The Bluestone catalog arrived yesterday, and for once I was able to leave it on the table without feeling in the least tempted to flip through, imagining what I might buy. In spite of—or maybe because of—the bulb frenzy that took place in the fall, I feel that the spring might be a time of minimal garden spending, especially when it comes to mail order.
In tough times, if I’m going to be spending discretionary dollars on gardening, it’s going to be spent closer to home. We have a lot of great nurseries in Western New York—I can think of 3 superb examples within a couple miles of my house—and I want to help keep them open.
I also worry about how growing financial hardship will effect our local parks and one of my favorite winter hangouts, the local Botanical Gardens. I have to admit I am more of a rare/exotic plant person than a native/wildflower person when it comes to botanical facilities. You’re more likely to find me admiring the prize-winning lady’s slippers at the orchid show (shown above) than hunting them down (probably unsuccessfully) in their native state at a wilderness. But it seem that this is the year to support all of these places, with my admission fees and possibly volunteer hours, as the government and foundations that fund them threaten to lessen or even sever already fragile bonds of sustenance.
While the standard interpretation of sustainability focuses on conservation of resources, I also think of sustainability as keeping alive a unique local culture, making sure that all the reasons I love living and gardening in Buffalo remain viable. So I might give up buying the mail order woodland orchids I heard about last spring (I think I was supposed to plant them in the fall anyway), in favor of visiting their cousins at the Gardens or even checking them out at a nearby conservancy.
This might be the season to keep expenses down, and consider myself lucky that New York State’s new governor isn’t imposing a tulip tax, as well as new ones on soda, beer, wine, fishing, furs, and jewelry.
Of course, the Plant Delights and Select Seeds catalogs have not arrived yet, but by then who knows if I’ll even have a choice!