OK, right off the bat, my humble apologies for any mis-linkings that occurred in last week's column. Sometimes these darn Internet addresses get away from you. Fortunately, there is always a search engine to help you find your way when I send you to a dead end. I hope it won't happen again, but such is the world of electrons. Don't panic, just Google.
This week, let's just hop around and explore some of the fun print and eCatalogs out there. (As always, if you know of some great ones, send them along to Jeff@gardener.com). A good place to start is with chickens. Yes, chickens. The whole urban chicken thing is being classified under gardening, at least in a lot of major bookstores. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to know that you can mail order anything you need poultry-wise.
One such site was highly recommended to me for their excellent collection of offerings, quality of same and service. With an easy to remember name, eFowl.com has mail order chickens (I like it when the name and the address are the same). In fact, it not only sells chicks, but also food and other things chicken coop-wise. Actually, you can buy game birds, ducks, geese and turkeys too. Listen, I know not everyone is into this sort of thing, but it is cold outside and why not take a quick look?
The Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds website has links to an awful lot of things. First there is the eCatalog. It is one of the new "flip" types that allows you to read along as if you had the printed version (order here: rareseeds.com/requestcatalog/) in your lap. You can also sign up for their newsletter and request their magazine on heirlooms . Baker Creek has a reputation for not only lots of unusual heirloom seeds but also some of the finest photographs of product. Their catalogs have been defined as "pornography for gardeners."
Speaking of photos, if you are into delphiniums -- and who in Southcentral, at least, isn't? -- then check out Dowdeswell's Delphinium, Ltd. photo gallery of, yup, delphiniums. Once you take a look, you can go to their home page. I am not sure you can bring their seed into Alaska, but the photos sure make you want to try. Also, there's a great diagnostic section of photos.
I don't know, there was something about the name when someone sent me to the site of JB's Plants at JBsBirdsandMore.com. They offer a bunch of what most call "holiday cactii" (Schlumbergera) that are different from what you probably have and so are worth considering. All are easy to grow and will thrive in your Alaska window. I am not so sure about some of the birds they offer at their sister site. The company gets fantastic reviews for its service and quality of goods. I have no idea if they ship to Alaska but see no reason why they wouldn't.
If the Arctic temperatures we are experiencing make you think of moving to a warmer, tropical climate and you are wondering what you might grow there (or if you just want to dream and drool a bit) check out Zone 9 Tropicals. All the plants you see in places such as Hawaii, Belize or Costa Rica -- really, what are we doing here?
Let's end this week's list with FruitTreeFarm.com. Apples, cherries, peach, pear and plum. Wow. Take a look at the peach section, for example. There are at least half a dozen these folks say can endure zone 2. (Their USDA hardiness map has South Anchorage as zone 5. Hey, that is even colder than we are experiencing right now, isn't it? Peaches? Hmm.
Let me know if you have any sites or hard copy catalogs worth mentioning.
Jeff Lowenfels is a member of the Garden Writers Hall of Fame. You can reach him at teamingwithmicrobes.com