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“I’m after the charm of tomatoes. I’m after the history of tomatoes. Just obviously, appeal and taste and all of that. But if I can tie it up all in one bundle, that’s what I wanna choose.”

Tomatoes are a nearly universal plant—native to South America, they now flourish on every continent except Antarctica. Tomatoes have been bred, often by home gardeners, for their looks, flavors, and suitability for diverse climates. This has resulted in thousands of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, meaning tomatoes that can be grown from seed. These plants carry stories of exploration and innovation, and they can also teach important lessons about gardening and our connection to food. Every year, garden designer Scott Daigre celebrates heirloom tomatoes through his Tomatomania! pop-up events, which bring hundreds of varieties of tomato seedlings to Southern California gardeners.

In this episode, Daigre explains what heirloom tomatoes are, why people love them, and how to grow them in your garden.

More to explore:
Tomatomania! explore the exhibition

Brian Houck: Hello, I’m Brian Houck, head of Grounds and Gardens at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas. I’m your host for a three-episode series with artful gardeners in southern California.
Scott Daigre: I’m after the charm of tomatoes. I’m after the history of toma...

Music Credits
“The Dharma at Big Sur – Sri Moonshine and A New Day.” Music written by John Adams and licensed with permission from Hendon Music. (P) 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc., Produced Under License From Nonesuch Records, Inc. ISRC: USNO10600825 & USNO10600824

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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