Just in time for this week’s snow dump in the Northeast, a catalog arrived in the mail that offered me an hour of free entertainment and a warm glow: Logee’s, which bills itself as "tropical container plants for home and garden."
While I don’t do very well with container plants in the home–finding them generally about as much fun as depressed houseguests–I do love a humongous pot or two of something weird in the garden in the summer.
But it’s hard to find interesting annuals. Even the fancy nurseries in my part of the world offer not much besides pansies and the boring varieties of impatiens.
I’ve only gotten what I wanted because there is a really unlikely nursery in the unfancy countryside near me. Devoted to annuals and vegetable seedlings, it’s owned by a sophisticated couple who have always been way ahead of their market. So I’ve been able to buy nice stuff like heliotropes, fun pink or chartreuse caladiums, tiny little miniature impatiens in hot colors, and tuberous begonias already blooming. (I’ve had no luck trying to start those babies in a windowsill early. They just get leggy and rotten.)
But the owners of this nursery have recently sold their house, started spending more of each winter in a balmy clime and are clearly losing interest in expanding their upstate customers’ horizons.
- Rex begonias with their paisley-swirling leaves. My God, these are gorgeous!
- A bat-winged begonia with white polka dots: B. Maculata var. ‘Wightii.’
- Pelargoniums with fancy leaves. I love a classic red-flowered geranium. Think I love Logee’s ‘Skies of Italy’ even more.
I was also gripped by the idea of a fig tree theoretically hardy to Zone 5… only to learn from Logee’s website that Ficus carica ‘Danny’s Delight’ is not in stock. Too many other fig lovers in upstate New York? Fresh figs are one of life’s great pleasures any way you get them–grow ’em, buy ’em, or steal ’em– but try them on a pizza with onion confit, provolone, and prosciutto.
And Logee’s offers a passion flower variety named Incense that is supposedly hardy to Zone 6. No way, I say, but they’ve probably won my $10.95 for it anyway.