Monday, April 4, 2011

Plants on the Porch!

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Yay! Friday was the day my order from High Country Gardens arrived! I got the shipping notice on Wednesday, so knew to expect them on Friday, but that didn't stop me from hoping they'd somehow show up a day or two earlier...gardener's wishfulness ;-)

HCG box  038's the sight that greeted me when I got home from work Friday night. I have to take a moment to thank my dad...who gave me some money for my birthday in February...thereby funding this glut of gardening retail therapy! Thanks Dad!

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I've ordered from HCG once before, so knew what to expect when I opened the box...everything is packed very carefully, each plant wrapped individually in a paper sleeve. I'm still amazed they can fit so many plants in such a small space.

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The Captain waited patiently on the sidelines...not sure what to make of this frenzy of unwrapping. HCG tells you in the packaging to let the plants acclimate to your local weather conditions by setting them in the shade for a few days.

There is a little styrofoam lid on the base of each pot that holds the soil in place. You should remove these and periodically check the soil moisture. Mine were all nice and moist I let them sit on my porch this weekend and checked them daily to make sure they didn't dry out.

In all, I got:
6 - Agastache 'Blue Blazes'
3 - Agastache 'Ava'
3 - Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'
1 - Achnatherum calamagrostis

I was certainly glad we got the backyard tilled up this now we can work on the fence and path this weekend (weather permitting) and hopefully plant these puppies next weekend! Of course, that's pretty ambitious...I'll be lucky if we get the fence and path done in the next two weekends.
Also, I had to laugh at once we got everything cleared out of the backyard and took some real measurements, I realized I had been WAY too generous with my measurements this back to the drawing board with the garden plans. It's a good thing I hadn't bought all the plants yet, aside from these Agastache!

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And here's my haul...all nice and healthy. The first time I ordered plants from HCG, I was a little disappointed at the size of the plants...but I needn't have been. Their small size makes them more durable and resilient...important when getting shipped half way across the country. They also have really healthy root systems and everything I planted last year thrived and grew rapidly once established.

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I can't wait to see how these do in the you can tell by the amount of Agastache, I've become a bit of an addict in the past few years. HCG is known for its ongoing breeding of Agastache, and have come out with some true beauties, 'Blue Blazes' being one of their new introductions this year. My luck with Agastaches in general is a bit spotty, what do you expect in Portland (winter wetness is the #1 cause of Agastache death).

Although generally my preference for buying plants is to shop locally (ensuring the plants are acclimated to our climate...and to support local business), HCG carries many types of Agastache I haven't been able to find locally. I also love to support growers and nurseries who have an obvious love and passion for plants. In addition, HCG offers a large variety of xeric plants, a definite bonus...even in Portland, which gets practically no rain at all during the growing season.

How about all of you have any new plant acquisitions? What's your fave place to mail-order plants from?


  1. What fun! Here in CT we're waiting a few more weeks for our shipments to come in - High Country does an excellent job as your photos show - I've also had very good luck with Forest Farm - they seem to have everything I think I want, beautifully packed and shipped whenever I want it. And of course Heronswood in the old days was a wonderful source. Out east, I like Plant Delights and Avant Gardens. Happy planting!

  2. I too received a package full of plants on Friday evening. My order was from Bluestone Perennials...In my haul I also had three Agastache!! I really like how your plants are packaged better than the ones I received. They were fine just full of packing peanuts, I prefer the individual wrapping that yours had.

  3. It is so much fun getting plants in the mail, isn't it?

  4. I've ordered from them before--great packing! And I love the extra deep pots....they really develop a nice root system.
    The Agastache are wonderful plants, aren't they?

  5. Now I'm regretting that I haven't yet placed that order from Annie's Annuals! So many wonderful items in my wishlist on their site. I've also ordered from HCG and of course Plant Delights in the past. We have so many wonderful places to shop here in Oregon but it's nice to know there are also reliable shippers out there when you've got to have something you can't find locally.

  6. I've ordered from Forest Farm and had good success. Usually I buy locally though. I love your loot and wish for every success. Photos please!

  7. Very cool. I love the purplish red color of the Agastache Ava and I'm very partial to all the orange ones too. I came really close to doing an order from HCG this year after getting their catalog for the first time.

    For my own acquisitions I did a trip to Garden Fever recently and they still had some red tag items at 40% off. True to my resolution to bought more of stuff I already have (bought from my previous trip there). I've also expanded my Dicentra and Corydalis collection by a few species, more on that to at my blog.

  8. I know you'll post pictures when those agastaches flower! Looking forward to that. Sounds like a great place to order from. I got one order from Annie's Annuals this year so far, also excellent packaging. I prefer the ones who wrap their plants carefully in paper.

    I've been mostly going to all of the many, many plant sales we have here.

  9. Oooh the second man that I discover as a garden lover..I am gone to follow you,just curious what a man writes about his garden..
    But what I already saw, is that you have a good taste about plants.

    Sorry for my bad English, but I am from the age who have not so much English lessons at school

  10. How fun! I use birthday money for plants too. Can't wait to see those Agastache in bloom. I found the two new ones I bought last year have survived so far. I ordered from Bluestone but haven't received my order yet, and there is an Agastache coming in it. I usually buy locally but was so garden starved back in January I decided to buy a few plants.

  11. I got an email right after I commented, it was from Bluestone saying my order is on it's way :)

  12. Judging from the quantities of each plant you got, your garden design is carefully crafted for continuity...sorry to hear you've discovered less room for them, but just take a leaf out of danger garden planting philosophy and pack 'em in!
    I admire agastaches (especially the orange and pinky ones) and wish I had a few more myself - they are such performers and so easy care. Hardy Plant Society sale, here I come.

  13. I was walking the dogs and saw the UPS truck (we live out in the boonies) and KNEW it was my plant order from Song Sparrow! Yes!!! I have also ordered from High Country Garden, just got their catalog today... they have nice plant material. Santa Rosa Gardens is another that I have ordered from, and had great success.
    This Saturday is our local native plant society plant sale, REALLY looking forward to it.
    Congrats on some great looking Agastache!

  14. Oh you wicked man, photos of boxes on porches trigger my inner online plant buyer. Drat, there's goes the checking account balance. I'm a fan of Heirloom Roses (in Oregon), Nourse Farm for berries, asparagus, and rhubarb, One Green World for edibles, and Forest Farm for hard to find ornamentals. I miss Heronswood Nursery being down the road. If you're ever in Seattle, go to Well Medina Nursery in Bellevue, my absolute favorite.

  15. I do alot of mail ordering myself, because as you said you can't always find the different cultivars locally. Great choices, I love Agastache! :)

  16. It's that time of year! We got a shipment from Cistus today at the National Arboretum and I'm psyched. Boxes are the best but I like garden club sales. We live in Adelphi, Maryland near the Beltsville Agricultural Research Station. The Beltsville Garden Club numbers quite a few plant scientists among their members and some have exotic tastes in plant materials. This Saturday morning I'll see whats up.

    We're an avaricious lot aren't we?

  17. No nothing on order yet. Those are fine looking agastaches. Nothing wrong with an addiction of this kind IMHO. Happy planting.

  18. I received by "order" from Santa Rosa a week ago. Got most of them out. Still have some tenders to go. I used 3 different vendors over the past 2 years: Bluestone, High Country Gardens, and Santa Rosa this year. I have found that the later in the summer/early fall some of the plants are larger. Good luck with the hyssop. I have had varied success just like you. I lost a two year old sunset agastache this winter. I have heard a good tip: used gravel or sand around the crown to keep that area dry. It has succeeded on my thyme and penstemons.

  19. You know that blog title could go with that lame song from idol last year. Pants on the ground. lol. plants on the porch, plants on the porch.

  20. I love HGC though I do wish they'd stop sending me catalogs all the time... They're a great source for hardy cacti! Not that I think hardy cacti would blend terribly well with your garden from what we've seen...

  21. Cyndy: Forest Farm is great too…you're totally right! I got some Rodgersias from them last year and every single one emerged after being planted and were beautiful! I've never shopped with Heronswood…maybe someday…

    Darla: Yay for the Agastache! I've gotten plants using just peanuts before…and it's not ideal, but as long as the plants aren't damaged…right!

    Philip: The best!!!

    Sue: Definiltely…they sure don't look like much at first, but they really take off once they settle in!

    Danger: Don't wait! I've almost ordered from Annie's before…just to have the one thing I wanted not be available when I get around to it :-( I've learned my lesson…plants wait for no man!

    Grace: Love Forest Farm too…they have an amazing assortment of great plants!

    Ryan: They are great, aren't they…I've had good luck with them so far! You're wise to stick to your resolution…nothing makes a garden feel cohesive like some good repetition and generous-sized groupings.

    Alison: The paper wrapping is definitely a bonus, at the very least, it inspires confidence in the shipping dept!

    Catherine: Yay…so glad your Agastache survived…it's kind of hit and miss for me…but more hit than miss! I don't blame you…once those catalogues start arriving, I'm like a maniac, bookmarking pages, trying to figure out who gets my $$$ this year ;-)

    Catherine: Woohoo! They must have heard you!

    MulchMaid: hahaha…totally…they'll be cheek-by-jowl for sure! I would totally support your search for more Agastache…they would be perfectly suited to your Mediterranean garden….Rupestris is just about the lovelies form as far as foliage goes…and the flowers are so variable…gotta love 'em.

    Janet: Our plant sale is this Saturday too…can't wait…I'll be sending good luck vibes your way!

    Tom: Thanks for the tip…I'l definitely do that! I haven't tried many of those nurseries yet, but definitely agree on Forest Farm…they are wonderful…can't say enough nice things about them.

    PerennialGardener: It can be frustrating when that one thing you really want just isn't available, isn't it…thank goodness for those mail-order nurseries stepping up!

    ChrisU: Oh yeah, gotta love those sales…it's like a treasure hunt…can't wait for ours too!!!

    Patty: hahahaha…whew…glad to have another enabler of my habits ;-)

    greggo: I have heard good things about Bluestone and Santa Rosa…I'll have to give them a try later…I'm always curious about their stock. I've heard that about the gravel…I'll definitely have to try that as my Agastache quantity continues to climb ;-)

    greggo: omg…that's awesome…I just lol'd!

    Tom: hahahaha…they do send more catalogs than any other company i've ordered from, it's true! Can't say I'd be able to grow cacti on my wet, heavy clay…then again, stranger things have happened :-)

  22. There is not a happier sight. I love your title, which is exactly what I recite mentally when I find a box of plants on my porch and get insanely happy: Plants on porch!

  23. You are fortunate that you can get packages left on your porch and still be there when you get home. I have to have stuff sent to me at work, otherwise it may get stolen. Working at a garden center, I rarely order plants by mail. However, several of us at work pooled an order together from Bustani Plant Farm in OK. The had lots of unusual-to-me stuff.

  24. High Country Gardens, hands down. Of course, we live in high desert here in Colorado, so it's best that I order from a place that caters to our climate.