Gardening Guide

106 Flower Catalog Gardening Section


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106 Flower Catalog Gardening Article

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Flower Catalog Gardening


Your local garden center is an invaluable resource for your gardening needs. You can actually see what you are buying; you can inspect the plants for their health, see what tools feel like when actually holding them.

However, more and more gardeners, novices and veterans alike, are being bitten by the bug of flower catalog gardening. Indeed, flipping through the new catalogs during the winter months (though flower catalogs really arrive all year) is half the fun of having a garden. New issues arrive at your home a good many months before itís time to start planting; obviously, companies are aware of the fact that you need to have time to order seeds and supplies and time for your order to arrive before the growing season.

The benefit offered by flower catalog gardening is that many new products and ideas that do not reach local garden centers (or take too much time to reach them) are available through the mail. Catalogs offer exotic seeds and plants, specialty items, new hybrids, and applications of new technologies. Starting flowers from catalog seeds is also less expensive than if you were to buy them at your garden center.

The benefits of garden catalogs donít end there, though. Many give useful information about the cultivation and care of many species of plants, about planting locations, how to create pleasing landscape designs, and detailed descriptions of any new hybrids or cultivars. Some talk about plant hardiness, discuss how to protect plants from disease and pests, and some are even stocked with recipes.

The majority of experts agree that if something looks or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When you first try your hand at flower catalog gardening, place a small order and see what the companyís reaction is. If a company seems to be treating your order with a less than decent amount of care, donít buy from them again; they probably donít take the quality of their products to heart, but rather just look at their profits. If youíre a novice gardener, donít get lured in by the siren song of the pictures, and if youíre a seasoned veteran, think twice about following the sound of extravagant new promises. Do some research on the company behind the catalog.
If youíre new to flower catalog gardening, pick up a newspaper; in the home and gardening supplement, youíre likely to find advertisements for gardening catalogs. Your local library is also a treasure trove of information. There, youíll find advertisements for catalogs in gardening magazines and youíll most likely find a handful of gardening catalogs themselves. Subscribe to some that catch your eye (most are free), read up on the company, and maybe place a few small orders to test the waters. Make sure that you check for some kind of sign that the company has the satisfaction of its customers at heart; if thereís some kind of money-back guarantee or a phone number to call for problems, thatís a good start.
Remember that when flower catalog gardening, you really need to do some planning. Be careful to not order more varieties of seedlings than you need; the same problem doesnít really hold true for large quantities of seeds, because you can store them until theyíre needed. You should store the seed in its original package, folded over and closed with a small clothespin, or one of those bag clips, and in a paper bag or envelope; donít put it in a plastic bag as moisture will accumulate, giving rise to fungus. When you get around to planting your seeds, you might not get as many plants as the first season for the amount of seed you sow, but you should get a good turnout.
Remember to calculate when your order will arrive (and remember that you can pre-order things to have then shipped at the right time); for many plants, youíll have to put them in the ground shortly after they arrive (if not immediately). Also make sure you know what youíre getting into; if your garden just doesnít have the right conditions for a particular plant to grow, no amount of photogenic beauty will get it to grow, and if you have a small garden, donít be seduced by the pretty profile of a large flowering tree that is capable of completely blocking the sun from reaching any of its smaller neighbors.