The Cottage Gardener.... The name brings to mind an image of a quaint, bonneted woman tending a whimsical English garden by the seaside, does it not? Elicits feelings of coziness and simple pleasures. The name alone was the hook that drew me to the website of this business, based near Port Hope, Ontario. To my delight, my warm feelings about it were well founded!
The Cottage Gardener is owned and operated by Mary & Dan Brittain, who are "dedicated to searching out traditional species, varieties and cultivars that grew in gardens of old, and reintroducing them to you and your gardens." The seeds come packaged in lovely black and white envelopes with featuring a simple line drawing that really does evoke a feeling of nostalgia, reminding one of kinder, simpler times. Their annual catalog (request via this page), similar in appearance, is a treasure. Bits of folklore, traditional uses of herbs, unusual facts, and plant histories are included in the descriptions of the various seeds on offer. I found myself picking it up whenever I had a spare moment and enjoying it the way I would a book!
Noteworthy features on the site include articles on medieval gardens and "Garden Writers of Influence", and unique gift seed collections, including The Edible Flower, The Faery Garden, Medieval Flowery Mead, and the Short Season Vegetable collections. Prices range from $7.50 to $75.00.
Gift certificates and a new seed saving kit are now available from The Cottage Gardener. I have ordered several times from this site. The customer service is excellent, and everything I have purchased (including Chocolate bell peppers, Hungarian yellow hot peppers, and Martino's Roma tomatoes) has grown like a dream. This summer, I'll be trying my hand at growing the Plum Lemon tomatoes and Munstead lavender they make available. Highly recommended!