Plants in the mail!

Back when I was really into cars the running joke was about how you should always have your car parts mailed to your neighbor, so your wife doesn’t see how much you’ve been ordering online (and how much $$$)… Well, it’s no different with plants, but this time, it was fellow blogger Lance Garden Riots who had the order sent to me!

Now, to be fair, he didn’t really do it to hide it from his wife. It’s because we went in on the order together to save on shipping, and the delivery timing coincided better with a time I’d be able to receive it.

It’s always interesting to see how plants are shipped. I was impressed with this method!

plants in a shipping box

Flowers by the Sea is a mail order nursery specializing in Salvia, a genus that I find particularly interesting, not only for their utility to pollinators, but also because so many are drought-tolerant heat lovers and that’s a pretty important niche in any west coast garden especially inland.

Continuing with the unpacking, under the layer of peanuts there are plants, each in a 4″ pot, very carefully wrapped in 2-3 sheets of newsprint:

plant wrapped for shipping
Salvia pachyphylla ‘Blue Flame’

The first one is Lance’s – Salvia pachyphylla ‘Blue Flame’ aka Giant Purple Desert Sage. It doesn’t look giant here but the foliage smells wonderful – that classic desert sage scent. I can’t wait to see what Lance does with it!

plant wrapped in paper

The taller plants had been folded over inside the paper – you can sort of see that here (I’ve unfolded this one). There was very little breakage.

salvia plant in pot

The above pictured was the only plant that had any of its soil come out of the pot, and as you can see it was only a bit of a dusting.

unboxed mail-order plants
The whole shipment

Here they are all unboxed. My two are the Salvia africana-lutea ‘Kirstenbosch’ (in front with the brown flowers) and the one directly behind it which is Salvia x jamensis ‘Full Moon’. I had also ordered S. semiatrata but unfortunately it was out of stock by the time they shipped.

Now here they are one day later – they’ve unfolded a bit and I have all the confidence in the world that they’ll continue to do so and in a week there will be no remaining evidence of having been folded over for shipping. Pretty neat technique!

boink

In other Salvia-related news, I’m changing up the area by the front door which involves removing (finally, phew) the gigantic ‘Hot Lips’ as well as (at least most of) the culinary sage ‘Berggarten’. Both are very successful plants there, but dangit, I want more interesting things in that highly visible area. Honestly I’ve been sort of stuck, design-wise, in this area for a while (analysis paralysis, anyone?) but my housemate Kate got me unstuck. Basically, she said the Hot Lips is boring and the red and white color is pretty gaudy, and the culinary sage is just an oversized blob that belongs in a less prominent spot, if we’re going to have it at all. Despite my myriad excuses for leaving those plants (both of which came with the house) in place for so long, I knew immediately that she’s absolutely right.

Anyway stay tuned – here’s a “before” pic:

culinary sage plant
So very successful. But I’m over it.

Lastly, I’m happy to report that my S. discolor made it through the winter in its pot, protected under my patio right up against the house. Now it’s out in the garden looking very pretty!

Salvia discolor and that’s Digitalis ‘Honey Trumpet’ at left

Happy gardening.

4 comments on “Plants in the mail!

  1. Jealous! Not of the mail ordered plants, but of your Salvia discolor. I’ve looked everywhere in Portland (and the Flowers by the Sea catalogue when you guys were talking mail order) and just have not been able to find it. Nice work!

  2. Nice! I shop mail order plants all the time and working for Plant Lust means I’m always researching plants (and receiving copious quantities of temptation). It’s true that not all mail order nurseries are created equal but I’ve been very pleased with most of them. I’ve never purchased from Salvia by the Sea even though I’ve been getting their emails for a few years now. Good to see that their plants arrived healthy and full of promise. Nice job!

    1. I cannot fathom the temptation factor, oof! Funny enough, though, when Lance came over to pick up his plants the other day he immediately realized something I hadn’t noticed – that one of his plants was actually not what he’d ordered! Oh well, I guess nobody’s perfect. I do hope they’ll send him a specimen of the one he actually wanted though.

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