Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's a happy day when plants arrive with the mail...

These large boxes arrived on my doorstep back on July 10th, just a couple weeks after Janet Sluis — of the Sunset Western Garden Collection — emailed to ask if I'd be interested in trialing their new Mahonia X media 'Marvel'...

I don't know why this make me laugh but it does. Good advice though!

Oh ya, look at that foliage...

There were two boxes because they were concerned something like this might happen and wanted me to be sure to get at least one happy plant. These guys traveled though some seriously hot weather en-route and spent some quality time inside a steamy delivery truck.

They look pretty darn good all things considered (and see, I gave them a big drink)...

Love those bright yellow Mahonia flowers...

Since they were large plants I wasn't quite sure where I'd find room for them in my cram-scaped garden. Then in August the neighbors behind us trimmed up the Laurel along the fence-line (behind the bamboo stocktanks by the patio), suddenly there was light where there used to be dark. And empty space!

They're perfect for there, I'm thrilled.

I'm sure my neighbors to the north would have preferred this "softer and kinder" Mahonia had been planted next to their driveway, rather than the pokey Mahonia x media 'Charity' that's there. Oh well!

Since we have such great nurseries here in Oregon it's rare I do mail order, however I scored a gift certificate from High Country Gardens during the Bloggers Fling in June. So of course I went shopping...

I find the fact HCG doesn't ship when you order, but rather when they feel the right time is, rather irritating. Now granted my order included bulbs, but seriously. I can't plant an Agave in October, but I could have planted it in July, when I placed this order. Now I have to hang onto this until next spring, when I know it's the right time to plant.

Why did I order an Agave?

Because "In the outdoor landscape, the leaves of this selection turn reddish-pink in color..." cool huh?
photo borrowed from High Country Gardens

My order also included a pair of Marrubium rotundifolium.

A surprisingly hard to find — in these parts — groundcover. This is another plant I'll have to hang on to until spring. It's great for the xeric garden...hence planting it in October in Western Oregon (rain!) probably isn't the greatest idea.

That said I have a plant I purchased at Hortlandia (the HPSO spring plant sale) in 2015 that's doing just fine. So I know it can be happy here. I just want to give it the best possible chances and not plant it at the beginning of our wet season.

The final part of my order was Crocus bulbs, yep...I'm taking the bulb plunge!

I blame Alan of the Mardi Gras Gardener, last spring he posted drool-worthy photos of his orange Crocus, I vowed to get a few of my own.

I think the grass-like foliage will keep me from being too annoyed by it once the blooms fade.
photo borrowed from High Country Gardens

So, plants via mail, it's a fun thing!

Weather Diary, Oct 23: Hi 64, Low 48/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

28 comments:

  1. I ordered from Far Reaches in Oct.; something I never do. But our great weather convinced me the plants would have time to settle in. Posting about it on Thursday. Though I am a fan of orange Tulips, I can't do orange crocuses. Not sure why that is . . .

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    1. Interesting, we all have strange aversions I suppose. Look forward to your post!

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  2. Those Mahonia are gorgeous! I have to admit to being kind of annoyed at HCG as well. I've had a hard time keeping their plants alive, even when shipped at the right time. They're so tiny. Nothing I bought from them, except for bulbs, in the past year, has lived.

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    1. Bummer, and judging by the comments below you are not alone.

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  3. I looooove receiving plants in the mail. It's a little bit like Christmas every time.

    Janet showed Mahonia 'Marvel' at the Succulent Extravaganza, and it's a beauty. She, the Sunset team and their growers are putting out some great plants!

    I passed on Marrubium rotundifolium at the UC Davis Arboretum plant sale on Saturday. Now I wish I hadn't....

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    1. Janet is dedicated to really vetting what they're putting their name on, quality plants! And really, what were you thinking?

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  4. Always good when plants turn up. I love bulbs mixed in with succulent planting, they just bring an extra bit of colour in very early spring. That orange is quite something.

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    1. I'm hoping I like them too, I have mixed emotions about bulbs.

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  5. So much fun to get plants in the mail. What a nice haul! I've been tempted by that agave as well and can't wait to see if it colors up for you or if it needs southwest heat and sun to do that.

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  6. I had Agave 'Hedgehog' for several years and it just this year croaked. 😢 It was lovely while I had it. Also, those crocus look like my Crocus fuscotinctus that I always go on about. They're one of the first to bloom here and probably my favorite. I wonder if they're the same crocus...

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    1. Damn, I'm sorry about your Agave! It did color up for you then?

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    2. No, I never saw a color change, unfortunately. But even without that, it's such a cool agave.

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  7. It's been a few years since I've gotten plants in the mail, but yes, it's so exciting! Even if you know exactly what you're getting, it's still so much fun to open them! I also get annoyed by "we will ship it when we think it's time" nurseries. Sure they want to minimize plant damage/death during shipping, but as you pointed out it's not always best.

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    1. Years!? Alan!

      I wonder if it's a staffing thing too? They only want to have shippers on staff for short periods of time?

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  8. Agree with Alison. Most HCG plants I ordered last spring died. Then just last week I threw out the red agave, never grew, never turned red, and most important it bit (punctured) me too many times. Watch out for those spiny tips. Plant it somewhere not in the path or near anything else. Good luck. Hope to see it red and growing in the springtime.

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    1. This is a sad report Jane. I'm sorry your Agave was rather mean to you...and that it never colored up. I will be careful!

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  9. It's like Christmas in July! Those 'Marvel' Mahonia look fantastic. Since both plants looked okay on arrival, I would have been happy to help out by trialing one of them in MY garden - just saying. I ordered several Marrubium rotundifolium from HCG two summers back and mine have been really happy, even with some shade. But like others, I have had more failures than successes from HGC, 9except bulbs, which have always done well. I'm always slightly disappointed in the size of mail-order plants, but those Mahonia are big!

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    1. Well one did have the leaf burn that I pictured...I briefly thought about sharing one but then that space opened up and...

      Good to know about your HGC experience, I have hope then...

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  10. I'll be interested to hear how that Mahonia performs. I planted 'Charity' last December but, in addition to "biting" me several times, it seems inclined to drop all its lower leaves in response to our heat. I hope the agave comes through for you - I have a small specimen, received from a different mail order provider 2 years ago, which is still very small and still not red, but I remain hopeful.

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    1. These are definitely kinder, gentler Mahonia...

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  11. That cute, cuddly horehound threatens your prickly reputation.

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    1. I thought my love of ferns already did that?

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  12. "I'm taking the bulb plunge!" Hallelujah, we shall revisit the topic in spring. Horehound is unfamiliar but immensely cute. It looks like dwarf lamb ears. Is it soft like it too?

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    1. It is! Quite the nice little plant.

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  13. Bulbs are always a good addition, I just got several kinds to add to my dry garden, several from South Africa, and also natives.

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    1. Funny I saw this comment right after I read one of your FB posts about the bulbs you were planting.

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  14. Nothing makes my day like the arrival of a box filled with plants! And now I wish I had ordered some orange Crocus.

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