… when the catalog that covers the “spectrum of plant snobbery” and would never “deign to carry mere annuals and vegetables” would have tomatoes in plastic pots on the cover. Those are Michael Pollan’s words about White Flower Farms; I am sure that many of you also loved the chapter in Second Nature where he deconstructs the world of garden catalogs. I thought too that Pollan’s book was the first to call catalogs “garden porn” but I couldn’t find the exact reference this morning.
WFF has carried annuals for years; in fact, it was the first place I bought strobilanthes (Persian Shield), but I’ve never seen anything but a lush array of daylilies, dahlias, oriental lilies, ferns, or other perennials on its cover. Until this year, as you see on its summer 2009 catalog. The vegetable offerings are mainly tomatoes aimed at the patio veggie grower, including some heirlooms like Green Zebra, Black Prince, and Riesentraube. The bulk of the catalog is still perennials, shrubs, and bulbs.
There’s no question that a gorgeous ripe tomato—especially a green, yellow, or purple heirloom—is as seductive as any flower, but can a couple pages of tomatoes justify a cover? I guess. In the magazine world you put on the cover what you think will sell the book, and in this gardening season, clearly, veggies rule.