The reason this is my favorite seed catalog has nothing to do with seeds. While other gardeners are browsing through Thompson & Morgan, Burpee, Johnny’s, Seeds of Change, Fedco, Baker Creek (a catalog so gorgeous I actually gave it as a Christmas present), Jung, and others, I get them, pass them along to vegetable growing friends, and hang on to the SS catalog. It is the only seed catalog I order from—because it sells plants.
As I mentioned last week, I am always looking for unusual annuals. My urban garden—with its central courtyard and partial shade—has an insatiable appetite for containers and their requisite plants. Which is great because I love container gardening. I just wish there were more and better annuals to fill them. Especially when it comes to shade, nursery annual offerings can be limited, even in the best IGCs. It’s especially ironic here, because every August we are treated to an amazing display of new offerings at the Erie Basin Marina Test Gardens, almost none of which actually make it to area nurseries the following spring.
I will never buy Tony Avent’s T-shirt that says “Friends don’t let Friends Plant Annuals.” I love them for their variety, versatility and season-long interest—when they aren't boring that is. This is where a place like Select Seeds comes to my rescue. They offer four types of heliotrope, none of which are the short-lived stubby variety offered by area nurseries. There’s a new fragrant nicotiana every year, and some gorgeous old-fashioned petunias. The thinking behind Select Seeds reminds me of the way California wine merchant Kermit Lynch insists on carrying the delicate reds of the Loire valley when he could be pushing Australian fruit bombs and overoaked cabs.
Some lucky gardeners actually can plant all the plants I buy from seed, or they can trust them to reseed. Not me, but no matter; it leaves more room to change from year to year. This year, I’m looking at a deep purple nicotiana, some seductive fuschias, several goofy coleus varieties, and more.
Maybe someday I’ll grow seeds, but not quite yet. Oh, and check out the stylish new look for this year's book; their covers were always kind of ordinary, design-wise, but this year they've gone for a slightly cheeky retro look. Likey!