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Hudson Valley Seed Co.: Seed Pack Art 3

by Margaret on March 14, 2011

Rainbow Chard by Sheryl Humphrey

Part three in a series of Seed Packet Art.

Ken Greene and Doug Muller created Hudson Valley Seed Library so they could offer a network of organic and certified naturally-grown seeds to locals in New York State and surrounding regions.

In fact, these seed savers aim to revive New York’s once-flourishing seed trade while preserving rare, regional plant varieties. Their goal is to provide a large selection of locally saved heirloom seeds to area growers by 2014.

The Seed Library’s regionally-adapted seeds are maintained by farmers and gardeners in the Hudson Valley community. Since the Seed Library is still developing it’s own stock, if locally grown seeds aren’t available in the variety you’re looking for, you’ll still find over 100 selections purchased from responsible seed houses.

This just means that the Seed Library will not buy from companies owned or operated by corporations with biotech interests. You know who they are, and hopefully, you’re not supporting them either.

(Example: Monsanto owns Seminis, a company that supplies some seeds to Burpee.  Check out for a complete list of seed suppliers to avoid.)

Basil Bouquet by Wendy Hollender

I love the passion these two farmers bring to their seeds. And while I may grow a hybrid plant (typically not veggies) because I like its unusual showy blossoms or foliage, Ken and Doug only sell heirloom seeds. As you know, unlike hybrids, heirlooms are open-pollinated and give Seed Library customers the option of saving their own seeds, and replanting them for the following year.

Ken and Doug are empowering people like you and me to grow, save and sow again.

And there’s an added bonus if you buy from this seed library: gorgeous, original seed art packs.

Honestly, with seed packets so illustrious, I’m more interested in purchasing new ones every season than I am in seed saving. I’ll leave that to the Seed Library. Instead, I can paste a patchwork of vegetable vignettes on my wall.

Velvet Sunflower Queen by Lisa Perin

Each year, Ken and Doug reach out to area artists to design one-of-a-kind images printed onto a seed packet that unfolds, offering a handful of quality seeds tucked inside a small envelope.

The packs are printed with earth-friendly inks onto recycled paper.

These contemporary botanicals are so clever and cool that they caught the attention of The New York Horticultural Society, who featured the Seed Library’s 2011 collection in December, 2010. The exhibit opened with local, small bites and handcrafted drinks: Contemporary Heirlooms: Art from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

I chose some of my favorite designs I thought you might like, and asked each artists to tell me a little about their artwork.

You can get these or many more works of art by purchasing your own seed packets from the Hudson Valley Seed Library of course, or you can buy your favorite creation reprinted on a t-shirt or available in framed/unframed prints.

Many thanks to each artist for allowing me to use their images and for their thoughtful comments on their creation.


Ryan Cronin

Sugar Baby Watermelon

Ryan paints using Rust-Oleum paints on board.

Sugar baby sounds like candy coated sweetness and what better way to spend a hot summer day than sucking down a slice of sweet Sugar Baby Watermelon.

Sheryl Humphrey

Rainbow Chard

I had a great experience working with the Hudson Valley Seed Library on this seed pack art.

My Lady of the Rainbow Chard is part of an ongoing series entitled ‘The Sisterhood of Flora.’ I sometimes think of these paintings as portraits of the spirits of Nature; they reflect my visions of anthropomorphized energies at work in the universe. Ken Greene of the Hudson Valley Seed Library gave me some background about Swiss chard, noting that it is native to the Mediterranean area. I had already envisioned the woman in my planned painting as being dark-haired, so it seemed appropriate to the plant’s history if I loosely based the portrait on the great Italian actress Anna Magnani.

Lisa Perrin

Velvet Queen Sunflower

My velvet sunflower queen illustration was based on a painting I made of Queen Elizabeth the First. I felt a seed variety with such a regal name required a lavish portrayal! So I befitted the beautiful burgundy sunflower in traditional Elizabethan attire including a scepter. The intricate wall paper and jewel-tones were all supposed to add to that regal feeling.

This was created using acrylic paint, pencil, and metallic gel pens.

Wendy Hollender

Basil Bouquet

I was asked to illustrate 4 different basil plants for the Hudson Valley Seed Library. I picked fresh basil including the flowers to closely observe and draw. It smelled wonderful the whole time I was drawing! It is always interesting to observe the subtle differences between plants such as the colors, leave shapes, and of course, the different tastes.

Christy Rupp

Good Bug Blooms

This mix was created to support so many species of flowers and also insects, that the design focuses instead on the act of pollination, including male and female plant sex organs receiving a spray of pollen, with a poster child for pollination, the Green Lacewing framing the flaps.

Set against a William Morris designed wallpaper, the design alludes to order, chaos, fertility and abundance.





One Comment
  1. Carolyn Peipher permalink

    I was telling a woman about this the other day. Had to come back a read your post once more. Inspiring!

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