On plain newsprint pages lurk hidden treasures


Our mailbox is flooding with gardening catalogs these days. I’ve already made some of my selections for spring, but it doesn’t mean that I’m done with all of them.

Some have hidden treasures that are worth perusing later in the winter.

Each catalog is a different creature.

Logee’s Plant catalog is one of the prettiest, a magazine filled with page after page of glossy photos of tropicals and house plants.

The company has been in business since 1892 and is well aware of how to seduce gardeners.

Kinsman Company is a pint-sized version with the same idea but it concentrates on selling plant paraphernalia, not plants.

But the photos of their trellises and window boxes look nothing like the ones that decorate our place.

I’d almost kill to produce displays like those.

There are sometimes interesting non-plant items interspersed throughout the pages of these catalogs, but they’re easy to overlook because the plant photos are so enticing.

Whiteflower Farm and even Sun Prairie’s own Jung’s produce glossy magazines to tempt us into buying seeds and plants and some of the tools and accoutrements to display them.

Don’t get me wrong — I order from all of these companies, which is why I get their catalogs.

But the most interesting publications are more easily overlooked.

They don’t have glossy photos and are printed on newsprint.

Pinetree Garden Seeds is one of my favorites because it’s full of surprises.

Like all seed catalogs, Pinetree opens up with seeds. But on Page 3 there’s a nice table of contents.

The seed selections run for 95 pages — no slick photos, just 1-inch snaps of beets or flowers next to the description.

Pages with vegetable seeds have plain gray headers.

Herbs are marked with green, flowers with red so everything is easy to find.

As expected, there are also pages filled with garden supplies — peat pots, plant labels and pots.

But unlike many of the other catalogs, the offerings continue.

And that’s what makes this one a keeper to look at all winter long.

Next up — seed sprouters and canning supplies.

Then a section on teas and one on herbs, including baobab fruit powder and lemon and orange peel powders – organic, of course.

There are soap-making supplies, including bases and additions I’ve never seen in local craft stores, containers, organic dyes, fragrances, essential oils and molds for lip balms and specialty items.

Then there are books to tell you how use all this stuff in addition to gardening tomes.

Yes, I could find all of these items on the Internet.

But I like to keep some business private, a concept that seems foreign these days.

It’s nice to be able to look at things without having them show up instantly on every other website I visit.

Besides, who knew some of this stuff even existed? It’s a whole window shopping trip — in print.

Anyway, while you’re drooling over all the fancy catalogs clogging the mailbox these days, take a chance on some of the less photogenic ones out there.

There’s good stuff in them, too, if you take the time to explore the back pages.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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