SeedKeeperPalooza 2013!

Car expertly packed and painted, “check”, Venti coffee, “ check”, Willie Nelson on the radio….oh yeah, we’re ready to rock this road so come along as we travel through Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana on SeedKeeperPalooza 2013!  Our goal:  To bring the wonders of all things garden from our travels on the road to you through Facebook, Twitter and now our blog, The Seed Keeper Chronicles. 


First stop, Saunoris Brothers Garden Center in Frankfort, IL.  Their knowledgeable staff could not have been friendlier and Sue laughed when Kerrie turned around and saw our product sandwich board on Kerrie’s back.  The 1-Gallon Burlap Girdle with a red Gerbera Daisy is our SeedKeeperPalooza mascot, it goes where we go.


Onwards! Destination Memphis, Tennessee.  Typically, when we’re on SeedKeeperPalooza, the passenger provides entertainment through “readings” from our smart phones.  News updates, Facebook, Twitter chatter and other humorous items from the internet usually do the trick.  At one point, I nearly careened off the road laughing so hard from a story Kerrie could barely read herself.  Watching farms, barns and endless rows of seedlings sprouting separated only by truck stops and small towns, we noticed some crop configurations with wide growing areas and ridges around them.  Later, we found out this was rice, a principle crop in the South.  

We pull into Memphis for the night, home of Elvis, BB King and a whole lot of water in and out of the Mississippi! Kerrie has a strong family history from this area on her Daddy’s side.  The stories she has shared around many a bonfire came to life while we traveled. 


Sunday morning and “We were walkin’ in Memphis, walking with our feet 10 feet off of Beale” as the song goes.  This place is alive!  Very cool voodoo stores that taught us a thing or two about repurposing! Check out the door jam in the photo.  As we walked, sounds of music and singing lured us into BB King’s Blues Club.  Mavis Staples, of The Staples Singers, was layin’ down “Mustang Sally” and we were dancing it up!  Pretty soon a few others joined us on the dance floor and a good time was had by all.  If you know us, I’m sure you’re not surprised!!


Next stop – Graceland.  It was a little late in the day for a tour so we went up to the famous gates of Graceland where we made a new friend, Mark the Guard.  He posted on our FB page that day:  “I with these two beautiful women, Bata Bazinga!”


Kerrie’s Grandmother lived near Graceland.  We drove around a bit and found the home and Kerrie had an opportunity to meet the lovely family that has lived there for 15 years.  We left with smiles on our faces.  

And, we’re off! Here we come Little Rock, Arkansas. Crossing the mighty Mississippi – add that river to your Bucket List if you haven’t seen it!!


Part of our SeedKeeperPalooza 2013 was our Journey to P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm where we sponsored a luncheon and participated in their Garden2Blog program along with about 2 dozen other bloggers.  So much to impart about G2B13, we will be highlighting this event in our next Blog so that we may give it the attention it deserves.  Stay tuned!  Image

At night we turned into ”princesses” and stayed at The Capital Hotel in Little Rock for the next few days. 

One of the things we look forward to the most on SeedKeeperPalooza is visiting our Seed Keeper Project recipients.  Thursday morning finds us at the Dunbar Community Garden Project in Little Rock, Arkansas just down the road a piece from P. Allen Smith’s Farm.  We will be highlighting this magical garden in an upcoming blog.  But here’s a peek at The Dunbar Garden Project.


We left Little Rock and made tracks for Nashville.  A long, beautiful drive down highways cut into hills and mountains (we felt bad about that), lilacs of every color and size in full bloom, evergreens and bushes growing from cracks between the rocks.  We managed to fill the time in the usual way and before we knew it we were in Nashville, heading for a hotel.

The next morning, we visited Bates Nursery and Garden Center in Nashville, family-owned for over 81 years.  Upon our arrival, we were cheerfully greeted by Sara Bates as if we had all been longtime friends reunited.  Wow, they have over 3,000 different varieties of beautiful healthy, blooming plants, trees, shrubs, veggies and a wonderful seed selection too.  We were joined by David Bates, owner and Sara’s father, who shared the history of the garden center and other entertaining stories about Nashville.  We were just about to head out when David said “I can’t send you girls on the road with an empty stomach”!  After a delicious lunch, David showed us the latest “Idea Home” from Southern Living which was under construction.  We were able to walk through it but no pictures allowed.  We are happy to say that the Nashville area can now purchase our line of Seed Keepers, Burlap Girdles and Garden Essentials from Bates Nursery and Garden Center.


With full stomaches and a little more room in the car we head Northbound to Indianapolis to decompress in a hotel before heading back home to Chicago on Saturday.  We have to be back before Mother’s Day after all!! 

It’s Saturday, last time we will be schlepping our things from the car to the hotel and back again before heading home to family and a comfy bed.




SeedKeeperPalooza 2013 Starts Tomorrow

Welcome to our first blog post! As gardeners and small business owners we’ve had a lot of firsts. Writing a blog is a first we’ve been thinking about for a long time.  The right elements have converged and now is the perfect time to launch our blog for tomorrow we begin our great annual adventure, SeedKeeperPalooza!! Each year we take about a week to get out from behind our desks and hit the road to share the garden world with other gardeners. We have traveled through Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa!

P. Allen Smith and Garden2 Blog Here We Come! Journey to Moss Mountain

Our itinerary for SeedKeeperPalooza 2013 is very special and will cover more than 1500 miles including travel through Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas. We will “hit the road”  on a Journey to Moss Mountain (link), the epic farm of garden and lifestyle expert, P. Allen Smith.


 Let’s get real here– we are so excited to go to this farm we can hardly stand it. We are both major nature geeks and can’t wait to see the gardens and all of the animals. P. Allen Smith raises  chickens and sheep and he has a donkey. Someone once told us we are like 12 year-olds–just big for our age!!

SeedKeeperPalooza 2013 Itinerary

Saturday, May 4th: To Memphis!!

Saunoris Brothers Garden Center— Frankfort, Illinois

Stopping by for a visit and to share this garden center.

Happy Anniversary Seed Keeper Company!


 Four Years!! We still can’t believe this is work. Still start and end the day laughing.

Sunday, May 5th: Memphis

We’ll show you “garden” on Beale Street and at Graceland Mansion. Can you say Elvis?

To Little Rock for a walk around the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum then a Cinco de Mayo Dinner   Hey, salsa comes from the garden! Maybe we’ll get a new recipe to share!

Monday, May 6th: P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm 

Gasp! We’ll spend the day doing a radio show with THE P. Allen Smith and setting up for our Garden2Blog luncheon on Tuesday! Cool factor–we get to plant up some Burlap Girdles right there on the farm.

Tuesday, May 7th: Garden2Blog  Day 1

Starts at the Arkansas Governor’s mansion!! For fun, we’ll reveal more details as we go. Staying at the magnificent Capital Hotel! Southern charm! Feel like princesses with dirt under our nails!

Wednesday, May 8th: Garden2Blog Day 2

Showtime!! Watch for coverage of the Seed Keeper Company luncheon. You know we love to have fun. Be on the lookout, we’re full of surprises!!

Spending  all day at the farm! We’ll be joining other attendees to learn lots from the other sponsors.

The whole day is going to be fabulous. We’re going to get a look at those so-stylish chicken coops. Come on when we think of chicken coops we’re not thinking “stylish”. P. Allen Smith does– his coops are gorgeous!!

Thursday, May 9th: Little RockDunbar Garden Project— Seed Keeper Project Arkansas Winner

We’ll spend the morning with 5th graders at this 20-year-old community garden that is adjacent to two schools. Joining us will be the P. Allen Smith Companies film crew!!

Psyched about this garden. Spoke on the phone with the President of the Board of Directors, asked her how she became involved–she said she walked through the gate with her daugther’s kindergarten teacher some years ago and she felt the “magic”. Amazing things are happening at school and community gardens. Feel privileged to be a small part of it.

To Nashville

Looking forward to kicking back and hearing some good music here!!  Music is “the soundtrack of our lives”. We have a hard time sitting still when the tunes are good!!

Friday, May 10th: Nashville

Bates Nursery– stopping in to say hello and share this garden center with everyone.

If you know us–you know we are huge advocates for Independent Garden Centers!! Secret–the folks that work at these places KNOW about plants and growing. We always give a quick look around a garden center so we can get our ooohhs and awwwws out before we talk biz!

To Indianapolis        

Truth– We know at this point in the trip we’ll need a break. On the agenda–pizza delivered to the room and a six-pack!!!

Saturday, May 11th: Indianapolis

Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens

A stroll through the gardens will bring us inspiration to share!!

Plantaholics here! Love to see how others grow!!

What a spectacular trip. We’re so excited. you can follow the trip on Facebook and Twitter!! Hope you’ll join us on our Journey to Moss Mountain!

Okay, leaving tomorrow and still have laundry to do because we spent too much time playing with our seedlings!!

Look for our blog to appear on the first and third Fridays of the month.

See you in the garden!!