Few things brighten a dreary winter day like the arrival of a seed catalog or, better yet, several of them. The covers are always brilliantly colorful, overflowing with blue-ribbon produce and/or glorious flowers, and inside those pages, well, the magic continues. If you happen to be a gardener, that is.
I love to study all the glorious possibilities, from the mundane to the exotic, and, like many people, I’m definitely guilty of over-ordering. For instance, I just sent for three magnolia trees–magnolia trees, in Spokane!–but, hey, the blurb says the trees are hardy in zones 5-9. Our zone is 6, so I’m good to go, right? I plan to install these lovelies in front of the house, near the gazebo, cross my fingers, give them plenty of water, and dream of filling my nostrils with the glorious scent of that uniquely southern blossom on hot summer evenings. (Maybe my interest in magnolia trees is related to the novel I’m currently writing–working title, “West of Yesterday”–which is set in Georgia in the period immediately following the end of the Civil War. Our heroine, Amalie Winslow, has magnolia trees.)
Seed catalogs are, after all, about dreaming, and more importantly, they promise that spring will come again, followed by summer.
Although I’ve dabbled with gardening for a few years now, I’m far from an expert, and what I’ve grown, I’ve grown in containers. This year, I harvested tomatoes and green beans, among other things, but the blue pumpkins I planted in the raised containers were a learning experience for sure–as large as these two containers are, they simply don’t offer the kind of room pumpkins need to form adequate root systems, and I wound up with exactly 2 pumpkins. Count ’em, 2. Lesson learned–this year, I’m planting pumpkins again, pastel this time, but they’ll be out by the barn, with plenty of room to spread out and, of course, plenty of residual fertilizer.
I already have a basket full of enticing seed packets from Baker Creek, one of my favorite suppliers, and this year I’ll have at least 6 raised beds to work with, so I’m going big. Among other intriguing things, I’m planting ‘Nadapenos’–Jalapenos without the heat, a kind of squash grown by the Lincoln family, luffas, tomatoes, of course, and a lot of greens. It’s still way too early to start seeds–except indoors, which is another blog–but I’m definitely gathering materials and pouring over every seed catalog that finds its way into my mailbox. There are bound to be successes and failures–things to be learned, discoveries to be made–and I’m itching to grow flowers and veggies and woo hummingbirds and butterflies, bees and ladybugs, too. (I ordered little houses for Mason bees–whatever they are–and winter shelters for ladybugs to ride out the harsh winter. Who knew such handy items even existed?)
Ah, seed catalogs. Hope on paper.
And speaking of hope on paper, my newest book, COUNTRY STRONG, came out today. I’m sure hoping you’ll enjoy this first book in a brand new trilogy.