One of the goals of George W Park, the founder of Park Seeds, was that any seed he sold would have “Superior Germination, Every Time!” Mr. Park treated his business a bit like a garden club, soliciting the advice and opinions of gardeners everywhere with each new seed introduction, so he was very careful to offer only seeds with terrific germination rates. If Mr. Park couldn’t start it readily from seed, chances were it didn’t show up in his catalog.
Of course we still test every seed variety at Park, and we still yield to the ultimate authority about quality: home gardeners everywhere. In the real world of the home garden, some varieties we thought will be stellar inevitably disappoint. But others more than make up for it, by proving themselves even more eager to sprout and grow than we realized.
We took a look at some of the Park Exclusive seed varieties our customers have given full marks (5 stars) to over the past season or two, and identified those which have proven especially easy to germinate. These are the all-stars, the ones that sprouted above and beyond expectation — and then continued their success by growing into beautiful plants. Read what gardeners across the country have to say:
Nobody who has gardened before expects every single seed in a packet to germinate. After all, there was a reason the old rhyme about corn seeds was recited by generations of American gardeners as they planted each spring:
One for the blackbird,
One for the crow,
One for the soil,
And one to grow!
Of course, with indoor seed sowing from the Bio Dome and other starting systems, you can expect a far higher success rate than 1 out of 4! Still, perfection is rare indeed, which is why we were so delighted to hear what gardener Joseph Brierley had to say about his packet of Tomato Beefy Boy seeds: “Last year every seed germinated and every plant survived in my portable cold frame, before garden transfer. Grows very well in my arid Utah climate.” Gardener JLF from Texas had the same great results with Salvia Whopper Lighthouse: “100% Germination! It’s too early to review anything but the germination rate . . . but WOW . . . every last one of these salvia seeds is up and thriving!”
Salvia Whopper Lighthouse may be the easiest of all our Park Exclusive seeds to start, according to our customers. The raves just keep coming: JeLo of Georgia claims that Whopper Lighthouse is “by far the best,” declaring that the “germination rate is fantastic and they flower profusely. I used Park’s Bio Dome Sponge systems to start them in late winter, which is an amazing way to start your flower seeds.” And it isn’t just southern and western gardeners who do well with Lighthouse; a gardener in Illinois planted all 50 seeds in the packet and, nearly two months later, wrote to us to say, “47 producing strong plants. Easy to start in seed starter plugs. Easy to transplant. Looking forward to good mature plants.”
Another very popular variety developed right here at Park is Impatiens Sunny Ladies (the sun-tolerant cousin of our bestselling Shady Ladies), and many gardeners praise its eagerness to germinate. About the Sunny Ladies Mix, a gardener from North Carolina notes: “Good germination. Excellent performance! Prolific. I grew these in sun along a paved walkway, and they did very well. Low maintenance. They bloomed till frost, and even volunteered the next year.”
It’s always gratifying when a gardener tells us of discovering a new favorite from our collection, and high germination rate is usually a key factor in their pleasure. Gandj from Pennsylvania, for instance, describes Phlox Pomegranate as “Incredible!” adding that they “bought this to grow in some containers on our patio. The plants are amazing. Started indoors. High germination rate . . .” For Kim Fair in Georgia, Cosmos Towering Yellow beat all expectations hollow: “These were easy to germinate. Held up well in the GA heat. Bloomed profusely and reseeded themselves into a few new plants that lasted until a hard freeze! A great product.”
And finally, some gardeners simply know how to make the most of every packet they buy. You may not believe this comment we received about Tomato Park’s Whopper, but we promise it’s for real. Gardener Jon Vilhauer of California tells us:
“I bought a packet of the original Whopper seeds in 1982 and have put out one or two plants every year since then. As of 2012, germination is still close to 100%, but of course I’m getting low on seeds. In addition to the old seeds I’m going to try the newer CR version in 2013. As of December 9th. 2012 I was still picking tomatoes and the Whoppers had small good-tasting fruit long after most other plants and shriveled. In my experience, no other tomato is better tasting than the Whopper, although some varieties are a bit more productive. Perhaps the new CR version will improve on that. I suppose that after twenty years using the old seed packet, I can afford to invest in a new one.”
What can we say? Mr. Park would be so proud.