Friday, January 25, 2013

Garden Catalogs = Eye Candy

I love garden catalogs!  They show up at the right time of the year and bring with them dreams of colors, scents, and springtime. I do have some tricks and tips that are useful in keeping my wants in line with my needs.

Select Seeds--Antique Flowers offers unique flower seeds of old-fashioned varieties, fragrant heirloom flowers, flowering vines, and more.I pull out a 'sharpie' and mark plants that catch my attention.  No limits here, this is wish time!  Then the next time through I pay more attention to the details:  zone, size, bloom time, water and sun requirements, etc.  This eliminates those that really won't work in my garden.  Some of the information I might ignore if the plant is something I really want to try.  You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned prices - more on that later. 

 Now it's time to get out my current garden journal, scissors and tape or a glue stick.  I cut out enough of the picture and the plant info and add them to my journal.  Be sure to find a way to note which catalog it came from and include the price.  It's a visual shopping list!  Maybe this seems a bit retro but I like being able to take it with me to local nurseries.  It helps me comparison shop and find possible alternatives.  

Okay,about prices.  Catalogs often have special offers that sound very tempting.  It's so easy to get carried away since the pictures are so delicious.  Read the fine print carefully
 - the plant you will receive in the mail will be much smaller.  
You might be able to find the same plant locally or from another catalog.  New plant varieties and heirlooms are often much more expensive.  If you can wait a year the price will probably come down. Award  winning plants are usually great choices.  TIP: get to know your local nursery...they will often add your 'must have' something special to their next order.  Big box stores won't do this. 

Here's a list of some of my favorite catalogs (I have ordered from each of them):

Gardener's Supply Company
John Scheeper's Kitchen Garden Seeds's
Dutch Garden                                          
Wayside Gardens  
Select Seeds
High Country Gardens
The Cook's Garden
Park's Seeds
Van Bougondien  


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Gardening

This time of year is hard for me.  I can't get out and play in the garden.  This year I'm  also recuperating from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder (and yes - I am right handed and typing this with my left hand).  However, the gardening catalogs are coming in and so future wishes and dreams are dancing in my brain.
I'll be sharing my favorite catalogs and gardening sites during the next few posts.  Find yourself a pen and notebook so that you can keep track of plants and supplies that you are dreaming about.  Writing things down for a gardening journal is a great way to keep track of plants you are looking for either by catalog, internet, or at your local nurseries.

"Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart.  She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.  She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth."  
-Hugh Macmillan, 'Rejuvenescence,'  The Ministry of Nature, 1871
 And there in my garden  hidden down at the bottom of a bunch of dry, dead growth is a future promise in the form of a little touch of green.  I can be patient and wait for warmer weather as I continue to heal. There's lots of dreaming and planning to do.