Well, my posts might get a leetle less frequent at this time of year (also, ridiculous weekend followed by brain-numbing cold; you're lucky you get me at all).
I did want to mention that among the slow avalanche of seed catalogs arriving at my house, I received yesterday the one I actually bothered to pay for, from the D. Landreth Seed Company. They are in serious financial straits, and I encourage you again to jump in and order something from them, either a $5 catalog or a holiday gift or actual seeds. The catalog is a marvel. My one complaint is that the print describing the seeds is a bit small (aging eyes), but it's readable online where I'd be ordering anyway. The rest of it is just great fun, with full-color reproductions of old catalog covers (from the 1800s to early 20th century mostly; the company has been around since 1784 but the catalog not that long) and engravings, plus pearls of wisdom, research stats, complaints about their competitors, etc. from the same period. If you like history, and that moment when you read historical sources and realize how much and how little has changed, you'll enjoy it.
They have a really quite decent selection of seeds, including some collections (the African-American Heritage one is a collaboration with Michael Twitty and really interesting) and it's definitely one of those catalogs where you page through saying "ooh, I'm going to get that... and that..." We'll see how my orders actually come out, but I'll get some stuff from them to be sure (prices are good, too).
The packets evoke the days before what you got to illustrate your purchase was most often a photo of the flower or fruit or whatever end result is desired, impossibly perfect and yet, because it is a photo, daring you to challenge the perfection as unrealistic. Drawings of unrealistic produce let you in on the joke more, I think, though possibly the gullible were once just as susceptible to them. Not that I haven't had perfect produce out of my garden on occasion, and it's the privilege of the market to sell based on the product that tops the curve.
And then there's the pretty-drawings crowd, which in the group above includes Renee's, Territorial (photos in the catalog), and Southern Exposure, but there are others. Artsy, sometimes folksy; seducing with design and words rather than with enormous shiny watermelons. I buy from them all in turn, depending on my mood and my needs, and I'm not denying the effect of presentation in my choice. Go ahead, seed companies: cater to my desires; make me want you. (Just please no more cute Caucasian toddlers holding jumbo produce, or I will throw up.)
GBBD tomorrow - I have blooms, and not just on seed packets, either!