Gardening is a family thing for Judy Seaborn and her husband, Curtis Jones. “My grandparents were big gardeners, and my mom loved gardening,” says Seaborn. “I’d go to Pop’s house and he’d show me how to split irises, which I thought was a miracle. My grandmother showed me how to take cuttings from geraniums, and that was so cool.” Jones didn’t grow up gardening, but he studied agriculture and earned his master’s in plant pathology. The two met while working for growers, and in 1995 started their Broomfield-based seed business, Botanical Interests.
How it all began…
“My husband and I found that there was this whole generation of kids growing up whose parents weren’t passing on the gardening love,” says Seaborn, “and these people wanted to know, ‘How do I garden? How do I do this by seed?’ We realized that small garden centers needed a niche product to help set them apart.”
From then until now
“That first year, we had 75 varieties, a smattering of herbs, a smattering of vegetables, a smattering of flowers. We’ve always done all three. Now we have 700 varieties. What can I say? I’m a bit of a plant geek. I am going to make California bluebells popular here if it kills me; they are so pretty and easy to grow.”
How they find their seeds
“We work with a lot of growers, many of whom we’ve known for 26 years now, and they give me the inside scoop on what they’re doing. They put things in the ground for me, and we work together to come up with plants that will work well for the home gardener. I like to cook, so I’m all about the food aspect of vegetables, and I also want tall flowers that I can do easily by seed and that look great in fresh, cut bouquets. I like color in my house.”
Making those seeds grow
“We look for a good germination rate, so if someone puts in 100 seeds, 95 of them will come up. And we provide a lot of information on the inside of our packets. So many seed packets will just say, ‘It’s a squash. Plant the seeds this far apart.’ But we try to give very specific information. Like our chocolate flower. My artist said, ‘Make sure you say not to water it in the afternoon when it looks wilted, because that is the plant’s personal mechanism to deal with heat and drought.’ It perks right back up when it gets cool outside, and if you water it, it will drown.”
“We also have recipes inside our packets, occasional little bits of poetry, historical information about the plants. If you get a seed, there is a whole story behind each little one.”
Find their seeds at garden centers, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers.