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 ..no 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.
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.
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.
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."
I am glad you brought this thread back up.
AND I AM SO SORRY - IT IS ONLY TO MOAN AND COMPLAIN SOME MORE!
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!
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!