Catalogs entice with unusual plants to grow
Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 10:24 p.m.
We have lots of places to buy plants in the North Central Florida area, from "big box" stores like The Home Depot and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse to local nurseries run by local gardeners and the farmers markets.
But the lure of catalogs is still strong. And their glossy pages do entice.
Repeating the mantra of caveat emptor (buyer beware) when you leaf through page after page of hype and glowing descriptions, you can find unusual and beautiful additions to your landscape. And since most are offered by seed, they are a really good deal (if you are good at starting plants from seed; I am not).
I am, understandably, on the mailing list of many, many catalogs. Some I can hardly wait to get - White Flower Farm, Renee's Gardens, Park's Seeds - and others I am glad have stopped bothering me - Michigan Bulb Co., most notably.
When ordering from catalogs, carefully peruse their policies and shipping times. If you don't want them to share your name to other mailing lists, most provide that option. Bulbs and plants that may be damaged by cold (some of these suppliers are up north) are usually held until weather permits their safe passage.
Several cease shipping of plants and bulbs after May 30, but continue sending seeds year-round.
Make sure the plants you are ordering are suitable for our area. Just because you get their catalog doesn't mean the peonies from Song Sparrow are going to grow here - and they shouldn't have to honor a guarantee they will grow.
But most of all, take the opportunity to experiment. There's all sorts of new and interesting stuff in these catalogs, and some may just become your new favorites.
For information on shopping via catalog, and a listing of many catalogs and magazines, visit the Web site of the Mail-order Gardening Association, www.mailordergardening.com.
Marina Blomberg can be reached at 374-5025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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