Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Torture

When catalogs arrive in my mailbox I am the image of restraint as I silently shove J. Crew, Acorn and Lee Valley into the recycling bin. No temptation for this woman. I used to earmark pages and lust after the clean, simple lines of the Pottery Barn furniture, the eccentric wall hangings in Signals. But budget aside (we run our household on the old-fashioned standard of paying as we go--I realize this isn't the government standard, but so far it's worked for us pretty well), most of the catalog offerings are either:

A) Unnecessary (I don't NEED a giant black wooden M hanging in my bedroom.)
B) Impractical (White chinos? Lovely on the slim sunkissed J. Crew model lounging in the Hamptons. On a mother of 3 boys who never wash their hands? Stain City.)
C) Expensive (Besides costing $100, I don't have the spare time to watch The Judi Dench Collection, even though I'd love to order it.)

But the weak spot in my armor is the seed and flower catalogs. Jung. Brent and Becky's Bulbs. White Flower Farm. Aaaaaaaggggghhhhrrrr! They came early this year. Usually I don't get them until February, when it's 2 months closer to planting time in Wisconsin (for the record, never plant before Mother's Day). I pore over them and carefully select, painstakingly spending every cent of my birthday money (again, not in my pocket until February) on their pretty, promising offerings. My armor is chinked and I flail, reaching automatically for the wallet with my credit card. Purple Heart Centaurea? Mr. Stripey Tomato seeds? New raspberry canes? I must have them! Now! My gardens will be beautiful! Smell heavenly! The colors magnificent!

Every fellow gardener knows the pornographic pleasure we get out of looking through these catalogs--at the right time. Delayed gratification is lovely, but adding 2 months to my wait time is not fun. It's torture.

I won't recycle the seed and flower catalogs. I'll put them on a high shelf in the library where I can't see them. I'll go skiing, watch a movie, call a friend and bide my time until February. Then, when I'm only 3 months away from planting season, I'll pull them down and indulge my fantasies, one peony and pansy at a time.


  1. I got the new White Flower Farm too and am just salivating to get started. But, not before May, that's for sure. Maybe some shrubs in April, but that's about it.

    This year's gardening goals are to put in a strawberry bed, salivate over the asparagus bed I put in last year, expand my herbs, and add shrubs in a few odd places.

  2. These babies call to me like sirens...jasmine, johnny jump ups, sweetheart roses...

  3. Ahhhh. And that's how I started blogging - looking online for gardening advice.

    We *are* kindred spirits.

  4. I don't get the "plant porn" although this was only my first year with a garden, I was just excited to see things pop up through the snow to greet me when spring came.

    I am still a sucker for PB, LV and the like. Sometimes, I don't buy magazines, I just read the free catalogues.


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