January 12, 2010

January Catalogues Lead to June Gardens



January: Mail Order Gardening Month

      January 2010.

     A time to cozy up on a comfortable sofa, encased in a favorite blanket. A time to  drink a favorite warm beverage—coffee, tea, hot chocolate—and delve into your stack of unread books while watching the snow fall and blow.

     A time to heat your home to the temperature you were complaining about last summer. A time to whine about the constant and excessive snowfalls, the bitter cold wintry weather.

     A time to yearn for warmer days of 2010.

     In that vein, you gather the daily mail, filled with gardening catalogues, and begin to dream about the coming of spring—and summer gardens. Making it official, the National Mail Order Gardening Association declared January the official month for mail order gardening.*

     January. A time to celebrate National Mail Order Gardening Month.

     John Hogan, writer for the Grand Rapids press, said he received his first gardening catalogue on December 21** I’m not so certain that it’s a good policy for companies to send out their catalogues in December. In my home, they would be lost among the holiday celebrations. January is a much better time to receive these catalogues.

     A great sounding catalogue to end the first decade of the 21st Century comes from the D. Landreth Seed Company.

     According to the company’s catalog, David Landreth migrated from England to Canada, then to Pennsylvania. On January 7, 1784, he began his first garden center on High Street, Philadelphia (now 1210 Market St.), at first selling seed to the City of Philadelphia and nearby “estates,” and eventually counted George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Joseph Bonaparte among his clientele. In 1798 he introduced the zinnia from Mexico to the United States, in 1811 he introduced the first truly white potato, and in 1820 he introduced the tomato.

     On the same date Landerth opened a store on Front Street. The first establishment of this type sold seeds, trees, shrubs and gardening equipment.

     For over two centuries, it published the Rural Registers and Almanacs, begun in 1844. The growth of this publication, which included political, socio-economic and scientific information as well as education articles for American pioneers, expanded from the original production of 13,000 copies to 600,000 copies.***  

     Consider yourself blessed if this mail order gardening catalogue reaches your mailbox. I know I will, even though I am not an enthusiastic gardener these days. Although my husband Monte and I do have a small garden, here in Laurel Mountain Borough anything bigger is difficult. We battle minimal sunny conditions, rocky infertile soil (our two small gardens are raised), and deer, which love fresh garden produce (we surround our small gardens with deer fence, which has its hazards—read our owl experience by clicking on OWL It’s Been an Animal Day .

     However, I do recall the days when garden catalogues were welcome January reading. We began with a small garden at our High Street home in Slippery Rock, (PA) (where we also battled shade conditions). We continued our gardening experiences when we moved to rural Slippery Rock, and had pretty good gardening conditions when we removed the rocks and fertilized the soil. We grew all the typical items—string beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, salad makings—and supplemented our canning needs by utilizing produce grown in gardens of other local persons.

     At the time, I was doing family child day care. We occasionally had “bean snapping” parties, which produced beans of uneven sizes, which truly didn’t matter. The chemical free food was more important, as was the children’s education of how food reaches their tables.

      At that time my gardening contributed to the nearly two thousand jars of food we canned each year.

     The gardening and canning halted when my husband changed careers and we moved to Atlanta (GA), where he attended seminary) for three years. We returned to Pennsylvania, but only now have we continued our gardening—and at a much smaller size. Meanwhile, my sdaughter and son-in-law, Sandy and Michael, have a perfect garden admired by everyone—even though they only have space for a small patch.

     Still, I thumb through the mail order seed catalogues delivered in our mail and dream of bigger gardens growing plants and flowers which, if we planted here, would serve only as gourmet deer food.

     Meanwhile, I hope that you, my readers can enjoy the catalogues and create your own garden—whether it become a reality or remain a dream.





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  1. you can read more about january works in garden :

    Comment by Garden — January 12, 2010 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

  2. […] wrote the above in an article, January Catalogues Lead to June Gardens, posted on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS (Jan. 12, 2010). Just a note: January is National Mail Order […]

    Pingback by Dreaming of Gardening? | Carolyn's Online Magazine — March 10, 2015 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

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