Monday, October 22, 2007

Shooting Star Nursery: Found new mailorder nursery for native plants, especially the Strawberry bush, Euonymus americanus

Euonymus americana Hearts-a-bustin Photo by hickoryrose1, Webshots Outdoors.

I was so impressed by photos of the strawberry bush, Euonymus americanus on several blogs, Tangled Branches Cultivated October 6, 2007 post, Rurality October 2, 2007 post and Ledge and Gardens October 10, 2007 post, I looked for an online nursery to purchase the plant and found the Shooting Star Nursery which specializes in native plants.

Their plants are very reasonably priced so I'm interested to see what the size and quality of plants that are delivered but I took a chance and ordered a bunch. They had several kinds of nursery grown (not wild gathered) Cypripedium orchids for and unheard of price of $10.00. The Strawberry bush was $8.00 and I bought some other plants like meadow rue, dutchman's breeches and more.

The shipping was very reasonable too which makes me think that the plants will be very small but I will let you know about their quality when they arrive.


Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

The suspense is killing me, Ki. Hope this will turn out to be a positive experience for you. It's such a downer when you've ordered plants and they arrive dead or in a coma.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

I'm pretty sure that Layanee's plant is Euonymus atropurpureus. From the looks of it, E. atropurpureus is a taller, more attractive plant. The individual fruits are maybe not quite as interesting as E. americanus, but they make up for it in quantity.

I got my E. americanus from Niche Gardens, but you'll have a hard time finding it on their site because they misspelled it. I'm not wildly enthusiastic about Niche Gardens - they have a good selection of plants, but not always in the best condition and usually quite small. Another nursery that offers E. americanus is Woodlanders. I don't have any reason to dislike Woodlanders so far.

When I saw Layanee's plant, I immediately thought of bittersweet, and sure enough, Celastrus is in the same family as Euonymus. I noticed that Shooting Star nursery lists E. atropurpureus, but it's out of stock. If you have a good experience with them, I'll check back later to see if they're offering it.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Layanee said...

Ki: Thanks for the heads up on the Shooting Star Nursery!

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Layanee said...

Entangled: It could be E. atropurpureus. What is the defining feature which differentiates it from the E. americanus? Thanks for that heads up!

6:24 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

I've had some pretty bad experiences buying plants from mailorder companies in the past Yolanda Elizabet. So I'm a bit wary when the plants are so cheap but I'm also a sucker for unusual plants so I guess I'm an easy touch. Surprisingly, some of the plants that looked to be in really terrible condition actually outperformed ones bought at a local nursery so sometime looks can be deceiving. I'll let you know about my purchases as soon as they arrive.


I didn't know that there were two types of strawberry bushes Entangled. I checked to see what I bought and was surprised there are actually three different Euonymous for sale at Shooting Star Nursery, E.americanus,
Euonymus obovatus (running strawberry bush) and Euonymus atropurpureus (Wahoo) which was temporarily out of stock. I'll have to do some research to see if I want to buy those other plants too. Thanks for the sources for native plants.

Good grief there are a lot of different Euonymus!
E. hamiltonianus, E. europaeus, E. cornutus, E. latifolius, E. sachalinensis. E. fortunei, E. alatus, E. Euonymus verrucosa, E. bungeanus, E. myrianthus, E. phellomanus, E. planipes in addition to the ones already mentioned. It would be fun to have a collection of all of them.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Layanee,
I'll let you know about the quality and size of the plants shipped but Shooting Stars' prices are hard to beat. And I commend them for stating up front that their plants are nursery grown rather than wild collected, although you have to take their word for it.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Entangled said...

Ki, and all: There's a Euonymus collector in the Netherlands with a web page containing a botanical key and lots of photos. I can't imagine how much space would be required to have such a collection.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Entangled, much space and right growing conditions. I assume all the Euonymus require semi-shade as they are understory plants. You would need an estate to grow that many plants. That Dutch collector sure has a tremendous collection. It would be a wonderful experience seeing them all in bloom though. I'll be happy with one or two specimens.

I just got a call from Shooting Star. Apparently it's too late to ship the orchids now but they will ship in spring. They will send me the rest of my order which includes the Euonymus but the woman I talked to gave me a somewhat cryptic reply as to whether I should re-order the orchids in spring or just have it back ordered until they can ship the plants. She said "why don't you re-order in spring when you see the quality of the plants we send you now". Was she implying that the plants were in bad condition, small and I would be disappointed or that they would be nice and big and a great bargain so I would want to order more things for spring planting? Well the plants will be shipped soon so I should know in a week or two.

I am curious too about the question Layanee asked. What is the difference between the E. americanus and E. atropurpureus? Do you know, Entangled?

5:35 PM  
Blogger Entangled said...

I wrote up what I found out about the various Euonymus species in the comments over on my blog - I think under the Caterpillars and Butterflies post. That's probably not a good place for it. I think I'll do a whole post about native Euonymus. Anyhow, the prickly-looking fruit capsule on E. americanus distinguishes it from E. atropurpureus, which has a smooth fruit capsule.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Thanks Entangled. I hope you do write an article about native Euonymus.

It is interesting and confusing that the native Euonymus is related to the common shrub used in landscaping, i.e., E. fortunei, Wintercreeper and E. alatus the Burning Bush. We had/have both plants in our yard and I would never have thought they were in the same genus as the natives. The former a legacy plant which I ripped out because of a massive scale infestation and the rather ugly Burning Bush which we keep mostly as a wind break. I'm looking forward to receiving my E. americanus and hopefully E. atropurpureus will be available in spring.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

Good luck, Ki. I have had mostly positive mail order experiences. A few of the trees that arrived as pathetic whips are now massive and beautiful specimens. It was the only way I could get some of the rarer plants I wanted to grow at the estate.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Chris,
It is amazing the resiliency of some plants being able to come back from what seems like sure death. I once received 10 free trees from Arbor Day. They were literally dried sticks throw into a plastic bag without any wrapping or moisture around the roots but I planted them anyway. One plant miraculously sprouted and it resembled the Washington Hawthorn which was one of the trees they were sending. I let it grow one year in the temporary nursery then transplanted it to it's permanent site only to discover that it was a birch. The birch was not one of the free trees mentioned so how it got in the shipment I don't know but it showed me how tough some plants really are.

The local nurseries usually just carry the most popular plants so you rarely find really interesting specimens. Indeed, mailorder is the only way to buy some of the native plants.

Do you have some native Euonymous at the estate?

6:54 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Holy crap! Cypripedium for $10?! Thanks very much for this link! I am surprised that they told you it was "too late" to ship the orchids though, because when I ordered my showy ladyslipper, the guy made me wait til' fall. Hmmm...I'm looking forward to your post!

11:55 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hey Lisa, I know of mail order catalogs that want more than $100 for those orchids! I just got my order of the plants Shooting Star could send now and I'm very happy with the order and especially with their reasonable prices. I just hope their popularity won't make the prices skyrocket! And you gotta love it, the plants came in a Budweiser box! ;) My kind of people and recyclers too. Have taken photos and will do the post soon.

7:43 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

"...hope their popularity won't make the prices skyrocket!"...yea, I was worried about that, too-so I placed a large order to be shipped in spring to reserve the stuff I want. Heh, when you see a good deal, you gotta grab it before it gets away, y'know? :)

6:38 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Lisa, When the woman called about shipping my partial order she told me I should place another order for the orchids in spring (Feb) rather than having them keep a partial order in the books. Now I'm thinking that this may not be a good idea at all. I should keep my big mouth shut or rather not advertise it all over the blogosphere so they don't sell out or raise their prices. Luckily my blog's readership is quite exiguous so I think I'll be ok ordering in EARLY spring.

6:44 PM  

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