Remember those catalogs? They were huge, and the activity most attached to it gave it the name “Wish book”. Gardening may be one last bastion of mail catalog consumers, now that garden centers are on the wane.
We still need our gadgets and gizmos along with the seeds, bulbs, pots, and bareroot plants that we crave for making our gardens live in line with our dreams; and we tend to be slower to jump on the latest bandwagon- even though even THAT is changing.
I still like perusing through the garden catalogs during the depths of January freezes, and have been ordering from them again as my local nurseries whittle down their product lines. Last year I ordered seeds from a company new to me. Swallowtail Garden Seeds. I was very happy with them, and I think that I will probably double my use of catalogs for this years garden. They gave me lots of seeds for the money, were prompt in filling my order… and the seeds grew. That last part is always of utmost import.
That doesn’t mean you need to… but you might enjoy looking through a catalog or two.
This all brings up the controversy about the demise of local nurseries as America adjusts to a tighter economy and a demographic change of interests. Gardening has been around in some way or another …well, since Adam. Even now, it is always a part of having ones own homestead. If you have a home and a plot of ground in front -or back- you have a potential interest in gardening. Once the occupation of growing food is added in, there is a surge of interest.
I think the coming generation is going to find an interest in the garden, but it will take a different form than the one we have seen in the past decades…just as ours was different from our parents. Maybe it is becoming a meld of ours and our parents. We already see “green victory gardens” drawing interest.
The key that is missing for most of today’s connection with gardening is what I would call “moral interest”. The moral imperative that causes people to want to invest hard work and money in the growing of a garden. In times past it might have looked like… “refinement of nature and beauty in the yard and home”, “helping the war effort by producing home produce”, “artistic leisure activity of a modern society”, or “getting back to the earth” and “simple living”. None of those keys quite fit today, probably because of the transition of our society due to technology and now to economic contractions. But humans and gardens go together… and that isn’t going to change.
Oh, where was I now? Catalogs. Yes… sorry if my digression on catalogs vs garden centers, and demographics, was unwarranted.
Do you have favorites?
Some of us have lots of them coming in the mail, but if you don’t and you want to consider ordering some special plants or starting seeds yourself this year, I’m making a list of those I’m signing up for.
Thompson & Morgan
OR Look at Cyndi’s vast list of garden catalogs.