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Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 13 2017 at 1:59 AM

Kathi and Michael Rock  (Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

We received our first mail order plants today from Santa Rosa Gardens and I must say that I'm a little disappointed (Kermit, you have us so spoiled!) I have ordered from this nursery in the past and the plants have been huge, lush, and beautiful, but sadly not this time. The Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' plants were for the most part fine, but the 'Hot Lips' and other Salvia microphyllas were quite small and in some cases, not completely healthy looking---some yellowed and shriveled leaves, etc., but the worst were the Cardinal Flower plants (Lobelia cardinalis)---as we know, Cardinal Flower needs a lot of moisture--well, the rosettes (that's all you get---no plant) fell out of the pots in completely dry, powdery soil! I have ordered hosta from them in the past and they were huge, but one or two in today's order were like little shoots that immediately fell out of the completely dry soil. I know that you must have realistic expectations of mail order plants, but I felt that for the most part, these plants were not up to par.

When the plants arrived, I was busy with something else, but instinct told me to open the boxes immediately and I'm glad I did. I immediately soaked everything and can only hope that it will all live. I remember buying Cardinal Flower once at a plant sale that were just rosettes and they never grew or did anything and eventually died, so those could be a loss.

Luckily, we have other large salvias from a local nursery and plan to purchase more over the weekend. If there was an emoticon, I would put one here!!
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

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Penny
(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 14 2017, 8:43 AM 

Kathi
That is so discouraging! I haven't had the time to order anything this year with all the renovating chaos in the house but I did manage to get a couple of small Black & Blue plants at our farmers' market yesterday. Thankfully I also overwintered my David Verity and made a few cuttings and I did sow one container of Lady in Red and Coral Nymph a few weeks ago out on the porch. They have all sprouted but still too small to plant out. I am glad that I let my columbine reseed last summer because they are all in bloom now.





Penny
N.Ton.,NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
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Joni
(Login Yodlei44)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 16 2017, 6:57 PM 

I've never ordered from this company before but mail-order doesn't appear what it used to be, except for a few. Bustani also had us very spoiled & Cottage Garden's plants are very similar in size & condition to theirs. I was quite surprised again, even though they didn't have some I wanted, but I will continue my annual day trip as I think it is worth it. Sorry you had bad luck.

I'm surprised you can't find 'Black & Blue' locally. I find it locally many places but that is about the only "good" Salvia I do find. I could also get 'Hot Lips' from a few places & only bought 1 as I haven't been hugely happy with that plant. Too brittle & loose.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5
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Brett (KY)
(Login afvn71)
Hummingbird Lover 2014

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 19 2017, 5:02 PM 

Kathi,
I decided last weekend my life isn't complete without more agastaches so I ordered two Tutti Frutti from Santa Rosa. They have good prices, $6.95 each for the plants, and very reasonable shipping, $6.95 for 3 day FEDEX. Annie's Annuals wants $25 just for shipping two agastache. They arrived today; big, healthy plants standing a foot tall above the pots. My pots, like yours, were on the alarming side of dry. Many shippers, as you know, try to keep pots moist with wet moss or paper or plastic wraps on the pots. Santa Rosa does none of the above. Still, I give them a B grade for big, inexpensive plants and cheap shipping. My other mail order grades for this year are:
A: Flowers By The Sea
Select Seeds
Colonial Creek Farm

C: Bluestone Perennials - Good plants, design flaw packing. Bluestone uses a cardboard version of the excellent Select Seeds plastic shipping container. The Select Seeds plastic puts a gently rounded lip next to the plant crown. The Bluestone version puts a sharp cardboard edge next to the crown that can, and does, cut the plant stems during transit. I've ordered from Bluestone twice and had the same issue both times.
Brett

 
 
Marilyn Gruber
(Login MarilynGruber)
Hummingbird Lover 2015

Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 19 2017, 10:43 PM 

Kathi and Michael,

I hope your plants have recovered. I took your advice and ordered the orange butterfly bush (along with 6 other plants) from Colonial Creek Farms and all arrived in good condition, each pot had a piece of wet,crumbled paper in it and each flower pot wrapped in plastic to keep plant/soil in place. As you told me, the plants are not real large. But each little plants is probably 6-7 inches high and looks real healthy. Now, if this Wisconsin weather would improve I then could plant them. But down in the 40's again tonight (last night a frost in some areas). Thanks for the suggestion and hope all your future orders arrive in better condition.

Marilyn
Marilyn Gruber
Wisconsin
Zone 5

 
 

Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 20 2017, 1:29 AM 

Thank you Brett and Marilyn. So far, all of the Santa Rosa Garden plants are alive except for one penstemon which got overwatered and died (and that was probably my fault.) However with this very cold and wet weather which will continue for the next week, who knows how many will still be alive? (especially the tender plants---not worried about Cardinal Flower and Hosta, of course.) Some of the blaze salvias were only a few inches high and would not stand up when planted in the ground---they still look very sad. Brett, you are correct, they don't do anything to maintain the moisture of the dirt in the pot---all the plants were falling out of the pots and the soil in the pots was as dry as dust.

I received another plant order today, from Accents For Home and Garden. They often take a bad rap, but I've always had fantastic luck with their plants and they are very strong and well rooted and never die---they put packing tape over the top of the pot to preserve the moisture. I also feel that their plant prices and shipping are very reasonable and fair.

Marilyn, the plants from Colonial Creek Farm are very small, but these plants grow so fast, especially the 'Orange Sceptre' Butterfly Bush (we have an overwintered one that grew to about 5 feet). I have always been very pleased with their plants and I often use them in containers (and the overwintered plants from those containers go in the ground.)
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

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Joni
(Login Yodlei44)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 23 2017, 7:25 PM 

I have always had good luck with Accents for Home & Garden (Peppers Greenhouse) as well. Plants are small but very healthy & grow quite fast. I bought my 'Orange Sceptre' from them & it didn't flower the first year but over-wintered well inside & was very tall & flowered very well that following spring. I still haven't cut it back yet, nor taken it outside since we've had such cool temps on & off but it is about 3 feet tall.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5
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Ann
(Login ahutch)
Hummingbird lover 2013

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 26 2017, 4:40 PM 

Kathi,
I have been getting plants from Santa Rosa gardens for years and, like you said, they have been huge, lush plants and the shipping costs were small. Loose soil has always been an irritation but I never had a plant arrive dry. Sorry for your experience.
One improvement that I have noticed this year is that they are using fabric sleeves instead of the netting they had been shipping their stock in.
For several years I have been ordering my 'Amistad' from Burpee and have never been disappointed. While this year's crop had to be folded over and lopped to fit the box and were an iota smaller than other years' shipments, they came soil intact and damp without any sign of stress. I had ordered seeds, perennials and three Amistads. They came in three separate shipments, all in great shape.
However, the leader for plant quality and careful shipping is the order I got from Almost Eden, my first.
Which hostas did you order from Santa Rosa?
Ann
Wauwatosa, WI
Zone 5

 
 

Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 28 2017, 2:38 AM 

Ann,

We find ourselves planting more and more hostas in our yard because of increased amounts of shade (most of it is beyond our control).

I love gardening with hostas, but realize that they will never be a top tier hummingbird plant---however, they grow well in our yard (especially this year with a milder winter and such a wet spring.) We have all of the other shade plants for hummingbirds, especially Jewelweed, which loves our soil and would take over our yard if we let it.

These are the hostas I ordered from Santa Rosa Gardens. The plants were ok, but nothing to write home about:

-Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
-Hosta 'Stained Glass'
-Hosta 'Earth Angel'

I did receive some very beautiful hosta plants from www.newgardenplants.com this season. Many were almost full grown plants and some had flower buds:

http://www.newgardenplants.com/search.aspx?type=shadeperen&category=11&categoryname=Hostas

-Hosta 'Lakeside Cupcake'
-Hosta 'Queen Josephine'
-Hosta 'Wide Brim'
-Hosta 'Blue Umbrella'
-Hosta 'Paradigm'

Some of the above varieties from both nurseries are already growing in our yard. Every season, I like to try a new cultivar or a "designer" hosta, just for variety. I love to order hosta from Green Mountain Hosta---they send really beautiful plants:

https://www.greenmountainhosta.com/catalog/

It is challenging to have a specific soil type and to be constrained by so much shade, but we manage and create some beauty and food for hummingbirds at the same time.

By the way, all of my Santa Rosa Garden plants are still alive (even a penstemon, which I thought was totally dead, but it revived when I planted it in a container), but a few of the Blaze salvias are just hanging on and haven't grown at all since they were planted.

Brett,

I did receive our Select Seeds order and I love the new packaging. I am really happy with their plants this season.

I'm glad to hear that you received large plants from Santa Rosa Gardens---I have ordered from them before and it was definitely the case, but not this time (with the exception of the Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' plants---they were the largest and in the best shape.

Marilyn,

I plan to order from Colonial Creek Farm a little later in the season. They send small, but very strong plants that have done well for us. Glad to hear that your order worked out so well.

Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

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This message has been edited by kathirock on May 28, 2017 2:42 AM


 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 28 2017, 2:34 PM 

I recently ordered a couple lobelia cardinalis from michigan bulb as they were cheap $2 with cheap shipping. When I received them I noticed they were wrapped in plastic and appeared all but dead and I notified the company and gave them a piece of my mind on how plants should be wrapped. As it turned out they re-imbursed my credit card ,,,, but I had planted the LC and they are now alive, but small.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

May 29 2017, 1:51 AM 

Steve,

At the very beginning of our gardening experience, over 18 years ago, we used to try and order things from Michigan Bulb---it seemed like such a great deal. They always sent us horrible plants that either looked dead or died soon after planting. I had to learn the hard way that you almost always get what you pay for and that it makes your life easier to go with a tried and true online company or a quality local nursery (occasionally, we will find something good at a big box store, but at least you can look at the plant in person and know what you are getting.)

I would be interested in hearing about whether these plants actually end up making it.
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

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Joni
(Login Yodlei44)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Santa Rosa Gardens Order

June 1 2017, 11:28 PM 

I'm glad I can get Lobelia cardinalis from multiple sources, even from big box stores sometimes. I actually found Lobelia 'Starship Deep Rose' for $2 a pot at a local place & bought 2 for my bog.

I'm with Kathi on Michigan Bulb. Extremely tiny & never survived. It was many years ago. There's another similar company that I can't recall at present.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5b
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