Mail order catalogues are evil things.
I have always claimed that I hate shopping, and I also like to think I’m not an impulse buyer. Me? Fall prey to an offer on something I don’t really need? Never.
Apparently that’s only true if you’re talking about traditional shopping. That is, something that involves a long drive to the store, hunting around for what you need, searching in vain for sales staff to help you, standing in line at the checkout, etc. I hate shopping this way and if I’m forced to do it, I try to make it a ‘get in and get out’ type errand. No browsing.
Give me a mail order catalogue on the other hand, and there are just two words to describe me: Suck. Er.
I realized this the other day when I found myself tucked up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a pile of catalogues from that most seductive of categories: gardening. I caught myself turning down page corners and saying things like: “Ooh, that looks cool!” and “I could use one of those!”
The flower catalogues are the worst. Is it just me or does anyone else find the pages and pages of gorgeous blooms completely alluring?If I won the lottery tomorrow I’m sure I’d spend most of it on bulbs and perennials.
Part of that may be because flower catalogue designers know what they’re doing. They have only the best photographers and copywriters. Over the years, through sometimes bitter experience, I’ve learned to translate some of that copy:
“Masses of blooms.” Yes, this will bloom profusely. But we’ve taken this photograph with a 100x zoom, to make you think that you’ll actually be able to see these flowers without a magnifying glass.
“Lift in fall.” Even though you live in Canada, we will dazzle you with beautiful pictures of almost-tropical flowers and plants that you feel you must have. We will con you into thinking you can have them in your garden by suggesting that all you have to do is dig them up in the fall and replant in the spring. This assumes that you will have time to dig these things up in the fall; that you can find where you had planted them; that you have some place to store then that is squirrel proof, mould and mildew proof, and not subject to sub-zero temperatures; and that you can remember where you stored them in spring.
“Will expand where happy.” This plant will completely take over your garden. And your lawn. And your neighbour’s lawn. As much as you might like the look of this thing now, you will come to hate it in two seasons. Meanwhile, your neighbours will come to hate you.
“Neverending Perennial Garden.” Our artist sketch shows you what this garden would look like if all of the plants were to bloom at once. This means one of two things will happen. A) The garden actually will bloom all at once on April 5th, and leave you with brown, dead stalks for the rest of the summer or B) Each plant will bloom one at a time, which means that you’ll see exactly one flower in your garden all year long.
“Deer Proof.” But not squirrel proof, cat proof, raccoon child proof, and definitely not lawn mower proof. And of course having a deer proof garden is especially important if you live in downtown Toronto, where entire herds have been known to swarm a single window planter box.
“Perfect for Containers.” Will only grow in a special container, and requires expensive potting soil, twice daily watering and weekly feeding. Because clearly, if you’re shopping via catalogue, you have the time for this kind of maintenance.
You’d think, knowing what I know now, that I’d stop even looking at these catalogues. But no, apparently when it comes to being able to turn down flower deals, I’m all thumbs.
Sadly, none of them are green enough.