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About Us

Garden Medicinals and Culinaries™ was founded in 1996 as a separate specialty catalog of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, a family-owned seed company founded by Jeff McCormack and Patty Wallens in 1982. We specialize in open-pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds and plants. In addition to medicinal and culinary herbs, we also offer select ethnic and heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers. We are grateful for the help of many friends, customers and garden writers who were partners in this dream from the beginning.


Today, Garden Medicinals and Culinaries is co-operatively owned and managed by Sapling, an egalitarian intentional community. We operate and grow our plants and seeds on just over 3 acres of land in the Piedmont Valley of central Virginia, about an hour east of the Blue Ridge. Currently we are a community of 5 adults and 1 child, with a mission to retrofit our small rural acreage and manufactured home into a more ecologically sound and self-sustaining homestead.


Unlike many seed companies, we grow or source as much of our seed as locally as possible. All of our seed is untreated, some certified organic, and much is ecologically grown by natural methods. We do extensive germination testing, and most seed packets are labeled with the latest test results.


We believe that seeds should remain in the public domain. Therefore, we do not offer hybrid seed, patented seed, or genetically-modified seed or plants. Because gardeners should be encouraged to save their own seed, we promote seed saving and offer seed-saving supplies such as silica gel and containers for storing seed.


As much as possible, our seed gardens are modeled to mimic natural ecosystems by creating and maintaining diversity. This practice greatly reduces potential pest and disease problems, and encourages the growth of beneficial organisms. Our soil is carefully maintained using natural rock powders, compost, and other organic materials in order to produce the best possible seed.


Please browse our online catalog and try our seeds. Your seed order will include a six-page seed growing guide and a two-page herb germination chart. If you order vegetable seed, you will also receive a planting calendar. We look forward to becoming your source for quality seed and service.


Mission Statement and Goals

  1. To increase, collect, and disseminate the seeds of medicinal and culinary herbs in an ethically and environmentally responsible manner.
  2. To increase awareness of the importance of conserving and protecting our native plant resources.
  3. To reduce the collection pressure on wild herbal populations by making herb seeds and plants more accessible to gardeners and growers. 
  4. To provide access to information resources regarding the therapeutic and culinary uses of herbs.
  5. To provide the information, supplies and materials for making herbal preparation.
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