18.01.2024 - 21:37
It used to be so easy in my father’s day. In mid-winter, gardeners received mail-order catalogs from many far-flung nurseries and plant purveyors. Mailboxes groaned under the weight of all the catalogs, but no one minded because there is nothing like looking at pages and pages of perfect annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees on a gray, uninspiring day at the end of January. With the holidays over and spring yet to happen, catalogs satisfied the universal hunger for color, light, and rebirth. Besides, unless there is a flu epidemic, nothing else happens between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.
And, of course, in July or August, those same gardeners could rest in their hammocks and peruse catalogs from the bulb vendors. On days when even turning a catalog page makes you break out in total body sweat, it’s nice to think about those days in early spring when you hunt for the first snowdrop or crocus. All in all, there used to be a certain symmetry to the gardening life.
Now, gardening and sports have something in common—all the seasons seemed to have melded together. Just as there are a few days in winter when you can watch baseball, hockey, basketball, and football all on the same day, there are days in late summer when gardeners can look at new catalogs for annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and spring-flowering bulbs all in the same day. Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing, but too much choice can lead to paralysis. I know because it is happening to me.
This is because the catalog vendors have discovered something good gardeners have always known—fall is a great time to plant perennials. Instead of simply considering your bulb purchases in mid to late summer, you can page through abbreviated versions of most of the
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