Friday, June 29, 2007

This is why I mail order annuals

Yes, I know I can be tedious about this, but it is remarkable that whenever I am particularly impressd by a certain plants—you know, that moment when you say Oh my god, look at that thing!—they are usually annuals that I have mail ordered.

Case in point, these red nicotiana and accompanying strobilanthes (Persian Shield). I think this is a very handsome combo and both came from Select Seeds. Both are also available in local nurseries, but the mail order stuff always seems to do better; the plants are smaller but they thrive. These "red bedder" nicotiana didn't really excite me much at first, but I have actually cut them back twive already this summer and they keep on going crazy. They're a bit big for containers, but their presense in this otherwise quietly green side space adds some much-needed pizazz. The purple in the Shield is more iridescent than you can see here.

With a few exceptions, the mail order stuff is doing well: the climbing petunia, the other species nics, and, especially, the torenia. This is another plant that you'll see ordinary examples of locally, but the version I sent away for has large, ruffled flowers: quite spectacular for a normally not-so-special shade plant. I'll get some images of it up soon.

Posting will resume after a week or so.


LostRoses said...

I agree those are pretty spectacular, Elizabeth. I saw that red nicotiana at the garden center this afternoon and was tempted but resisted. Wish now I hadn't!

firefly said...

I'll have to try some nicotiana next year (eventually I'll work my way through their catalog)!

Some of the seeds I started in March are blooming already (sweet pea, cosmos, ammi, Queen Anne's thimbles, nasturtium, lobelia, tasselflower, blue woodruff), earlier than 90 percent of the perennials and shrubs.

Select Seeds' perennials are pretty impressive too -- I got three 2-year-old clematis last year, and two bloomed their first summer in the ground.

Jane M. said...

I would like to see a picture of the climbing petunia!

EAL said...

I see red nicos in our garden center too, but few grow to 3-feet-high. That's what I really like about these. I think nicos need stature.

Callie Works-Leary said...

I've always ordered my perennials, but I have yet to experiment with mail-ordering my annuals. This is great. (I'm so sick of the mass-produced annual look...) What are your favorite companies for annuals?


EAL said...

Select Seeds, pretty much.

lisa said...

I'm with you in appreciating Select Seeds' annuals! My "moon garden" night-blooming collection is looking terrific!