The last couple of days I have been nursing a cold while trying to stay off the ice that just won't melt off our sidewalks at home. To brighten my day, I have been looking through the seed catalogs I have been steadily receiving for a month or more in the mail. I have also received countless emailed seed catalog newsletters but they just aren't the same as a good old fashioned seed catalog.
These companies have been hard at work developing the next new thing for spring gardens and I want to know they insist I need, and what I will be missing if I don't buy their products -- right now. These books are a feast for the eyes and though my plants don't always look as good as in the pictures, it is time to sit in a cozy place and dream of spring and what can be accomplished as soon as the warm weather hits.
I have also been looking at photos from some old famous gardens. Above is a (rather fuzzy) photo of the Biltmore Estate garden, in North Carolina, that I took when their roses were not doing very well. I really wasn't taking the photo of the roses but the lavender hedge above the roses. I couldn't get very close to the lilacs but the their smell was everywhere and that is when I decided I wanted a lavender hedge of my own.
This photo is about two years old and though I have tried to grow lilacs, I haven't had any success at all. I have been trying to grow them from seed and I think I really need to buy plants. This year I plan to do just that, if I can find them. Evey time I come across this terrible photo, the scent of lilacs beckons me -- pretty silly, I will admit, but true.
I would love to have some roses but they are a flower that loves sun and I have a shady lawn. I do have a place where I think a few knockout roses might survive. I would have to cut down a hedge, but the roses would look so much better than the unfortunate hedge at the end of my driveway. I started to get them last year but it was a little late before I hatched the plan so I am all set to buy some this year and see how they grow.
These next three photos were taken in LaGrange at Hills and Dales. That is a local garden that is very inspirational. The history of the garden and the loving care it receives is worth the trip for anyone who ventures there. I went a couple of years ago and I need to go back to see the house again because the upstairs has been opened. Best time to visit is in the spring when it is in full bloom. It is a beautiful garden.
They can make a simple pot of pansies look like a waterfall of color.
And the double wisteria are vibrant and lovely. I really love wisteria but it does bother my allergies.
This year we want to try some companion plantings in our garden to repel insects. We bought some alyssum to plant with our lettuce last year, and while it did attract bees, it didn't do much else but look pretty. That isn't a bad thing but herbs and marigolds will be something we focus on this year and I will keep that in mind while looking at my seed catalogs and trying to keep warm.