Gardeners in the heart of winter are like children wishing for Christmas in July. We can't wait to get out there and plant the garden of our dreams. We scan the landscape, planning our springtime efforts. We browse the usual catalogs wondering if it is still too early to order. But wait. There are catalog diversions available that will get us past the beloved but humdrum tomatoes and zinnias perusal. They offer rare, unusual, exotic and odd plant choices to liven up our winter blues.
CHILTERN SEEDS - Chiltern Seeds offers 4500 varieties and species of seeds, many of them unusual and rare. They have many collector specials like bonsai, cacti, insectivorous plants and giant bamboo. They specialize in heirloom and oriental vegetables and meadow mixtures. Also for sale is an extensive collection of wildflowers from the British Isles encouraged to attract bees and butterflies.
WORLD PLANTS - This is a comprehensive site that offers an A to Z catalog of rare, unusual and exotic plants all with great color photos. World Plants adds new items all the time and they provide a link for these so you can check them out. They have a 3 of one kind plant limit and have an easy to read shipping page. Also offers information on plant care.
SISKIYOU - Siskiyou is a small specialty nursery that specializes in alpine plants from around the world as well as other rock garden plants. Emphasizing the Siskiyou Mountain region of the Oregon Cascades, they offer many rare natives of the American west. Their catalog boasts over 200 color photos. Siskiyou is worth checking out if you're looking for something very different.
KARTUZ GREENHOUSES - Kartuz has been in business for 48 years. They offer their own hybrids and specialize in begonias, gesneriads, hoyas and passionflowers. They have an interesting variety of rare container plants and flowers and a good choice of unusual miniatures. Once again, you can only purchase 3 of one kind of plant. Be sure to visit their photo gallery and cultural nformation.
OIKOS TREE CROPS - Oikos is the place to learn about and buy trees. These folks concentrate in organically grown native trees including hybrids. They offer many rare plants and fruit-bearing trees which are grown both in containers and in the field. The people at Oikos are knowledgeable and have a good reputation. They believe in sustainable growth and are very green.
TOP TROPICALS - Top Tropicals is a busy place both in business and on the site layout. There's so much to look at and do that it is definitely worth a visit. They specialize in spectacular tropical plants such as exotic hibiscus, Hawaiian tropicals, jasmine and many more. Grown and sold by a couple from Florida, their flowers are rich and vibrant. They offers sales and specials, photos and screensavers. This is a fun place to ward off the winter doldrums.
YUCCADO - If you live in dry climates, you'll definitely have to visit Yuccado. They tout themselves as a source for heat and drought tolerant plants. But if you live in frost-prone areas, Yuccado will let you know which of their plants will thrive there too. You can find woody lilies, cacti, agave and palms here. They offer curious plants from southwest America, Mexico, Africa and Asia. Yuccado is a hot place to shop.
RARE EXOTICS - Rare Exotics is a one of a kind place that often offers one of a kind plants. They specialize in hard-to-find plants and never sell seeds. Some of their species are not available anywhere else and are only offered once. They are the site for the exotic plant species collector and they sell very large size plants. Also available here are rare artifacts, fossils, corals and minerals. It's a different kind of place.
SEEDS AND SUCH - Seeds and Such concentrates on heirloom flower seeds. They are seed experts. They carry a wide assortment of unusual and hard to find varieties. Their site offers a seed sowing guide and a lot of information that a beginner as well as a seasoned grower can learn from. Seeds and More are known for their excellent customer service and quality products.
FLORA EXOTICA - Here's the place to get your exotic herbs and medicinal plants. Some of their herb plants are a little pricey but they do call themselves the home of the one dollar seed store. You can get vanilla and curry plants sold in 5'' pots. Flora Exotica well describes what they sell including medicinal indications and some history. It's a user-friendly website that includes links to research concerning the uses for various herbs.
So if you find yourself snowbound this winter and itching to think Spring, you might want to check out these sites.
Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on January 18, 2012:
I used to order seed catalogues over the winter. I still get one now. But I never order from the catalogue. I end up going into the store so I can see more. :)
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on December 12, 2011:
hi, suzie - I love to look at plant and seed catalogs during the winter months. They can be so inspiring! And most are fonts of all kinds of information. Plus, I love looking at the pretty pictures, I must admit!
suziecat7 (author) from Asheville, NC on July 31, 2011:
Offtrack - Glad you liked.
Offtrackmtb from Top of a mountain on July 31, 2011:
Very cool list, thanks
suziecat7 (author) from Asheville, NC on April 18, 2011:
Mrs. J.B. - You are welcome.
Toknowinfo - Thanks so much for reading.
toknowinfo on April 18, 2011:
Thanks for the information and education. Great hub. Rated up and useful.
Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on March 18, 2011:
This was such an interesting hub! Thanks
suziecat7 (author) from Asheville, NC on November 20, 2009:
Hi MagicStar - thanks for stopping by. It's always great to browze the catalogs. Makes winter go faster. Thank you all for taking the time to comment.
MagicStarER from Western Kentucky on November 20, 2009:
Wow! I thought I knew about all the good ones. I'm saving this, so I can check them all out. This is awesome, and thanks!
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 06, 2009:
Love my garden, small though it is. I usually end up with lots of packets of seeds, often they get out of date. Nice hub
Tina from Wv on September 04, 2009:
Cool idea! I'm gonna bookmark ya for the winter!
Melody Lagrimas from Philippines on August 23, 2009:
Very interesting and informative.