Documents: Special Interest: Roses:

Gardening from Southern California

...catalogues or catalogs
by Gerald Burke
by Gerald Burke


Gerald Burke is a freelance travel and horticultural writer. He spent 35 years in the seed business, 30 of them with Burpee, and is a member of the Garden Writers Association and the North American Travel Journalists Association

December 28, 2003

Flower gardeners should be happy to know that there are many more mail order catalogs offering seeds, plants, supplies and accessories today than there were a few years ago. New organizations have sprung up—and some old ones have disappeared—and many smaller specialty suppliers are putting out catalogs.

Why catalogs instead of the local nursery or big box store? Many reasons, but the greater variety of seeds, bulbs and plants they carry is probably a big factor. You may find seeds of a couple or three zinnias on a seed rack, maybe two or three pansies, but the catalog will have six or more and it’s not uncommon to see 10 to 15 zinnias listed in a good catalog. And specialty horticultural catalogs list many items you’ll never find locally. The nursery or the big garden center is a good place to shop for started plants that are relatively common and generally in season, but for the gardener who wants more, the catalog is a good source.

Each year I mention some of the mail order catalogs in this column because they carry an unusual, very good, or well adapted to our climate variety of flowers. I don’t always give the full address each time for space considerations, so here is a list of mail order companies I can recommend, with their address, phone number, and where available, a web site. If you like buying seeds and bulbs by mail order, clip this list out and save it for future reference.

  • Geo. W. Park Seed Co., Park’s Seeds, 1 Parkton Ave., Greenwood, SC 29647-0001, Phone 1-800-845-3369,
  • Wildseed Farms, P.O. Box 3000, Fredericksburg, TX 78624-3000, Phone 1-800-848-0078,
  • Stokes Seeds, Inc., Box 548, Buffalo, NY 14240-0548, Phone 1-800-396-9238,
  • Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 Old Salem Rd. NE, Albany, OR 97321-4580, Phone 1-541-928-9280,
  • W. Atlee Burpee Co., Burpee Seed Co., Warminster, PA 18974, Phone 1-800-888-1447,
  • Thompson & Morgan Seedsmen, Inc., P.O. Box 1308, Jackson, NJ 08527-0308, Phone 1-800-274-7333,
  • Goodwin Creek Gardens, P.O. Box 83, Williams, OR 97544, Phone 1-800-846-7359,
  • Gardener’s Supply Co., 128 Intervale Rd., Burlington, VT 05401, Phone 1-800-427-3363,

There are many more suppliers out there, but over time I have found all of these to be reliable, with a good shipping record, quality products and easy to do business with. Call for a catalog to be sent to you, or access the website and order one. Many of the websites have good listings of the products. Several of these companies put out seeds in color packets that can be found in the nursery or garden center, but the catalog listings are far more extensive in variety.


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