It can be frustrating driving around to various garden centers or leafing through mailorder catalogs searching for a specific perennial, shrub, or fruit tree. Fortunately, there are several books that can help the determined gardener find sources for those difficult- to-find plants.
The Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory is a comprehensive inventory of 309 mailorder nursery catalogs. The 520 page book contains information on 5,810 fruit, berry, and nut varieties. Each varietal listing includes a plant description, history, and a list of U.S. companies currently offering the variety. The nursery listing includes the company's name, address, price of catalog, type of nursery (retail or wholesale), and a brief description of the types of plants sold by the company. The Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory is available from the Seed Savers Exchange, 3076 North Winn Road, Decorah, Iowa 52101. The price for a softcover copy is $22.00 postpaid, $28.00 for a hardcover copy.
Another book available from the Seed Savers Exchange is the Garden Seed Inventory. The 502 page book provides information and sources of 5,797 standard or non-hybrid vegetable varieties. The costs of softcover and hardcover copies are $22.00 and $28.00 postpaid, respectively.
The Andersen Horticultural Library's Source List of Plants and Seeds lists sources of over 47,000 plants available from over 400 mailorder nurseries in the U.S. and Canada. The 261 page book lists the sources of annuals, perennials, vegetables, fruits, and woody ornamentals. Examples include sources of over 2,000 daylily varieties (13 pages) and 250 varieties of tomatoes. The nursery and seed catalog source list includes the company's name, type of business (retail or wholesale), price of catalog, address, and telephone number. The Andersen Horticultural Library's Source List of Plants and Seeds is available for $34.95 from the Andersen Horticultural Library, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Box 39, Chanhassen, Minnesota 55317.
So, if you're looking for the 'Boogie Man' (iris), 'Ghost' (daffodil), 'King Kong' (iris), or 'Godzilla' (iris), the aforementioned books can help you locate these creatures (varieties) and other difficult-to-find plants.
Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on January 12, 1994. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.