A lot of gardeners I know get pretty antsy this time of year. Seed catalogs are arriving in our mailboxes almost every other day and making us even more fidgety. I suppose that’s the whole point of the catalogs, to make us excited about the up coming gardening season so we buy something we may not otherwise want or need. The familiar seed company logos are like the faces of friends we haven’t seen for a while.
I don’t consider any seed catalog junk mail, even the new ones I’ve never seen before and will probably never order from. Sometimes I find a jewel hiding in those too.
I’ve been gardening for many years and have seen seed companies come and go. Some stick around for eight or ten years while others try to break into the crowded field and fade away after a few years. The most familiar names have been around for generations.
Some homey-looking seed catalogs look like they’re from a small, friendly business when in fact they come from multi-national conglomerates. That’s marketing I suppose.
Most seed companies, even the small homespun outfits, don’t actually grow their own seeds, they purchase them through brokers and from other suppliers.That makes sense when you think about it. Keeping genetic lines going and varieties true-to-type is a very time and labor intensive business, takes highly skilled managers and lots of land. The best most can manage, if they try at all, is to grow just a few varieties.
To me, there is something about holding a printed catalog in my hand that I don’t get holding a tablet computer. Plus, with printed catalog you can mark pages and write notes all over it. I use bright colored marker and make big sweeping circles around the varieties I’m interested in. Then I write the page number on the cover. To me it is a lot easier, or maybe more intuitive, than book marking web pages on a computer.
On the other hand, when it comes time for ordering and paying, I’ll buy online — it’s so much easier that way.
Do you have a favorite garden catalog?