Thursday, January 19, 2012
Many seed catalogs have arrived but I ordered from Jung's first, why is that? I attribute it to flawless marketing: offering what gardeners want, reasonable prices (comparable to most of the big seed houses; hybrids command a premium -- Rocky Hybrid Cukes are $4.95 for a packet of 10 seeds), good follow-through with delivery and a superbly designed catalog. I think it was also one of the first to 'sprout', maybe in December already, staking an early claim to the coming summer's garden dreams.
It took a while to ferret out the subtle design genius of the catalog. Almost all plant varieties are illustrated with well chosen color pictures and the text is always close by and never never requires turning a page. And while there is plenty of color, the designers managed to restrain the rainbow just this side of color fatigue. I personally find the old-timey catalogs that feature woodcuts of plants and produce a bit tedious after a few pages. Other catalogs are on such high gloss paper and have so much color that my eyes and brain literally need a break.
Nice clean type-face, font sizes that skillfully guide your eyes and, good layout of the varieties with clean boxes that signal when the corn ends and the cukes begin all contribute to an easy reading experience that lets you concentrate on the seductive text that is the mainstay of all seed catalogs.
Anyone with aspirations to creative writing only needs to spend a few hours with a seed catalog to master the basics. First, best, vigorous, highly productive, gourmet flavor and a few exclamation marks lead me down Jung's carefully designed catalog path as I eagerly imagine Touchstone Gold beets whose 'pale orange roots have brilliant gold flesh... and exquisitely sweet flavor that's second to none. The light green, golden-veined tops are so delicious you could grow these beets for their tops alone." Sigh. A multi-pupose vegetable... wonderful ...efficient.
As added reinforcement, almost like side dressing a crop in mid-season, Jung sprinkles in colorful decals that signal NEW!, Jung Top Pick, AAS Winner, or Customer Favorite.
Filderkraut - 'An old German favorite (but NEW! for Jung) with excellent taste well-suited for making 'kraut'. How can I resist this exaggerated tear-drop shaped cabbage that is 'Well-liked in Germany for its taste and unique appearance.'??
I placed my order January 10 and it arrived about a week later via snail mail in a neat and sturdy box complete with a cute little air bag to keep the contents firmly packed. Postage was reasonable and there were only 2 advertising inserts from garden-related businesses. Included were my free trial packets of Classic Fantastic Bachelor Buttons and Purple Plum Radishes. The NEW! Rocky Hybrid Cucumber must be very popular as it was marked in ink to be S.L. (shipped later). Only the promotional seed packets were embellished with color photos. Kudos to Jung for this cost-saving measure that also helps the environment.
Notes: (1) You can order a print catalog through most of the catalog websites (or in some cases, download a PDF version). (2) Mention of specific products, brands, or companies is not intended as an endorsement by the University of Maryland. (3) I do not receive consideration of any kind for mentioning products, brands, or companies in my postings. The seed catalogs I review are those of sellers from which I have previously bought seeds.