This past weekend we were stuck inside because of the rain. This never happens here so I went a little stir crazy . I know we needed the rain, but it seemed to last forever. One day I went out in it and scatter snail bait just so I could be outside.

Like gardeners everywhere who have to endure winter weather, I turned to gardening catalogs. How handy they arrived right when the rain did.

High Country Gardens had some really interesting plants and pre-planned designer gardens you can order. They sold me on Russian Sage. It sounds good for the hill because it is low water and likes clay soil, plus it is blue in color. I am going to order some.

I also really like the “garden in a box” packages they sell and I’m really tempted to get one. I’m thinking about Habitat Hero Birdwatcher pre-planned garden by designer Lauren Springer Ogden. All the plants are for sun, low water and clay soil. I’ve never ordered from them so I’m thinking of testing out a few plants first. Since they are based in New Mexico, the plants also withstand cold weather but I don’t know if they will take humidity. Also, they will have to travel from New Mexico here so there is a possibility they won’t last through the mail.

The mail order plants I highly recommend–like a broken record–are from Annie’s and this catalog is full of wonderful temptations.

I know Annie’s plants arrive healthy and ready to grow. My upper hill is full of Annie’s wonderful Bill Wallis geraniums. They flower almost all year and are reseeding. My verbena bonarensis are also amazing and pretty well adapted to the hill, although the ones with full sun have done better than the others. A few things died from the dog trampling them like a tiny fragile cigar plant (which I should not have ordered!) and a heleborous or two. Oh ya, I also killed my beautiful Geranium Maderense when I over pruned it, but it is reseeding too and I still have one big one left, which I hope blooms this spring. (My post called “Easter Greetings” from March 2013 shows both Geraniums.) And my post here, shows another geranium that I bought from Annie’s–it is a more typical geranium with a heart shaped flower. You can also see the verbena boneriensis behind the alstromeria on the hill but it isn’t blooming yet so it looks a little stick-like. It definitely needs to be planted with lower-level plants growing in front of it. But once it blooms, it will bloom all summer.

Anyway, I know you can’t go wrong with Annie’s recommendations. She grows her plants in the Bay Area so they don’t have to travel far in the mail.

I am looking at her “indestructibles” collection and the orange alstroemerias on her web site. She sells out fast so create your wish list on the site and you will get an email telling you when they are in stock and you can order! Then plants arrive in the mail. How great is that! (Just make sure you are home when they get here so you can unpack them and plant them in 24 hours. They usually arrive within two days, I think, but check their website to make sure.)

Here’s a close up of the verbena bonariensis–they make great bouquets: