can have something growing in my yard that looks even the slightest bit like the seed’s portrait, I’m willing to give it a try.

I’ll show you what I mean.

The next few posts I’m devoting to several styles of seed pack art: Traditional, contemporary still life and contemporary graphics.

Tomorrow: Seed pack paintings from Renee’s Garden. See you then.


Thanks to Landreths’ for allowing me to reprint their images.

One Comment
  1. Wow, those are beautiful images. They would make an eye-catching image for a blog’s front page!

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