Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Difference between "Playboy" and a Garden Catalog? Not much.

 As the seasoned garden catalog peruser knows, seed and plant descriptions are akin to Playboy "Playmate of the Month" Biographies: difficult to take seriously. For instance, the Playmate who says her favorite recreation is, "a walk along a secluded beach" can be safely translated as, "I want to go to Fiji and I want to go now!" Or, if she says her favorite male trait is "a sense of humor", that can be taken to mean, "chuckles to himself as he opens up his wallet to pay for that $25,000 diamond trinket."

In garden catalogs, here are some commonly used expressions, and what they really mean:

"vigorous": will not only take over your garden, but will house a large family of rodents by the end of summer.

"old time favorite": this may be the tomato that killed your great grandpa; we can't be sure, though.

"crack-free": the skin is as hard as a rock

"high yields": your neighbors will shut their blinds when they see you walking up their driveway, lugging that damn shopping bag...again.

"spreading vines": kiss your miniature poodle goodbye.

"self-sows easily": by any other name, a weed

"best for storage": slice it with a chain saw

"unique heirloom": old, ugly

"unusual heirloom": old, really ugly

"unusual nutty flavor": be prepared to spit.

And the pictures of those luscious tomatoes and perfect petunias? Ha! As one garden writer noted: those catalog pinups are probably the result of the work of someone with extreme Photoshop capabilities. And I concur: have your ever seen a truly perfect, ideally formed fruit, vegetable or flower? No ragged or slightly discolored leaves? No hint of the presence of a bug?  Only in the pages of a catalog.

But that's OK. This is still a great time to buy too many seeds for your summer garden!


  1. I think this pretty much nails it.

  2. LOL! Love this! I had a few unique heirlooms with unusual nutty flavor last year :)

    What are your go to seed sources? Local and catalogue?

  3. Sometimes you really gotta read between the lines! LOL