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Top picks for gardening catalogs

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farm Alexandria, 56308
Echo Press
(320) 763-3258 customer support
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

The top question I am asked at this time of year is, "What garden catalogs do you like best?"

There are so many wonderful catalogs from which to choose that the novice gardener can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of catalogs in the mailbox. To ease some of the confusion, I will give you the list of garden catalogs I regularly use, and why I like them.

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If you are planting seeds, you can't go wrong with Pine Tree Garden Seeds (www.superseeds.com). This catalog is not glitzy, but it does offer a wide variety of seeds at very reasonable prices. The seeds I have ordered from Pine Tree have a high germination rate and reliably produce as described.

If you are looking for hardy perennials, shrubs, trees and seeds, try Jung's Seeds and Plants (www.jungseed.com). Jung's is located in Randolph, Wisconsin, so their perennials are well suited to our hardiness zone. Their prices are reasonable, and their selection is top notch.

My favorite catalogs for unusual seeds, heirloom and open pollinated varieties are: Seeds of Change (www.seedsofchange.com/), Seed Savers Exchange (www.seedsavers.org), and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply (www.groworganic.com/default.html). Each of these catalogs contain unique selections for your home garden. Peaceful Valley also offers a variety of useful garden equipment. (We purchased a wheel hoe from Peaceful Valley several years ago. One of our best purchases ever!)

White Flower Farm (www.whiteflowerfarm.com), located in Litchfield, CT, has a beautiful catalog containing full color pictures of all their selections. I have found items in the WFF catalog that I haven't seen elsewhere. I especially enjoy their iris and day lily selection.

Wayside Gardens (www.waysidegardens.com) has a very large variety of plants. If you want it, Wayside probably has it. Be aware that Wayside is located in South Carolina (quite a ways from our cold hardiness zone). They have high quality, beautiful plants, but they may need to be babied that first winter, even though they list as Zone 4 hardiness.

My final all-time favorite garden catalog is that old stand-by, Jackson and Perkins (www.jacksonandperkins.com). I love roses in my garden, and J&P roses are some of the best I've tried. They also have a fine selection of perennials, trees and shrubs that are reliably hardy. My all-time favorite purchase from J&P is a tri-color ornamental willow that has survived drought, wind and neglect for eight years.

When choosing any perennials, trees and shrubs, please remember to check the cold hardiness zone. We are located in Zone 4A with pockets of Zone 3 here and there. When the plants arrive, follow the planting instructions that accompany them. May is right around the corner, and a little bit of planning now will set you up with a beautiful garden come mid-summer.

Until next time, sweet garden dreams!

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