There’s something comforting about the feel and look of a gardening catalog while you sit near a warm fire on a dreary winter day, counting the hours until spring arrives March 20. Most are still available free in printed form, and can also be viewed online.
• Antique Rose Emporium: Known for roses grown on their own root stock, these heirloom garden varieties originate from old neighborhoods or cemeteries where they have grown naturally. Roses with few thorns, colorful hips, mannerly or vigorous climbers and other specific characteristics are searchable online. Each plant comes in a 2-gallon container shipped mid-May through mid-September. www.weareroses.com or 800-441-0002.
• Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: Bateekh Samarra melon is an oblong fruit that’s brownish-green and netted outside, lime green inside with a sweet-tart, citrus-type taste. The name simply means “old melon from Samarra,” which is a city in northern Iraq; its original seed comes from an Iraqi seed collector. Also, Golden purslane greens with bright yellow-green leaves for fresh-picked salads. rareseeds.com or 417-924-8917.
• Bluestone Perennials: Happy Hellebores, winter’s primetime perennial, graces the front of the catalog, which showcases clematis, coneflowers, bee balm, geraniums, ground covers, ferns and more – all in plantable coco pots that biodegrade. New this year: Raspberry Splash pulmonaria with raspberry and deep purple blossoms on upright heavily spotted lance-like leaves for sun to shade gardens, and Samurai Tricyrtis, or orchid-like toad lily, with purple spotted with yellow-throated flowers. bluestone perennials.com or 800-852-5243.
• Botanical Interests: Specializing in flower and herb seeds that are organic, non-GMO. Collections include children’s garden kit, baby vegetable assortment, bee-attracting collection, cat lover’s greens, butterfly series and beneficial insect “welcome kit.” botanical interests.com or 800-486-2647.
• Burpee: The new Steakhouse, pictured on the catalog cover, is the largest beefsteak tomato ever bred, tipping the scales at up to 3 pounds, according to Burpee. Bam Basil is another newbie – flowerless basil that doesn’t bolt and produces all season long, even in the hottest summer. Burpee also introduces Ms. Mars Sunflower, a new annual with dark-red-to-purple flowers and leaves and Zahara Sunburst, a compact zinnia for borders, beds and containers in full sun. burpee.com or 800-888-1447.
• Cook’s Garden: Diablito, or Little Devil, is a Thai pepper discovered in Portugal; it adds warmth and zest to Mexican and Asian dishes. Cute-cumber cucumber makes an eye-catching plant in a container while you wait for the fruits. Masterpiece pea produces an edible green in a month with pods to follow; grows nicely in a window box. More organic and heirloom vegetables you can grow from certified organic seed and plants, including lots of tomatoes for those tasty summer BLTs. cooksgarden.com or 800-457-9703.
• David Austin: The 15th edition of the U.S. catalog offers more than 200 rose varieties, including 132 English roses now available to American gardeners. New ones include: Boscobel, salmon to deep pink with myrrh scent; Heathcliff, crimson with tea rose scent; and Tranquility, white with light apple scent. davidaustinroses.com or 800-328-8893.
• Gardener’s Supply Co: More than 150 new products include composters in all sizes, micro-greens growing system that lets you plant and harvest in 14 days, self-watering standing garden containers and grow bags for crops like peppers and tomatoes, even potatoes. Wildlife helpers include bamboo shelter for non-aggressive mason bees and squirrel-deterrent caged feeders for birds. www.gardeners.com or 800-427-3363.
• Johnny’s Selected Seeds: More than 250 new products include Artisan tomatoes, small in size and striped in colorations. Some are elongated cherry tomato shapes and sizes, known as Tigers; others are the traditional round cherry tomato, called Bumble Bees – all as good to eat as pretty to look at, according to the company. johnnyseeds.com or 877-564-6697.
• Park Seed: Heirloom Green Hybrid tomato, spotlighted on the catalog cover, is touted as the “world’s greatest fried green tomatoes,” is a beefsteak fruit that begins lime green, and turns deep yellow to golden at maturity. Rated as a good one for gardeners who have never tried growing tomatoes from seed before. parkseed.com or 800-845-3369.
• Renee’s Garden: Her online-only catalog offers organic seeds for vegetables, flowers and herbs – and dozens of specialty gardens, such as collections for gourmet salads, old-fashioned fragrance, basil lovers, patio pots and unusual annuals. reneesgarden.com or 888-880-7228.
• Seeds of Change: Foodies will want to check out new tomatoes including Pink Berkley Tie Dye with pink fruit and green stripes and Pork Chop with a low-acid flavor and yellow skin. Flower lovers will like the organic dahlia, lily and glad bulbs that will attract bees and hummingbirds. seedsofchange.com or 888-762-7333.
• Select Seeds: Specializes in heirloom flower and vegetable seeds, including pollinator beneficials like passionflower and purple hyacinth bean vines, as well as small annual and perennial plants. New this year: Pop Art zinnias with petticoat-type petals and exceptional disease resistance. selectseeds.com or 800-684-0395.
• Sunshine Farm & Gardens: Owner Barry Glick hasn’t had a printed catalog in two decades, but his email newsletters alert you to seasonal plants and special offers from his Renick, W.Va., farm. His wintertime favorite is Pediomelum subacaule, nicknamed Nashville breadroot, because Native Americans used it like potatoes and made it into flour. The purple-flowering groundcover tolerates snow and extreme cold. sunfarm.com or 304-497-2208.
• Tomato Growers Supply Co.: Every size, shape and color of tomato seed, including the new Indigo Rose and Apple with dark skins and deep red flesh, as well as heirloom cherry hybrids and beefsteak and bi-colors. tomatogrowers.com or 888-478-7333.
• White Flower Farm: The catalog showcases more new takes on old favorites, including Secret Affair coneflower, Jazzberry Jam hibiscus and Orange Vanilla Popsicle red hot poker for perennial gardens that attract beneficial pollinators. whiteflowerfarm.com or 800-503-9624.
MORE GREAT CATALOGS
• The Gardener’s Workshop debuts the Forever Calendar ($9.95) that keeps you up to date on life’s celebrations without having to transfer the dates at year’s end.
“You simply flip the calendar over and start at January again,” says owner Lisa Ziegler, who was given one as a gift and could not find one since so published her own.
“Keep with the Dutch tradition and hang the Forever Calendar in the bathroom, where you have a moment to pause and review upcoming celebrations.”
She also suggests the workshop’s harvest knife with 4-inch serrated teeth ($9.95), for harvesting lettuces and greens, organic vegetable seeds ($2.75 each) and a foldable cargo organizer for plants and shopping bags ($22.95). Learn more about the online gardening shop, which also specializes in cut-flower seeds, at the gardenersworkshop.com or 888-977-7159.
• Brent and Becky’s Bulbs’ summer-flowering catalog means you can have alliums, Asiatic and calla lilies, caladiums, cyclamens, calla lilies, glads and dahlias to follow your spring-flowering daffodils and tulips.
To help you put together combinations for your garden and containers, the catalog showcases bulbs, perennials and biannuals in small collections – white liatris and red glads or pink lilies surrounded by various shades of larkspur ($13 to $36.50) with more combinations available online.
The catalog is also filled with helpful planting tips and reminders. brentandbeckysbulbs.com or 804-693-3966.
• Plant Delights owner Tony Avent in Raleigh, N.C., recommends perennials: Blue Towers wild indigo with tower-like spikes of blue-purple flowers that reach almost 5 inches; Songbirds Epimedium with spikes that hold large yellow spidery flowers; Anna’s Red Helleborus reddish-purple blooms; Mini Skirt hosta with gray-green leaves and heavily ruffled creamy-white borders; and Glenn Dale Carmina Lycoris, or surprise lily, with dark-pink flowers and electric blue petal tips. The 110-page catalog is billed as a “plant owner’s manual.” plantdelights.com or 919-772-4794.