The gardening catalogues are coming through the door thick and fast and leaving me in a quandary. I buy very few annuals as I have so many perennials in the garden, but I do like to have some cosmos to fill in any gaps that might show, these are particularly important for my NGS opening day. They are certainly cheaper bought from the catalogues, but if the delivery is delayed by the weather, as it was last year, then they have virtually no time to establish before the big day. Last year, I was so worried that they might not arrive in time that I went out and bought some from a garden centre. The plants there were much bigger than those that eventually arrived in the post, and when I went to buy, I knew how many I needed to fill gaps. Buying now, I have absolutely no idea what I might need, and usually end up giving quite a few away. Still there is a certainty that the plants will arrive at some point when you have bought them by mail order and that is much better than not having them at all, so on balance I think I will end up doing what I usually do and buy them now via mail order and supplement from the garden centre if necessary.
The other thing that struck me when looking at the catalogues is how main stream vegetables have become. There may be plenty of reasons for this from the economic conditions to people wanting to reduce food miles or maybe even that more and more people are realising how much better vegetables taste when prepared minutes after they have been picked. No longer does one find just page after page of seeds (but they are still there and loads of new varieties). More and more it is possible for those of us who do not have the best of luck germinating seeds to buy plug or garden ready plants. Garden centres are just starting to get into this market, but it is here that the catalogues really excel. The choice is not as wide as for seeds, but they have chosen those varieties that easiest for novices to grow. I am really happy growing my tomatoes and since I grow in pots due to the dogs, don’t have a lot more space available, but I am really tempted to give peas a try.
What ever you decide to buy for your garden this year – I wish you the best of growing weather and pleasure from your endeavours.