My Favorite Garden Catalog

Over the years I've accumulated enough unsolicited garden catalogs to have insulated a building or two. I call it veggie spam. Order from one outfit, and they sell the mailing list to others, propagating endlessly. Don't want to think about how many trees go down so pointlessly. The good news is I've found a way to minimize the veggie spam. Rule #1: never order from a large catalog with expensive color photos. You're paying for their graphics and mailing so prices will be high; plus, these are the very ones most likely to sell your name because they are obviously run by someone with an MBA or marketing degree who couldn't care less about resource conservation. Rule #2: try to place your first order by phone to see if the people are nice. If ordering is outsourced or they're grouchy 'change your mind' and move on. Rule #3: go with a catalog focused on one or two core competencies. A fat garden catalog with everything under the sun is just a marketing front. They don't have all that stuff in stock; it's just being drop-shipped to you from their "suppliers." Rule #4: if ordering online, don't start an online "account;" and, if ordering by phone or form ask them not to pass on or sell your address on. For edibles, a personal favorite for the last few years has been The Cook's Garden of Warminster PA, USA (pictured catalog). For perennials, check out Busse Gardens of Big Lake MN, USA. For trees and shrubs, always dare to go bare.

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