When I first bought this image collections, it was to help me to be authentic in coloring a "Color Your Own" Flower Seed Packet Illustrations coloring book, as in this one, based on real old-time seed packets. Both the coloring book and this book are now out of print, but I'm glad I bought them because, certainly this will come in handy for web projects concerning my farm pages. And I like looking at antique illustrations anyways.
Of all the 210 images presented here, I only recognize two companies as being still in existence. Ferry-Morse, which is not a company I like, and R. H. Shumway Seedsman, (1870) which I like very much and have done business with for years. It is now owned by Jung, which I buy from every year, along with a bunch of other companies, which I also do business with, such as Totally Tomatoes, which were previously owned by Shumway. One of the coolest things about Shumway is that they still use the design for their original catalogue, a very tall publication—about the size of an old Ladies' Home Journal—which still contains the original hand-drawn illustrations. Only one image from Shumway is in this collection—a cactus seed packet, which I actually owned and grew and I still have cacti which grow and proliferate every year from those original seeds.
Card Seeds is one of the frequently pictured companies, but they are no longer in business. However the seed packet illustrations are popular with collectors. Ditto for Burt's Seeds, Roudabush Seed Store and probably most of the others. What is interesting, and certainly positive, in this day and age of genetically engineered "food" seed, is that seeds for many of these old-time varieties are still actually available. I know that for sure because I grow them!
The packets pictured here are for all kinds of plants: flowers, herbs and vegetables. They appear alphabetically, except for images 187 to the end, which are illustrations from an unnamed French company.
You may see more of these charming antique seed packets on my Favorite Seed Companies page, found on the Farm link above. These are truly an art form. Most companies now have plain (ugly and industrial-looking) generic packets. However a few modern companies still have lovely photos of the plant whose seeds they contain, or an artist's illustration. You can learn more on the Seed Company page mentioned above.
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