Gardening catalogs start comingEven though we are entering into the heart of winter and this past week has showed us severe cold, we are starting to see signs of spring. We see those signs in the daily mail that we are now getting in the form of seed catalogs. Every time I come home and see a new one in the mailbox, a sense of serenity overcomes me.
By: John Zvirovski, The Jamestown Sun
Even though we are entering into the heart of winter and this past week has showed us severe cold, we are starting to see signs of spring. We see those signs in the daily mail that we are now getting in the form of seed catalogs. Every time I come home and see a new one in the mailbox, a sense of serenity overcomes me. It makes me feel as if the winter will not take that long to pass if I already have to start thinking of ordering seeds.
History has shown us that this is the perfect time of year to start our garden planning. As we all know, many of our ideas for the yard come about with a lot of planning and researching through the cold months of the year. We already know that when the season comes to plant, we quickly seem to run out of time. Planting time around here usually comes in the month of May. Along with that comes graduations, exterior house painting, the end of school, lawn mowing, cleaning the garage, the fishing season and vacations to list a few. We all have different agendas and some are busier than others, so plan accordingly.
I already have a list created for spring planting. I know what plants need to be divided in the gardens, which ones need to be moved and which ones I am tired of and need to be tossed. Of course, I made those notes last fall as my memory tends to be a bit short to last all winter. I have lists of different types of flowers that I am going to plant in various beds and what colors go well with others. I also know that there are going to be new plant varieties on the market that I am going to try and I will need to make sure there is garden space for them.
The seed catalogs, arriving now, help make those choices easier in many respects. Some of the names of these catalogs are the Select Seed Company, Jungs, Gurney’s, Bergeson’s and Wayside Gardens. They are very self-explanatory with their colors, sizes and location needs. They even tell you if they are one of the All American Select winners for the new year or years past. These are the ones I like to keep an eye on with interest. Some of them have amazing new colors or growth characteristics. Some are of the tropical nature with banana types, caladiums, elephant ears and calla lilies.
I love to have tropical plants in containers on my deck each year just to give a different flavor to the gardens. In some magazines, they call these garden rooms. Whatever the theme you have, they open up many opportunities to create diversity within your garden spaces.
There are numerous types of seeds and plants available in these catalogs. Most of them have vivid pictures to show you great detail of the final product. It is these pictures that get me into a lot of trouble as I seem to want much more than my space will allow. Of course, some of them are must-haves within out gardens. I like to have a few things in the yard that nobody else has ever seen or heard of before. They are great for conversation between neighbors and a perfect outlet for a little horticultural education.
One of the best ways I have found to keep my purchasing under control is to first right down your items on the order forms from the catalogs. Once you have made your lists from each catalog, put your order forms together and calculate exactly how much you are buying. You may be amazed at how quickly it adds up both in quantity and monetarily.
Some packets contain as little as 10 seeds, whereas others may have upward to 100. If you plan on buying a lot of packets with a hundred seeds, you had better have a large yard in which to place all of the plants. Your other option is to spread your wealth with neighbors who may not be quite as adventurous with gardening.
Some seeds lose their ability to germinate after a period of time if kept from year to year. The best advice would be to keep them fresh and use them within the first year or two.
Some of this year’s new varieties are from the Caladium “Taste of Thailand” series that contain the Caladium “Lemon Grass” with nearly yellow leaves and streaked with purple along with the “Lychee” with its shiny pink leaves edged in green. There is the “Mojito” Elephant ear that is 3 feet tall with chartreuse leaves streaked with purple for that tropical look in the garden.
Some new annuals would be the “Pretty Much Picasso” petunia, which is part of the Supertunia series that has deep purple flowers edges in lime green. The “Snow Princess” alyssum that is more profuse and vigorous than other varieties as it is sterile and does not waste energy producing seeds. There is also the “Zahara Starlight Rose” zinnia with rose-colored petals and thick white tips of medium height. They are also resistant to mildew and leaf spot and can tolerate drought conditions.
A few of the new perennials are Small “Mighty Mouse” Hosta with its small blue green leaves edged in a creamy yellow. There is also the “Coral Reef” and “Hot Papaya” echinacea or cone flowers that come in a bright orange color along with a few other new colors.
Catalogs also sell a variety of gardening products such as statues, home greenhouses, planting mediums, containers and ornamentation. Each company has something different to offer the consumer, so peruse through the various mailings and select the most unique things that you desire. The products you end up buying will more than fill your garden’s needs in many ways.
Even though I know I will over-buy again this spring, I can rest assured that I will end up with many unique items in the garden that will make people talk. Not only will it create conversation, it will keep me in complete appreciation for every new thing that grows or blooms in this year’s garden. No two years are alike, so why should the plants in our gardens be the same from year to year? As with life, spice it up a little with variety and your heart will never go unfulfilled.