Field of Science

Seed catalogs - Saviours of winter

Each year the seed catalogs start arriving, usually just after New Year's Day, but this year the Phactors got 4 between Christmas and New Year's Day. More will come.   A serious plant habit needs feeding. Why one local nursery used to invite us to a customer appreciation cocktail party every year! Nothing is better than looking at all the promissory pictures to get us through the winter months. You make lists suggesting where things will be planted and you hope for the best in terms of the weather so that you get the most out of your seed and plant investment. New introductions are always interesting and sometimes new varieties solve former problems, but not always. A dwarf, heat/bolt resistant romaine lettuce looks real interesting. As well as a new baby bok choi ready in 30-40 days from sowing! Just add water!  Our perennial beds have a couple of trouble spots where things just don't grow well for reasons not understood, so you keep trying to find a plant to fill in the area. Sometimes the temptation to cheat is just a bit too strong and a zone 6 plant is given a try.  And you may be OK for several years until a Saskatchewan clipper comes into town and you learn that plant distributions are based on the extremes not the means. Already the list is growing since part of the back back lawn is being converted into a woodland/shade garden, and it's a pretty big area that will take a lot of filling. It could be a new species of Epimedium (how many are in the trade now?), or a new big Hosta (still waiting for 'Jurassic Park' to live up to its name).  That's thing, these catalogs are the stuff dreams are made of, but no matter what you have something to look forward to get you through the bleakness of winter.  And then there are all the online places too. 

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