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Obama on Plant Delights?

The recent outrage that The New Yorker created with their satirical look at the rumors that surround Barack and Michelle Obama got me wondering what the next Plant Delights nursery catalog cover will look like.

The covers for the popular plant catalog are illustrated by American cartoonist, Jack Pittman, and are always something that gets a good laugh from many gardeners.

The image on the right is the Spring 2008 cover of the catalog and it titled 'National Plant Care.' I wondered if Plant Delights Nursery would go there with the fall catalog cover so I e-mailed them and asked.

Today I got my answer;
Good morning Mr. Brown Thumb,

Tony asked me to pass along this little tid-bit of information regarding our upcoming fall catalog cover:

“Please tell Mr. Brown thumb that our catalog cover was designed a month ago and that it does include some Obama-esque satire.”

Oh dear! Here we go! J

Cordially,Dianne Austin
Manager, Customer Service & Shipping
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.


I emailed Dianne back to thank her for the response and to say I was looking forward to the cover her reply;

"Tony’s catalog covers always make me VERY nervous even before I see them and I haven’t seen this one as of yet J

You have no idea the hate mail I had to wade through when he released Gardening Jihad. Sheez! I’m glad to hear that you are looking forward to it. That’s makes one of us! "
Here is the 'Gardening jihad' cover that Dianne is talking about.


  1. LOL ... will be waiting for your post on this :)

  2. I can't wait to see it! Thanks for sharing this little tidbit with us :-)

  3. Thank for bringing this to my attention and providing the link to all the past covers. I've had a good laugh to start the day.

    ---> Friends don't let friends plant annuals

    I'm not that bad but that cover hit close to home. Which cover seemed to be directed to you?

  4. Hello you all.

    WiseAcre I like the Plant Parenthood cover of the gardening catalog. It speaks to me as someone who is always trying to propagate plants.

  5. MBT - I've never even heard of this thing! Every time I think I'm starting to get a clue I realize there is so much gardening crap I don't know about.

  6. The catalogs were smaller and the illustrations simpler when I first bought plants from Tony Avent... but the delight in puns was already evident.
    I've still got my copy from 1995 with "America Held Hosta" on the cover. The illustration is credited to Lenore Ramm, 1994.

    Thanks for the information on the next edition, Mr Brown Thumb.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  7. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Oh, these are great! I requested a copy this evening.

  8. LOL! I can't wait... :)

  9. Hi MBT, thanks for this. I have covers back several years, but not as far back as Annie. Tony has gotten more and more press recently and the fall cover may end up on the evening news. Good or bad thing? Who was it that said all publicity is good publicity?

  10. I've never seen these catalogue covers. They are funny!

  11. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Oh, that was so funny. It's nice to see you posting regularly again. I missed your sense of humor.~~Dee

  12. Sometimes you just want to say, "lighten up people!" I love the Plant Delights catalogue covers so much that I always make sure I'm not drinking anything when I get the mail. (I'd hate to accidentally snort my cranberry juice. I am so looking forward to this fall's catalogue (& not just for the cover). You should advise your readers about the fake ad usually included at the back of each issue. Too much fun.

  13. LOL! I so wish swedish seed catalogues would do this!

  14. Hi Mr. Brownthumb, Love the moniker. You have a pretty neat blog and lots of lovely pictures. Especially the one of the cow. We have guitars in our capital city down here which is similar to your cows. They are cool.

  15. I never even considered that people might take those covers seriously and be offended. Come to think of it though, I was a little annoyed when he dissed Felder Rushing. ;-) My favorite was Martha Stewart holding a bag of Miracle-Gro$$.

  16. Hey! I noticed your blog and absolutely loved it. I just started my own blog about gardening and different plants and would love it if you would display the link to my site on yours, and vice versa. If nothing else, please check out my blog at PlantStop

    It’s brand new but I am currently getting well over 100 hits a day and that is going up and up. If you decide that you would like to trade links, please contact me at

    Thanks so much!
    Bryce (Lambeau)

  17. As my relatives in Maine would say: Wicked good stuff! I may have to break my rule to cease and desist periodical subscriptions.

  18. I always enjoy their covers, and I think it's especially cool that you can buy T-shirts of them as well. They always have such an amazing selection of plants...I order something nearly every year. Not surprising that some people would take offense, but these days that's all too common everywhere. I think a lot of folks need to realize they are not the center of the universe and lighten up already! Can't wait to see the fall cover!

  19. LOL! I too, love their covers. I blogged this spring about Plant Delights and always look forward to receiving their catalogs. I love their plant descriptions, too!

  20. Yeah, these covers are real gems from the Rush Limbaugh school of wit. The subtext on the cover above is that nationalized health care is a joke because government is always corrupt and inept, while corporations always have our best interests at heart and will always give us better value for money. Maybe the real joke is how so many people in this country will vote against the best interests of their own families because of such effective brainwashing. On the other hand, if you're wealthy or have great health insurance, this is all pretty funny. And who cares about the losers with no real access to health care? They should just learn to 'lighten up' a little. You bet I'm mad at this injustice and hypocracy.

    But on to more enjoyable things. Plant Delights is an excellent mail order nursery, and for years was far and away the best source for large, very well grown plants, not to mention superb customer service. I used to use them a lot.

    I don't use them so much now for a couple reasons: over half their plants are not hardy above zone 7, and many they say are hardy in zone 7 are not. At least not in my zone 7a, speaking exclusively from experience. They also tend to specialize in what I'd call "botanical" plants, the kind of stuff that collectors covet, but have minor value in an ornamental garden. Their customer service is still the best, but they are also more expensive than their competetors now.

    And the last point is the competetors: in recent years, equally outstanding mail order nurseries have started, with better prices and equally good customer service. Plus, they seem to have more of the "pretty flower" types of plants I guess I like more. On the other hand, I still use PD for the handful of unique things that appeal every year, such as the awesome Solidago stricta I got last year. But I won't order something like 'Rozanne' geraniums from them any more, when there are better values elsewhere.

    I should mention some of these other great nurseries:

    And apologies to anyone who was offended by my initial comments.



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