SEED COMPANIES By mail and online
These catalogs are free unless noted. All times Eastern. Many catalogs can be ordered on the companies' Web sites, which are worth checking out because some carry Web-only specials.
ARBORVILLAGE: No color photos or Web site, but this nursery's catalog ($1) has a wide selection of woody plants at fair prices. To request a copy, call (816) 264-3911, 10-6 weekdays, or write to Arborvillage, P.O. Box 227, Holt, Mo. 64048.
BLUESTONE PERENNIALS: A pink Mexican evening primrose stars on the cover for 2003. Bluestone carries perennials and some woody ornamentals. (800) 852-5243 anytime; www.bluestoneperennials.com.
BURPEE: Brandy Boy tomato has characteristics of the heirloom Brandywine, but according to Burpee is higher yielding, more vigorous and uniform -- Burpee's best tomato introduction in 50 years, according to President George Ball. Burpee offers plants as well as seeds of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables and accessories. (800) 888-1447 anytime; www.burpee.com.
CHILTERN SEEDS: For variety, check out this catalog from Great Britain with its massive selection. From the United States, call 011-44-1229-581137; www.chilternseeds.co.uk. $3.
THE COOK'S GARDEN: How about a bright yellow pumpkin called Halloween in Paris? It's one of the new offerings from this company. (800) 457-9703, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. weekdays, 8-7 Sat., 1:30-5:30 Sun.; www.cooksgarden.com.
ED HUME SEEDS: Vegetable and flower seeds are the specialty of this Washington State firm. There is no catalog but the inventory is on the Web site, www.humeseeds.com; or write Ed Hume Seeds, P.O. Box 73160, Puyallup, Wash. 98373 for a price list.
FORESTFARM: Woody plants, perennials, ferns, bamboos, grasses and fruits are offered in this $5 catalog that qualifies as a reference book. (541) 846-7269, 12-7 weekdays; www.forestfarm.com.
HIGH COUNTRY GARDENS: Though aimed at gardeners out West, this catalog will be of interest to anyone seeking drought-tolerant plants. (800) 925-9387, 11-7 weekdays; www.highcountrygardens.com.
JOHNNY'S SELECTED SEEDS: Red Burgermaster onion plants are among the new offerings at Johnny's, which has vegetables, flowers, herbs, cover crops and tools. (207) 861-3901, 8-6 weekdays, 9-4 Sat.; www.johnnyseeds.com.
JUNG QUALITY SEEDS: The raspberry-red echinacea Vintage Wine takes center stage at Jung's, which has plants and seeds for many flowers and vegetables as well as bulbs and tubers. (800) 247-5864, 9-5:30 weekdays; www.jungseed.com.
OIKOS TREE CROPS: This Michigan nursery specializes in native trees and hybrids, including those bearing fruits and nuts. For a catalog, e-mail oak24aol.com or call (269) 624-6233 anytime.
PARK'S SEEDS: Impatiens Sunny Lady hybrids, tolerant of heat and sun, and a speckled Candy Stripe zinnia called Peppermint Stick are featured in this catalog, which has seeds and plants for flowers, fruits and vegetables as well as accessories, including seed-starting equipment. Park's is affiliated with both The Cook's Garden and Wayside. (800) 845-3369, 8-11 weekdays; www.parkseed.com.
PINETREE GARDEN SEEDS: Pasilla bajio, a small hot pepper, and a purple-and-red kale called Rebor are new at Pinetree this year. Call (207) 926-3400, 7-5 weekdays; www.superseeds.com.
PLANTS DELIGHTS NURSERY: For sheer wowsability, it's hard to beat the bizarre, smelly amorphophallus or voodoo lily gang, and this nursery has two new ones along with a wide selection of hostas and unusual perennials, a number introduced by the nursery's president-owner, Tony Avent. For a catalog, call (919) 772-4794, 8-4:30 weekdays. The price is 10 first-class stamps or a box of chocolates ("Actually, we prefer the chocolates. We have a stamp machine but we don't have a chocolate machine," said one staffer recently). On the Web: www.plantdelights.com.
RENEE'S GARDEN: Color-coated seeds allow several cultivars to be purchased and still be identified within a single seed packet in the Rainbow Series. There is no catalog but gardeners can buy direct at www.reneesgarden.com or call (888) 880-7228 anytime to find where to purchase the vegetable, flowers and herb seeds. Owner Renee Shepherd founded Shepherd's Seeds, sold it and now has bought its retail seed packet business and absorbed it into Renee's Garden.
SEEDS FROM ITALY: You wouldn't know from his name, but Bill McKay's grandparents are from Italy, and three years ago he started a company in Massachusetts to import and distribute more than 250 kinds of vegetable, herb and flower seeds from Franchi Sementi, a seed firm in Italy. Seed orders include recipes, mostly from McKay's mom. See for yourself at www.growitalian.com; request a catalog from P.O. Box 149, Winchester, Mass. 01890.
SEEDS OF CHANGE: Certified organic seed is showcased here, including a new heat-tolerant chard with golden leaves. (888) 762-7333, anytime; www.seedsofchange.com.
TERRITORIAL SEED CO.: An organic hot pepper called Autopick gets its name because the stem stays on the plant when the pepper's picked. Many seeds and plants are organic and the catalog includes flower seeds and plants, herbs and an array of seed-starting and other accessories. (541) 942-9547, 10-9 weekdays, noon-6 Sat.; www.territorialseed.com.
THOMPSON & amp; MORGAN: A splashy snapdragon called Tequila Sunrise wins top billing at this firm, which has an extensive catalog of flowers and vegetable seeds and even seeds for some woody plants, including Japanese maple. (800) 274-7333 anytime; www.thompson-morgan.com.
TOMATO GROWERS SUPPLY CO.: A tomato called Black Cherry is one of 23 new listings in this encyclopedic catalog, which in addition to tomato seed carries pepper, tomatillo and eggplant seed as well as related equipment. (888) 478-7333, 9-5 weekdays; www.tomatogrowers.com.
WAYSIDE GARDENS: A double bright pink Echinacea purpurea called Razzmatazz hits the cover of Wayside's catalog, which has perennials, woody plants and accessories. (800) 845-1124, 8-11 weekdays, 8:30-7 Sat., and 10-6 Sun.; www.waysidegardens.com.
WHITE FLOWER FARM: Dahlias make the cover of this catalog. It features products of White Flower Farm and its sister company, Shepherd's Garden Seeds. (From now on, Shepherd's offerings will be sold through this catalog or the joint Web site, www.whiteflowerfarm.com.) The White Flower Farm catalog has annual and perennial plants, vegetable plants, woody plants and accessories. (800) 503-9624, 9-6 Mon.-Sat., and noon-6 Sun.
Source: Knight Ridder Newspapers