Like many of you, I am now deep into that annual January effort affectionately known as "catalogue gardening." My mailbox is brimming over with so many collections of brightly-colored, bountiful images of perennials and produce that my mailperson may have to file suit against my homeowner's insurance to pay for their hernia. Just a single day recently brought me the pictured catalogues below, some of which I've ordered from before, and some that I've never heard of.
I know that some of the companies behind these and other catalogues are likely run by evil capitalists who are preying on my current deficiency of green scenery in order to increase their sales. I don't care. I'm an addict in a poppy field. Indeed, as I open the mailbox and leaf through the daily minutiae, I can feel myself begin to salivate and shake. A mere glimpse of the perfect magnified beauties within the pages and my mind's-eye view of my garden begins to shimmer and change. There are those plants that, upon a single glance, we know exactly where to place within our garden beds and budget. There are others that make up our wish lists, contingent for their purchase upon pennies from heaven or other unexpected funds. The choices are narrowed down or expanded again and again, as we examine lineage and breeding, learn about environmental preferences and zonal requirements, and simply choose by our heart's desire. And then there are the shining iron tools, the irrigation controllers, the cloches, and the plant stimulants to be mulled over. Will it never end?
It is particularly cruel that many of the catalogues have arrived within the last week, just as if their makers knew that I would have a few days off over the holidays to spend some quality time with them, but I am braced by the knowledge that Christmas bills were high and the sky is not the limit for anything but a trumpet vine.
I'll look through them all, and some new enterprises will probably receive some of my coin along with my tithes to old stalwarts. I've already submitted my order to Stark Bros., planning for renewing the strawberries and adding new blackberry varieties. In fact, Stark Bros. got in line first because I was sampling the less common fruits of the local market and came across an Asian pear labeled as a "pear-apple." Somewhere out there in a field or a storage cooler is my new Asian pear tree, scheduled to arrive in late March. In my current state of rose-fever, I'll likely succumb to a few new roses from Heirloom Roses and Rogue Valley Roses, and nary a year goes by when I don't order a bit from High Country Gardens and Song Sparrow Farms. And, of course, the local nurseries shouldn't fret because I always trust my senses of touch and smell to add some final purchases, introduced during the spring trips to the growing greenhouses as my winter discontents fade to April's optimism.
Happy Catalogue Gardening, One and All!