The Bluestone Perennials catalog came today. This company sells plants in three- and six-cell packs at lower prices. I cut my baby gardening teeth on Bluestone’s plants. They were common enough that I could be sure they were easy to grow, and affordable enough that I wasn’t afraid of killing them.
Way back in 1987 or 1988, when I first ordered from them, the plants always arrived in excellent shape. In later years I would rate them more like good to fair. None of them have ever arrived dead, like some from White Flower Farm once did, but sometimes they are a bit rootbound or wilted. Nothing that some TLC can’t fix. I would certainly not rule out ordering from them again, if they had what I wanted.
The thing is, most of my beds are pretty well filled now, so I’m only filling the occasional gap, not repopulating a border. As a result I’m usually only going after a single plant, not 3 or 6 of something. And as I learn more about plants and gardening, I must confess I lean more towards the latest and greatest than the tried and true. Not that I despise traditional, common, or old-fashioned plants–I’d just rather swap for them, and save my gardening dollars for the one-of-a-kind plant.