The story in seeds

Old seed catalogs offer more than pictures of pretty plants. The catalogs, which have been a gardeners' staple for more than 100 years, tell the story of how our interests, enterprises and passions have evolved over the years.

Starting Friday, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will host "Seed Stories: Catalogs of Life and Gardens in America," an exhibit of historic seed catalogs. The exhibit, culled from the arb's extensive collection, will feature 150 covers, pages and plates of folk art, plant portraits, whimsical fairies and gnomes.

In addition to featuring Midwestern companies (including Northrup King, Farmer Seed and Lippincott), the exhibit also has catalogs from seedhouses that were owned and run by women in the early 1900s.

"Seed Stories" will be on display in the Snyder Building until April. For details, go to www.arboretum.umn.edu.