A bucket list for the depths of winter

Does anyone else have a bucket list for mailorder nurseries?

I do, and each year I’m trying to check one or two off.  Nurseries make the list for random reasons often more because of specialized and quirky offerings rather than for being part of some magic top ten for mailorder, so while the snow flies let me offer up my February to-do list 🙂

snowy morning in Pennsylvania

Everything is cold and frozen here.  I used my phone and didn’t even have the motivation to open the back door for this.

In no particular order (well actually it has to start off with snowdrops since that’s all that’s on my mind 🙂

  • Temple Nursery.  Just snowdrops.  No online presence so if that’s what you need visit the equally obsessed Carolyn’s Shade Garden.
  • Edgewood Gardens.  For the cyclamen obsessed.  John hasn’t quit his day job but his night job is coming along quite well so check the list, send an email, and soon you’ll be in trouble.
  • The Lily Garden.  Long ago I read an article in Horticulture magazine about Judith Freeman and her decades long commitment to lily breeding and I’ve wanted her lilies ever since.  She’s the force behind Columbia-Platte Lilies and one of the pioneers of the cross-division hybrids which are the newest and best on the lily scene.  She breeds for garden plants, not the florist trade so many of her introductions are growing worldwide and are bulletproof.
  • Odyssey Bulbs.  Your first step into growing odd, obscure, rare little bulbs which you didn’t even know you needed until all of a sudden you NEEDED.
  • Augis Bulbs.  Ordering bulbs from Lithuania makes absolutely no sense.
  • Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery.  A beautiful catalog, beautiful website, the prices might be higher, but the quality and service match.
  • Ashwood Nurseries.  A leader in hellebores out of the UK.  Seeds would be my only option and at over 1$ a seed even before international postage costs….
  • Plant delights Nursery.  What can I say?  When the run of the mill perennials get old and you have money to burn.
  • Annies Annuals.  Postage from the west coast may kill me, but I think this is the year I just have to order.
  • White Flower Farm.  I can’t recommend them but back in the day their catalog was everything great about gardening with a good dose of snobbery on top.  Still expensive but that might be all they have to offer.
  • Mums of Minnesota.  Mums are disposable fall annuals, right?  For some reason I need reliably perennial garden mums with odd and oversized flowers.  Don’t judge me for not being satisfied with the anonymous lumps of color they sell around here….
  • Swan Island Dahlias.  Don’t judge me for this either, I was young and experimenting and thought I needed many big, overblown dahlias.
  • Superstition Iris.  There are many great iris sources, but this one deals in many of the historical varieties which I love and can’t get elsewhere.  Find their photobucket listing, pick what you’d like and then email the owner for availability and pricing.  Sometimes getting what you want takes a little more than a point and click.
  • Green Ice Nursery.  Doesn’t everyone order fancy cyclamen seed from the Netherlands?  I couldn’t be happier with the ones I received, and my bucket list check off has turned into a semi-annual splurge.
  • Fedco Seeds.  I checked this one off just recently, it’s a co-op seed seller from Maine, reasonably priced with great varieties.  What’s not to love?

I could go on of course.  I’ve been dabbling in grafted conifers recently, plus have some strange need to add lady slipper orchids to my garden, so there will always be a to-do list, but for now I’ll keep this one.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still faithful to Santa Rosa Gardens for perennials, Brent and Becky for bulbs, and Pinetree garden seeds, but a boy’s got to dream and I need something to get through what’s been the coldest weather since last winter.

winter temperatures

-7F (-22C) on a recent drive to work.  Please congratulate me for actually stopping before taking a picture.

More snow is on its way tonight so winter is still in full swing, but yesterday  temperatures edged above freezing for a few hours and I swear I heard a little bit of joy in the birdsong.  Maybe it’s just me.  In any case I think I’ll start a pot or two of onion seeds today and see if a few of the overwintering geraniums are worth saving.  That and maybe I’ll look at some more mums that might need ordering 🙂

Let me know if I missed any great nurseries, I’m always more than happy to add a few new or forgotten ones!