I love seed catalogs.
I love how they all work the same way.
Vegetables are usually presented first and arranged in alphabetical order. Arugula, then beets, then cabbage, all the way to squash, tomatoes, and watermelon. Then come the flower seeds. Ageratums, marigolds and always at the end, the zinnias. I know the order of the alphabet, I know the order the seeds will be listed.
I can navigate easily from one section to the next by turning the pages. Right to left. And if I want to go back, left to right. No need to know how a particular seed company’s website works. No need to know where to click to get from beets to cabbage. No going back to the main page of the website to get to the next vegetable.
Just turn those seed catalog pages. I can bookmark the varieties I want, too, by dog-earing a page or putting a big sticky note on it. Or I can circle the item and the page number.
I never need an internet connection, wireless or wired, to look at the seed catalogs. I just need the seed catalogs. The pages are always there waiting for me to just look at them.
I used to read seed catalogs with my Dad, marking the varieties I thought looked interesting and then going through the selections with him, one at a time. Which kind of peas should we get? ‘Green Arrow’ of course. And we’ll need some ‘Big Boy’ tomato seeds, too.
He let me fill out the order form once we figured out what we wanted and then he’d write a check to go with it and off we’d send it on a cold January day. When the box of seeds arrived, I’d pull out those packets, always a little bit surprised that they were usually in plain packets, not like the ones in the stores with pictures on them.
No matter. I’d shake the packages. Each variety had its own sound. Pea seeds in a box sounded different from radishes in an envelope, and some seeds, like tomatoes, made hardly a swish.
I still have the last box of seeds we ordered together, the ones he didn’t get to plant and I didn’t have the heart to plant, that spring when he passed away.
Someday I might go through that last box and write down all the varieties we ordered that year and then order those same varieties for my own garden. Some of those varieties might not be available now, some 29 years later, and I’ll admit finding them through online searches might be easier than going through seed catalogs.
But I still love the seed catalogs.
My garden starts each spring in the seed catalogs, and with a big stack of them next to me now, it’s time to start in on this year’s garden.
Cindy, MCOK says
What are you doing writing blog posts? Get busy, woman!
I teared up that you still have the old seed order from your dad, Carol. Seeds and memories, gardening and love all mixed up together. The stuff dreams are made of. xoxoxo
That saved box of seeds touched me as well. That's sort of like a time capsule, isn't it?
Teresa/ thegardendiary.com says
That is the sweetest story yet. You have such a gift. I will now and for evermore look at seed catalogs differently! Thank you! 🌹🌱🌸
Lisa at Greenbow says
What fond memories those seed catalogs hold too.
Great memories with your dad! May his memory be eternal/1
What a great post!! Plant those seeds you ordered with your dad! What a great memory and something to pass down to your family!
Flower Alley says
Winter dreaming of spring with my catalogues in hand. Seeds are our future.
Love this post! Especially the part about each packet sounding different when you shook it.
Thank you. It brought back the memory of my Father's garden and him teaching me how to plant peas when I was 5 years old. I miss him too.