Saturday, January 13, 2007

Forest Farm Spring '07 Catalog

This afternoon I bumped into my neighbor who said she had a book of mine. For a minute I was confused about how she had come into the possession of a book of mine but I reached out for it. Since it became cold here today I didn't waste time standing around outside trying to figure out how she got "my book" I just tucked it under my arm and thanked her and went inside the house.

Once inside I looked at the "book" and for a moment thought it was a book I had to buy in High School many moons ago. The book I had to buy was a collection of writings by Walt Whitman with a solid color cover decorated in nature illustrations. I was even more puzzled (because that book is sitting in a closet gathering dust never having been read) and I wondered how she managed to get "my book." Once the fog of confusion dissipated I realized that it wasn't "a book" but a catalog. And I found myself scratching my head once again trying to remember signing up for it. I flipped through the pages looking for pictures and didn't find any so I tossed the catalog on a shelf and then I remembered that day many years ago doing the same thing with the Walt Whitman book.

Later in the afternoon I was feeling bad about having dismissed the Forest Farm catalog because it wasn't glossy and didn't have mouthwatering photos so I picked it up and sat in my favorite chair with it to give it a try. It was then I realized that the inside cover is in color as it the inside back cover. After the first page you're treated to a collage of people who work to bring you your plants. The next couple of pages is intended to help those of us who only remember common names find the plant we're looking for in the catalog. And you'll need it because there are over 500 pages worth of plants listed-good thing it's recycled paper. The quotes and riddles are a nice touch (someone really likes Thoreau) and the customer reviews help give an idea about the level of customer service since you can see the same quotes on the Garden Watchdog. I smiled when I saw my favorite book quoted on page 107 .

The pages devoted to "Shrubs, Trees and Vines" make me wish I had the room for some trees. Their price for a Sambucus nigra 'Black Beauty' is pretty reasonable. I almost paid twice what they're charing at an "upscale" nursery last year and it wasn't even as big as is described in the catalog. They have a nice selection of Perennials too; E. 'Sunrise' is a lot cheaper than what I've seen in person . A hearty selection of Grasses & Sedges, Ferns and Bamboo- if you're into them. And a first for me in a catalog-a page listing 8 Palm varieties for sale. I like that they listed the "fruiting" items in the back to make sure you don't miss them. After the order sheet there's another decent listing of plants they have a small quantity of.

Even though the catalog doesn't rank up there in the "plant porn" department they make up for it with their impressive selection of plants. And if you really have to look at some color pictures you an always view them on the Forest Farm website. And while you're there request one of these for yourself.

I give this catalog ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ out of 5 stars because I've haven't seen a selection like it in a long time. And even if I don't order anything I can always use it to kill some Japanese Beetles this spring. Or use it as a reference to build a want list on GW. Now if only that Walt Whitman book was half as useful.

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