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Gardening from Southern California

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 24, 2006

Not every flower gardener plants seeds, but seed catalogs, and other horticultural catalogs have a wealth of information in them and can be very helpful in planning a flower garden. While not all of them direct their advice to our unusual Southern California climates, you can usually figure out from their descriptions whether a variety will do well here. And the good news is that the best catalogs are free for the asking. Here is a list of what I consider the best catalogs for gardeners. And while Southern Californians don’t sit around in the winter reading seed and plant catalogs dreaming about spring, we do read them about what we can plant, spring, summer and fall. New catalogs usually arrive in the mail right after Christmas and if you don’t already get one of these, write, phone or e-mail the company for a copy.

PARK’S SEEDS, 1 Parkton Ave., Greenwood, SC 29647-0001, phone 1-800-845-3369, online

BURPEE, Warminster, PA 18974, phone 1-800-333-5808, online

THOMPSON AND MORGAN, P.O. Box 1308, Jackson, NJ 08527-0308, phone 1-800-274-7333, online

BLUESTONE PERENNIALS, 7211 Middle Ridge Rd., Madison, OH 44057, phone 1-800-852-5243, online, perennial plants only

BAKER CREEK HEIRLOOM SEEDS, 2278 Baker Creek Rd., Mansfield, MO 65704, phone 1-417-924-8917, online

HIGH COUNTRY GARDENS, 2902 Rufina St., Santa Fe, NM 87507-2929, phone 1-800-925-9387, online, plants only

WHITE FLOWER FARM, P.O. Box 50, Litchfield, CN 06759-0050, phone 1-800-503-9624, online plants only

WAYSIDE GARDENS, 1 Garden Lane, Hodges, SC 29695-0001, phone 1-800-845-1124, online plants only

SPRING MEADOW NURSERY, INC., 12601 120th Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417-9621, phone 1-800-633-8859, online plants only

STOKES SEED CO. , P.O. Box 548, Buffalo, NY 14240, phone 1-416-688-4300

Not all started plants listed in some of these catalogs can be shipped to California, but you can read about them and see if they might have a place in your garden and then look for them in the nursery. Several list both flower and vegetables seeds, some list some bulbs too, and some list gardening aids, such as seed starting kits, fertilizers, pest repellents, gloves, trowels, greenhouses, pruners and much more.

If you order a catalog now you should have it in time to plan and plant a rewarding spring and summer garden.

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row