Herb Catalogs: Ready, Set, and Plant Those Herbs, Part 1

Reader Contribution by Lemon Verbena Lady
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The weather in March was really almost like May or June here in western Pennsylvania. We had 12 days of consecutive 70- to 80-degree weather! It was crazy; made me want to get out and plant some herbs. What has added fuel to the fire is the arrival of herb catalogs. I always like to have a cup of herbal tea and peruse paper catalogs. Call me old-fashioned! Mail orders are expensive, but I think sometimes a necessary method of getting unusual herb plants that you will not find any other way. All of these herbal families have made their passion for herbs an important part of their lives, and in turn in ours.

When I first started my herb garden 22 years ago, I discovered a plant catalog from North Carolina called Sandy Mush Herb Nursery from Leicester, North Carolina. I completely immersed myself in herbs through this catalog. Kate and Fairman Jayne wrote a catalog with lovely script and descriptions of the herbs and it made me so happy. Even when they described Fuller’s teasel as using the “spiny flower heads to raise nap on woolens or to card wool for spinning,” I had to have it! I also bought my first clary sage here and it bloomed beautifully. You get the idea. I get caught up with the magic of herbs! This catalog is $5 to purchase a paper one. (You get this back when you place an order.) Also, it’s free to download the catalog. I have obviously mail ordered herbs with success from Sandy Mush.

The next two catalogs are from the west and east coast. Goodwin Creek Gardens is located in Williams, Oregon and has been in business since 1977. Jim and Dotti Becker specialize in herbs, everlasting flowers and fragrant plants, including a large number of Native American species. They also offer a large variety of plants that attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. They do mail order, but plants are about 30 percent less expensive if you can go to their nursery and shop there. They offer collections of plants such as a wedding, hummingbird and butterfly collection, as well as one of my favorites (of course!), the Shakespeare collection. You can always access their plant catalog on their website.

The eastern catalog in the photo is Well-Sweep Herb Farm of Port Murray, New Jersey. It is celebrating its 43rd season with David Hyde at the helm. Louise and Cyrus Hyde started the business in 1969 and they have built a beautiful farm and herbal legacy. There are so many interesting and unusual varieties of herbs and perennials. Some carrying the Well-Sweep name because they were introduced at Well-Sweep. I have mail ordered many unusual herbs from Well-Sweep that I couldn’t find anywhere else. They have always arrived in good shape. They have lots of unusual dianthus, eucalyptus, bay leaf, lavender, mint, basil, curry leaf, scented geranium, rosemary, bay rum and allspice. As I may have said in my post called: Herbal Travels: Well-Sweep Herb Farm, thank goodness Cy Hyde loves to collect herb plants! 

My next post will continue the search for wonderful herb farms maybe one in your area to visit in person, or, if not, to visit online. As always, if you have a comment or question about any of my posts, please write to me here with a comment or my e-mail at lemonverbenalady@hotmail.comand put in the subject line “Herb Comment or Question.” Talk to you soon. Please stay tuned for the second installment of Herb Catalogs. You may recognize an herb farm that’s near your house.

You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog
Lemon Verbena Lady’s Herb Garden.

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