Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plant Delights? Not delighted.

Bad enough that I could only afford to buy 4 plants, even with a gift certificate. They were plants I chose carefully, after winnowing out a whole bunch of other offerings. One of them, boehmeria (above), I saw at the on-site Juniper Level gardens, when I visited PD last summer. It’s a lush foliage plant I was very very excited about. Was. Because apparently the plants aren’t developed enough. Fair enough, and they did call ahead of time to warn me about that one.

But this morning, when a suspiciously small package arrived, it was clear something else was missing. The colacasia gigantea was not included. (I posted on this a while back.) An attached note says that they’ve run out and will send it later in June. I ordered this in early 08, but because we have one of the latest planting season, I can see where they could run out before they get to my zone. Wah! Dammit.

I understand how this happens, but with such eagerly awaited plants, it is very disappointing. I did receive 2 very healthy cultivars: the colacasia Nancy’s revenge and the clematis alpina, which has bright yellow foliage and blue, bell-shaped flowers—there was already a bud on it.

Oh well. The angst of mail-order gardening.


IBOY said...

Back when the original Heronswood was a cult thing, when you lived in the midwest and ordered from them, everything good would have been already sold out, so you'd end up getting maybe a third of your order. You could order the same cool plant year after year, sending in your order in January as soon as the catalog was sent out (this was before the internet) and you'd never snag the plants you really wanted... made you feel like a second class gardener.

EAL said...

Right, Don. And I recall that Heronswood even had a disclaimer saying that your plants could be sold out no matter how early you ordered because that did NOT mean a plant was reserved for you. I guess they had to do it that way.

Guess it's kind of like those cult Oregon Pinots I'll never have. Another logical connection between gardening and drinking.

Layanee said...

I feel your pain as I also ordered the Tahitian Giant and a Glaucidium that did not arrive. In fact, FedEx left my plants somewhere else and hasn't found them yet! Not PD's fault but FedEx has not even emailed me concerning the problem and this was last Thursday. What do you think those plants will look like sitting in a box for an extra five days?

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I figured out how to get around the problem back when I ordered from Heronswood - I requested that the plants be delivered in early March. As there is often still snow on the ground at that time around here, that means I have to keep the plants in the garage near the window, but not close enough that they freeze. For the really tender stuff, I nurse it in the house. Hence my early planting of this year's Delight, the 'Bishop of Canterbury' Dahlia.
I hope you get your goodies soon!

herself said...

Plant Delights always has such cool plants. But the coolest are always sold out.

I think I ordered orchids every year back in New England and never once got them.

Now I don't even order the cooler stuff from them.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Wow, EAL, yeah, that second shot would definitely put one off in terms of what it would become! Maybe you're better off settling with a couple of Castors as dramatic tropical specimen plants? We plant 2 or 3 a year just for the WTF effect they have on passersby. Two nice varieties are Ricinus communis v. Carmencita and R. communis v. Zanzibariensis. The latter gets huge here (12-13 ft) and is shades of green, whereas Carmencita is smaller (about 8 ft) and has lush coppery red foliage and absolutely martian looking flowerheads and seed pods. They're eminently toxic of course, so if that's a concern in your garden, best to skip them.

Carol said...

Perhaps the mail order nurseries should rethink their policies and actually reserve plants as they are ordered. Otherwise, "no fair" that the further east and north you are, the more likely it is you won't get what you want. I don't order much by mail, other than bulbs, so I didn't know this little 'secret'.

EAL said...

Carol, I totally agree. Heronswood had a whole rationale for this, but I don't buy it.

I mail order plants quite often because I like the access to unusual cultivars I cannot buy locally.

HEY--that reminds me. You were going to send me a plant! A cereus, I think. Am I crazy?

Melanie said...

I work at Plant Delights and as plants are living things it is always difficult to guarantee they'll be shipped in the case we lose a crop. Having worked in this industry for several years, I can speak to the quality and dedication this business has in satisfying customers, as evident on daves garden