The gardening catalogs are coming in through the mail now. Some days I get three or more. It seems odd to see all these gorgeous flowers blazed across the covers when the temperatures are so chilly, yet I know this is the time to be planning for spring.
Once you get on one or two mail order gardening lists you’ll find that you’re mail box is suddenly inundated with gardening materials. Don’t be alarmed – be glad. These magazines can actually benefit you in several ways.
First, you can read these magazines with an open mind using them to learn. I recall when I was first learning about gardening. Just reading the catalogs taught me so much. I specifically learned what plants would grow in my zone – after I first learned what zone I lived in – and what plants would attract butterflies and birds. I learned where to plant, where not to plant, when to fertilize, what needed dry soil, and so on. By reading the descriptions carefully, you can glean a lot of important information.
Second, you can use these catalogs to compare prices. Let’s say you’re interested in planting oriental lilies. Company A has them for sale. So does Company B. So does your local retailer. Taking into consideration the size of the bulbs (remember, quality does count!) as well as any shipping costs, you can decide where you can get the best deal.
Third, you can get items that you just can’t find locally or can’t find locally on a consistent basis. For example, I bought some ground cover veronica locally and totally fell in love with it. I wanted more and looked everywhere for it. It was a fluke, I later learned, that the retailer even had it in the first place. I ended up finding it again in one of my catalogs.
Lastly, you don’t have to feel guilty about the environmental ramifications of receiving all of these catalogs. Use the non glossy ones as part of your mulch! You can either shred them and lay them on the ground before you lay your mulch (the glossy ones can be treated this way as well) or, what I like to do, is to tear of a single page and lay it on the ground and lay mulch on top of that. This helps keep the weeds at bay for a little bit longer than mulch alone, and you’ve returned the paper back to the soil.
Gardening catalogs are the stuff that dreams are made of. That’s the most important benefit of receiving them. Sit back by the fire and dream of the flowers to come.