As I write this, my gardens are covered in snow, the temps are in the low 20s (and expected to go below zero by the end of the week) and spring seems a million miles away. But in reality, the first day of spring is only about 10 weeks away and already my mailbox is filling up with garden catalogs--and they save my life every winter!
I spend a lot of winter nights just daydreaming about what plants I'd like to grow and which would be the most interesting to photograph. The bleeding heart shown here, for example, is an incredibly easy-to-grow shade plant but provides one of the most photogenic flowers you'll ever see. And seedlings of this plant are really cheap (under $5) online. Most seed catalogs list literally thousands of flower (and veggie) seeds and it warms my photographer's soul just to look at all of those interesting colors and shapes.
Now is the time to think about some of the plants you'd like to photograph in the coming spring and summer months and to start hunting down good seed and plant catalogs. You can save a lot of money growing your own plants from seeds (or small seedlings bought online) and during the dead of winter many (if not all) online nurseries have substantial sales. The other benefit of starting from seeds is that you'll have a huge variety of potential plants compared to what you'll find in local garden centers.
To get you started, here are a few of my favorite online nurseries.
Plant Delights (biggest hosta seller in the world, lots of tropicals)
Park Seed Company (very high quality seed)
Burpee (the traditional company, many types of seeds)
Johnny's Seeds (that's a direct link to their free catalog)
2 weeks ago