comments (27) December 15th, 2009

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Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, member
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Burpee catalog, 2012.
A huge hybrid tomato made an alluring cover for the 1914 Burpee catalog. You can see a gallery of vintage Burpee catalog covers dating back to 1886.
Burpee catalog, 1893.
Burpee catalog, 2012.Click To Enlarge

Burpee catalog, 2012.

Photo: www.burpee.com

Burpee is the garden catalog of my childhood. It wasn't so much that my mom preferred it. It was one of the few catalogs out there. And remarkably, it's still there after all these years.

About the company
The Burpee company was founded in 1876 by W. Atleee Burpee, an enterprising 18-year-old from an established Philadelphia family. Over the next several decades, he introduced several European vegetables and flowers to the American market. He was also a mail-order pioneer; by 1915, one million Burpee catalogs a year were being mailed to American gardeners.

  W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
300 Park Avenue
Warminster, PA 18974

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W. Atlee Burpee died in 1915, and his son, David Burpee, took over. He established a friendship and working relationship with renowned plant breeder Luther Burbank. Hybridization experiments led to the development of many disease-resistant varieties. Today Burpee is still a family seed company, owned and operated by George Ball, Jr. More Burpee history...

Burpee catalog, 1887   Burpee catalog, 1901.   Burpee catalog, 1943.

Many gardeners today eschew hybrids in favor of heirlooms, but when I was a child, we went with the Burpee hybrids: Iceberg lettuce (developed in 1894) Golden Bantam, the first sweet yellow corn (1902), and Big Boy tomato (1940s). These days, I wouldn't dream of planting Iceberg lettuce, and Big Boys need more sun, apparently, than my partly shady garden plot can provide. But I still love the catalog, with its big photos of perfectly formed, vibrantly colored vegetables and flowers. It's a real pick-me-up during the drab days, and an inspiration of what a perfect garden might look like.

More catalog reviews...

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Comments (27)

ericlimberlet writes: Great one
Posted: 12:21 am on November 24th
ShawnTrail writes: Nice presentation
Posted: 1:11 am on November 23rd
coreybaldwin7 writes: Good job buddy
Posted: 4:09 am on October 29th
georgeshort7 writes: Awesome
Posted: 2:19 am on October 28th
StephenGossman writes: Great ...
Posted: 12:15 am on October 24th
markfreeman87 writes: wonderful
Posted: 4:31 am on October 21st
RaisonTardif writes: love this.
Posted: 12:02 am on October 12th
ShawnTrail writes: It is good source of vitamins...
Posted: 1:07 am on September 29th
KimSpellman writes: Look great....
Posted: 3:34 am on September 15th
Patriciagilder writes: I like it very much
Posted: 5:33 am on September 9th
brownwillis writes: Looking great
Posted: 5:21 am on August 17th
danafox25 writes: I love it.
Posted: 1:21 am on August 8th
earlray26 writes: They are benifical for our health.
Posted: 1:35 am on August 2nd
allanclark writes: i like this.
Posted: 1:45 am on July 16th
fredlane10 writes: nice salad
Posted: 11:20 pm on June 22nd
SandyRol writes: Great for health
Posted: 12:22 am on May 20th
SoniaGupt writes: W. Atleee Burpee is the founder of this .
Posted: 1:26 am on April 18th
Harbinger1 writes: rich in vitamins
Posted: 4:08 am on March 23rd
jamiekrover writes: its privately owned
Posted: 6:55 am on March 12th
jamescolison writes: wow nice share
Posted: 5:55 am on March 4th
may writes: After reading this review and looking at a few other seed catalog reviews on this site and doing a bit of research about Monsanto and Burpee online I decided to post this comment in the interest of accuracy and fairness.

To be fair, Burpee does sell Seminis products and Seminis is owned by Monsanto, but...several other companies in the seed company list on this site also sell Seminis products (Johnny's Selected Seeds, Park Seed Company, Willhite Seed Co., Tomato Grower's Supply). So, if one discriminates against Burpee on the basis that one believes they sell GMO's because they sell Seminis products and consistency is important, one should discriminate against all the companies listed on the list who sell Seminis products. I didn't see negative comments about the other seed companies listed in my comments who also sell Seminis products. I didn't see any evidence that Burpee or any of these companies are owned by Monsanto or it's subsidiaries. For further info, please do check out the site in Twunky's comment above: http://us.seminis.com/products/hg_dealer.asp
Posted: 11:07 am on November 29th
verbernst writes: It is a fine catalog that gives one plenty of choice. I am appalled at people creating false information at a drop of a hat. The GMO bashing bandwagon holds all kinds of people.
Happy Gardening!
Posted: 10:40 am on November 28th
Anah writes: I should say, however, that although I don't order anything from them, I still love to look at the Burpee catalogue. :)
Posted: 1:18 am on August 18th
Anah writes: Although Burpee is a privately owned company, one of their seed sources is Seminis, a Monsanto company. (If you notice at the bottom in small print on the Seminis page there is a link for the Monsanto website, stating that they are a Monsanto company.)

Knowing this, I can't trust that Burpee seeds from Seminis truly are non GMO. I believe that Monsanto will lie, or hide information to sell their product so that people will plant it and unknowingly through cross pollination change the genes. Once the crops have the patented Monsanto gene, that plant and all of its progenity belong to Monsanto.

You can check out this video for more info. http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food

Why risk contaminating your heirloom seeds?

That's not a risk I'm willing to take.
Posted: 1:17 am on August 18th
BurpeeGarden writes: Hello,

My name is Kristin Grilli and I handle the public relations for Burpee. We were asked to respond to the comment above. Please be advised that Burpee is a privately owned company and Burpee does not sell GMO. A formal statement can be found below.

Kind Regards,

Burpee is the nation's leading purveyor of both heirloom and hybrid vegetable and flower seeds and mail order transplants. Burpee produces and sources seeds from a select list of growers and suppliers throughout the world including Seminis. None of the seeds produced or sourced from any grower or supplier are GMO. Burpee has never bred or sold GMO seeds and does not intend to do so in the future.

Burpee was founded in 1876 by seed pioneer W. Atlee Burpee. The company remains privately owned by George Ball, a third generation seedsman, who serves as Chairman and CEO of W. Atlee Burpee & Co. and is past president of The American Horticultural Society. For more information, please visit our company history page here.

Posted: 8:16 am on May 18th
Ruth writes: As far as I know, Burpee is privately owned. I am sending your comment to Burpee and asking for a response, so stay tuned.
Posted: 10:16 am on May 12th
twunky writes: Isnt Burpee owned by Monsanto? Dont get me wrong, I DID like this seed company until I found out Monsanto was their parent company.

Now I will NEVER by seeds again from them. Monsanto's interest is in making billions of dollars and will do anything to lie to sell their products. Most likely this company are selling "Heirlooms" that are really GMO's. With Monsanto's history and track record, I wouldnt put ANYTHING past them.

And with Monsanto and the FDA flip-flopping high ranking employees, dont you think there is a conflict in interest going on here to get Monsanto's products approved?

They are taking over. Check out the seed companies they own here: http://us.seminis.com/products/hg_dealer.asp

(Seminis is a Monsanto company)
Posted: 4:30 pm on May 11th
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