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Here Come the Catalogs

Gardening with Catalogs

I am going to cover catalogs, the exciting ones, the ones who tell you the truth and the ones that hide things from you.

General Statements
Know a few things before you send off your check or use you plastic money on the phone or internet. I strongly advocate a debit card.
1. If I buy the plant, will I be here to plant it when it comes. Vacation from the office, busy with the kids etc.
2. Have I thought about what sized the plant will be when mature? I planted the Iris Pseudacorus from about 3 four inch pots, I dug up two bunches today of 3 dozen at least, sized half gallon.
3. Have I looked for it locally, if I can find it, it will usually be bigger and lower in cost if you figure shipping and growth time as a cost. Cf the local nurseries and Bert Driver in Smithville, and Payne in Sparta respectively. Obviously I go to the closest first and if Chuck or Phil and Jay have it I usually go no further.
4. Is the plant hardy here. I generally will try a plant if it is listed Zone 7 and yes I know usually we are listed as a 6 and at times I will lose a plant. 6 is -10 to 0 and 7 is 0 to 10. How long since we went under zero?
5.Have I read the catalog closely including the size pant to be shipped and the cost of shipping and handling.

Catalogs fill several functions including:
Education on the kinds of plants out there.
Some of the best are (1) Heronwood (2) Plants Delight
(3) Louisiana (4) Shady Oakes (5) Okious Tree Nursery and there are other good ones. The Tree peonies ones are worth the price for the pictures.

The Types of Catalogs
Day lilies
Wild flowers

Many other depending on the plant or type garden
such a alpine gardens. Indoor, shade, water etc etc

We are blessed this year that we no longer have to deal with Spring Hill, Henry Field, Starks at least. Excuse me they evidently went into a chapter 11 and I have gotten two from Starks.

Packing, shipping and Handling
These will vary as the location and greed of the people involved. I don't mind paying for well shipped plants.

Last year I bought six roses from Ashdown in S.C. and they were packed six to a carton with each rose in a gallon pot and in a very strong cardboard inter box. Well they arrived in great shape.
2. I have ordered plants and the arrived in a semigreen jumble that was hard to separate and in sad shape.

I usually check in my mind to see how much of the cost of getting the plant is tied up in the packing and shipping and handling. I have a bias that you should not be charged for both. Story from the Ant Proof Box .'What in the hell do you think fees are?" From looking again at the shipping and handling charges on the above I think from a low of about 12% to a high of close to 30 % is the range. Most seem to be around twenty. That means a hundred dollars worth of plants cost you $120.

General Catalogs
1. Plants Delights which will cost you a box of chocolate or 10 first class stamps. Truly a good catalog and unusual to strange plants. More of the plants you won't find in your local garden center. Rating of chocolates as oppose to stamps. Each catalog is themed with the cover suitable for framing
A full page of made up names that are not politically correct.
Hellebores 6 kinds 8 to 15 dollars, lots of hostas

2. White Flower Farms if you ever get a chance go to Whites in Litchfield Conn., I have been twice. Plants a bit pricey but you get good plants. Their collections are at times a great landscaping buy; I have done Hostas and Daylilies. Tree Peonies are three years old and cheap for such usually about 50 bucks

3. Vernon Barnes and Son of McMinnville. Too many of the shrubs etc are simply rooted cuttings however the wild flowers have grown and are cheap once you take off all the discounts.

4. Shady Oakes Simply the best shade garden plants that I have found. Good healthy plants the hostas should mature this year. Get plantigenta Aphrodite. Looking at pictures or Hostas which I really love is like looking into the Grand Canyon for the 10th time in one day; it begins to look like a big ditch. They have a lot of shade plants other than Hostas.

4(b). Wilkerson Mill Gardens, A true treasure of hydrangeas and a few other plants. Near Atlanta.

4(c). Underwood Shade Garden, love their description of mints "grows with Exuberant vigor in rich soils." A well written and informative catalog.

5. Niche Gardens Interesting and lots more plants than pictures 8 kinds of Buddleia 7 to 9 dollars

6. Beaver Creek in Knoxville Unusual plants no pictures, Good description and fair looking prices, I am going to order something from them this year.

7. Parks and Wayside both owned by the Parks family
The pictures are the moral equivalent of pornography ie it creates the desire for a lot of things you either don't need or wouldn't know what to do with if you had it. Some sharp increases in price this year Lady Banksia Rose Lutea has gone from about 18 to 25dollars. Plants are as advertized. Pictures awesome with descriptions the sometime leave you with more questions than answers. They provide you with enough catalogs in a year to use for mulching of a new bed.

8. Heronswood Nursery now owned by Burpee. They could have done worse. No pictures no common names and I have spent hours getting educated. I have a Hydrangea in my garden that was described as being 40 ft tall where he found it on a mountain in China. I like pictures but this is a catalog I would choose if I could only have two. Catalog abt $5.00

9. Oakes Day Lilies, Just east of Knoxville and simply a must go place the third week in June. 26 acres of daylilies, their catalog is very good and the plants they ship are in large sizes, no single fan ones here.

10. Woodlanders No pictures a bit condescending, but some plants that you will not find elsewhere. I guess the pretentious catalogs are for us who brag on our plants. They must be selling snob appeal. Lady Banksie Rose which I use as a measuring device is interesting from this nursery it is $9.50
and from J&P is $19.95 or so.

11. Hidden Springs Hector Black the founder with his wife is a very unusual man, one I respect. They have a lot of unusual plants, many of them born elsewhere and imported by Hector and reproduced. It is in Putnam County. Go by for a visit. Then call me and tell me how to get there. I have gotten lost twice.

12 Gilbert Wild & Sons great source of daylilies, Hosta, Iris and peonies. Catalogs are good and a few times a year they send out sale sheets that are awesome. Good sized plants, fair prices.

13 Burpee perhaps the best of starter plants veggies etc
the catalog is good and the plants I have ordered have been as advertized.
One can hardly ask for more in today's world

14. Interstate Lots of plants, shipping and handling is 7.45 per order. Plants seem to be small.

15. Fairweather Gardens, my first year to receive one, Pictures are good, written information looks good. Plants are larger than usual, and they tell you sizes. A lot of plants you just don't find everywhere. SH to E.Tn is 20% to W TN is 28% Maybe they don't take orders from Middle Tennessee. In ordering catalogs this is one I would always order, if just for the pictures and writing.

16. Geers both a good catalog of all kinds of plants but heavy on the Rhodies . Prices are not cheap but they appear to be fair.

17. Bluestone from Ohio and sell six packs of perennials they are starters.
., do not expect a plant ready to go in the garden; but, if you are willing to grow them out perhaps it is a good place.

18. Avant Gardens another great N.C. nursery Awesome plants and good writing. In general the North Carolina nurseries are professional and truthful and not too expensive.

19. Thompson and Morgan the largest seed catalog in existence . Another great way to spend a cool evening. If you can grow plants from seed this is a wonderful place. I seem to be seed challenged.

20. Louisiana, No pictures but hundreds of plants in fact several different catalogs. I think them pricy.

1. Kleim' awesome catalog and awesome cultivars. The herbaceous ones are not to expensive; but, the tree ones cost. They have a very large selection of the Tree types that I yearn for. Perhaps this fall I will finally after wanting one for ten years order a Hesperus.

2. Cricket Hill is a really nice nursery I am told by a friend who knows the people. The catalog is pretty; but, most of the plants are recent introductions from China and besides the mixed political feelings, they just aren't my favorite colors.

3 Galen Burwell honest writing and a odd selection of species peonies Hellebores and new peonies hybrids. This is truly an original catalog that Helen introduced me to last year. He breeds and grows his own plants. Though the catalog is not fancy it has some beautiful pictures. A real keeper
if someone orders from him, I would like some feedback.

4. Reath's Herbaceous and Tree Peonies. I have read this catalog for years, simply wonderful. Trees range in price from $50 to $350.

5. Hollingsworth Nurseries A homey kind of catalog but fair prices and a good selection

1. Antique Rose Emporium all roses Lady Banksia 19.45 plus 5.34 S&H. Lots of old roses. Lady Banksie is a old , old rose for the south, no thorns and in the spring covered in small white or yellow blooms. The one is Scottsdale Az in over a hundred years old and beyond 75 feet.

2. Ashton Roses the best shipping boxes I have ever seen. Roses are 14.00 min 3 plus ll.50 shipping. These are all roses on their own roots and of good size. Last year he sent me one without a check and said if it died he would replace it.

3. Heirloom Roses Mutabilis 13.95 as are all roses plus 7 shipping and handling. A fair price impresses me. Beautiful catalog.

4. Edmunds Roses Pictures are awesome Prices l3 to 18 shipping on one hundred dollars is 12.95.

5. Wayside Special Rose catalog Pictures to die for
lady b was 19.95 in 2000 and in 2001 it is 24.95 shipping about usual it goes down as the amt of purchase goes up.

6. Weather spoon short catalog Lady B 17.00 Catalog worth having

7. Is J&P part of the group that went under. They are smart if they can sell you roses to test for them. Price is near the top.

8. Northeast Miniature Rose the roses are all $5.95 and are shipped in two inch pots. If you put them in containers they should thrive. I panted some out and they died. I had rather for instance buy a Rainbow's End for 13.00 that is Mature at about four feet than a rooting for 5.95. I have friends who like them
9.Arena Roses, just got the catalog and it is a beauty. They ship both barefoot and potted about $10 difference in price. Roses are fairly priced and with the collections offered it is a nursery that I want to try.

1. Iris City Iris just west of Franklin and a beautiful Webb page and good folks. Catalog is full of many kinds of iris and good picturers.

2. Atkins Salmon Creek good range of plants beautiful pictures

3. Friendship Garden and reblooming Iris short but interesting and relatively cheap.

4.Schrieners Awesome in pictures and good plants; a lot of the new stuff. You are almost over whelmed with color.

5. Ambergate in St. Louis is by two guys that are really good Iris growers and while the new introductions are high the others are fair enough. Shipped well.

6. Cooley's one of the two biggest in America and like the other sometimes has great buys on collections. They have been around a long time.

Bulbs etc
1. Beauty form Bulbs John Schelpers Inc. A great catalog with a lots of bulbs etc that you don't find at Lowes. Prices fair S&H 15%.

2. Van Engelan Inc Bulbs etc much like the above except line drawings only. Prices and S&H similar.

3. Van Bourgondine catalogs cover both bulbs etc and plants. They have the tree PAEONIA in first year roots for good prices, 5 and 10 dollar specials are good

4.Van Dykes the catalog is pretty and for the usual bulbs they are fairly priced, I usually like something that causes me to think outside the box.

Wild Flowers

1. Rock Island Wildflowers Mail order only I spoke to the lady. Incredible selection ,Absolute guarantee.

2. Sunlight Gardens straight forward language and a Latin English cross listing Andersonville, Tn.

3.OIKOS Tree Crops A Michigan nursery that provides in the main trees, shrubs etc that produce food for wild life. I love to read the catalog and have ordered from them. There are more kinds of Oaks than you would believe possible.

4. Hardy Perennials, Russell Graham, Purveyor of Plants, I have bought several times and think it is an excellent place to buy wildflowers. 20 kinds of Helleborus. 13 kinds of Species Iris. I am sold on him.

SummationThere are thousands more, and then there is the internet. If you don't have a computer use one at the library. Read Gardening by Mail, now a few years out of date, look for catalog adds in magazines, which will help. If you are on the internet go at least to some of the list of pages The WWW Virtual Library From here you can go almost any where.
Or for more fun type into your search engine the name Cindy Johnson, she rates catalogs. I hope this entertains or helps gardening and gardeners are a joy to me.

John Acuff

Nov 2018
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