Way Too Small Mail Order Plants

This week I received about $300 worth of plants (according to the invoice anyway) all of which would fit in a kid's lunchbucket with room left over for the lunch. These are mostly kinda rare things, so the fact that they cost three times the price of common things doesn't bother me; that shipping makes them more expensive still is just part of how things work. But when a monkshood vine consists of one leaf sticking out of some wrapping-moss, barely distinguishable FROM the moss, I'm not convinced I'm getting bang for my buck.
And this vendor told me last year before I placed this order that they ship plants much more mature than does Heronswood (whose shipped seedlings are gigantic compared to this!) & ready for the garden. But on Monday, the day the plants were shipped, I got a chatty e-mail that included the information that some of the plants might seem a bit small but it was cheaper due to the health permit for the plants to ship them all at once, & the Famous Paghat being such an amazing ace gardener & all, the shipper was sure I wouldn't mind. Well butter my buns -- if I put these in the garden they'd dry up & die their first hour in the sun, & flattering me about it makes me more rather than less annoyed.
I don't have a greenhouse & I don't like to raise my own seedlings. But, well, I'll pot these babies & put plastic bags over them & in a few weeks they'll be big enough for the garden, & if nothing dies on me it'll be worth the imposition. But this is a reminder of why I so rarely mail-order any plants except bulbs. It's no fun to pay a maximum-high price plus shipping & end up with a handful of little sprouted seeds.
The lesson remains: See what you're getting before you plunk down the money, & SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL NURSERIES.
-paghat the ratgirl
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paghat wrote:

I do support my local nurseries. Bluestones is only about a 45 minute drive away from me, and I still order from them by mail. And every spring I groan about the size of the plants and the shipping. Of course, things then start growing and I'm happy again.
I like to order from Plant Delights in North Carolina too. (There catalog is great!) The thought usually occurs to me how these are southern grown plants, and might not do well here in the north, but it's only a fleeting thought.
The truth is I'm just too tired and/or lazy to walk around and shop anymore, even if I do get a day off once in a great while.
Jean Zone 5 OH (with snow in the forecast for tomorrow and Sunday)
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Have you ever gone to Bluestone's big spring clearance sale? It would be worth the 45 minute drive. It is usually held around the first weekend in June. They have a set price and you are free to roam the greenhouses and pack as much as you can into a flat. It used to be $20 for a flat, but I understand that the price has gone up. Still, at twice the price, it would be a deal since most of their plants are in the 3 for $8 range. My sister lives in Mentor, and I usually send her a list of things I want.
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Vox Humana wrote:

Thanks for reminding me about their sale. Every year I procrastinate and miss it because driving over a half hour puts me to sleep. Maybe this will be the year I get brave, or bring a friend to help drive.
Thanks, Jean
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I see that they have fall bulbs on sale on their website. I'm in Zone 6a - would I plant them now or keep them cool until fall and plant them then?
Thanks!
Laura
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be
6a -

They may not ship until it is appropriate planting time in your area. I would guess that they are just reselling imported bulbs like everyone else. You might send them an email and ask. I generally plant spring blooming bulbs in my zone 6 garden starting in October.
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Thanks, Vox. I'm assuming they are on sale because they are leftover from last fall. If that is the case, I wasn't sure whether they had a chance of surviving to bloom next spring or not (yes, I can be patient but don't want to waste my money or effort!).
LauraJ
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would
then?
of
want
You still might call or email them. I have done both and dealt with them in person. They all seem very nice and willing to help. If they are left-over, you could ask them for advice and also see what their guarantee is like.
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Good point. Thanks for the advice! It is also good to hear that they are a reputable source.
LauraJ
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Care to name names?
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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.

==========================This is the prime reason my husband and I never buy anything "sight unseen." We got gypped once, years ago (on young trees and shrubs) and swore never again.
I agree that we should support our local nursery.
Wysong
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On Fri, 22 Apr 2005 13:13:22 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote:

I learned my lesson a few years ago when I saw the size of some of the shrubs I had bought from Bluestone. Now I just buy a few perrenials from them. :) That are plenty of good local nurseries. IMO its worth the extra bucks versus the years of waiting for things to.
On the other hand, a couple of those tiny shrubs have bloomed this spring, are starting to get some size, and are filling in quite nicely. It just took a few years more then I expected.
Swyck
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