Now that there can be no doubt that we are in the clutches of the evil Wanda Winter, I feel the strong pull to immerse myself into the new plant and seed catalogues and in the process actually escape and embrace winter.
“Both escape and embrace winter?”, you ask. My, you are a nosy one. I’ll be nice and not tell you to mind your own damn business. For me searching through the catalogues this time of year really is an escape and an embrace of winter.
The escape part might be the easier to understand. I can run away to spring and summer when I will be able to plant the plants and sow the seed. I can imagine how beautiful that Colocasia ‘Diamond Head’ will look with Salvia ‘Black and Blue’.
I can see how pretty those orange bell peppers will look sautéing in dab of butter and olive oil with some green zucchini and purple eggplant. All very summery daydreams warming my world on a day below freezing with the ground covered in snow.
Now, the embracing of winter part might be less obvious. But think about it for a moment. Until sometime in December the garden is usually keeping me pretty darn busy. In October and November I’m so busy cutting back annuals, digging cannas and dahlias to be stored in the basement, and potting up salvia and hibiscus and alocasia to be overwintered near a window that final clean-up occurs late often. Then the holidays hit. Poof. Another two weeks gone. It is really sometime in January before I can shift out of go-go-go gardening mode and shift into dream gardening mode. So yes, I embrace winter for giving me time to dream garden. And that is what looking at all the wonders in all the catalogues is for me – dreaming of how great that new plant will look with the Dahlia ‘Not Hot Chocolate’ sleeping in the basement, dreaming of how perfect some Okra ‘Burgundy’ will look with pepper ‘Tequila Sunrise’ next to Swiss chard ‘Oriole Orange’ next to Lantana ‘Landmark Citrus’ (hopefully surviving in a plastic bag in the basement) and rising above it all Amaranthus ‘Dreadlocks’ that self-sows around the garden.
So who is getting me to open their pages and disappear for a spell? There are so many options. It’s hard to beat Baker Creek for heirloom vegetables. But they also have rare things from all over the world plus some flowers. Tony Avent of Plants Delight is always a good read (even if you can’t always embrace the whole idea on the cover). The man can find the plants! I have a lot of stuff from there. Select Seeds is another with lots of heirlooms but it’s all about flowers and foliage (seeds, bulbs, and plants). Brent and Becky’s Bulbs is another favorite. I can sit at my kitchen counter and just while away the hours, especially on a cold sunny day with two windows facing south. Maybe I’ll have a batch of cookies in the oven.
And on-line? Mercy sakes alive! It is a fabulous world out there. When I have not received a catalogue yet, or don’t expect to, it’s off to the iMac to see if they have their 2010 catalogue on their website (some places don’t even do a print catalogue). There’s Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (p-lease, it’s southern y’all), Ronniger Potato Farm (always think I’m gonna plant potatoes), Seedhunt, Bountiful Gardens, Grow Italian, Bustani Plant Farm (are they ever tempting me this year!), Totally Tomatoes (they have peppers too). Then there are all the old stand-bys like Gurney, Jung, and Park for sure. And of course Sandhill Preservation Center (is this the year I finally order sweet potatoes?). Sandhill is one of my favorites. Not only do they have heirloom vegetables and flowers but they have heirloom and rare poultry. Lots of chickens. I love chickens. I’d love to have a chicken ranch. Not like the one in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. One with real chickens. But that isn’t part of life’s current situation. The problem with on-line? My dining room, where my computer resides, doesn’t have a southern window. Oh, but I added that opening in the wall – next to the doorway between the dining room and kitchen! Lots more light into the dining room. It’s looking like a good time to dream garden.
Sorry folks, I done runned out of time to add links to all these places in this post. But I assure you, all or nearly all, are on-line.
And another thing. I don’t need a hundred acres for that chicken ranch. You know, a lil’ ole bitty pissant country place would be just fine.