Garden Log 4/29/22

It’s always exciting when the garden boxes start arriving in spring. I mostly try to support local nurseries (and avoid shipping costs), but sometimes I’ve been searching for something specific.

For example, this Amsonia “String Theory,” which I heard discussed on a gardening podcast, (I think it’s a native cultivar for our area), and it sounded like a great plant, and I couldn’t resist the name, since my husband is a mathematician. It makes me think of when I would hang out in the math department with him and the other math grad students thirty years ago, and they would talk about string theory and it would all go over my head, but was also somehow lovely. 🙂

Of course, it’s tricky figuring out which nurseries to buy from. I’ve tried places and found that they sent perennials that were:

– spindly
– badly packed (so that plants got damaged in transit)
– underwatered, so they’re struggling when they arrive
– or just somehow lacking in vigor, so they never get going in the garden

So when I find a nursery I like, I tend to stick with it. White Flower Farm has been very reliable for me over the years, and even though their plants are sometimes $5 or $10 more than what I might find elsewhere, I think it’s totally worth it, because the misery of planting three $20 plants that all die is just so frustrating. https://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/

And I’m very happy with a new one I’ve just tried (where I got the “String Theory) — the plants arrived beautifully packaged and very healthy-looking. Yay! Also, they do free shipping if you order more than $75 worth of plants…

Romence Gardens, https://romencegardens.com/

If you’re looking for prairie natives, Prairie Moon is terrific (and has really improved their website in the last few years) — the plants arrive in June and may not seem to do much for the first year, but if you’re patient, you’ll be well rewarded. https://www.prairiemoon.com/

Remember to unpack plants right away and follow the instructions (if there aren’t instructions, that’s also a bad sign!) to give them their best chance. Generally, they’ll ask you to water them right away, and plant them as soon as possible. You can usually trust that it’s warm enough to plant the plants if they’re shipping them, because the nurseries are careful to check temps before shipping to you.

If the roots come packaged in shredded paper, I save that and use it for packing up dahlias and glads that I’ll be digging up in the fall for overwintering.

What nurseries do you like and trust for shipping healthy, happy plants? I’d love more recommendations.

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