Friday, January 2, 2015

Invasion of the Gardening Catalogs!

My mail slot has been invaded by garden catalogs since sometime around Christmas. This is what I’ve gotten in the past week or so...

I can’t help but look at these catalogs with the eye of a graphic designer, since that’s what I do for a living. Bluestone Perennials has always been a favorite of mine for ordering plants, but I have to say their catalog isn’t the best designed one out there. From a design standpoint, the covers that appealed to me the most at first glance were The Natural Gardening Company with their use of white space and a simple, single image of an onion and The Cooks Garden for their magazine-layout-look and that gorgeous photo of their exclusive Ruby Glow Hybrid Lettuce (man, that photo really makes me want to get me some of that!). Also from a design standpoint, I have to give props to the same two catalogs for their clean interior layouts – Natural Gardening using a four column grid with the occasional larger photo or info block and Cooks using a three column layout with the occasional larger photo, and some high-quality photography at that. But I guess I digress since most gardeners probably don’t look at catalogs in exactly the same what that I do. Maybe price point is what is most important, as well as plant or seed variety.

Two companies that I planned on ordering from this year have yet to send me a new catalog. One is Seed Savers Exchange and the other is Hudson Valley Seed Company. Although, I never actually get a catalog from Hudson Valley. I always end up having to look on their website. They show up as a vendor at the Pennsylvania Flower Show each year, so I write my seed wish list and hope I can find them at the show to save having to mail order. And speaking of being a sucker for great design, their Art Packs are often so gorgeous that they are frame-worthy. They make great gifts since they are so pretty. In fact, a friend gave me some for Christmas this year – can’t go wrong with that! (If you want to help save the monarchs AND get a beautiful seed packet at the same time, check out their milkweed seeds, which are new for 2015.)

It is easy to go a bit crazy with checking off what to get, but one can dream can’t one? Then we all have to pare it down to what is doable and affordable, don’t we? Sigh...happy dreaming!

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