Seed and Plant Catalogues: Heralds of Spring
Ben Franklin opined that the two certainties of mortal existence are death and taxes. I would like to add that the two certainties in the mail for the week between Christmas and New Year’s are tax forms and seed catalogues. The former causes the nose to wrinkle in disgust; the latter inspires the heart to leap with happy anticipation.
By seed catalogue, I refer to wonderful paper publications of 30 plus pages which describe the plants which can be grown from their seeds or bare root plants. They may be presented in glossy paper or newsprint, with colored pencil sketches or photographs. The details matter little, because they burst with promise. Promise of what? The promise of gorgeous colors all over the yard – a yard which now lies under a blanket of either snow or frozen, dull grass. Additionally, they tantalize with the promise of fruits and vegetables produced by one’s own care and attention. It excites the spirit to nurture plants, living things, which can beautify the home environment or feed the body.
Advantages of Paper
One advantage of having catalogues is the ability to flip between several pages quickly – more quickly than clicking through pages on a website. I find it easier to compare prices or features of the same plant being offered by more than one vendor. Additionally, I can quickly flip back and forth between two plants I am considering in the same catalogue. Once I have made decisions I can also easily cut out the photograph to tape onto a graph of the garden plot.
A Few Favorites
Seeds of Change
This company’s strength is in its seeds and tools. It guarantees that Oregon Tilth certifies its compliance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 monitored by the US Department of Agriculture.
The Gardens Alive! (yes, the exclamation point is point of the name) catalogue is full of environmentally friendly products for repelling pests and fertilizing plants. I had some qualms about including it in a list of seed/root catalogues because its focus traditionally leaned towards supporting the growth of plants, not offering them. However, cover crops, seeds and plants are now offered. Be advised: the earth-friendly fungicides, deer repellants, beneficial nematodes, lawn enhancers, and so on are tremendous. Furthermore, the catalogue gives detailed explanations of how the agent works and for what plants it is especially useful. www.GardensAlive.com
White Flower Farm
This company offers high quality plants. It also still offers a paper catalogue!
I can imagine few things nicer than browsing page by page through a seed catalogue on a sun bright, ice-covered January day. Try it, you may be convinced. Or, you could study that new tax return.
Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan, all rights reserved.