Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Above, 'Summer Splash Marigolds' with lantana on my 18th story roof garden.
It's not yet mid-July but the Marigolds I started on my condo windowsill at the end of March are in full bloom. The color in the garden against the cold grey pavers and steely containers makes me happy. I was even happier when I saw a bee buzzing around them, and I'm trying to remain patient until my first butterfly sighting.
One pack of seeds, only $2.79 from Renee's garden seeds* has given me 20 plants to spread around in multiple containers, and I have about 3/4 of the seed pack left. They'll probably still be viable next year if I store them in a cool, dry spot. The lantana cost me about $18 for a tray of 12 small plants at wholesale. Compare for cost, but that's only one reason to plant seed. You get a vast array of varieties and color choices and the genuine thrill of starting new life.

I start seeds in commercial kits made for the job,
In juice or milk cartons,
cardboard egg cartons, and yes, even recycled plastic flower pots, that I've cleaned impeccably before reusing.
Regular GardenBytes reader BFF Nana sent me an email with this news:
"There was an article in today’s Boston Globe West section about the Concord (Mass.) Library that 'lends' packets of vegetable seeds and patrons give back from their harvest.  Cute idea! You 'borrow' seeds at the beginning of the season and bring back more at the end."
Yet another great way of to share your garden, (see blog post below this.)
My 'Summer Splash' marigolds are a cross between African and French types, (Tagetes patula x erecta) very bushy without pruning. Renee has kindly offered to send a complimentary pack of these marigolds to the first four Gardenbytes readers who email me with your name and address.

*As a garden writer, I get free seeds from most seed companies upon request. I particularly love Renee's because of the varieties offered and the huge about of information on the seed pack . 

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