Catalog Review: Forestfarm
Until this year, the Forestfarm catalog looked a lot like the phone book for a small city. This was a testament to the Oregon nursery’s incredibly vast selection of plants, especially woody plants. For me, Forestfarm has been the place to go when I had to buy a tree or shrub that could not be found at any local garden center.
This year, however, the catalog has been radically downsized. In terms of printing and mailing costs, I’m sure this move made sense.
However, the smaller catalog does not mean a more limited inventory. While the catalog contains only the more popular items, the full selection can still be found online. The Forestfarm website is here.
I will miss the old catalog, though. It was sort of the horticultural equivalent of War and Peace.
Neither the old nor the current catalog are glossy or gorgeous. Printed mostly in black and white on newsprint, this is not a catalog that seeks to seduce the gardener into making purchases. Though I should say that there are several pages of attractive color photos.
I appreciate the brief narrative descriptions of the plants, which often contain quotes from well-known plantspersons.
Over the years I have purchased a number of plants from Forestfarm, including American Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus), Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum), and Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida). All arrived healthy and were packaged with extreme care. All are doing well, except for the Flowering Dogwood, which perished in last year’s extreme winter (and I realize I was playing zonal roulette with that purchase).
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that you will not be able to get the same size tree or shrub as you would buy in a nursery. Many are available only as 1-2′ striplings; the largest size available is generally 4-5′. So you have to be willing to exercise greater patience until the time when your new woody plant becomes an impressive specimen.
Judy sometimes complains that I’ve only inserted a stick into the ground when I tell her I’ve planted a tree or shrub..
What’s your favorite source for woody plants? Do you have the patience to plant very young shrubs and trees?