National Mail-order Gardening Month

The Direct Gardening Association has designated January as National Mail Order Gardening Month. Does this seem strange? After all, winter has barely started, and the ground in many places won’t be ready to plant for several months. Yet, gardeners are eternal optimists.

Mail order seed companies have a long history in the United States. When you order from a seed catalog, you are engaging in a time-honored winter ritual. One of the most recognizable names in the mail-order business, Burpee, was founded in 1876 in Philadelphia. W. Atlee Burpee sought the best seeds from the United States and Europe, following leads to strange and faraway places, and his mail order business quickly grew to a national level.

Although local garden centers are the most likely places to stock the best varieties for your area, they are limited in their offerings. Catalogs are a great way to get plants that are special, new, rare or hard to grow. Your local garden center can’t stock three hundred colors of daylilies or iris or every kind of peony, but somewhere out there is a grower with a catalog who does have all the plants you want.

When you buy from a catalog, you must first know what hardiness zone you live in. If you need to find yours, the US Department of Agriculture has one on the Web here. For vegetables, you will also want to note whether they are hybrids, which are hardier, or heirloom, for which you can save the seeds from year to year.

The best part of catalogs for me is that you can find exotic plants. I have grown purple tomatoes, green zebra tomatoes, pink tomatoes, and yellow tomatoes, in addition to the normal red ones. Already I have been looking online and dreaming about this summer’s garden. I can’t wait to get those seeds sprouting!

Wishing you a great garden next summer.

Quotes about gardening

Gardening grows the spirit.–Barbara Mock

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.–Author Unknown

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy.–Robert Brault

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.–Marcelene Cox

The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.–Joel Salatin

The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.–Vera Nazarian

A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.–Liberty Hyde Bailey

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.–Marcus Tullius Cicero

The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.–Gertrude Jekyll

Garden as though you will live forever.–William Kent

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.–May Sarton

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.–Rudyard Kipling

Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.–Alfred Austin

Gardens and chocolate both have mystical qualities.–Edward Flaherty

Everything is mended by the soil.–Andrew Crofts

Gardeners, I think, dream bigger than emperors.–Mary Cantwell

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.–H. Jackson Brown

Find over 9500 inspirational quotes at Also visit us on Facebook at and on Twitter: (@kloberst)



The quote I sent today (March 22) to Quote Lady’s Quote of the Day list is one I especially like: “We hear one another into being,” by Nelle Morton. Listening is a neglected skill in our modern world, and being actually listened to and heard is a precious gift. I spent most of my professional life in college libraries. At one place I worked, degreed librarians were considered faculty. At another, we were considered staff. And believe me when I say there is a rigidly adhered to hierarchy in academia. Faculty and students first, staff last or forgotten. After being faculty, it was frustrating to suddenly be a second (or even third) class citizen. One day the staff representative came to talk to me. He listened to all my complaints and from his attitude and responses, I knew he had heard me. Though nothing really changed, things were better for me because I had been heard.

Why not practice listening to – really listening to – someone today.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes about listening.


Be a good listener; Your ears will never get you in trouble.–Frank Tyger

Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.–Sue Patton Thoele

Effective listening requires more than hearing the words transmitted. It demands that you find meaning and understanding in what is being said. After all, meanings are not in the words, but in the people.-–Herb Cohen

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.–Henry David Thoreau

I’m glad I understand that while language is a gift, listening is a responsibility.–Nikki Giovanni

It’s a mistake to think we listen only with our ears. It’s much more important to listen with the mind, the eyes, the body, and the heart. Unless you truly want to understand the other person, you’ll never be able to listen.–Mark Herndon

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.–Stephen R. Covey

And my absolute favorite from Shel Silverstein:

Listen to the mustn’ts, child.
Listen to the don’ts.
Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves,
then listen close to me…
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.–Shel Silverstein

Find nearly 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list at




I recently had an email from an older woman who has been collecting quotes all her life, and was looking for someone to pass them along to. I accepted readily, and she sent me dozens of files divided by subject. The first one I saw was about gardens, which was serendipity as I have been thinking recently that I needed to do that as a subject on

I love gardening. Even though where I live (nearly 4500 feet above sea level) we can’t plant outside until at least after Memorial Day, by February I am eager to get out to play in the dirt. Even now, I have herbs growing, and flowers started in a sunny south window, helped on by a heating pad and grow lights. My garden is all planned out, and soon I will be starting vegetables inside. In the warmer days I have been out mulching to hold down weeds in the vegetable beds, and have begun digging grass out of the strawberries.

Gardens are a lovely metaphor for life, with seeds growing into mature plants, the harvest, and the dying down as the season ends. Growing my own food and being able to share it with others gives me great satisfaction, as does growing flowers to brighten up the neighborhood.

It will likely be a while before I get the gardening quotes Sy sent me all online, but here are a few of the wonderful ones:


A garden always gives back more than it receives. – Mara Beamish

A garden is a love song, a duet between a human being and Mother Nature. – Jeff Cox

A garden is the mirror of a mind. It is a place of life, a mystery of green moving to the pulse of the year, and pressing on and pausing the whole to its own inherent rhythms. – Henry Beston

All gardeners know that in some way they work out their problems in the garden. There is no mystery to it. They are simply following Nature’s laws. Planting a garden is an act of optimism. – Marilyn Barrett

An addiction to gardening is not all bad when you consider all the other choices in life. – Cora Lea Bell

Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January, begins with the dream. – Josephine Nuese

Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is a triumph of hope over experience. – Marina Schinz

How much the making of a garden, no matter how small, adds to the joy of living, only those who practice the arts and the science can know. – E. H. Wilson

Wishing good growth to all who read this!

Find nearly 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list at