Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Instant Gratification from Plant Delights Nursery

Meet my new garden additions, ‘Chocolate Chips’ and ‘Porcupine’…

Last month Pam from ‘Digging’ included a photo of Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chips' in a post on an Austin garden tour. WOW, instant plant lust! I knew this would be the next Manfreda added to my growing collection, if I ever found it. Later Nicole from ‘A Caribbean Garden’ commented on the same post, including a link to the very plant on Plant Delights website, it was just too easy! It was mine within the night.

Mail-ordering plants is not typically for me. Wandering the nursery isles, touching the leaves, smelling the flowers, comparing the plants and making sure I’m getting the best one for me…that’s what plant shopping is all about. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at catalogues and websites, gathering information and getting inspiration, but when it comes time to hand over cash for a plant I’m an “in-person” shopper.

That said, occasionally I come across a “must-have” plant that isn’t readily available here in Portland. When this happens being able to turn to a website, or catalogue, is wonderful, and…instant gratification!
As much as I’ve enjoyed pouring over the Plant Delights catalogue in the past I’ve never ordered anything. Now that I have I can say they make ordering easy and the follow up communication from the nursery staff is excellent. They do have a minimum order and the single ‘Chocolate Chips’ was not cutting it, so I had to add another plant (darn). Just recently I realized I was without an Agave victoriae-reginae so I quickly clicked on that and my order was complete.
I was curious about what condition the Manfreda would be in when it arrived. All Manfreda share the common trait of very brittle, easily broken leaves. How could they ship this plant and have it arrive looking good? How big would it be? Would it look anything like the picture? I was pleasantly surprised! 'Chocolate Chips' arrived with a few broken leaves but all-in-all much better than I feared. It’s good sized and has great color. Nicely done!
I was a little disappointed in the small size of the Agave victoriae-reginae 'Porcupine' but it certainly looks healthy. I think come spring it will go in the ground since it is reportedly hardy to zone 7b. Uhm….maybe this online shopping thing could become addictive, especially in the winter months when the pickings can be slim at our local nurseries.


  1. Oh, those two are way cute. Nice choices! I have only had one online plant ordering experience (bare root blueberries from Peaceful Valley) but it was positive as well. I think it's a good option when you can't find what you need locally or would waste gas driving around looking for something your heart is set on.

  2. you may have single-handedly boosted me off my high horse. a couple of years ago i vowed to never again order plants by mail, what with all the great nurseries surrounding us. hmmm. were all vows made to be broken?

  3. Hey good looking plants, so out of the main stream. I have been to plant delights a few times always spent at least a C note. then proceeded to kill most of what I bought, just don't bother to go there anymore.

  4. Though I'd rather shop in person, there are so many plants I can't get other than through mail order. It's always fun to get a new shipment. I went to an open house at Plant Delights once - the have an impressive display garden.

  5. Hi Loree~~ These newbies are fabulous! Nice going.

    Living here in the plant capitol of the world, it seems almost foolish to buy plants online, especially with the pricey shipping charges. But like you pointed out, there are times when a must-have can't be found locally. Through the years, I've ordered plants from Forest Farm, the old Heronswood, Big Dipper Farms, Annie's Annuals and Heirloom roses. I've never been disappointed. And all but Annie's are here in the PNW. Purusing nursery websites all winter is FUN.

  6. I'm so jealous! You got that manfreda, and I still don't have it. Like you, I'm an in-person shopper, partly because the shipping costs are so high for plants by mail. But if ever my plant budget recovers from recent purchases (and right before Xmas, no less), I may break down and do a little clicking at Plant Delights myself.

  7. Glad you got it. They oth look very fresh. I have a LIST of agaves from Plant Delights to get on my next vist to the US.

  8. Karen, the waste gas (and time!) factor was playing big in my mind when I decided to take the plunge.

    ricki, yes! In certain circumstances...

    Randy, oh my. That would be a little disheartening. But to visit the gardens must be extraordinary?!

    how it grows, I hate to admit the thrill of the shipment arrival was addictive!

    Grace, I so wish I had been aware when the old Heronswood was viable. To think I lived across the Sound in Seattle and I was oblivious.

    Pam, budget be damned. I couldn't do it every month but I was feeling a little "angelic" from me lack of craziness on our vacation. At least that is how I am rationalizing it.

    Nicole, thank you! I never would had if you hadn't made it so easy. So explain...can you not mail order? Or is it just too expensive?

  9. I fell for that Manfreda on that blog post, too. I think I saw one at one of the plant sales last year, and passed it by. That always inspires a frenzied search once I realize I've made a mistake.
    I'm glad to hear Plant Delights had good service. I've always ogled their plant selection, but their list of disclaimers on their order form were almost intimidating, they had me a little afraid to contact them.

  10. Loree-yes I could mail order but I have to get a permit, then when the plants arrive I have to go collect them at the port in time etc. so its not worth it in terms of cost and effort unless I am ordering like a dozen or two.


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