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Cedar Mill News

Volume 17, Issue 2
February 2019


Grow Organically
Catalog roulette
by Margie Lachman

It is that time of year again when I receive dozens of gardening catalogs with temptingly colorful photos of flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables, berries, etc. Offering seeds, bulbs, and plants, some of them sell unusual and seldom-seen varieties that are not available in local nurseries. Last year I ordered from a number of these catalogs and now can compare which ones were reliable. I kept track of which ones sent the correct plant in the color I wanted, the condition of the plants or bulbs on arrival, how well the items were packaged, if the plants and their roots looked healthy, if the plants or bulbs grew well, and the seeds germinated.

vintage catalogs

It is very frustrating to invest time and money in an item only to have it not become the plant I had envisioned. Two years ago a company sent Canna lily roots which took all summer to produce the first flowers that were obviously the wrong variety. I contacted them and was asked to take a photo of the flowers and email it to them. The bulbs were replaced and again took all the next summer to bloom with, sadly, the same result—the wrong color! It was very frustrating to water and fertilize for months only to be disappointed again!

Some plants arrived in a plastic envelope that allowed some of the soil from the tiny two-inch pots they were planted in to spill out. Some had shriveled or damaged leaves but still managed to grow after I planted them. Some were the wrong color flowers. The best two companies charged the most for shipping but sent beautiful, healthy, robust plants in four-inch pots placed in sturdy cardboard boxes. These were in perfect condition and have grown very well, to three or four times their original size. I will definitely order from them again.

My first preference is to buy from local nurseries where I can see and touch the plants, get advice about growing them, and get a replacement if the plant doesn’t thrive. This keeps money circulating in our community and supports our state economy.

Questions? Email me at margierose2@gmail.com or call 503-645-2994.


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Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2018