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Seed Saving

Oct. 16, 2022 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Berkshire Botanical Garden

Have you ever wanted to collect seed from the garden to create more plants? This workshop, led by garden writers and horticulturists Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel, teaches gardeners everything they need to know in order to harvest and collect seed that they can then sow in the seasons ahead. This half-day workshop begins inside with a presentation on the rudiments of how plants create seed. (Plants set seed all on their own; the gardener only needs to facilitate this process and learn to identify the right moment to collect seed.) The workshop will include a review of basic collecting and cleaning practices for dry- and wet-fruited plants. After the presentation, attendees will head out into the garden to identify and collect ripe seed. The class then heads back inside where attendees will “get seedy” and learn to thresh and winnow dry-fruited species and how to clean and prepare wet-fruited seeds for future use. Participants will walk away from the class not only with seeds in hand, but with a knowledge of how to isolate, identify and collect seed of some of their favorite species and varieties of plants.


Shanyn Siegel, the co-editor of The Seed Garden who has a nursery focused on growing locally collected ecotypes of native plants in CT. Lee Buttala is the former executive director of Seed Savers Exchange, an heirloom vegetable gene bank that is the only non-governmental organization storing seed at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. He has also worked for BBG and the Garden Conservancy, and currently serves as chair of the Historic Landscapes Committee of the APGA. Lee won an Emmy award for his role as a garden television producer for “Martha Stewart Living” and was the creator of PBS's “Cultivating Life.” He is the editor of the award-winning book, The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Saving Seed, writes a weekly garden column for The Berkshire Edge and serves on the board of Hollister House Garden in Washington, Conn. Lee studied garden design at the Chelsea Physic Garden, the New York Botanical Garden and the Kyoto School of Art and Design. He lives in Ashley Falls, Mass.

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