Seed catalogues

by Adam Pasco

I love Christmas shopping. No, I'm not talking about battling down the High Street for gifts or fighting through crowds with a trolley laden with groceries.

Adam reading a seed catalogueI love Christmas shopping. No, I'm not talking about battling down the High Street for gifts or fighting through crowds with a trolley laden with groceries. Who could possibly love that? My Christmas shopping involves delving into seed catalogues.

It's far more relaxing, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home. What exclusive new varieties will I discover for patio pots, what will tempt my appetite in the kitchen garden, and which plants will steal the show next summer?

Well, I'll just settle down by the Christmas tree, and while the kids enjoy the repeats on television I can get down to the serious business of writing my seed orders for 2008. And what a year it's going to be if the seed catalogues are to be believed.

Many seed companies have put their catalogues online to browse, but I still love the paper products. Perhaps my 'green' conscience will get the better of me in future, but for the time being it's catalogues I send off for...and the more the merrier!

So what's caught my eye so far? Those brilliant bicoloured gold and mahogany rudbeckias from D.T. Brown look stunning, and would be a great companion for their dwarf Nasturtium 'King Theodore' with a similar coloured flower and dark foliage. And what about Suttons's vibrant Chrysanthemum 'Bright Eyes', boasting golden discs with a black centre, perfect for cut flowers. I love cosmos, and Johnsons's new 'Peppermint Rock' produces white flowers with pink picotee edges on tall stems. Glorious.

That beautiful striped squash in Dobies catalogue looks stunning, an improved selection with good resistance to mildew disease and with a taste they describe as 'awesome'. Well, 'Cornells Bush Delicata' is now on the list, and I'll hopefully have a few plants to give away to friends, too. There's a really compact marrow called 'Bush Baby' from Unwins that will be perfect for my veg beds, and those baby leaf salads and oriental vegetables look delicious in the Suffolk Herbs catalogue.

Then there are the sweet peas - so many wonderful fragrant varieties to choose from I'll need some of each. And I've never tried growing asparagus. Perhaps I should try growing some next year as the whole family love eating it.

But it's not just seeds. The catalogues include fruit, potatoes and onion sets, and bulbs, and plants, and...oh dear. I've just realised how much this lot adds up to! There's only one thing for it...fill out the order forms and sneak out to the post box while everyone is engrossed in the TV. Job done. Now I can't wait for those dreams to become a reality. Roll on 2008!

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Gardeners' World Web User 27/12/2007 at 18:23

How come, the minute you've irretrievably sent in your seed order, a 'must have' always comes to mind.

Gardeners' World Web User 25/08/2008 at 10:31

I've been growing Cosmos 'Peppermint Rock' for a number of years, B&Q used to sell the seeds. The pink edging is beautiful and eye catching as well as attracting large numbers of bees and hoverflies.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:30

You are very lucky! I've not received the first seed catalogue but expected to within the next week. I'll just have to hope the mailman doesn't keep them all to himself.