No matter how deep the snow or severe the early spring or fall weather, you can still do all your seed and bulb shopping without getting your feet wet. How? Order what you want by mail.
Shopping by mail is growing about twice as fast as national in-store retailing. Despite an abundance of nurseries and garden centers almost everywhere, as well as all the retail seed outlets from coast to coast -- supermarkets, discount chains, hardware and feed stores, and more -- many home gardeners are rushing to the mailbox.
Some 13 million home gardeners depended on mail-order purchases in 1980, up from 6 million in 1978, according to a survey. Seeds are first, plants and seedlings second, and how-to-grow publications third.
What accounts for the big jump in the post-office business?
One reason may be the sharply higher cost of gasoline. If a gardener wants seeds for, say, Short 'n' Sweet Carrots, Early Wonder beets, or Sugar Snap peas, how much more convenient it is to fill out an order blank and drop it in the mailbox.
Due to state quarantine laws, many trees, shrubs, vines, and plants from out-of-state sources cannot be shipped to Arizona, Washington, and California, but there are no restrictions on vegetable and flower seeds.
Here are some of the seed, plant, bush, and tree companies doing a mail-order business from coast to coast:
* Armstrong Nurseries Inc., PO Box 4060, Ontario, Calif. 91761. Prize-winning roses, miniature roses, fruit trees, dwarf fruit trees, grapes, vegetables. Write for free color catalog.
* Baldsiefen Nursery, Box 88, Bellvale, N.Y. 91761. Send postal card for free catalog of "rhododendrons for the connoisseur."
* Breck's, 6523 N. Galena Road, Peoria, Ill. 61632. Top-quality bulbs -- gladiolus, peonies, lilies, dahlias, begonias, cannas, cyclamens -- are selected in Holland for guaranteed blooming in the US. Write for free 84-page catalog in dazzling color.
* Burgess Seed & Plant Co., 905 Four Seasons Road, Bloomington, Ill. 61701. House plants, small fruits, bulbs, vegetable seeds, garden supplies. Free catalog.
* Burpee Seed Company, Riverside, Calif. 92502; Clinton, Iowa 52732; or Warminster, Pa. 18991. For more than a century, this pioneer firm founded by W. Atlee Burpee has provided home gardeners with both vegetable and flower seeds. The colorful 184-page catalog, which also lists fruit and nut trees, berries and grapes, perennials, bulbs, roots, ornamental nursery stock, and general merchandise, is free.
* California Nursery Company, PO Box 2278, Fremont, Calif. 94536. Many varieties of fruit and nut trees, strawberries, artichokes, grapes. Write for free variety and price list, plus planting instructions.
* C&O Nursery, PO Box 116, 1700 N. Wenatchee Avenue, Wenatchee, Wash. 98801. Fruit trees -- applies, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, prunes, pears -- nut trees, shade trees, evergreens, flowering shrubs, orchard and garden supplies. A 75th-year catalog is free.
* De Jager Bulbs Inc., 188 Ashbury Street, South Hamilton, Mass. 01982. Send postal card for free flower bulb list.
* J.A. Demonchaux Company, PO Box 8330, 827 N. Kansas Avenue, Topeka, Kan. 66608. A splendid variety of vegetable and herb seeds, many imported from France. Free brochure.
* Dutch Mountain Nursery, 7984 N. 48th Street, R-1, Augusta, Mich. 49012. Write for information on rare and bird-attracting plants.
* Emlong Nurseries Inc., Stevensville, Mich. 49127. Shade trees, fruit and nut trees, evergreens, shrubs, roses. Write for free color catalog.
* Farmer Seed & Nursery Company, Faribault, Minn. 55201. Field and home garden seeds, hardy plants and nursery stock for Northern areas.Free 80-page catalog.
* Faubus Berry Nursery, Star Route 4, Elkins, Ark. 72727. Send postal card for variety and price list of berries and ornamental trees.
* Earl Ferris Nursery, 811 4th Street, NE, Hampton, Iowa 50441. Write for varieties and prices of nursery stock and evergreens.
* Henry Field Seed & Nursery Company, 407 Sycamore Street, Shenandoah, Iowa 51602. Field and home garden seeds, complete line of nursery stock, garden supplies. Free 100-page color catalog.
* Dean Foster Nurseries, Route 2, Hartford, Mich. 49057. Free 52-page nursery stock catalog.
* Grace's Gardens, 10 Bay Street, Westport, Conn. 06880. Many hard-to-find vegetable seeds, including square tomato, yard-long bean, broom corn (for a home-made broom). Send postal card for free catalog.
* Greenlife Gardens Greenhouses, 101 County Line Road, Griffin, Ga. 30223. Houseplants, greenhouse plants for collectors, a variety of cacti. Catalog is $ 1, but the cost is deductible on the first order.
* Gurney's Seed & Nursery Company, Yankton, S.D. 57079. Gurney's has been in business for 115 years and now offers more than 4,000 garden items. Vegetable and flower seeds, hardy fruit, windbreak and shade trees, nursery stock, shrubs, perennials, garden aids. Giant color catalog is free.
* Joseph Harris Company, 48 Moreton Farm, Rochester, N.Y. 14624. A great variety of vegetable and flower seeds, garden supplies. Free informative 88 -page color catalog.
* Herbst Brothers Seedsmen Inc., 1038 N. Main Street, Brewster, N.Y. 10509. Vegetable, flower, and tree seeds, with more than 2,500 items. Write for free catalog.
* House of Wesley Inc., 2200 E. Oakland Avenue, Bloomington, Ill. 61701. Free 32-page nursery stock catalog.
* Inter-State Nurseries Inc., 111 E Street, Hamburg, Iowa 51640. Nursery stock, roses, vegetable and flower seeds. Free catalog.
* Jackson & Perkins Company, Medford, Ore. 97501. Roses are a specialty, plus perrenials, bulbs, nursery stock. Big color catalog is free.
* J. W. Jung Seed Company, PO Box 21, Randolph, Wis. 53956. Vegetable and flower seeds, plants, bulbs, ornamental nursery stock, fruit and shade trees, evergreens. Free 68-page, 74th-year color catalog.
* Kelley Bros. Nurseries Inc., 701 Maple Street, Dansville, N.Y. 14437. Fruit, ornamental and shade trees, nursery stock, perennials, roses, lilies. Free catalog.
* Krider Nurseries Inc., Middlebury, Ind. 46540. Write for free nursery stock information and prices.
* Lakeland Nurseries Sales, 340 Poplar Street, Hanover, Pa. 17331. Fruit, nut, and shade trees, nursery stock, vegetable and flower seeds. Free 48-page color catalog.
* Lamb Nurseries, E. 101 Sharp Avenue, Spokane, Wash. 99202. Wide variety of hardy plants, including perennials, rock plants, flowering shrubs. Free 88-page catalog has handy pronunciation guide to various plant names.
* Charles B. Ledgerwood, Seedman, 3862 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad, Calif. 92008 . One of the nation's few remaining seedmen, Mr. Ledgerwood is a legend in southern California. For 48 years, he has sold bulb vegetable and flower seeds from a little one-room store attached to the front of his home. Mr. Ledgerwood knows his seeds. Write for free catalog.
* Henry Leuthardt Nurseries Inc., Montauk Highway, East Moriches, N.Y. 11940. Free information and price list of dwarf and espalier-trained fruit trees.
* Lewis Strawberry Nursery Inc., Rocky Point, N.C. 28457. Write for varieties and prices of strawberry plants.
* Lilypons Water Gardens, Lilypons, Md. 21717; or Brookshire, Texas 77423. Aquatic plants, water lilies, lotus, goldfish, scavengers, pools, and accessories. Free catalog.
* Earl May Seed & Nursery Company, Shenandoah, Iowa 51603. Send postal card for free 100-page catalog of flower and vegetable seeds, nursery stock.
* Mellinger's Inc., 2310 W. South Range Road, North Lima, Ohio 44452. Large variety of nursery stock, plus vegetable, herb, sprouts, and wildflower seeds, garden supplies, general merchandise. Free 104-page, 55th year color catalog.
* Michigan Bulb Company, 1950 Waldorf Street, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49550. Ornamental trees and shrubs, grapes, berries, perennials, roses. Write for variety and price list.
* J. E. Miller Nurseries Inc., 5060 W. Lake Road, Canandaigua, N.Y. 14424. Fruit and nut trees, dwarf fruit trees, grapes, berries. Send postal card for free planting guide and catalog.
* Musser Forest Inc., Indiana, Pa. 15701. Pines, spruce, and other evergreens, Christmas trees, hardwood seedlings and shrubs, ground covers and vine, container-grown plants. Free 40-page color catalog.
* L.L. Olds Seed Company, PO Box 7790, 2901 Packers Avenue, Madison, Wis. 53707.Vegetable and flower seeds, garden aids, how to plant a 300-square-foot garden for $4.98 seed cost. Free 84-page catalog.
* Geo. W. Park Seed Company, PO Box 31, Greenwood, S.C. 29646. Broad variety of vegetable, herb, flower, wildflower, and lawn grass seed, fruits, berries, grapes, garden aids. Write for free 132-page color catalog.
* Putney Nursery Inc., Putney, Vt. 05346. Perennials, herbs, ferns, wildflowers. Free variety and price list.
* Raynor Brothers Inc., PO box 1617, Salisbury, Md. 21801. Nut trees, evergreen seedlings, strawberry, blueberry, other berry and fruit plants.Write for free catalog.
* Rex Bulb Farm, PO Box 773, Port Townsend, Wash. 98368. More than 150 varieties of hardy and unusual summer-blooming lilies, most available in extra large and jumbo-size bulbs. Several different collections of 35-mm lily slides in color, 80 slides per set, may be obtained for viewing at no cost. Free 72 -page color catalog.
* Savage Farms Nurseries, PO Box 125, McMinnville, Tenn. 37110. Fruit and nut trees, shade trees, flowering trees and shrubs, evergreens, berry plants. Send postal card for free color catalog.
* R. H. Shumway Seedsman Inc., PO Box 777, 628 Cedar Street, Rockford, Ill. 61101. Many varieties of vegetable and flower seeds, field seeds, nursery stock , bulbs, garden supplies. The large 74-page color catalog is a beauty.
* Spring Hill Nurseries, 110 W. Elm Street, Tipp City, Ohio 45371; or 6523 N. Galena Road Peoria, Ill. 61656. Fruit, nut, and ornamental trees, shrubs, roses , plants, bulbs.Free 84-page catalog.
* Stark Bros. Nurseries & Orchards Company, Louisiana, Mo. 63393. Many types of heavy-bearing apple, peach, and other fruit trees, nut, shade, and ornamental trees, shrubs, berries, grapes, roses. Send postal card for large free color catalog.
* Stern's Nurseries Inc., Geneva, N.Y. 14456. Nursery stock, perennials, roses. Free Catalog.
* Fred A. Stewart Inc., 1212 E. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel, Calif. 91778. Write for free orchid catalog.
* Stokes Seeds Inc., PO Box 548, 737 Main Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Huge variety of vegetable and flower seeds, plus garden supplies for commercial growers and home gardeners. Large, informative, 100-anniversary catalog is free.
* Tennessee Nursery & Seed Company, PO, Box 1299, Cleveland, Tenn. 37311. Nursery stock, chiefly fruit trees and berries.Free variety and price list.
* William Tricker Inc., Box 398, Saddle River, N.J. 07458; or Box 7845, Independence, Ohio 44131. Hardy tropical water lilies, aquatic plants, creeping oxygenating plants, exotic fish. Send 50 cents for what the company bills as "America's most complete water garden catalog" in color.
* Van Bourgondien Bros., PO Box A, 245 Farmingdale Road, Babylon, N.Y. 11702. Free 52-page catalog of small fruits, bulbs, perennials, wildflowers.
* Van Ness Water Gardens, 2460 N. Euclid Avenue, Upland, Calif. 91786. Now in its 49th year, this nursery has several hundred varieties of plants available , among them water lilies, tropical lilies, night bloomers, oxygenators, and small flowering ornamentals. Also for sale are bog plants, such as cattails and water irises, as well as aquatic snails, goldfish, and Japanese koi. Free catalog.
* Vaughan's Seed Company, Chimney Rock Road, Bound Brook, N.Y. 08805; or 5300 Katrine Avenue, Downers Grove Ill. 60515. John C. Vaughan opened a seed store in downtown Chicago in 1876 and began distributing a gardening catalog. More than a century later the company offers an impressive selection of vegetable, flower, herb, cactus, and wildflower seeds. Vaughan's large attractive color catalog, prepunched for loose-leaf binder, is free.
* Waynesboro Nurseries Inc., PO Box 987, Waynesboro, Va. 22980. Virginia's largest grower of fruit and ornamental trees.Send postal card for free catalog.
* Wayside Gardens Company, Hodges, S.C. 29695. Hardy trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, houseplants, garden supplies. Free catalog.
* Western Maine Forest Nursery Company, Fryeburg, Maine 04037.Fruit trees, evergreens, shrubs, ground covers. Write for free variety and price list.
* White Flower Farm, Litchfield, Conn. 06759. Evergreens, shrubs, bulbs, and such specialties as Fraises de bois, the delectable French woodland strawberry. Write Amos Pettingill for free descriptive literature.
* Willhite Melon Seed Farms, Box 23, Poolville, Texas 76076; or Box 85, Weatherford, Texas 76086. Wild about watermelon and cantaloupe? More than 30 varieties each of watermelon and cantaloupe, plus many vegetable seeds, flower and herb seeds, garden aids. Send postal card for free color catalog.
* Wilson Brothers Floral Company, Roachdale, Ind. 46172. Exotic houseplants, African violets, geraniums. Write for variety and price list.
* Dave Wilson Nursery, Box 5-G, Hughson, Calif. 95326. Write for free fruit and nut tree literature.
* Wolfe Nursery, 500 Terminal Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76106. Fruit, nut, and shade trees, flowering shrubs, roses. Write for variety and price list.
* Worley's Nurseries, York Springs, Pa. 17372. Hardy fruit trees. Free literature.