Gardening: Lighten winter with sunny plant catalogs

Nancy Szerlag
Special to The Detroit News

In the dark gray days of winter, reading plant catalogs warm my nights and brighten my days. Here are some of my faves you might enjoy.

David Austin Roses (800) 328-8893, Catalog free. If you love old-fashioned English roses, this catalog features more than 200 varieties, many of which are not available at garden centers and that can be grown here in Michigan. Breathtaking.

Song Sparrow Nursery(800) 553-3715, Catalog online only, it worth the visit. A treasure trove of hardy designer herbaceous and tree peonies, magnolias and fancy day lilies including lots of exclusives and new introductions. Also a good selection of woodies and perennials. Wisconsin grown – they are cold hardy.

White Flower Farm(800) 503-9624, Print catalog free. The full color catalog is a visual feast for flower lovers. Fabulous source for gorgeous container combinations using annuals and perennials.

Forestfarm(541) 846-7269, Print catalog free. One of largest plant selections in the country. Catalog is print only, for color photos and current availability, check out their website. Because of distance, shipping from this 30 year-old Oregon nursery can be pricey.

Plant Delights Nursery(919) Print catalog, 10 stamps or a box of chocolates. This catalog is a hortiholic’s bible – a must for any plant collector.

Annie’s Annuals and Perennials(888) Print catalog free. Located in California, most of the plants will be grown as annuals in Michigan. Shipping may exceed price of plants, but buy more and save more. If you are a plant fashionista, this stunning collection will have you drooling.

Bluestone Perennials(800) Print catalog free. More than 1,000 varieties of perennials plus ground cover shrubs and bulbs. Plants come in 4-inch deep biodegradable pots for easy planting.

High Country Gardens(800) Print catalog free. Specializes in unusual drought tolerant, xeric perennials, many of which are hardy to Zone 5 and grow well in Michigan. Lots of preplanned garden plans for the designed challenged. Active breeding programs produces lots of exclusives.

For more mail order sources of garden plants, seed and goodies visit the Direct Garden Association website at

All of these catalogs are available online so you may peruse their inventories before ordering hard copies or simply shop on the Internet. The websites are packed with information and you can also sign up for newsletters, blogs and e-blasts announcing new introductions and sales, so do check them out.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnewscom/homestyle.