I love to read old garden magazines. You learn a lot about the growth of…
In spite of all our investment of time and energy into social media, it’s still fun to receive a garden catalog in the mail.
So many garden writers over the years mention the winter ritual of finding such a catalog, arriving just on time.
As the cold weather continues and just having experienced a massive snow storm here in New England over the weekend, we need releif,
I am so happy I have a few garden catalogs to keep me occupied over the next few days.
White Flower Farm has a beautiful catalog featuring its flowers, containers and oh so many plants plus surprises as well.
Notice White Flower Farm refers to its catalog as ‘Garden Book.”
Nineteenth Century Catalogs
Rochester, New York seed company owner James Vick (1818-1882) took great pleasure in writing the introduction in his seed catalog.
His 1870 catalaog has a wonderful title: Vick’s Illustrated Catalogue and Floral Guide. [above]
In it he writes, “It is no small work to make one hundred and twenty thousand catalogues, and send them to many persons in every State in the Union.”
But he had a reason.
He wrote, “It is my interest as well as pleasure to encourage the love of flowers.”
An Old Catalog
I came across a wonderful article in the English magazine The Living Age from January 3, 1914. The name of the article is “On Flower Catalogues” by Jessie Fielding Marsh.
Marsh delights in the arrival of the garden catalog at her doorstep.
Here is a seed catalog from that same year. Look at the warm, rich colors on the cover. This is probably the kind of catalog that would have come to her door as well.
She writes, “Catalogues are for grey days, dark days, when our outlook on life is a sad one, when our plants lie under the earth and there seems no prospect of any return of color and warmth.”
She ends the article with a wonderful sense of hope.
Marsh writes, “Yes, in winter you read your catalogues – in summer you live them!”