Seed catalogues arriving and I'm not thrilled

carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)December 2, 2011

Maybe it's different nowadays. It used to be a seed catalogue had so very many choices of each kind of flower or vegetable, ones I never heard of, ones I couldn't grow anyway. But in the 2 I got so far, T&M no longer seems to be overpowering in its selections (O where are the giant red shaggy cactus-petaled zinnias?) and the Cook's Garden has no vining nasturtiums to climb my potager fence.

Or is it me? Now that I'm doing more gardening and a little more knowledgeable about plants, I see what's missing in the catalogues.

I guess they have to bottom-line it and supply what sells. But maybe the other catalogues due to arrive soon, will fill in the gaps. -- or do you also know of plants no longer listed in the catalogues?


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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)


While I can't think of anything specific at the moment, I also have gotten the feeling that there are fewer choices, less of the unusual and more of the run-of-the-mill stuff. I think part of it is, as you said, that they need to supply what sells the most. Another factor could be that fewer people may start seeds nowadays, since everybody's in a hurry, and they have more spendable cash for plants. Instant gratification!

I remember, as a child, when my grandpa would get his annual Burpee's catalogue, and I'd wonder at all the exotic plants and flowers! And even plant catalogues are less now, Logee's is one prime example. When Byron's mother was in charge, they had way, way more items! Now the selection is quite limited, not to mention MUCH more expensive. I know it's not cheap to heat greenhouses, nor pay a staff nowadays, but I wonder if it is only that.

At least now we can search the internet and still find most of what we want......if we even know it exists! That was the nice thing about browsing a catalogue...that you might discover something new at every turn of a page!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 5:14PM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

The only catalog I've received so far is Johnnys Select Seed, always a happy day when the first catalog arrives because it means next year's gardens have been born if only in my own head so far :)

But I too have noticed in recent years fewer of the heirloom varieties in the catalogs and for that reason I made a decision a few years ago to only buy seeds from companies that sell heirloom (open-pollinated) seeds. I think for veggie growers, people get roped into buying the F1 hybrids that are marketed well and touted for specific characteristics, but as they don't tend to come true from seed and I do my own seed saving to develop varieties adapted to my own micro-climate, I'm not interested in hybrid seeds.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 10:39AM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

I can't really speak to the issue. Every year I places 6 or more orders for seed. Here's what happens. The fantastic Baker Creek Heirloom catalog comes and there are sure to be some unusual veggies I want to try. However, that doesn't mean that another catalog won't have some other unusual veggie variety not offered at Baker Creek, etc. I go along marking each catalog and then sit down and try to cost effectively place multiple orders from a variety of catalogs to capture a wide set of must-have veggies and flowering plants. Soon after those orders go in, I am absolutely sure to hear about something else that I simply must try. A Google search leads me to a site I haven't used before or haven't used in awhile, often with unusual offerings, and thus another order is made. Then I have to pray that the process won't keep repeating!

There are more types of seeds available to gardeners than any previous time in history, but probably less complete options for someone who wants to place one or two orders.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:37PM
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