Catalog in the mail - is the cost worth it?

gardeningwithlcgrace(7 Delaware)January 11, 2006

I just got another plant catalog in the mail...gorgeous pics! Am I correct in thinking that the more beautiful the catalog is...the higher the cost of a plant or flower would be? I am thinking that that there may be less expensive places to purchase or even trades for the same plant...and that the pics don't reflect the plant quality, just the care given before the photographer arrived. I can't possibly afford their prices. If I find a plant with the same "name" cheaper somewhere has a chance to look like the pic someday..right? Yes, I'm new at this. I've got 1 year as a trial and error gardener...mother nature was not kind last year. Thanks for any comments! LC Grace

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Hi Grace!

You may be new at this, but you are wise beyond your years!

1. The presumed high cost/quality of a catalog doesn't necessarily mean you'll receive a high quality plant. Sometimes you're pleasantly surprised - sometimes you ain't.
2. There are almost ALWAYS places to find the plant less expensively. My advice is to check out the company using before ordering from them. Keeping #1 in mind, you don't always get what you pay for.
3. Someone wiser than me once said, on these same pages, that you can deduct at least 30% of a magazine/webpsite picture's value, and that's more or less what you can expect growing it in your own garden.
4. With proper care you can have a plant you can be proud of, whether purchased or obtained in a trade. Don't necessarily aspire to have the one growing in the picture, 'cause it was probably a bit "doctored".

Hope this helps a bit. Enjoy, nurture and aspire...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 11:43PM
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hibrick(Z8 HoustonTX)

The appearance of a catalog has little bearing on the quality of a company, or their products.

The best way of being assured of quality from a company, is to look at how long they have been in business.

Many gardening catalog companies have been selling their products for 20, 40, or many more years. They have clearly kept their customers happy, or they would no longer be around.

Also, keep in mind that "cheap" and "quality" do not necessarily go together. Sometimes a larger & healthier plant is well worth an extra few dollars.

I've seen some "super deals" offered on scrawny, bug-and-virus infested plants at large "garden centers", and quickly take my business to a better-run operation, even if their plants cost a few dollars more. Losing half of my existing garden to some new pest or virus is just not worth the risk.

(BTW, always quarantine and spray any plants aquired through trades!)

This is certainly also true of companies selling anything on the Internet.. always ask how long they have been in business!


    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 2:46AM
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gardeningwithlcgrace(7 Delaware)

Thanks to both of you! Here's another question that I came up with...I've noticed that "slang names" of plants differ from one catalog to the other...I'm assuming that each company must have their own common names, but it's the botanical name that the "named" plants come from. Maybe I'll need to get more specific in my question (otherwide I'll confuse myself). I'm looking at a dutch bulbs catalog...lots of different lily & dahlia varieties in here...( lily - Big Smile, Edge of Darkness, Pandora's Box, Strawberry Candy ).....are these "Named" varieties that members ask for? or names from the company? This catalog does not provide the botanical names with the lily.

Any answers anyone?? thanks! LC Grace

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 8:53AM
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Hi, You are correct. Having the botanical names is very important. Slang names can vary location to location. Though some non-latin names are more universal like daylily for hemerocallis or lily for lilium. If you do a google/yahoo search on Daylily 'Edge of Darkness',for example, you will get many hits without needing to use the latin name hemerocallis. With other types of plants, this will not work so well and you need to use the latin.
I like to google plants I'm interested in because then you can see other photos not from glossy catalogs. And of course asking about a plant here on GW always works well too : )

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 9:55AM
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