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Catalogues are a great winter read

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The weather might not be suitable for venturing outdoors, but there’s more than enough reading, research and planning to keep this gardener occupied.

The book shelves are stacked with reference tomes, catalogues and magazines, and nearby stands a connection to the worldwide web.

The place I describe is a welcoming room that fits like a glove when gardening thoughts are in the air.

The 2018 catalogues are already well-thumbed, but such is the content these days that each time one is admired there is a new revelation. Given the negligible cost of a stamped addressed envelope or click of a mouse, they’re so valuable to have around.

For a general choice and information it’s worth visiting the following: www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk; www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk; www.suttons.co.uk; www.thompson-morgan.com; www.unwins.co.uk and www.mr-fothergills.co.uk

In addition to their main catalogues, many do seasonal publications. Once on their mailing list, these are sent automatically. This is just the tip of an iceberg of catalogues that cover a diversity of plant types.

Fruit, vegetables and ornamentals are basic to general gardening interest, but it really is worth scanning the lists of seed and plant suppliers in a range of magazines.

The fingers tingle with anticipation when Woolman’s chrysanthemum and ornamental plant catalogue arrives (www.woolmans.com). Inside you find far more than early and late chrysanthemums. There are dahlias, phlox, erysimum and other perennials to brighten the borders. Even if you decide not to buy, just browsing the colour images and unwittingly absorbing information, broadens the gardening knowledge.