Perennial Catalog

Holding Summer in my hands.

If ever there is a day here in San Jose meant for curling up with a garden catalog and a Spring frame of mind, this is it. The temperatures have dropped, the wind is blowing, and cold rain spatters a prelude to another frigid deluge. The day is in the grip of Winter, and I am tightening my grip around a cup of hot tea and a colorful perennial flower catalog.

A lightning bolt flashes as I open to Page One, and there are dahlias—dahlias that glow like radiating suns—making it feel like the storm is lightening up. Thunder rumbles and rattles my windows and my bright outlook wanes, but with the turn of a page, astilbes wave wispy spires of delicate colors and the thunder fades harmlessly. Rain pelts hard against the windows, but there’s little I fear as long as I stay focused on the blooms in the catalog.

I’m partial to perennials. By definition they are survivors. Regardless of what happens in any one year, they will try again next time around. Perennials are reliable and self-sufficient. A gardener can count on them, can take heart knowing they will be there in good time—steady, reliable, fulfilling expectations.

The harder it rains, the more intense becomes my focus on phlox, asters, lupine, and monardas. A lightning flash illuminates veronica and peonies; a crack of thunder turns my attention toward salvia and rudbeckia. By the time I finish thumbing the pages, highlighting offerings and making marginal notes, the storm has long ceased. But I haven’t noticed. Absorbed in the advertised promise of “Your Summer Garden Starts Today!”, I’m ready to place my order.

There’s nothing like a garden catalog to remind me of warm, gentle days filled with color and fragrance, days that depend on storms like today’s to supply the necessary elements for a flourishing garden.

Perennials are survivors, always ready to try again come Spring.

So are gardeners like me.


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