Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, November 4, 2011

Some Garden Catalogs Are Better Than Others

Salvia azurea with honeybee
I'm reading one of my favorites on this very rainy and cool day.   Prairie Moon Nursery's catalog is special. It's chock full of good information about native plants and seeds for prairies, wetlands, savannas and woodlands.  They've done a wonderful job of organizing and presenting plant cultural information.  It's obvious the nursery owners want you to find exactly the right plants for your prairie restoration, native habitat or new wildflower garden.  In fact, the catalog is clearly labeled a Cultural Guide. Every forb/wildflower they offer is shown with detailed information including  genus, species, common name, germination guide, sun, soil, bloom, color, height and even a few  comments.   This catalog is a great teaching tool for gardeners wanting to learn about wildflowers...it may not be applicable to  the Southwest, the deep south  and California but, gardeners from the rest of the country and Canada will thoroughly enjoy it.  The plants are listed~ Asclepias to Zizia ~for easy reading and planning. Lest you think I only read this catalog~I recently ordered several bareroot verbesina alternifolias and dozens of seed packets!
Helianthus salicifolius 'First Light'


Sure we can find plant information on line. But, for me, the real experience comes with thumbing through an actual catalog! A written catalog! With corners to fold over and pages to write upon.  I love reading the  descriptions of  the plants, seeing photos of  them in natural settings and then imagining them in my garden. I have many wildflower books, but, I've learned  a lot about wildflowers, daylilies and other plants from catalogs.   Many of the plants I read about would never survive Clay and Limestone's conditions; but, it's a delight to be introduced to them.  Discovering and learning about new wildflowers is one of the reasons I started the Wildflower Wednesday meme. (Are The Natives Friendly) Participants have introduced me to many new wildflowers from their part of the gardening world.  Some of my favorite exotics are other folks native plants!  Excuse me,  I have digressed to a favorite topic!

While I totally enjoy a good catalog read, almost all of my  wildflower plant purchases are from  locally grown stock. It's a rule I like to stick to when possible.  Plants grown near my garden are far more likely to survive the dry summers and wet winters than plants grown a thousand miles away.  Sure, I'll mail order plants, if I can't find them at my go-to local native plant nursery, GroWild. I love supporting local,  independent nurseries and GroWild is a treasure.  It's just a 30 minute drive to a beautiful farm setting and my favorite plants!  The bonus is that I have gotten to know the  owners, Mike Berkley & Terri Barnes. Unfortunately,  for out of towners~They do not have a catalog nor do they do mail order. But, they have a very nice website.


For almost every rule there's often an exception!  Bulbs are the exception to the buy local rule! I almost always buy bulbs online and almost always from the same vendors. Van Engelen, Brent and Becky's and McClure and Zimmerman.  They have wonderful catalogs,  informative websites, incredible bulb choices, and great end of the season sales. It  was an  M and Z's catalog (many, many moons ago)  where I  was first introduced to species tulips and narcissus.  It has never been the same for me since!  I love bulbs and although, I can never match some of my dear gardening friends bulb for bulb. They are, after all, Champions bulbers. I have made good use of bulk bulb buying from Van Eng! You, too, can buy all the Tommies that you want! (Lilac Tommies For My Garden).
So go ahead and sign up for catalog delivery~Trust me, it's not a waste of paper. You never know what you'll find in a catalog and it might be more than plants for sale. It could be an introduction to a passion for wildflowers or bulbs!

xxoogail

**Champions in the  bulb buyers club~Frances/Fairegarden, Dee/Red Dirt Ramblings, EAL/Gardening While Intoxicated

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone."

29 comments:

  1. This is a dangerous post. Giving someone with the urge to plant places to purchase.

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  2. For some reason I get a lot of catalogues from places selling things i couldn't possibly grow. Fruit trees!
    Catalogue reading is fun but I do wonder sometimes how they get such fabulous shots of blooming flowers. Probably not here in Texas. Enjoy your rainy day pursuits.

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  3. I too enjoy a hard copy that I can carry everywhere I go. Never know when a free minute will appear!

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  4. Lisa, I am sorry~But, I have to enable you to buy bulbs and check out Prairie Moon Nursery! xogail

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  5. Jenny/Lancashire Rose, Some catalogs aren't worth the paper they are printed on! But some are real treasures! I think your garden is a fantastic catalog of xeric plants! xog

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  6. Darla, I do, too...I have several in my car for reading in waiting rooms! xog

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  7. I always order something(s) from Brecks, Bluestone Perennials and Brent & Becky's Bulbs, but I love perusing other catalogs nonetheless. :)

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  8. Racquel, Bluestone is fun, too. xog

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  9. Dear Gail, HA to placing me into the bulb champs! I do admit to a bit of an obsession with them. If this catalog has come to my house, I don't remember it, but that will very soon be rectified! Happy gardening, my friend!
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  10. Gail, what a great (and pretty) resource. Thank you. Saw that they've got a new-fangled pdf of their current catalogue online when I wasn't able to fill in their on-line form (perhaps they don't want to send their catalogues to Canada?). At $2.00 a seed package I'll gladly spend another $15.00 for postage -of course that would mean that I should probably order even more so that I average down per package. Oh, it's lovely to have my seed-addiction fed so early in the a.m.

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  11. I, for one, am very glad you started Wildflower Wednesday, and I can attest to the wonder of a good catalog. They read like a good novel. Also, thank you for starting WW. It has helped my garden evolve into a friendly garden for natives.~~Dee

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  12. I love catalogs, too. I'd like to mention Old House Gardens as a good bulb source of old fashioned bulbs. Very hardy.

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  13. I hoard garden catalogs and have several stashes around the house. I thin them out periodically but it's tough to let them go!

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  14. I used to get the Prairie Moon catalogue. I should send for it again. Back then, it just had line drawings of the plants, but still had a lot of growing information.

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  15. I love Prairie Moon, but I wish they had more species from the western side of the country! Their extensive cultivation info is always helpful with finding things that will grow in our PNW conditions, though. In fact, I just recently took advantage of their bare-root sale! I'm not much of a bulber, though.

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  16. Thank you Gail for writing such informative post...I had never thought of it that way. Gardeners all around will be thanking you.

    And it's certainly time to settle down with a cup of tea, and a catalogue.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  17. I love Van Engelen and Brent & Becky's, too. So fun to look through their huge array of bulb offerings. This spring my crocuses sent up seed heads like crazy - not sure if it was because the weather was just perfect for it this year or if I've just never noticed before - but I'm hoping to have many, many more in a few years from seed! Hooray!

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  18. Garden catalogs sprout in my mailbox like weeds this time of year. And I love them! There's nothing like a new garden catalog and a toasty fire in the fireplace on a dreary winter day. However, like you I have discovered that my most successful plants usually come from local sources. The exception: bulbs!

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  19. Being from across the water it's always interesting to have a browse through catalogues that I'm never going to see or buy from for normal.
    I try to do as much as possible locally nowadays, growing from seed and buying from the local nurseries.
    thanks fro a peek at your catalogues.

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  20. I wish there was a west coast edition of Prairie Moon's catalog, it sounds fabulous! There's definitely room for quality native plant/seed catalog out here. Oh well, at least we have some fabulous heirloom vegetable catalogs to read on rainy days!

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  21. Prairie Moon is one of my favorite catalogs too Gail. I've been enjoying growing natives from seeds, and they are a great source for those too. Ever since I was a little girl I've loved looking at seed and plant catalogs, especially during the cold winter months.

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  22. I love Prairie Moon. Someone suggested them to me when I was looking for some aster seeds. They have such a wide variety and like you I really really appreciate the cultural information that they provide. Prairie Moon is a treasure!

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  23. I with you I prefer printed seed and plant catalogues. I like to turn down the corners and write notes in them. I do tend to buy my plants locally, although I am happy to buy seeds and bulbs online after a good thumb through the catalogue

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  24. Fair to say, we all LOVE the plant catalogues! Helps me get through the Winter. I often use the photos and descriptions in the master garden files I keep on the plants here at Gardens at Waters East. They make handy reference tools. Also makes it easy to identify plants during the growing season for the many visitors who come here to tour, (and for me who tend to forget at times!) Jack

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  25. I do love the print catalogs. They really motivate me during the winter months. These are some great suggestions and I wasn't familiar with some of them. Thanks!

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  26. I've been ordering from Prairie Moon for years and I really love them. Most of my diervilla, a plant that would do well for you, came from them. I highly recommend Niche Gardens in NC and Lazy S's Nursery in VA. Niche has a paper catalog but Lazy S doesn't. Porteranthus stipulatus from Prairie Moon would grow happily for you, too. :o)

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  27. I love a plant/seed catalog too. Nothing beats it (including the Internet) on a cold winter day. I think you've planted your fair share of bulbs my friend!!

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  28. Thanks Gail. I ordered the Prairie Moon catalog and it is wonderful. I'll be ordering some items for my southern IL garden, and doing it more confidently with all the detailed growing and soil information.

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  29. Now that I've read this, maybe I will find a couple catalogs to order. That first one you mentioned sounds like a good one.

    Hey, I just remembered I have a 2011 a catalog called, "Stock Seed Farms". The words above and below the name are, "PRAIRIE GRASS-TURFGRASS AND WILDFLOWER SEED". I don't know why, but every time I start to look at it, I get sidetracked. I used to think they only sold seeds in bulk, but have figured out you can also get smaller packets. Maybe it's because I am too chicken to start perennials from seed, like I mentioned. They only sell seeds. I just noticed they have a website. Just a minute, I'll get a link in case you are interested. I don't know how many of these are also native in your area.

    OK, here it is:

    http://www.stockseed.com/

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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