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LH 171: Growing Heirloom Flowers

LH 171: How to Add Vintage Blooms to a Modern Garden

It’s a wonderful thing to add flowers to our vegetable gardens to attract pollinators. But I feel that it’s REALLY important to feed our souls as well as the pollinators when we’re gardening.

For me, growing heirloom flowers is a way to do just that.

What is an “heirloom” flower and why are they so special?

That’s what we answer on today’s podcast episode, where we explore the many benefits of adding vintage blooms to our gardens with garden author, Chris McLaughlin. 

She shares her insights into these treasured plants, why we need to add more flowers to our veggie gardens, and why heirlooms hold a special place in our hearts.

Plus, Chris shares her recipe for making lavender-honey simple syrup, which is awesome in SO many different drink concoctions.      


You will learn:

  • Why heirlooms are known as “pass along plants”
  • What makes heirlooms so special
  • What the first flower characteristic is to go when hybrids are developed
  • Why you still want hybrids in your garden too
  • Which heirlooms are the most striking in a bouquet
  • Which flowers are best for drying
  • How to make lavender-honey syrup
  • The difference between open-pollinated and hybrid plants
  • And SO much more…


Chris McLaughlin:Chris McLaughlin -

Chris McLaughlin is a Northern California writer and author who has had her hands in the soil for nearly 40 years. She’s the author of seven books including, Growing Heirloom Flowers (Cool Springs Press) A Garden to Dye For (St. Lynn’s Press) and Vertical Vegetable Gardening (Alpha Books).

Chris’ work can be found in Hobby Farm Home Magazine, Urban Farm Magazine, The Heirloom Gardener Magazine, Now Mother Earth Living, and Fine Gardening Magazine. Online, she’s written for a variety of gardening sites including Vegetable, Fine,,, and From Scratch Magazine.

Chris and her family live on a flower and fiber farm in the Northern California foothills, where they grow flowers, fruit, and vegetables and Angora goats. You can track her down at her personal website


Lavender-Honey Syrup Recipe:

Chris has shared her Lavender-Honey Simple Syrup Recipe with us. Click the button below to download it as a PDF.

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Resources & Links Mentioned:

Chris’s Websitegrowing heirloom flowers -

Growing Heirloom Flowers* – Chris’s New Book

A Garden to Dye For

Vertical Vegetable Gardening


Related Episodes:

Raising Backyard Rabbits

Natural Garden Dyes



Click here for the full transcript for Episode #171

*denotes an affiliate link

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.