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It is amazing what a difference mulch makes in a garden. It makes it look all neat and pretty again for a new season. Also – it is killer to spread. Especially alone. I am going to be sooooo sore tomorrow. But I got almost all the mulching done. All we have left to do is around the baby Crape Myrtles in the front and behind the side garden around the vinca and juniper. I plan on putting some on the veggie garden after I’m finished planting there, too.
We went to the local tech center horitcultural department’s plant sale on Saturday (me, my mom and my aunt). Then we went to an Amish greenhouse nearby. Between the two I got a bunch of annuals, a few perennials, some cherry, roma, and better boy tomatoes. (Amish guy didn’t have peppers, so I’m going to have to get those from somewhere else). I got a lot of stuff! I got it almost all planted on Saturday, then I ran out of potting soil. So I had to go to the Greenery today to get more and finish that up. (Sidenote: no one ever tell me I need to purchase more pots. This picture doesn’t even show all of them – there were probably 7 or 8 with stuff in them already when I took it.) I also bought a few fun herbs they had (as if I needed more, I know). Pineapple sage, lemon verbena, and lemon grass (I knew I wanted that one because I thought it would look pretty in a cobalt blue pot I have, plus I want to use it).
So I potted stuff yesterday after buying it, finished potting today, planted perennials today, and mulched most everything today. I also sowed the rest of the seeds for the year (the ones that will start outside). I used all pots from the stuff I has just bought and planted – I feel sooooo resourceful!) So I am now starting seeds outside for opal (purple) basil, zinnia, cosmos, poppy, cilantro. Plus I potted up better the rest of my first seedlings. Going to give the rest of these away gradually: mixed heirloom tomatoes, common sage, oregano, nasturtium.
I’ve noticed that my tulips aren’t blooming as much this year. I guess maybe I need to pull them up and replace them next year. That makes me rather sad, because they’re sooooo pretty. But I guess that’s what you gotta do. Might give them one more year. We’ll see. Even the ones from Breck’s didn’t all bloom, but I think that’s because I had them in pots all winter in a location that was too shady. I also noticed that are a few little babies of my daylily and blackberry lily seeds I planted last year! That’s kind of exciting – though I’m not really sure why I bothered since my daylilies get so giant that I could safely divide them each year (I’ve done that every year so far, but don’t plan on it this year).
Soooooo can I have tomorrow off from work as a reward for all my hard work? It’s supposed to rain tonight, so that should be good for the garden.
When I first set out to order some plants through the mail, I was totally unsure of how it would work out. Will the things live? How will they arrive? How on earth do they ship them in one piece? Hopefully this may answer some first-time mail orderers’ questions. This is the order from Bluestone Perennials detailed here. The order came on April 9, which is a very good planting time for zone 7. A bit early for veggies (end of the month is better for them), but fine for perennials. Note that the Springhill Nursery order I placed at the same time came a bit early – when there was snow on the ground, in fact! (My plants from that order do seem to be doing well despite that, though!)
1. How are they boxed?
Bluestone packs theirs in a large size box – large enough to line all the plants you’ve ordered on the bottom. My mail lady leaves mine on the back step (sidenote: I plan on leaving my mail lady some seedlings in the mailbox next week as a thank you for handling my many mail orders!) On the box is a certification for passing various agro inspections (japanese beetle, gypsy moth). Inside is a very informative welcome package. They give you planting tips, explain that some plants have been cut back to ease shock while mailing, and even offer free shipping on your next order if you mail back the box of packing peanuts so they can reuse them! (I may do this.)
2. How are they packed inside?
Bluestone uses packing peanuts (non CFC ones and all that stuff, plus as stated above, they’ll reuse them if you send them back). In the welcome package it explains that they’ve tried more “friendly” materials, but nothing works nearly as well as packing peanuts. (Springhill’s box is a bit different – they have little plastic cells that each set of plants goes in, so they can stack their plants on top of each other. There are holes on the outside of their boxes, but not on Bluestone’s.)
3. So are the plants ok in there after traveling all that way?
Yes! All of mine were perfectly fine! It’s kind of fun digging around in the peanuts trying to find them all. The plants were even very moist still (some a bit mossy, in fact), so its clear they give them a very good watering before sending them on their way. I could also see where some of mine had been cut back to reduce shock and breakage – all very healthy looking plants. Each plant sports a label with the name of the plant and (most of) your name, so its very clear what’s what. (For another Springhill comparison, theirs arrived rather dry and not as healthy looking, but I was still able to revive all but one I’ve ordered from there. My mom has lost a few from Springhill but has gotten refunds for all.)
4. So what’d you get!
Glad you asked. A link to the original post outlining why I bought what I bought is here. Below is a pic of the goods. The violas belong to my mom (how are violas different than pansies? One a biennial and one a perennial?) and everything else is mine.
- After unboxing, I went to put something in the shed and saw two wild violets! They were too cute and I knew my hubby was going to cut grass the next day, so I dug them up and planted them in the new herb garden to enjoy for a while longer.
- WARNING – NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! Bunny carnage. Note red pepper sprinkled EVERYWHERE.
- Tulips are coming up! I think this is one of the ones featured in my header image from last year! Also a second tulip with a little garden stake that I HAD to but that reads “tip toe through the tulips” – love it!
- The seedlings enjoying a bask in the sun. My sacrifices have been doing OK, so I think these will go out for good next week. They’re prepared!
If you found this post helpful, drop me a comment and let me know!