Oh, ya, the seed catalogues, mine have been pouring in too, have not had too much chance to browse, but after the 31 of December, I get going. We have a heated greenhouse and lights for growing those seedlings that require the higher light conditions.
I ran a small nursery business for about 12 years, and propogated many, many plants. I gave up the business after finding it becoming too much work, not FUN anymore. The large companies, like Home Depot and Revy sold their hideous little plants so cheaply, the devoted clients that I had for so many years, started to head there, cause they could save a few cents. Too bad, cause my plants surpassed in strength and beauty, long long past anything that could be bought at a hardware store. Like, would you ever go to a hardware store to buy your cereal. LOL. Anyways, I achieved knowledge, and I still grow all my own plants, from vegies to annuals to perennials myself. I always look at the nurseries to see if they have anything that I might want to buy, but there product is so inferior to what I can grow myself with TLC, I cannot bring myself to even entertain the thought of they ugly plants. Not to brag, but I grow beautiful plants. Fairly good knowledge I have attained.
Two that I focus on every year in January are the tuberous rooted begonias. Lovely, but they take several months to mature enough to form a bulb to plant in the ground. One that is particularly beautiful that I get seed from (Stokes) is so tiny that you can barely seed the seed, but in a couple of weeks in a moist medium the little tiny green flecks begin to appear. This plant is a trailing begonia in shades of appricot, oranges and yellows. The cultivar is "Illumination" and man is it a beauty. it can stand alone in a pot for hanging, has so many beautiful double flowers (and the single ones on it too) that it does not even need any accent. although I always put a little of the pretty Creeping Jenny (lysimachia) that grows wild around our place for green trailing prettiness. It has the pretty yellow flower that combines beautifully with the trailing begonia.
My sister and I too, like you, do it together, pour over the catalogues, make our lists and send it off. We order so much that I still get a 5% discount from Stokes. I like their seed, am always impressed and never ever disappointed. There are smaller companies that I order seeds, like heirloom varieties from. I love the heirloom and you know that they have not been genetically engineered, altered and are true to their parent. Don't get me wrong, I still love the hybrids, be them F1, F2 or whatever, they have their good points too.
Heliotrope (Marine) is one of my favourites for growing for that summertime super fragrance, along with Matthiola Bicornis (evening scented stock) for the night fragrance that almost knocks your socks off when you walk by a patch. Oh the summertime, it is coming soon.
You have an awesome time with your seed catalouges, if you think of anything that really sticks out in your mind that I might love too, let me know. I love to try new plants. Great day girl. Cindi