COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER: Forget petunias, it’s time to expand garden horizons

By Marianne Binetti

As winter continues to keep the garden dormant, this is your cue to read up on all the choices now available for local gardeners. Last week I suggested the best seed catalogs and sites for beginning gardeners and those that want to learn more about fruits, nuts and flowering plants but now it is time to garden for the fun of it.

If you are lucky enough to own even a tiny speck of land or have a balcony or patio for a few pots, you have the opportunity to taste, smell and enjoy plants from all over the world. Get out of the rhododendron, geranium and petunia rut and expand your gardening horizons to include vegetables from Europe, heirloom herbs and creative containers that will last a lifetime.

One Green World

Check out – a great source for weird, unusual and cool plants to spice up the landscape (yes, they sell spice plants). This nursery is in Oregon but you can order a catalog or go online to find jujube, olive trees, saffron crocus and chernika. Not familiar with these offerings? That’s the whole point. Grow for it.

High Country Gardens

If you want to start pruning your water bill, the time to start planning is now. The water-thrifty perennials offered on the pages of this colorful catalog include growing instructions and cold- hardiness so even gardeners nestled in the foothills of the mountains can have growing success with lavenders, special conifers, cacti, succulents and ornamental grasses. This mail-order nursery is based in New Mexico so some of their plants demand hot, sunny days to perform at their best. Still, any gardeners can learn more about grouping plants together in collections as High Country Gardens likes to sell groups of perennials that play well together and never have drinking problems.

Plants Delight Nursery

Take your garden from frumpy to fantastic, or from boring to bodacious as the unusual, fun and downright freaky plants offered here are sure to start – or end – a conversation. Starting with the most unusual catalog covers in the business (they even sell their cover art to be framed) and ending with some of the newest plants on the market, you’ll find calla lilies with purple-striped blooms which the catalog says are “almost too sexy for our garden” and a gorgeous collection of specimen agaves as well as weird-looking spider lilies and giant, gold impatiens. This nursery is in North Carolina and the slogan of the company is “We were green when green wasn’t cool.” Did I mention the price of the catalog? Don’t send money. The cost is 10 stamps or one box of chocolates. Different indeed. or 9241 Sauls Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27603

Kinsman Co. Gardeners Catalog

You can’t buy plants from this catalog but you can buy unusual, practical and often just amazing garden supplies. I highly recommend the wrought iron containers with coco liners and side planting holes. They are the only planting baskets sold with patio stands, or columns, so you can elevate your hanging baskets by placing them in the middle of a bed or border. The side planting pockets give the container a full-figure look almost instantly and the wrought iron construction means you can safely leave them outdoors all winter long. You can also order window box styles and wrought iron hanging baskets. But don’t stop there. Bird feeders, nest kits for orchard Mason bees, dog, cat and deer repellents and even propagating gels and cool tools can all be found. I know of nowhere else that sells “thumb pot” watering devices shaped like a hedgehog.

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Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to her at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply.

For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site,

Copyright for this column owned by Marianne Binetti.

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