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Our Paperless Catalog Is Wallet-Friendly and Ecofriendly

Mar 2, 2014

Our Paperless Catalog Is Wallet-Friendly and Ecofriendly

Customers often ask us how they can receive a print catalog of the hundreds of plants grown and sold by our nursery, Flowers by the Sea. The answer is that we have never printed a catalog and never will for financial, managerial and environmental reasons.  In 2011 we published the graphic Pixels not Print to help explain our position.

However, we now offer printable versions of our product pages. With the quick click of a button, this function allows you to print only what you need. Here is a complete explanation of our paperless catalog policy.

We prefer our online-only garden catalog, because it is wallet-friendly, encourages diversity in the garden, offers efficiency and helps protect the environment.

Save money - no catalogs

We Like Saving Money

We also like helping you to save money. Although you may think that the print garden catalogs in your mailbox are free, you pay for them through higher prices for goods. Nurseries that print catalogs typically make up for those costs in the prices they charge.

One of our new Salvia companions, Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop (Agastache 'Kudos Mandarin'), is an excellent example of this price difference. Here are some comparisons with fictionalized nursery names to protect the not-so-innocent:

  • Flowers by the Sea, 3.5-inch pot, $8.50
  • Way Way Off Gardens, quart pot (roughly 5-inch diameter), $18.95
  • Buy-Dozens-for-a-Not-So-Good-Deal Discounter, no pot size listed, $12.95 for one; $9.95 per plant for 96.

Or consider some prices for the ever-popular Black & Blue Anise-Scented Sage (Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'):

  • Flowers by the Sea, 3.5-inch pot, $8.50
  • Plant Overcharge Nursery, 3.5-inch pot, $14.00.
Support high diversity in plant nurseries

We Like Supporting Plant Diversity

Like we said, it costs a lot to print garden catalogs. When we avoid those costs, it is easier to offer you a wide array of species.

Many nurseries only offer high-demand plants within a genus and eliminate desirable, low-demand species from their offerings. At FBTS, we embrace rare as well as popular plants. We work hard to keep prices down so you can have access to the unusual as well as longtime favorites.

Printed catalogs are not efficent

We Like Efficiency

Online publishing allows us to update our offerings constantly instead of making you wait for seasonal catalogs to see new plants or hear about new policies.

Avoiding mailbox delivery is another efficiency. It means that we don't have to build postage fees into the cost of your plants. Shipping fees, of course, are unavoidable. But we do our best to keep charges reasonable by using pots that are much smaller than quart-size but big enough to promote well-established root systems.

Also, although we run regular specials -- such as our Salvia Daily Deal -- we don't pretend to be a big box store with rock-bottom prices and drastically limited inventory. Instead, we maintain an abundance of choices, set moderate prices for all our plants and stick to them. This is efficient for returning customers, who know what to expect from us.

Green is good

We Like Being Ecofriendly

Clean air, water and soil are a farmer's gold. We believe in doing everything we can to keep the environment healthy at home and worldwide. That is a major reason why we avoid printing catalogs; the process consumes vast amounts of water, trees and chemical inks and treatments.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, American households alone receive about 19 billion catalogs annually. So without vigorously enforced environmental laws, catalog printing can significantly increase pollution.

These days, much printing is out-sourced to China and India, which both are lax in enforcing environmental laws. For an overview of China's struggle with smog, click here. To learn more about why India also ranks as one of the worst countries in the world for air pollution, please read this article from The New York Times.

Questions and Comments

At Flowers by the Sea, we are interested in doing all that we can to avoid fouling the environment at home and abroad. If you have questions about our paperless policy or how to access our catalog and blog, please write or give us a call. We're here to help you make your part of the world a better, more beautiful place.

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Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.