In this issue:
Obtaining and rating mail order catalogs and
Flowers from forced twigs
Peace lily problem solved
Signs of winter's end
Day-lengthening light angle not always
Dig in to mail
order gardening through magazines or internet
Dear Janet & Steven,
I'm interested in the Jackson & Perkins rose
catalog. Can help me to get one? - M.G. -
We don't order by mail as much as we used to, having found that
our area is very well served by local garden centers. Almost
everything we see in catalogs is available locally. Yet it's fun to
order by mail, and if you're not in a major metro area you may have
less variety at your garden centers.
Magazines list mail order nurseries
This is the time of year to pick up a gardening magazine, if you
aren't already receiving lots of garden catalogs. In the magazine
you'll find sources listed after each article (American
Gardener magazine), suppliers listings for all items mentioned
in the issue (Horticulture, Better Homes & Gardens
Perennials) or a marketplace and classified ad section where
many mail order suppliers are listed (Organic Gardening,
Fine Gardening). Once you request a few catalogs or place
an order, other suppliers will find you.
Finding catalogs on-line
On-line, we have great luck reading e-catalogs by simply typing
a mail order nursery name into the Search field of a search engine.
(There are so many: Google.com, Bing.com, Yahoo.com,
DuckDuckGo.com, etc. Keep in mind that a search engine "learns"
about you as you use it. It's a mixed blessing in terms of privacy
and unasked-for ads on one hand, but increasingly easy
read-your-mind use on the other.
We do love to recline on the couch or in bed to read catalogs --
tho' it's not simple with a laptop and lacks visual panorama with a
smart phone. Yet there are great reasons to take a look at the
e-catalogs, too. One of the niftiest things about them are the
embedded videos. Take a look at the catalog for Johnny's Selected Seeds or Seed Savers Exchange, for
instance, where you can learn about how to pinch a tomato plant or
save seed while you decide which of dozens of varieties you want to
try this year.
There are so many mail order firms that a first-time buyer may
be unsure where to start. We recommend you buy first from a
company that's recommended to you by a satisfied customer. It can't
ever be a guarantee but you'll know it's a fair lead! ( We do list
some of our favorites on our Recommended Resources list, but
it's not an exhaustive list. We've been building it and updating it
only as each source comes up in articles. ) Later, place small test
orders with other companies. You'll be able to compare each new
company's service to that first one.
Order woody plants from nurseries in your same hardiness zone or
colder. Wherever you have a choice in shipping dates, select a
Monday after April 25.
Force a bit of spring
High time for flowers in the house. Cut branches of forsythia,
flowering almond, redbud or other woodies that flower very early,
before the leaves emerge. Soak them in deep water for a day in a
warm, bright room. Then put them in a vase in the sun, change the
water daily and watch the flowers unfold.
Next, expand your horizons. Cut a twig of Japanese maple to see
its gorgeous leaves unfurl or red maple to admire its tiny, bright
Peace lily problem
Your article and Jane Suhail were right, I had let it
So A.B. responded after reading Suhail's advice here last week
about her lackluster peace lily. A little uncanny, A.B. thought,
since she hadn't provided the information that wilting was part of
the plant's history.
People like Suhail have seen a lot and learned to recognize
patterns. Keep that in mind when you next fail a plant but choose
to fall back on its guarantee and return it. Say what you want, the
expert at the garden center can often tell what really
to signs that winter's winding down. They include our bay tree,
which decided winter was over and burst its buds to begin growing
once more, and our dogs, who have begun their spring shed.
to that light streaming in my windows, coming now at an angle
steep enough to bounce off every cobweb and dusty houseplant we
own. We're not ready to begin spring cleaning, do you hear?
Originally published 2/14/04