Shumway’s catalog has a delightfully old-fashioned feeling to it. Plants are all illustrated, mostly in black-and-white. This encourages us to use our botanical imaginations. I like this contrast with what is offered by other companies. (However, I love realistic photos, too.)
We have indeed ordered from this company in the past and find the seeds to be of a very high, fresh quality.
Because of its retro-charm contrasted with many hard-to-find new varieties of seeds and plants, and coupled with reasonable prices, we have chosen R.H. Shumway as one of our top ten seed catalogs for 2018.
Here are our picks from the catalog. We need to limit ourselves to 10 picks, but there is a superabundance of enticing choices.
- Rainbow Beet Mix: I don’t have a lot of room to grow beets, and yet, each year, I end up with recipes that call for yellow or striped beets. Most of the time, I end up using red beets. This packet, attractively priced at $2.55, will give me a chance to get a little of each one I crave and need.
- Lemon Grass: It is next to impossible to conjure genuine Thai food without lemon grass. I have tried to grow it from seed—with no success. Luckily Shumway offers it as one of its rare herbs in plant-form.
- Clary Sage: This herb has a storied history; however, it is very hard to find Clary Sage seeds in commerce. The herb has both culinary and medicinal uses. I want to make a flower essence with its blooms.
- St. John’s Wort: It is also somewhat challenging to find seeds for this floriferous herb in commerce. It should be perennial, and I had quite a bit of it growing several years; unfortunately, it just died off, after one harsh winter. Yet, it is easy to grow from seed. I suggest potting some, too. St. John’s Wort is legendary for its anti-depressant qualities.
- Tixia Gooseberry: Again, due to climate change our gooseberries have fallen victim to crazy temperature fluctuations. I am not sure why this delectable berry is so overlooked in the marketplace. Clearly, for most of us, if you want gooseberries, you have to grow your own. This one promises very large red berries on thornless vines. I love that it is hardy down to— or should I say up to Zone 3? That is encouraging. (Plant.)
- The American Cranberry: It is really good to know that cranberries don’t have to be grown in bogs; on the other hand, my backyard is definitely a wetland. I believe that cranberries will grow amazingly back there, while soaking up extra moisture. I also dream about homemade low-sugar cranberry jam and sauce. I am diabetic and really want to have cranberries in my diet every day since they are a super-fruit that particularly support heart health. Cranberries and stevia marry well. I just wonder why they have not married all that well on the mainstream year-round dinner plate. (Plant.)
- Lingonberry: We just had our DNA tests done. Look forward to blogs about the truly amazing results. I want seeds and plants from all the countries we engender. My husband thought he was German; however, he ends up having Scandinavian as his largest ethnic group. I am going to plant lingonberries in honor of my Viking husband. (plant). When we lived near Ikea in New Jersey, I used to like buying lingonberry products there.
- Nasturtium Caribbean Cocktail Mix: I plan on ordering at least 5 packets of these. The color selection is soft and somewhat rare. Don’t get me wrong, I adore bright nasturtiums. However, I am all about collecting nasturtiums and using them for dazzling contrast. I want the color spectrum here: The catalog description speaks of strawberries-and-cream and raspberry shades, pinks and bicolors.
- Day and Night Nasturtiums: For me, this is the ultimate yin/yang version of the nasturtium rainbow. It is all about the contrasts between the primrose yellow and mahogany blooms. This is a must have for nasturtium lovers.
- Morning Glory Sunspots: I also collect morning glories. Here we have a rare scarlet/orange flower, reminiscent of the sun and its spots. I have never encountered this variety before!
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R.H. Shumway Catalog Fulfillment Center
334 W. Stroud Street, Ste. 1
Copyright 2018 by Maria Jacketti