Thursday, April 26, 2007


I have a massive order from Select Seeds arriving soon, but I hope it’s not quite as massive as the “saved basket” I’m now seeing when I log in, which shows over $600 and over 62 plants. Something must be wrong. That’s about 3 times what I ordered. Hmmm. I'm sure it's fine.

As always, I have blithely ordered many sun-loving plants, including some very tall rudbeckia, verbena bonariensis, castor bean, and nicotiana. I expect the best performers to be the verbena, the nicotiana, and some white heliotrope, which in past years has bloomed non-stop exactly as advertised, and with a much purer and stronger vanilla scent than any local nursery heliotrope I’ve ever bought. I’m hoping too that the old-fashioned climbing petunia will do better than it did last year. It rocked in 2005.

Select Seed does a pretty good job with their plants—but their strength lies in their name: the selection. Bluestone’s plants arrive in rather better condition, but they don’t carry annuals. I love ordering annuals. So much better than driving around from nursery to nursery, on the off-chance you’ll find what you want. So much less unthinkable than growing them from seed.

Also, all perennial action is on hold until the pond decision is made. Who knows what we may have to move and where we’ll put new plants? It’s a mystery.

Shown at top: Appleblossom Rosebud “geranium,” out of stock last year, but this year I got it. The other image is the white heliotrope.


firefly said...

Ok. I'll bite. You frequently mention seed starting as something to be avoided, but you've never actually said why, and I'm curious.

You certainly have more fortitude with a shady garden than I would have, so what happened that turned you off seeds?

EAL said...

Many reasons. I don't have a greenhouse and my windows are tall and narrow. I would need growlights in the basement. To do it correctly is expensive and it requires knowledge, skill. and patience.

Big problem: My husband is horrified at the lights remaining on all the time. He is convinced our electrical wiring is on the verge of collapse and explosion. (I disagree, but ...) Like me, he is not handy.

I do have friends who have great success with seeds, but I've seen what goes into that success and I can't replicate it.

I would like a greenhouse. Then, we'll talk seeds.

Dealing with shade is frustrating but not really hard--you plant plants, they don't work, you try others.

The castor bean is from seed, though. Oh, here's another thing--many plants are simply not practical from seed for the home grower.

EAL said...

The plants are here and they look good. There are only 40. The website is on crack.

Please, weather, cooperate so I can get these in.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

EAL, LOL re: "There are only 40"!!! :) In a moment of weakness, I might order some of that white heliotrope myself. I haven't had any luck finding it (or seeds of it) locally and I've been intrigued by reports that it's that much more fragrant than the purple I can get easily.

firefly said...

I don't know that there is so much knowledge and skill required (thank goodness for electronic timers), but it is time-consuming. Seeds are so cheap it's easy to overwhelm yourself with the number of plants you can start.

A greenhouse would be ideal, although it requires space I don't have. A cold frame, though -- I can see that in my future.

We used to live in a 19th century house that had older wiring -- the upstairs and downstairs tenants complained about appliance cords getting hot -- and only two-pronged outlets, except in the kitchen and bathroom.

It was a lovely apartment with 26 windows in all (10 in the living room alone), but between the electrical system and the leaky ceilings, there was definitely no place for a light setup.

Bulbs did well, but seeds were outdoors, after frost, only.

LostRoses said...

Elizabeth, I have to confess I've never thought about ordering annuals by mail. Maybe then I could finally get some verbena bonariensis. I've coveted it for years, never can find it at the greenhouses and actually broke down and bought some seeds which I know I will never plant.

40 plants? Not bad! Have fun planting!

lisa said...

I like the plants from Select Seeds, too. This year I ordered the "night-blooming collection" of annuals, I'd had them 2 years ago, and they even brought a luna moth into my yard!