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The cold, gray days of winter can be hard on the mind, body, and spirit. Fortunately, there are effective ways to beat the winter blues. Some individuals like to take a brisk walk in the woods after a snow. Others prefer to sit in front of a roaring fire and read a good book. Many gardeners, on the other hand, love to leaf through garden catalogs and make plans for the coming spring.
There are hundreds of garden catalogs available from companies throughout the United States. Some companies specialize in specific plants, such as perennials, bulbs, roses, or fruits. Other companies offer a wide assortment of plant materials and garden accessories. These general catalogs commonly offer vegetable and flower seeds, perennials, woody ornamentals, small and tree fruits, tools, seed starting supplies, and pesticides.
A beginning gardener may obtain catalogs by contacting the companies. Addresses and/or mailing cards can be found in the winter issues of many gardening magazines, such as Horticulture and Organic Gardening. While many catalogs are free, some companies charge a small fee. If you have ordered from a company within the last one or two years, you will likely be sent a catalog automatically.
When leafing through the garden catalogs, keep in mind that many of these companies sell nationwide. Some of their plants may not be adapted or hardy in Iowa. Check good reference materials for the cultural requirements and the hardiness of plant materials.
When ordering from garden catalogs, carefully read and follow directions on the order form. Before mailing, make a copy of the order form and keep it in a safe place. While most orders are correctly filled, a copy of the order is helpful when problems occur. Pay by check, money order, or credit card. Do not send cash.
Order plants from reliable, reputable companies that have performed well for you in the past. Be cautious of plant materials being sold at unbelievably low prices. Inexpensive plant materials are often extremely small and/or poor quality. Also, be cautious of companies that use wild or unbelievable claims to market their products. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When ordering from an unfamiliar company, place a small initial order. Continue to patronize those companies that ship promptly and send good quality plant materials and supplies. Toss the catalogs of companies that don't meet expectations in the wastebasket.
While spring is still several weeks away, garden catalogs can help brighten the wintery days that lay ahead. Catalogs are fun to browse and mail-order companies provide gardeners a wide assortment of plant materials and supplies.
Gardeners can purchase seeds at local garden centers and mail-order companies. For your convenience, the mailing addresses and web sites of several mail-order seed companies are provided. This list has been updated for 2006. (No endorsement of companies is intended in this listing, nor is criticism implied of similar companies that are not shown.)
Year of Publication:
IC-495 (1) -- January 11, 2006