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