The time has come (actually the time was last month, but life gets in the way) to order seeds, spring planted bulbs and perennials from the various wonderful catalogs I receive. Some of my favorite catalogs are Bluestone Perennials, White Flower Farm, Song Sparrow Nursery, Thompson and Morgan and the good old Wisconsin standby: Jungs.
I’d like to start with a complaint in case anyone is listening: I wish Jungs made a master catalog for all of its various companies so that prices would be uniform and I wouldn’t have to pay so much extra in shipping to buy one thing here, and one thing there from each of their many subsidiaries.
I know some people get crazy about buying things from such large companies, but I think that they should get over it. A Wisconsin company, however large, is a good thing. That is not to say that I don’t spread my money around the globe with my gardening purchases. But I digress.
Speaking of shopping globally, UK-based Thompson and Morgan is the place to order seeds. I want about 100 things in their catalog, but a word to the wise: just because they have seeds for everything, you probably won’t be able to grow anything that is not labeled with a first “e” for easy germination. You might have luck, but the seeds aren’t free so I’d stick with those thing that you know you can grow. This year I’ll be ordering Princess of India Nasturtium, which will be lovely cascading over rock walls; Fruit Punch poppies, which I already grow and love; Verbascum “Copper Rose”– a lovely copper shade of what we all know as Mullein (a weed); Dianthus, one of my favorite plants- probably “Crimsonia”; Echinops Ritro ssp. ruthenicus, a blue globe thistle, which looks great in arrangements; “Vogue Appleblossom” pelargoniums, what most people call geraniums, are very easy to grow from seed, even if they are the exception to my rule on “e” for easy, I’ve never had trouble with them. Don’t count on them blooming right away. Other flowers for my hot garden include Durango Tangerine marigolds, Nicotiana Langsdorfii, violets- “freckles” and “sylettas” and some Bulls Blood beets for their excellent foliage color. I’ll give more advice about seed sowing when I actually do it- usually 8 weeks before last frost. (Around St. Patrick’s day)
Some highlights from my other orders: Aconitum Bressingham Spire from Roots & Rhizomes (a Jung’s company)– I saw an Aconitum in a neighbor’s garden last year and realized that I had been missing out. I will also get some Kniphofia– I love the half pink and half lime ones but will probably get red/yellow/orange because they are a touch hardier. I’ll get these from Jung’s proper.
Bluestone Perennials won’t miss out either- a late flowering Anemone “Honorine Jobert” and Dianthus “Frosty” would have qualified me for a white flower discount if I’d gotten off my arse to order them.
I’m still undecided what I will get from Song Sparrow- maybe another tree peony, maybe the hydrangea “Hayes Starburst” would be lovely too.
I’m also ordering more Dahlias, there are never enough of them- Myrtle’s Folly is gorgeous and is available from Swan Island Dahlias.
Shockingly, nothing tempts me this year in the White Flower Farm catalog, although I have long wanted an enormous variegated petasites, I don’t have a place to put it, so I will have to pass on that. This would be great to put by your pond, Betty.
So there is really no method to the madness here, just trial and error- the most fun part of gardening.