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The Catalog Conundrum

Adventures of a Landless Gardener:The Catalog Conundrum

Is something missing from your afternoons as of late? Do you have the sensation that something should be arriving, but you just can’t figure out what it is? Do you feel the need to circle items with a Sharpie and create ‘must have’ lists? If you are a landless gardener and answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be suffering from EMS—also known as Empty Mailbox Syndrome.

You know what I am talking about. The calendar has not yet turned to the New Year and already garden-supply and seed companies and nurseries are pushing their garden wares. But if you're a gardener without a yard, your mailbox may be nothing more than a cold, metal box. There is a solution.

Retreating to your favorite spot with a freshly arrived catalog doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. You can talk to your friends about plant introductions and the latest in garden shoe styles. You can be an active, planning-for-the-first-signs-of-spring gardener once again. You deserve to have garden catalogs in your mailbox.

There is only one cure for EMS. First you must visit your favorite companies' websites and make catalog requests. You will start to see results in as little as four to six weeks. Side effects of catalogs include compulsive list making, wishful day dreaming, the need to carry your new catalogs with you at all times, a desire to order more catalogs in case you miss an exclusive introduction by another nursery . . . and the need to shop.

But what’s the point of curing EMS if you don’t have a garden of your own? That’s where the next step comes in. Pick up the phone and call your local parks department, zoo, arboretum, community garden or school and offer to volunteer as a gardener today. Chances are one, if not all, of these organizations need volunteers for everything from pulling invasive weeds to teaching schoolchildren about gardening. Some organizations will need your help planning and finding plants for the gardens; others may grant you a small garden plot to do with as you like. In either case, those new garden catalogs will come in handy!

Life is too short to suffer from EMS, even if you are a landless gardener. Order your garden catalogs today!

Jenny Koester, a landless gardener in Cincinnati, is eagerly awaiting the arrival of today’s mail. For more, visit her blog, The Garden Life.