A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Internet is a Gardener's Best Friend

I have found the internet incredibly useful for gardening. I can get all kinds of information, unusual plants and seeds, equipment, great prices, etc. Today I found a new use for it. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have postponed planting my bulbs until the leaves have dropped. In the meantime I have been planting iris, peonies, lilies and asters. The lilies and iris are a little iffy. I went around the yard collecting what few leaves were available to cover them with and hopefully keep the squirrels away. Then I had a happy thought. I could move my fritillaria bulb and plant the new one I had ordered. Fritillaria bulbs for anyone who has never grown them (that was me prior to last year!) have a terrible odor to them. That odor repels deer, squirrels and rabbits. I can plant those now with no problem. Um, there is a problem. No new fritillaria bulb.

I rechecked my boxes of bulbs in the basement. Nope. I checked around the back door and the front door in case the box had been delivered but somehow knocked off the porch. Nope. So I checked my spreadsheet to make sure I had actually ordered it. I was very organized with my ordering this year. I kept track of everything I ordered and where I ordered it from. I realized I had never received my entire order from Breck's. I checked my email. I never received an email notification that my order had shipped. Highly unusual. I have been ordering bulbs from Breck's for 20 years and never had a problem.

So I went to their website and that's when I made an astounding discovery. I could track my order! Literally from the point of origin to its current location (Edison, NJ). According to the website, the delivery should be four days from now. Why it will take the US Postal Service that long to get the package from Edison, NJ to Middlesex, NJ is beyond me. Just for fun, I Mapquested it to get the distance: 8.29 miles. I could walk there and back in less time.

I can't get over how much shopping has changed. Twenty years ago, mail order was the big breakthrough. Thanks to all the garden catalogs cluttering up my mailbox, I could choose from a much larger variety of bulbs, plants and seeds than at my local garden center. I could place my order by mail or phone. I could check on the status of my order with a simple phone call. During business hours, of course. Now there is an even larger selection and no time constraints. No paper, even. Everything can be done on my computer, from choosing and ordering to all of the record keeping.

I guess I'm showing my age, aren't I?

Note: The bulbs arrived the following day, October 21. It's raining, of course and expected to continue raining tomorrow so I won't be able to plant anything until next week.


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