The Rose Catalog

When I was younger, we didn’t have the Internet. We didn’t have cell phones. Until I was about 10, we didn’t have a stereo – we listened to an old tube-filled table-top radio in the morning and afternoon (but never all day). On weekends, my dad would play 45s and 78s on a tabletop record player. When I was 10, we got a stereo – not the “system” kind that audiophiles love these days. It was a simple record player and radio placed in a cabinet with two speakers and stereo sound. My dad graduated to LPs (long playing albums). We didn’t have a color TV until about 1964.

But my mom had flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. Flowers for all seasons from early spring (crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, azaleas, rhododendrons, peonies) in Michigan, to summer (roses, phlox, portulaca, violas, rose of Sharon, delphinium), to autumn (asters and chrysanthemums). What extra pleasures my mom desired in life didn’t come from television or radio. She got it in caring for her colorful garden. And my dad indulged this floral habit, even to the point of helping her watch her flowers grow.

Without Internet, we had snail mail. Every season, Mom would receive gardening catalogs and she had this little routine. First, she’d thumb through them. Then, she’d go through them a little more slowly. Then, she look at the catalogs page by page. She’d take the catalogs to the neighbor’s house – her best friend and a fellow gardener – and they’d pore over those catalogs together, dreaming, planning…scheming. “You buy this two-for-one deal, and I’ll get this one and we’ll swap for the free flowers.”

By far, my mom’s favorite catalog was Jackson & Perkins. Best known for their roses, Jackson & Perkins has been in business since 1872, and they’re still thriving (the company even has a Facebook page). They back their plants with a replacement guarantee but in all her years of gardening, my mother never had to make use of this guarantee.

This past year, I ordered a hedge rose from Jackson & Perkins. I ordered it just before the last day it could be shipped for survival after planting, put it in the ground and it took off. I plan to order more of these pretty babies until I have a living rose fence around my garden. Although I found J&P on line, apparently placing an order put me on their mailing list and today I got my very first, all-glossy 55-page Jackson & Perkins catalog.

I thumbed through it. Then I went through more slowly. Then I set it on the desk in front of me and went through page by page. I don’t have a gardening buddy neighbor but I do have kids with houses….heh heh heh. So the poring over and scheming might just come next.

I have officially become my own mother. I’m off to enjoy my catalog now!

Have you heard about the Astraea Press sale? All books $2.99 or less at all sites: Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Care for a taste of Tuesday Tales?

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