Planning for the Planting Season – A Problem with Some Gardening Catalogs

Fragrant Viburnum

It’s that time of year again. The time to be dreaming and planning for the planting season.

The first of the plant and seed catalogs arrived in my mailbox already and this GardenLady has been going over and over the plants in it deciding on what should be planted come spring. I would like to order plants from this first catalog. But Caveat emptor! This catalog leaves something to be desired: Latin names are missing. The catalog only has a common name for most plants; though they do have some trade-marked names. How can buyers be sure that they are getting what they want or if they are getting the newest plants without proper classification of plants? When purchasing any plant, there should be the genus, species,and at least the plant cultivar. This way a buyer can check out the plant he or she is buying to see if it is really what is wanted.

For example, I would like to buy a viburnum. There are more than 150 plants in this genus. The one this catalog sells is called White snowball viburnum. So Is the viburnum in the catalog I received a Viburnum macrocephalum -Chinese snowball viburnum or Viburnum x carlecephalum – the fragrant viburnum that I would love? Or is it some other kind of viburnum? The catalog says the viburnum it is selling is fragrant. But other descriptions in the catalog don’t match with what is written about Viburnum x carlecephalum.

DSC_0819 Abelia x grandiflora shrub by debsteinberg

Another shrub I would love to own is a fragrant abelia. This catalog lists one for sale. There are about 15 to 30 species of abelia, so how is a buyer to know which one is being sold in the catalog? Are they selling one of the recommended varieties?

If only the catalog would add the proper plant classification this GardenLady would feel more comfortable ordering. I think their sales would increase. Unless they are selling overstocked or outdated plants and don’t want people to know. Still, because they are offering a special coupon for the order so that you are basically paying just for shipping, people will buy. But customers still want to know what they are getting; even to just let their friends know what they have planted.

If you want to start receiving gardening catalogs in your mailbox, here is a site for you to contact to get the catalogs you want.