Salisbury, MD. January is National Mail Order Gardening Month and the Gardening Grannies have pulled out their credit cards and checkbooks and are fully prepared to do their part in making National Mail Order Gardening Month a success!
Per their long-standing tradition, the Gardening Grannies met on New Year's Day to toast the New Year and sort through the bundles of seed and plant catalogs that have arrived in their mailboxes. This year, the Grannies met in Ocean City at Granny Greenthumb's condo, had their champagne lunch and settled into sorting through catalogs. Together, they came up with what looks to be the most promising new entries on the market as well as confirming sources for some old favorites. The search is still on for an old southern favorite, "White Lady" turnip seeds. "White Lady" is a rather small, white turnip with a wonderful texture and flavor. If we have somehow overlooked it or you have a source, please write to us at email@example.com.
Another undetermined decision is what sweet corn to purchase. There are some very enticing new entries on the market as well as some old favorite standbys.
One thing did become clear. There were four catalogs that rose to the top of the list of favorites.
At the very top of the list is the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog (www.rareseeds.com ). Aside from the fact that the catalog is "coffee table" quality, their offerings of heirloom seeds are the best we could find. In addition, the family values expressed in the catalog, their methods of expansion (they don't gobble up other companies, they enhance the historic values of their acquisitions as stand-alones), their uncompromising position about genetically modified seeds and the sheer number of heirloom offerings are enough to make believers out of the most critical seed shopper. They offer their heirloom tomatoes by color and have a fabulous selection of melons, pumpkins and squash. To top it all off, their Spring Planting Festival, May 1 & 2, is an event that the Gardening Grannies already have marked off on their calendars. Let us know if you are going to be there and we'll try hook up with you for an adult beverage at some point! Hint: located near Branson, MO, last year they had over 6,000 gardeners attend their two-day event.
The Cook's Garden (seeds and plants for gourmet gardeners) can be found at www.cooksgarden.com. They also offer e-mail updates and recipes. We particularly liked their salad bowl and overall presentation of product.
White Flower Farm, in our opinion, offers the best quality and selection of flowering plants of any of the catalogs. We have ordered from them frequently and have never been disappointed in the quality or condition of the plants. They are a Connecticut based company and can be found at www.whiteflowerfarm.com . Granny Griffith received one of their gift certificates for Christmas and has her eye on a Cameo flowering quince and some primroses (primula, North Hill Strain that sport 24" candelabras).
Seeds of Change, another certified organic catalog, rated high as we worked out our orders. Good selections of garlic, welcome growing tips, hints for space challenged gardens and general information ranging from biodiversity to season extenders caught our attention. They are out of Minnesota and can be found at www.seedsofchange.com .
Other Catalogs we will surely be ordering from include:
Burpee Gardening: www.burpee.com (check out their tomato collection)
Edmund's Roses: www.EdmundsRoses.com (just roses)
Gardener's Supply Company: www.gardeners.com
Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co.: www.Gurney's.com
Henry Fields: www.HenryFields.com
High Country Gardens: www.highcountrygardens.com (plants for "waterwise" gardens)
Jung Seeds & Plants: www.jungseed.com
k. van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc: www.kvbwholesale.com (wholesale bulbs)
Pinetree Garden Seeds: www.superseeds.com
R.H. Shumway: www.rhshumway.com
Stark Bros: www.starkbros.com (our best choice for fruit trees)
Territorial Seed Company; www.territorialseed.com
Thompson & Morgan: www.tmseeds.com
Totally Tomatoes: www.totallytomato.com (tomato lovers need to check this one out)
Van Bourgondien: www.dutchbulbs.com (fabulous bulb collection)
Vermont Bean Seed Company: www.vermontbean.com (beans and so much more)
Each of these catalogs has something special to offer and, if they don't arrive in your mailbox soon, they are certainly worth the time to check out online.
Gardening Grannies are a group of avid and Master Gardeners who live, love and garden on the Delmarva Peninsula. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to hearing from you.