The holidays have come and gone, but there is one sort of holiday that if only you are into gardening, you welcome with enthusiasm like a child just before Christmas.
In this, it is just as fun to go to the mailbox to see what kind of goodies have arrived on our doorstep for us to go through while Old Man Winter tends to business out of doors.
Garden catalog season is upon us once again.
What that you say, you don't get garden catalogs? Well in this day and age it is pretty easy to sign up for more garden catalogs then you can possibly know what to do with.
Or if you are the environmentally-conscious person that we all know you are, then you look through all of the Web sites instead of the thousands of flowers, seeds, trees, vegetables, and products that are now out there begging for our attention.
If you have access to the Internet, then you have a whole new world ahead of you. If you don't and would like to look up addresses and Web sites, the library generally has space for those who need a little Internet time as well.
You can just Google in "garden catalogs" or you can look up a few places that are known to have checked out those places that are reputable for their online ordering or through their catalog ordering capabilities.
There are two places that are my favorites since they have their own internal checklist that garden companies have to pass before they pass the company's name along to consumers. The first is the American Horticultural Society which has a list of these places on its Web site, links included for our benefit. The second place is davesgarden.com.
This Web site is really good because it allows people who have had great success or poor success with any given catalog or Web site company to give it a grade so that other consumers know what is going on. You can also try gardenlist.com and mailordergardening.com which both have extensive lists of catalogs and Web sites for commercial and home use. They generally do not give the sites or catalogs a "grade," so buyer beware.
It is also fun to be able to just look through some of these places and see if you find something that you like, and then check with your local greenhouse or supplier to see if they have that particular plant you are looking for, or if they can get it for you.
Generally, I have found that this is not a problem for most local places to help us out with our requests.
The last piece of the puzzle is to take most of the great, sizzling pictures into context since they are professional pictures - our plants may not look so dazzling in the heat and wind of our southwestern Minnesota summers.
For more information, you can reach me at 823-4632 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org