For me, January is prime time for attacks of the winter ickies and I usually depend on plant catalogs and herbal tea to get me through these bleak gray days and long winter nights.

But this year the catalogs have been painfully slow to arrive in the mail so I’ve been visiting a lot of websites.

All mail-order plant catalogs are available online so you may peruse 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.

Here are some of my go-to websites:

Song Sparrow Nursery (608) 883-2356, A treasure trove of hardy designer herbaceous and tree peonies, magnolias and fancy day lilies, perennials and woodies. Lots of exclusives and new introductions and a good selection of woodies and perennials. Located in Wisconsin, it’s a great source for cold hardy plants. Shop for web-only offers and specials online. They no longer put out a print catalog.

White Flower Farm (800) 503-9624, Print catalog free. The full-color catalog and website is a visual feast for flower lovers. Fabulous source for gorgeous container combinations using annuals and/or perennials. A good selection of house plants including orchids, though many are out of stock at this time of year. Most houseplants are tropicals that should not be shipped in freezing weather.

Annie’s Annuals and Perennials (888) 266-4370 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’re a plant fashionista, this stunning collection will have you drooling. A trip to Annie’s is on my bucket list.

High Country Gardens (800) 925-9387. Print catalog free. Specializes in unusual drought tolerant, xeric perennials, many of which are natives, hardy to Zone 5 and grow well in Michigan if you can provide good drainage. HCG also specializes in pre-planned gardens and perennial container collections for those who believe they are designed challenged or don’t have the time to shop. New this year are interesting perennial container collections for sun or shade and a container garden to attract hummingbirds. On the website are videos that give you step-by-step instructions on how to plant a preplanned garden. Horticulturist David Salman walks you through the process from the time you open the box, so there are no surprises.

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.

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