If you are a gardener, a plant-loving person of any type, you know what happens just after the Christmas mail rush: garden catalogs begin arriving! Yes, all those promissory pictures telling you that at some point in time under some particular set of circumstances where no expense was spared someone manage to photograph one of these plants is just that perfect condition. Your results might vary. Nonetheless, the Phactors love our garden catalogs. Mostly they give us ideas about what we might plant this year. For example, the garden adjacent to our patio needs an ornamental tree or shrub as a center piece, but it's not an easy place: part shade, a bit dry because of the dense sugar maple crown above, and a bit too exposed to wind from the NW (which describes way too much of our estate). Quite a bit of new landscape gardening is needed around the renovated pond. Let's see, refurbish two ancient, scraggy forsythia, or yank them out and plant a new Magnolia, maybe a yellow flowered one? OK, that's a no brainer. But this is what all those wonderful catalogs are all about - making a wish list, a type of wishful shopping, like people who wander malls with no particular intent of purchase, a mind set marketers try hard to change. Oh that we had a local nursery that carried such varied stock among which to wander, but most cater to the least common denominator. The arrival of garden catalogs means that in just 3 short, miserable, cold nasty months, a new gardening season begins, and so we imagine all those lovely things growing lushly from our dry, shady, hard, clay soil. So more than any other thing, these catalogs help us look forward to better things, a new round of phytotherapy. So how can the postal service be doing so badly if they have all these garden catalogs to deliver?