The catalogues I requested have arrived. I only requested two: Burpee and Jung. I'm not sure where I learned of Jung, but it's in Wisconsin and I try to stick with companies located in areas with similar growing conditions to mine.
My other garden shopping is done locally. Many local stores carry seed packets. I also go to Patchwork Farm in Aaronsburg, PA. From April until June I buy most of my seedlings at their temporary stand by the Nittany Mall. They're very helpful, they sell a variety of plants, and the plants are reasonably priced and healthy. Last summer when I was taking the scenic route home from visiting family, I spied a sign for Patchwork Farms and went there (their home location). So many plants. So little time.
Burpee is in southeastern Pennsylvania. I've never visited it, although I've been in nearby areas. For example, Longwood Gardens, not a vendor but a display garden, is beautiful.
I'm hoping to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show, and visit a college friend in Lincoln University, Pa., while there. I've never been to that show, but have wanted to go since I started gardening and since P Allen Smith has been giving presentations. I'm hoping that P Allen Smith will appear there again.
According to the flower show website, Legends of Ireland is the theme, which really appeals to me, not to mention how timely it is with St. Patrick's Day following it. This page of the website gives more details. I've been to Irish festivals before, but this one will probably outdo them all.
There's a phrase the luck of the Irish, which I gather to be bad, knowing their history, and their sometimes sardonic and/or dark humor.
Most people have heard the legend that (St.) Patrick used the three lobes of the shamrock to explain the trinity. An equally interesting legend is that of (St.) Brigid. She is said to have woven a cross from straw she picked up off the floor.
So much is ancient history with Ireland that it can be difficult to distinguish myth from truth. Plus, it's a large geographical area so legends may be subject to regional variations. It's still interesting to learn. Some of this, such as the "Black Irish", I heard of growing up. From my own reading, I know that the ideal Irish person was a poet and a warrior, something that many other cultures view as a dichotomy.
Some links to help infuse Irish lore into one's mind if one desires:
Map of Irish Immigration in US
Claddagh (pronounced clah-dah + soft "g")
And a book I own, which is slightly laborious in writing style but I find it covers many areas of Irish life and history is The Story of the Irish Race by Seamus Macmanus. There is plenty about pre-Christian and contemporary Ireland's spirituality, government, and the place of women in Ireland. It has helped me understand more about the British government's treatment -- genocide -- of the native Irish that resulted in oppression, extreme poverty and religious division, and that resulted in terrorism; some of these problems are shared by Native Americans in the U.S. and Canada due to government's treatment of them.