Seed catalogs are terribly hard to resist, I know. Lynda and I refer to ourselves sometimes as the ‘co-dependant gardening society’ for our excessive plant habits. I over-extended myself and the gardens last year (last several years!) by sowing/growing too many things. One of the things that went by the wayside was flowers just for me, and I have decided to devote one raised bed to a cutting garden purely for my own pleasure. I moved some favorite dianthus and campanulas to it, refurbished it with topsoil & manure, reset hyacinths, delphiniums and alliums…..and still I am ordering new flower seed just for it!
In order to make room in the germinators (and my brain), I have pared the big sowing list in many areas. Propagation was good last year and I’ll have lots of yearlings to pot on come melting time too so I decided to let that stuff take more center stage for the Markets. I also will be decreasing the size of the vegetable garden a bit–I can get all the organic tomatoes, melons & peppers I want at the Market from a friend who does greenhouse culture on them, and I won’t have to devote the space or worry to them. This will leave me more room for the filet beans which have become my mania, even more than the romanos. Year before last I grew enough to eat all I wanted and freeze enough to last all winter; I sorely miss them this winter. So it is back to lots of beans this time. Salad greens can be cut down in size, too–I could not eat all I produced the last two years. I’ve discovered I like the look of radishes more than their taste, too. Edit!
That being said, here are my favorite retail catalog sources for flower seed: Chiltern Seeds, e-seeds (who carry seed from overseas sources unavailable here including Mr. Fothergills, Unwins and the like), The Fragrant Path, J.L. Hudson, Swallowtail Gardens, the amazingly affordable Ferry-Morse site (discounted flower, herb & vegetable seed), and the English Garden Emporium, US suppliers of the Seeds of Distinction line which stopped mailing out catalogs but still has a lovely list.
New items on my ‘just for me’ list? Amongst others, Carnation ‘Picotee Fantasy’, California Poppy Thai Silk Rose, Pink Fairy Lupin (rose scented, supposedly) and Pansy ‘Florist Mixed’ (said to replicate the large intricately painted pansies of a century ago).