What I’ve Been Doing The Past Week.

This week?  What did I do this week?  I went to the mall.  So now you know you’re in for a horror story. But the day didn’t start out that way.  ALSO read on to find out how to win a copy of Floret’s new book A Year in Flowers!


The day began with gleeful anticipation. This was the day I knew I was going to get the sought after “Influencer Box” from Erin Benzakein from Floret Flowers. I’d checked the tracking number at 9 a.m. and it showed those 3 little words everyone longs to hear around Valentine’s Day – “Out for Delivery“.

Mainly I floated around the house, very near the front door, waiting for the package,  but after a couple hours of doing that I got hungry on account of the fact that floating is very strenuous in real life, as opposed to in a dream. 

I decided to expunge some nervous energy by calling my mother. You may know her as Betty. I told Betty I was thinking of going to the Apple store to pick up a new Apple Watch since mine is  …… AND JUST LIKE THAT Betty was at my doorstep, spinning in circles ready to go to the mall.

I went to retrieve my car keys, leaving my mom vibrating in my foyer like a dog who knows they’re going to an off the leash park.

Betty loves shopping.

As I came back in the foyer my letter carrier was just dropping off THE PACKAGE. The package I’ve waited for, the package I wanted, the package this day was ALL ABOUT. I threw my phone at my mother and told her to video it as I flew out the door attempting to cover my letter carrier in a flurry of appreciation kisses.

That’s when the horror show began. Well, in truth I guess it began when the first person came up with the idea of a mall. 🙄

Betty has the patience of a gnat on uppers when it comes to going places and having fun. She hears the world “mall” and that’s it, YOU ARE GOING TO THE MALL IMMEDIATELY.  Try as she might, there was just no way she could keep quiet and let me open my influencer box in peace. As she videoed, I got “‘C’mon Karen, let’s go.”  followed by “We have to get to the mall”, “HURRY UP KAREN” and a “THEY’RE GOING TO BE CLOSED SOON”  thrown in for good measure.  This was at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

I sighed, closed up the box I had just opened and said, no. Not like this. I’ll open this when we get back.

Cue Betty spinning in circles again as we headed out the door to … the mall.

That’s the end of the story. You were probably anticipating that something awful happened at the mall weren’t you? It did. It was the mall. AND I WAS IN IT.

Of course awful things happened there. The lighting was terrible, the music annoying, AND IT WAS A MALL.

To see the video of the whole debacle go to my Instagram page and click on the “Floret Box” highlight. Or just click here. There’s a fun surprise for all of you at the end of it.

O.K. I’ll just tell you what the surprise is. 


The giveaway is happening on my Instagram page.  Click here to enter.

The Seeds!


In last week’s post I told you about going to Seedy Saturday where I intended to buy zero seeds and instead bought many, many seeds.  Betty spins for malls – I spin for seeds.

I didn’t get a chance to show you what I got last week so here’s a look at my seed purchases with a bit of a description about them all.

Melon photo from Rareseeds

The Charentais Melon is one I’ve wanted to grow for a few years but never came across the seed. It’s a famous rareish melon from France that apparently has a sweet, aromatic, indescribable umami about it.  I was powerless to say no. I had to buy it. It was on my celebrity cheat list.

Dakota Black Popcorn photo from Rareseeds

Dakota Black Popcorn was not on my cheat list. But I have noticed it over the years and rumour has it, it’s a very good variety of popcorn. Plus you know, it’s BLACK. Again. Basically powerless. Now I’m going to have to figure out a way to keep the 3 different varieties of corn I’m growing this year to not cross pollinate. I’m also growing Glass Gem again for the first time in a few years and my favourite (so far) variety of sweet corn, Serendipity.

I’ve grown Jarrahdale squash for the past couple of years. I really like it. It’s sweet, not watery and stores fairly well. I have seeds left from a 3 year old packet from Baker Creek but figured they were getting less viable now so I should buy a new packet.

That’s a total lie. I was so excited by these seeds that I completely forgot I already own a packet of them. If seeds are 3 years old, in most cases they’re perfectly growable. You might get a slightly lower germination rate is all. (unless it’s lettuce – for me anyway, lettuce seed is only viable for a year)

Double Cut Red Clover will be a cover crop for me in a couple of beds this year. You just throw it down, let it grow and then either dig it into the soil or just chop it off at soil level. I chop off at soil level because I don’t dig my soil.  Doing it this way also  means you don’t have to wait a few weeks after digging in the greens to plant.

This is the purchase that demonstrates both my optimism and stupidity. I grew Tam Jalapenos last year. They’re supposed to be a milder jalapeno pepper.  I like very hot jalapenos for most things, but for my jalapeno poppers where you’re eating an entire jalapeno I don’t want it so hot that you can’t eat more than one of them.

So as I said I grew this variety last year. They were blindingly hot. There were in NO way milder than a regular jalapeno and in fact, I believe they were much hotter. 

I saw these seeds just over the top of my rose coloured glasses and snatched them up convinced that THIS would be the year the mild jalapenos actually tasted mild.

I meant to grow poppies with edible poppy seeds last  year but became overwhelmed with all my poppy planting. I saw these rare white poppy seeds at the sale and had to buy them. Yes.  You heard me. HAD TO BUY THEM. If you’re looking for poppies with edible poppyseeds look for ones that are labelled breadseed poppies or are of the “Papaver somniferum” variety. All of those have seeds meant for eating.

Part of the fun of Seedy Saturday is running in like a lunatic and heading to the seed exchange table. That’s where you can drop off any seeds you have to share and pick up ones that someone else has shared. I dropped off a bunch of things like Glass Gem Corn, and a bunch of different rare bean seeds. 

This Seedy Saturday was a bit lower key than others so a lot of the packets that people put down were labelled “beans”.  Or “lettuce”.  No variety or strain, just the basic vegetable it was.  I  managed to find what I think are rare Eye of the Goat beans (Ojo de Cabra) and a packet of Alma Paprika peppers. 

Now these.  The special seeds.  Have you ever gone to a restaurant and told the waiter to just bring whatever the chef recommends?  I have. It’s fun.  I mean, you have to assume that no one knows better about what to eat in the restaurant than the chef, right?

That’s true for seed sellers. I talked for quite a while with Hanna, the owner of Matchbox Garden & Seed Company.  She is a seed enthusiast, to say the least, who has grown her love of food (she’s a chef) and growing vegetables into a successful multifaceted business.

After staring at her wall of seeds I gave up on trying to decide on anything and just asked her to recommend something.  She said she noticed I had an affinity for rare or unusual vegetables and I said YES!  But – they also have to be delicious.

I don’t want to grow something that’s weird or rare just for the sake of individuality. I need it to taste good too. She wholeheartedly agreed (being a chef and all) and pulled out a packet of rare Italian heirloom peppers called Capriglio. 

These are the peppers that people ate before bell peppers were invented. They have thick walls, are kind of squat and are perfect for stuffing. Plus she had a killer personal story about getting the seeds so I was sold. 

And finally, I bought kale. Don’t even ask me why. I don’t like kale. I DO however, like one type of kale, Lacinato kale. And this is the same type of leaf as dinosaur kale so I imagine it’s of the same original source. Plus it’s a cool “dazzling blue” colour.

Food and Projects and Stuff

This Monday is Family Day in Ontario (woooo hoooo! Big shout outs to days off!). I'm going to watch all the tv shows that ever existed, cook lots of food, work on finishing some trim work in my house and start some seeds on Monday morning. The afternoon is still only pencilled in.

Don’t forget to enter to win one of TWO copies of the new Floret book “A Year in Flowers”. Just click over to my Instagram page to enter.

Don’t want to win? Afraid of contests? 

Click here to buy it.


Have a good remainder of your weekend! I’ll be here watching television, building things and avoiding the mall.


  1. Hart says:

    Hi Karen.

    Hart here from the Dundas Garden, wow quite site The Blog.
    I’m looking for beans (Scarlet Runner) red flowers & Hummingbird atractors
    Only want 3 or 4 seeds, as you have a lot of stuff thought you might have some
    that I could borrow until next year. I promise to pay back the beans with interest.


  2. Hayley says:

    But but how’s your toe? I read all the way to the end! I need a toe update!

  3. Julie Pearce says:

    You have a few pics of Hawthorn Farm seeds but don’t mention them or provide link. We bought seeds from Kim & associates for years. Quality, variety, etc. Never fail!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julie. Yes, those are photos I took myself of the seeds I bought. I’ve linked to Hawthorn in every mention of their seeds. You must have somehow just missed the links. ~ karen!

  4. Allison says:

    It pleases me that you will have seeds from Texas growing in your Canadian garden. I think I know why the jalapenos were spicier than you were expecting. Mild spicy in Texas is Hot spicy elsewhere in the world. There’s some kind of exchange rate you need to apply.

    Much love from Texas!

  5. Cheverly Long says:

    Those melons sound delightful and while I may have to try them myself, I can’t wait to hear your experience with them. Am I the only one super curious about the origination story of the peppers? I followed the link but was profoundly disappointed that the story there is… much less than killer.

    Betty’s obsession with the mall cracked me up on Instagram the other day. I could practically feel her vibrating through my phone. Good luck to everyone who wins a copy of the book (as long as I’m one of them, heh)! :)

  6. Jennifer says:

    Darn it Karen, I just inventoried my seeds on Saturday and I don’t need any more. But thanks to you I’m now on the Hawthorne seed website with items in my cart, trying to talk myself out of completing the purchase. Argh, I need to move to an acreage in the country so I can grow everything… So many seeds, so little space!

  7. Elizabeth Fischer says:

    Hi Karen

    I would really love to win a copy of Floret. Not afraid of contests just of Instagram.

    Cheers Elizabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elizabeth! I’m so sorry, but the contest isn’t on my blog. It’s on Instagram. I just wanted to let everyone on my blog know about it. :/ ~ karen!

    • Melissa O' says:

      I hear you sister, no Instagram for me. I broke down and use Facebook, but for one thing only — FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE. I tried to get around it but my husband really got irritated by all the replies going to his account.

      My brother-in-law asked “but how do you keep up with all of your friends and their children?” The polite answer was “email it or telephone” but the real answer was “I could care less”.

  8. Marian says:

    i picked up Floret Farms ” A year in Flowers” and it is fabulous! Erin is so down to earth its scary wonderful! the photos are beautiful and all the information in this book is amazing. As a professional gardener and Florist even i’m learning things. Her companion book “Cut Flower Garden” inspired me to start my own a cut flower gardens. Love you witty blog Karen

  9. Rita Chiquita says:

    Speaking of Seeds…your post just reminded to to add on to
    My To Do List:
    1. go to pet store
    2. buy a bag of bird seed
    3. ask how long it will take for the birds to grow
    4. wait for reaction

  10. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Gotta tell ya that your “recipe” for foaming soap really does work. But then you already knew that. Duh. Anyway, I never thanked you for that publicly. Thank you.

  11. Mary W says:

    Great post today – something for everyone and Betty, too! I’m planting a table top full of seeds this morning and completely understand your addiction. Seeds are potential and the stuff of dreams. The writer’s for the seed plant descriptions are probably the most underrated writing talent around. Potential is a wonderful thing – almost as great as ‘tomorrow’. These are why I’m sitting here drinking coffee instead of starting my seeds. (The real reason is I promised myself that I could only start them once I did my dishes – what a moron.)

  12. Madeline says:

    Oh Karen, I had some charentais melons in Paris a few years ago. They are the apotheosis of melons. Fragrant, sweet and slightly musky. I wonder if they will grow in zone 9a (USA), and if I too can find some seeds. Good luck with yours.

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