Gardening catalogs are full of promise, wonder, desire and opportunity. So is spring! So it’s the perfect time of year to sit with your favorite cup of yum and plan out your garden dreams. Here are a couple of my favorite catalogs you should have delivered to your house to ponder.
Out of this first group, I would have to say Gardener’s Supply is my top choice. You know all those seeds you see in the stores that tempt you but you remember how your last efforts failed? Have no fear. Gardener’s Supply has a unique system that I swear, has enabled me to germinate nearly 100% of my seeds I start. Seriously. It’s called the GrowEase Seed Starting Success Kit. Wicking mats make sure you don’t under or overwater your sprouting seeds. It’s amazing. You can read the reviews yourself on their website by clicking on the picture. I have used it and love it.
DripWorks is for irrigation systems. Big or small, they have them all. Kinsman Gardening catalog states: “Special gardening items we use ourselves.” Me too! They have gorgeous top-of-the-line items for your Downton Abbey-worthy English garden. I have their watering can (in dark green). In fact I’ve had it for over 20 years and it sits out in foggy, ocean climate year round and it has not rusted. It looks great by the front door with cut flowers in it too.
Gardens Alive! catalog has a strong emphasis on lawn care. But they also offer some cool GrowTubs™ that let you grow tomatoes or whatever pretty much anywhere.
This next group of catalogs focuses on seeds. This is by no means an exhaustive collection! In fact, one of my favorites, Thompson & Morgan isn’t in this picture (I went with whatever had come in the mail recently).
Burpee will provide you with mostly hybrid seeds—which isn’t the same as GMO/scary. It means that they are bred for prolific production, or short stature for a small pot, or resistant to a particular fungus. Something all gardeners can rejoice over. They do have some heirloom Amish seeds. My favorite? The Brandywine tomato. Ohhhh, you haven’t experienced tomato heaven until you grow one of these and then slice it with some salt. Beyond transcendent.
Seeds of Change is unique. They have can’t-get-anywhere-else seeds that are important to grow. Why? Because most of our commercial varieties grown for supermarkets in this country (like corn) are down from hundreds of varieties to just a few. Imagine if they were wiped out by some virus? Think Irish potato famine. Many of Seeds of Change seeds are hardy and ancient varieties passed down from great great grandparents or Native Americans. They are 100% certified organic. Their website states:
“Heirloom and traditional varieties have endured because of their time-tested value to generations of gardeners and farmers. Whether for their great taste, high nutrition or vigorous growth, we are trying to preserve as many of these treasured varieties as possible. We offer both open-pollinated and hybrid seeds, all of which represent agro-biodiversity as well as value to the gardener, farmer and consumer of the end food products.”
And in our local organic food store I see people paying silly amounts of money for healthy wheatgrass juice. Well thanks to Seeds of Change, you can grow your own! For $3.49 you get 500 seeds (click on the image). Use the GrowEase Seed Starting Kit I mentioned above and you are off and running.
The next catalog, Breck’s is for the Bulb Babes. The gardeners who know that bulbs are an investment that keep paying you back. Once you plant daffodils or iris’s or lilies, they multiply year after year! You get free plants each spring. Now your only worry are the bunnies that like to eat the tulip heads or the critters who want to eat the bulbs. (Gopher cages are great for this). And daffodils are poisonous, so no one is going to eat them!
This next group of catalogs are my absolute favorites for flowers and shrubs. They are the ones I totally drool over.
Wayside Gardens and Jackson & Perkins. But alas! There is a third one I don’t have yet- White Flower Farms. This too, is an extraordinary catalog. But let’s talk about the two that are here.
Wayside Gardens always has the latest shrubs, flowers and trees that haven’t hit the general market yet. I don’t know how they do it, but when you open their catalog and see the new colors that have hit the hydrangea market or the new kinds of iris, you will squeal. And don’t bother going to your local nursery—they probably won’t have it. They also carry the perennial favorite roses of David Austin that are luscious, fragrant, and look like peonies.
Jackson & Perkins is known for their roses. And here you will learn about the difference between tree roses, patio roses, shrub roses, climbing, floribunda, grandiflora and hybrid tea roses. Amazing collection. Some are noted for their inability to kill in frost, others for their fragrance. Others sometimes have both—form and fragrance—like David Austin roses.
This is by no means a complete list, but this will get you started in the right direction for success this spring season!
And if you love to read about gardening, you might enjoy my book, Gardening Mercies- Finding God in your Garden. Author of the Mitford series, Jan Karon said, “Well done! Lovely!” And even Dolly Parton said, “I love it! I love all the sweet thoughts in it!”
You can find it on Amazon here. Or click the book.