Friday, February 4

Sometimes it just pays to take a chance

Regular readers will know that I am planning to replant the bed in front of the house with perennials so I have spent some time over the last month or so browsing the internet to choose what I thought might like the situation and provide as good a display as possible over the late spring into autumn. Spring bulbs will provide a display earlier in the year. At the moment winter isn't being considered as if it is a repeat of this year then the ground will just be covered with snow!

I'd done my browsing and chosen what I was going to buy from about three different companies and then I stumbled upon Beth Chatto Gardens Nursery. On further browsing I found a really extensive plant list including many of the plants that I had already considered buying. So now for the risk part - the plants were just under half the price of the same plants from the company that I was going to order from. Why? I felt fairly confident that something trading under the Beth Chatto name wouldn't produce rubbish so maybe the plants were just very small or young.

I decided that I would take a risk and as I had saved some money I also decided to add some more plants to the list for the shady area under the crab apple. In an earleir post Carolyn from Carolyn's Shade Garden had suggested Pulmonaria 'Majeste' or 'Diana Clare' or Brunnera 'Jack Frost' so I added the two pulmonarias and another variety of Brunnera - Dawson's White which is similar to Jack Frost along with Lamium - White Nancy.

Once I had sent my order off I realised that I had forgotten some delivery information and so emailed that company and very quickly received a reply from an actual person - what a bonus! Then it was a case of just sit and wait.

Then yesterday a parcel arrived - time to find out whether I had done the right thing by ordering the much cheaper plants.

The plants were very well packaged with each individual plant wrapped in damp newspaper inside a polythene bag.
Also it was obvious that the plants weren't the small newly rooted cuttings that I thought I might receive.
Each plant had a really good root system and also shoots that showed each was alive and well.
As there is some work to be done before the plants go into the garden and also I have some more plants ordered from a couple of different companies - mainly as they had collections of plants that I wanted which made them a cost effective option  - we decided to pot up the plants into 6" pots and keep them in the cold greenhouse 'til we were ready to plant. (Although according to what Martyn has been reading our greenhouse is too cold to be classified as a cold greenhouse!!!) 

Besides the plants already mentioned I bought, two rudbekias - deamii and Goldsturm, two asters (Michaelmas daisies) - Monch and Purple Dome and campanula lactifolia - Pritchards Variety. My only disappoinment is that the brunnera and pulmonaria - Majeste were unavailable and so I received a refund for those. I would try ordering a couple of different varieties but with the postage and packaging costing £7.50 it would put up the cost of the two plants quite a bit. I guess I'll just have to look out at the local nurseries - who knows I may be lucky!

Now I just hope the rest of my plants are as good!

PS I have been busy scouring everywhere for a statue for under the crab apple tree but so far no joy - any I like would need a bank loan to buy! Anyone know anywhere that sells lots of reasonably priced tasteful statues in a light colour stone or stone effect?


  1. Wow, what a great find! The plants look nice and healthy! I'm sure that you are excited to get that bed planted.

    Garden statues and flower pots are getting really really expensive here too. Sooner or later you will find something that you love and won't need a bank loan for!

    Take some pictures for all of us to see :)

  2. I'll certainly chart my progress Robin! Can't wait for it to be planted up and plowering!!

  3. It will be very interesting to see the development of the new bed.
    Plants are big and they look very healthy. Great shopping!

  4. Glad your plants are all good...I worry about anything I buy mail order as pictures can sometimes be misleading so I know exactly how you were feeling...I do wonder though if they had been terrible would we as your faithful readers ever have found out about them???lol

    As for statues...seens as I don't know what your after I don't think I can be much help at this point...maybe if you did a post with a few of things you've seen and liked then we could all rally round and give you a hand in the search?:?? Sizes would be a good idea too!!

  5. It was releif that they looked so good Ana.

    If the plants had been rubbish Tanya I would certainly have been writing about it and spreading the news! I still have some to come from somewhere else so keep a lookout for that! I'll post something about the type of statue I'm wanting - although to be honest it's a case of I thought I would know when I saw it. One thing I don't want is anything that looks as though it should be in Greece or anything colourful or comic. (That's three things!) It's always easier isn't it to say what you don't want!!

  6. A very good deal and look so healthy too. I am excited to see how that area will be in spring. I have just post the seeds to you today. Hopefully it will reached it destination.

  7. Fingers crossed Diana - thanks

  8. Cheap doesn't always mean nasty. I'm glad your plants turned out to be worth the punt. As you said, the Beth Chatto name stands for an old company offering quality.

    I look forward to seeing the bed planted up.

  9. It was the name that convinced me to give it a try VH

  10. It is very good to see all of them got to you in those conditions, getting a dull plant is always a bummer. Good luck with getting them to grow

  11. Just hope they continure to do well Fer

  12. The root systems on those plants you bought are certainly well-developed! Much more mature plants than you normally get from mail-order places.
    Re statues etc - have you tried any reclamation yards? You might get something "pre-owned" at a better price than a new one. Try Yellow Pages.

  13. These look like excellent plants and should make a good show once planted. a good choice as well, some of my favourites. I have lots of brunnera in the garden and wouldn't be without it.

  14. It's worth while taking a chance sometimes, the plants look in great condition. What about looking out at garden fairs (the smaller ones rather than big RHS flower shows) for a statue? There's often good deals on at places like that.

  15. Thanks for the suggestions Mark and Jo.

    The root systems do suggest that the plants have been growing a while and are fairly mature, Mark.

    I was disappointed that I didn't get the brunnera Plotkeeper - I wanted one with lots of whute on the leaves so it would stand out in the shade.

    I'm just glad the chance paid off Jo.

  16. Goodness that was a risk worth the taking!! I can't wait to see them all settled in their new home and growing beautifully for you xxxx

  17. You and me both Carrie. Just hope that the other plants are as good!

  18. Thank you so much for linking to my blog. It is nice to know that someone actually followed my advice. I would love to know how it all turns out. It looks like you got 'Diana Clare' which is a very good pulmonaria. I hope you will be able to find either 'Jack Frost' or 'Dawson's White' ('Variegata' is the same plant) brunnera locally because you will love them too. I am always leery of mail order, but your plants are good sized and healthy. Thanks again.

  19. My pleasure Carolyn - I was grateful for the advice and it is just a pity that I am not able to order from you.

  20. Brilliant information, thanks. My limited experience buying mail order has not been good and I too am wary of buying plants unseen. Trouble is, the nearest "quality" nursery* is nearly 50 miles away so when I start to re-stock Bag End there will have to be some long distance shopping.

    * as opposed to retail emproium full of plastic with a few plants on the side which calls itself a garden centre, but there aren't many of them round here either!

  21. Lovely looking plants, I am so glad - I bought some from Beth Chatto's nursery some years ago and was delighted, and have been wondering about going back to them because other places I have been happy with are now dire. I am off to check out the plant list armed with my birthday dosh :-)

  22. I hope you find something that you want Janet, apparently I missed the part where it says you can request substitutes - I think they then ring you if your plants are not available - wish I had done that as I don't want to pay £7.50 postage just for a couple of plants and so I'm a couple of plants short for my shady area.


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