Disseminated at the height of Europe's seventeenth-century flower frenzy, the first nursery catalog was a masterpiece and a marketing strategy. It was published as a Florilegium (collection of flowers), and compiled by Dutch entrepreneur Emmanuel Sweerts (1552-1612). Before its publication, Sweerts peddled curiosities—stuffed birds and shells, as well as tulip bulbs. He would soon consolidate his wares.
Peonies are the grandes dames of the garden: stately, long lasting, and often copiously perfumed. They are great massed or in a mixed ornamental bed; and as cut flowers, lush single blooms, or full bouquets, they are equally breathtaking. But even though these plants are fairly easy to grow—good drainage and full sun, plus a little afternoon shade in hotter climes, are all they ask—they’re not always easy to buy. Especially the popular and unusual varieties.
This post might be better titled Plant Repulsion, rather than Plant Lust, but our featured plant is still pretty awesome.
In the super-snowy days of January and February, we're featuring pages from the many catalogs that are arriving in our office daily. There's really nothing better than catalog reading—it's like window shopping, but you can do it in your bed, while eating cookies. (Well, maybe don't eat cookies in bed. But you know what I mean.)
An afternoon stroll in the garden has always been a nice way to admire your plant collection. In the late 1800s, however, this was also an evening armchair diversion; by the light of the fire, Victorian horticulturalists could browse their favorite flowers by way of a scrapbook.