Foreign catalogs can provide new inspiration for a garden plan. Photographs of unusual plants and vegetables offer a glimpse of the possibilities: tropicals from Australia and Costa Rica, rare South African bulbs, and perennial collections from England.
You'll find that each nursery has something unique to offer. Based in England, Chiltern Seeds has an astonishingly large selection, including 'Only the Lonely' white-flowering tobacco, which Martha uses to brighten the back of a border. Robinson's specializes in oversize vegetables, such as 'Mammoth Long Beetroot,' 'King George' cucumber, and 'Exhibition Long' parsnip, while the Thompson & Morgan catalog offers lovely a Rudbeckia called 'Golidilocks.'
Most seeds shipped from overseas require inspection or permits. If you are ordering seeds for trees and shrubs, which require permits for importation, most nurseries, for a fee, will cover the cost of inspection and certification.