Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Update on order from Shooting Star Nursery

I placed my order with Shooting Star Nursery online and received the plants within a week. They called to tell me that the Cypripedium orchids I ordered wouldn't be ready until next spring but they could send me the rest of my order or opt to have everything sent in the spring. Well being an instant gratification sort, I opted to have the partial order sent.

Last Friday the UPS man left a bright red Budweiser box which turned out to be my order from Shooting Star. So that's one way they cut down on the cost of shipping and they have a recycling ethic which already sets them apart from other mail order nurseries in my book.

I opened the box and everything was wrapped extremely well with recycled shredded paper filling the voids, brown butcher paper wrapping the plants and pots and enclosing more shredded paper around each plant.

The plants were fairly small but the pots were large. Much bigger and taller than I had expected from the usual ones you get through mailorder.

The gangly Euonymous americanus came in the largest pot which was about 6x6" and about 8" deep.

The other plants a Penstemon hirsutus, Penstemon smallii and a Meadow Beauty (Handsome Harry)
Rhexia virginica were in 4x4" 6" deep pots.

Though the plants were small I believe the large pots allowed good root growth so I'm very optimistic that the plants will do well.

I always wanted to obtain a Meadow Beauty ever since I saw a picture of one in a wildflower book. I wondered if it needed full sun or part shade so I did some online research and found that it normally grew in a boggy but sunny environment. Both of my large botanical tomes had nothing on Rhexia which was amazing to me. I wonder why the omission? I will have to find a wet spot in the yard with acid yet sandy soil in full sun. It won't be easy to meet all those conditions. Hopefully the plant won't be so intolerant of less than ideal conditions. Here's a great link to see photos of the Meadow Beauty.


Blogger Vanillalotus said...

I hope your little plant grow up to be big and strong. Keep us updated on there well being.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

The Euonymus looks bigger than the one that I bought from Niche Gardens. Mine grew fairly rapidly, and is now about 3' tall.

Rhexia virginica is a very pretty plant. I was surprised to find it growing wild at the edge of the woods in central Virginia. There was another plant some distance away which I identified as R. mariana, but that USF link makes me wonder if I got it right. Some of the photos they're showing for R. virginica look just like what I believed was R. mariana.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

It's good to see that your plants arrived safe and sound and with good rootstock on them. That Meadow Beauty sure lives up to its name!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Vanilla Lotus,
They say fall is the best time to plant and the roots were nicely developed so I'm hoping they'll survive the winter. I am already looking forward to spring!

Hi Entangled,
Well, that's really encouraging news. The roots of the Euonymus were well developed and not crowded in the large pot so I'm feeling very positive about the purchase. I hope they have the E. atropurpureus in the spring.

I didn't even know there was another Rhexia! I'll have to look it up. I prepared the soil in a little ditch by adding sand and planted the meadow beauty. I will add coffee grounds to increase the acidity. I just hope the sand an clay won't make concrete like someone said it would.

Here's some info from the 2Bnthewild.com site:
"Handsome Harry or Virginia Meadow Beauty (R. virginica) has an almost square stem which may be hairy or almost hairless and up to a meter tall with toothed leaves which can be ovate or elliptical and have 3 (sometimes 5) prominent veins. The flower petals are a rich pink or purple and are somewhat lopsided. There are eight prominent stamens with yellow anthers. It can be found from Ontario to Florida.
Awn-petalled Meadow Beauty (R. aristosia) is similar to above except for having narrow leaves and sharp pointed petals. It is found mostly in pine barrens.
Savannah or Smooth Meadow Beauty (R. alifanus) has a hairless stem which is often unbranched and a hairy hypantium. The anthers are curved sharply.
Yellow Meadow Beauty (R. lutea) has yellow petals and can be 40 cm (16") tall. It is found in low pinelands and bogs from Florida to Texas and as far north as North Carolina."

And: "Maryland Meadowbeauty (Rhexia mariana)
Maryland Meadowbeauty is also known as Pale Meadow Beauty..." There must be other taxonomic differences but it didn't mention the distinguishing features. I also didn't realize it grew so tall.

Hello Yolanda Elizabet,
I was struck by the wonderful look of the flower. For a moment I thought I might have mistakenly ordered a meadow rue (Thalictrum) instead and was feeling very disappointed until I confirmed I ordered the right plant. So I was elated, disappointed then elated again in a span of five minutes. ;) How nutty can you get over plants?!

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Gina said...

That's exciting...looking forward to pics later on! G :O)

10:10 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Gina,
I usually like to know exactly what the flower looks like before I buy it but it's also exciting to wait to see what kind of flowers you actually get from the plantings. The photos of the flowers either online or in a catalog have not always been very accurate. Will post pics later whether good or bad. :)

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Nan Ondra said...

Great post, Ki. It's ever so helpful to see how nurseries pack their plants for shipping, and to see the size and quality of the plants they send. Good luck with your new acquisitions!

10:06 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Thank you for your comment Nan. It would be nice to set up a database of online nurseries one day where anyone could add their buying experiences. Sort of like a plant buying wiki. The only trouble is, I don't know how you keep out the unscrupulous from placing false information on the database. With the exception of the Rhexia which needed special site preparation, I don't doubt that the other plants will do well. Thanks for wishing me good luck, sometimes the healthiest plants turn out to be duds.

4:02 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

I am very happy to see the condition of your order, because I got so excited over inexpensive ladyslippers, that I went online and placed a large order with them for spring delivery! They had so many cool plants with wildlife benefit, I couldn't decide and bought EVERYTHING I wanted...oh well, some girls like jewelry, I like plants! Oh, and Dave's Garden has a mailorder nursery ratings page all set up...very informative!

6:20 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hey Lisa,
How can inert minerals compare with a living jewel? I hope you left some plants for me to order. Thanks for the Dave's link. The list isn't very extensive yet and doesn't include Shooting Star Nursery but I won't add it until I place and receive my orchid order in the spring! ;) Since you seem to buy a lot of plants online you should be a great resource for nursery ratings all by yourself!?
I bet if we queried all the garden bloggers about their mailorder nursery experiences, we could come up with an extensive list of ratings. To much time away from garden chores from me but it would be an invaluable resource imo.

10:53 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Heh...you have stumbled upon yet another neurosis of mine...I DO have a list of all the nurseries I've ordered from, when, what, and how it went. "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want"...yea.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Maybe you could publish your list so we can all learn from your experience Lisa. Unfortunately my record keeping is so lousy as to be non-existent but I could possibly conjure up some information from the recesses of my mind and produce a list too.

6:32 PM  

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