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Article: Ruminations of a Garden Catalog Junkie: exceptions

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Forum: Article: Ruminations of a Garden Catalog JunkieReplies: 9, Views: 75
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Spencer, WV

January 10, 2011
6:05 AM

Post #8302059

I live in a rural area, and the garden center is Wal-Mart. I think I'm better off with mail order. There is now a small local nursery, people i know, so I do check their website too. No shipping and handling and I can see the plants.
But I also want to put in a plug for my favorite mail order outfit, Bluestone Perennials of Ohio. Perhaps it matters that I live relatively close, in WV--but I've ordered from this outfit for years and every order has been correct and all arrived looking like they had driven out to my place personally, just before i got to the mailbox sign of travel stress. They're just really good at packing plants. AND, they have a deal where you can mail back the box with its peanuts and they send you a postcard good for free shipping next time--it's always cheaper to mail the box than the shipping and handling charge.
One more tip, for restraining those urges--have a map handy with current plantings, and don't order anything without knowing exactly where it's going.
Madison, MO

January 10, 2011
7:52 AM

Post #8302293

Ditto on Bluestone Perennials, always perfect!
Mount Vernon, KY

January 10, 2011
8:46 PM

Post #8303759

My pile is about as big as your pile in the picture!

But after ordering from all kinds of magazines for years I now know which ones to throw away as soon as they come in. Although I never had anything delivered in January (Feb I have though) -- and some of them have come, and I swear they have gone out broke off a twig put some peat moss in a bag and sent it to me. But I know which ones they are.

Sigh! If I had a better green thumb, I wouldn't have to keep ordering sweet potatoes every year and strawberries every two to three years but I am not that good to get them started or keep them going so at last - Jan. I study these magazines and try to get some excitment about the coming growing season. Gett'n harder every year.
South Amana, IA
(Zone 5a)

January 11, 2011
1:48 PM

Post #8305088

Thank you, all, for your comments. Bluestone has my vote as well. Looks like a lot of other folks agree with us:

In the last few years, several new garden centers have opened for business within 30 miles of my home. I find myself relying on them more and more. If I can find a plant I want locally, I much prefer that over mail order. Unfortunately, my taste often runs toward unusual plants, so I still do quite a bit of ordering by mail.
Oklahoma City, OK

January 16, 2012
10:25 AM

Post #8969960

I agree in re. to finding unusual plants!

Bustani Plant Farm is a great place to find prairie plants and drought hardy plants from the :US and all over the world. Steve Owens and his wife are great and so are their farm, catalogue, and website.

One of the best books I own, in the original edition, and recommend to area gardeners is Oklahoma Gardening by Steve Dobbs. He is a horticulturist, garden writer, and lecturer who was "the host and producer of Oklahoma Gardening from 1990 to 1995. The show was selected by the Garden Writers Association of America as the Best TV Gardening Program in the Nation in 1992. Arranged according to plant size and permanence in the landscape, The Oklahoma Gardener's Guide highlights the plants that are most suitable to Oklahoma's four ecoregions. Besides the USDA Cold-Hardiness Zone Map, Steve includes an annual precipitation map, spring and fall freeze maps, and a frost-free map which provides the mean length of the frost-free period in weeks for the state."
Mount Vernon, KY

January 16, 2012
11:21 AM

Post #8970020

I am glad you brought this thread back up.
A pkt of seed is 3.95 if not 5.00!!!!
Plus they charge shipping not by the pound or oz but by the money amount I ordered??????????
Darn I really wanted to try some of the newer broccolies ( darn it)
and a broccoli/kale combo plant (really, really wanted it)
but I can't afford them!

This message was edited Jan 16, 2012 6:16 PM
South Amana, IA
(Zone 5a)

January 16, 2012
8:55 PM

Post #8970732

Thanks for your comments, jazzy and Liquidambar.

Jazzy, I checked out the Bustani site and bookmarked it. The prices seem very reasonable. Do you know what pot size the plants are shipped in? Thanks also for the info on Steve Dobbs.

Liquidambar, the higher prices do get frustrating. One solution might be to grow your own seed. You'd need to find an heirloom broccoli, so that it will come true to seed. I don't know if broccoli winters over in your hardiness zone or not. If it doesn't, you can dig the plant up before temps get too cold, store it in a cool, dark place with the roots covered with soil or spaghnum moss. When the temps warm up again you can replant it. It'll start blooming in late spring, and by the end of the summer you'll have seed!
Mount Vernon, KY

January 17, 2012
5:23 AM

Post #8970981

I do save lots of seeds.
And it looks like I will be saving even more seeds in the future.
Thanks for the advice???
Albuquerque, NM

January 13, 2015
1:35 PM

Post #10003613

The big box nurseries pose another problem. Some of their suppliers produce a pretty plant with no insect damage by using neonicotinoids in the fertilizer water before shipping to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. Neonicotinoids kill bees and other pollenating insects. In areas where big box stores are the only source of plants, this constitutes yet another threat to pollination and that's a BIG deal. Most of our food crops depend on insect pollination.

I start almost all of my annual vegetables at home from seed. I bought a couple of light tables and seed mats years ago. I try to buy slow starters and perennials only from local nurseries but---the locals are growing fewer every year.
Spencer, WV

January 26, 2015
7:13 AM

Post #10010933

Sorry to say I've changed my mind about Bluestone. Their prices have just gotten too high. They don't do the free shipping with returned peanuts anymore either. Liquidambar, for cheap seeds try Pinetree Garden Seeds out of Maine. They sell small packets of seeds cheaper than anyone else. They are one of my two veg seed suppliers, the other being Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, which I like because they do pretty much exclusively open-pollinated seed, sell seed-saving equipment, and because for me, here in WV, an outfit in VA is focused on a very similar climate. Drought resistant plants usually do poorly here, for example.

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