Saturday, April 24

2010 One Seed Chicago is the "Bee's Knees"

As promised we unveiled the 2010 One Seed Chicago winner today at the 18th Annual Green & Growing Fair at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Chicago's only gardening fair committed to teaching gardeners about gardening naturally is always well-attended by residents from all corners of our beautiful City.

But it isn't until you are standing there handing out over a thousand seed packets that you realize just how many people are gathered in the historic Garfield Park Conservatory for this yearly event.

Throughout the day gardeners of all ages made plant and seed labels using recycled and reclaimed items at the rot pot workshop. Attendees had the option of sowing seeds from each of the three 2010 candidates. The 2010 One Seed Chicago had been decided on April 1, 2010 after we tallied all of your votes but the rot pot workshop felt like a straw poll. There was a clear favorite among the gardeners making seed starting pots from newspapers and plant labels from recyclables and reclaimed items.

Have you figured out the 2010 One Seed Chicago?

How about now?

We unveiled the 2010 winner to cheers and music and gardeners, no matter how they voted, smiled at the sight of Bee Balm. If you voted you'll receive the seeds for Monarda fistulosa, commonly called Wild Bergamot, Bee Balm or Horse-Mint, in the mail soon. If you missed the voting period you can request a free seed packet here. This year we'll be mailing over a million seeds to gardeners all across Chicago. Yes, a million seeds! Just imagine the impact we'll have on our collective landscape as gardeners plant Bee Balm in yards, container gardens, community gardens and guerrilla gardening projects that beautify our parkways and reclaim our brownfields.

Soon you'll discover how growing native plants in your garden is easy and benefits us all.

"Native plants attract native birds and insects and help to increase biodiversity in your garden," says Jennifer Davit, Director and Horticulturalist at the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park. "Our native plant friends are more adapted to their local surroundings and can handle the Chicago area's fluctuations in climate and weather."

While beautifying Chicago we'll also be helping our urban beekeepers by planting a food source for their hives.

"The past few years have seen an interest in the health of insect pollinators as a sign of a breakdown in our agricultural systems of production," says Michael Thompson, Farm Manager of the Chicago Honey Co-op. "Providing habitats with nectar forage for pollinators is a positive way to help with the decline in pollinating bees and other invertebrates."

If your choice was Purple Coneflower or Nodding Onion we hope you embrace Bee Balm with the same enthusiasm and join us as we Grow Together. After all, that's what One Seed Chicago is all about.

Make sure you've subscribed to the One Seed Chicago website through RSS or through Email notifications of new posts. We'll be posting seed starting and plant growing tips and news about upcoming events as we celebrate our 2010 One Seed Chicago. We're going to create quite the buzz.

Thanks to our friends at GreenNet for all their help in making One Seed Chicago and the Green & Growing Fair a success.

Feel free to share One Seed Chicago with your family and friends on Twitter, Facebook and your blogs. You can right-click images to save them to your computer when writing about One Seed Chicago or Email for larger images and to schedule interviews with Ben Helphand, Executive Director of NeighborSpace and One Seed Chicago.


  1. I'm still pouting because I wanted nodding wild onion, but what do I know? I'm not even from Chicago and my friend is digging me up some nodding wild onion soon. Do you want some? I'm sure I can save it in a little pot until June.

  2. I'm with Monica! I was hoping for nodding onion. The reason for bee balm is compelling though. I have native bee balm in my garden already, and I'll happily add more.

    I'll still be adding nodding onion to the garden this year as fast as I can find some.