Chapter, the Fifth: In which I confess my long-standing affection for seed catalogues and finally put this affection to good use.
I love Digger’s seed catalogues, I always have. I love the gorgeous, thick, recycled paper on which they are printed. I love their vibrant covers which change with the seasons. I love their endless collections of wondrous almost-vanished veggie varieties. I love their idiosyncratic prose, their wacky, almost-evangelical arguments for heirlooms over hybrids and I love the way they back up their case with pages and pages of beautifully photographed produce. I’m not even a paid up Digger’s member, I just call them up every now and then and ask them to mail me a catalogue. And then I pour over it for hours, planning glorious gardens of mysterious heirloom vegetables - tiger-patterned tomatoes, tiny orange eggplants, chillies of all shapes and sizes, magical moon and stars watermelons, frilly freckled lettuces, candy-striped carrots and rainbow corn.
The problem is, I’ve never been one for growing veggies from seed. I can see how potentially rewarding it is – I just haven’t had a huge amount of success in the past. Things don’t come up. Or they do, and then I forget to water the seedlings and they dry out. Or they take forever and I lose interest. There are a thousand things that can go wrong between opening the seed packet and planting out the seedlings and generally at least one of them does. I plant things from seed if I can sow them directly, otherwise I don’t bother.
And so for me, the Digger’s catalogue has always been a bit of an empty addiction. I read them cover to cover and leave them stacked under the coffee table – saving them for I don’t know what. I can never bear to throw the lovely things out and so they accumulate (neatly) in the loungeroom, or as my collection has grown, slotted inconspicuously amongst the gardening magazines on the bookshelf. That was until the other day, when in a divine moment of inspiration, I finally realised just why I’d been collecting them all these years.
During my holidays I’ve been covering the daggy old cardboard book boxes from my classroom with recycled wrapping paper and finishing them off with a coat of Mod Podge. What can I say; I like my classroom to look nice. Anyway, at some point it struck me that finally, I’d found the perfect use for my seed catalogue collection. The thick pages are a dream to glue onto the box, no creases, no tears. They’re easy too, you can bang them on overlapping any which way and they just work. And, under a thick lacquer of Mod Podge, the multi-coloured magnificence of the veggies and flowers acquires a whole new glowing level of gorgeousness and gorgeousity.
Before and after below. Check it....