Gurney’s Seed & Nursery order

>> Thursday, November 1, 2007

Received my order from Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co.

Some plants were in plastic ‘coffins’ and all of the others were in plastic bags as bare-roots. Packing peanuts were placed on top and sides but this delivery didn’t use as many.

UPS delivered the package and as you can see it is once again damaged. The order I received last week from Michigan Bulb Co was also delivered by UPS and it too was damaged. Although no plants were hurt in either incident.

The plants all look healthy and unblemished. The instructions that came with them said they are to go into the ground immediately.

The bed I just built for them next to the deck is where they will all go.

Delphinium Blue Butterfly
Listed as dwarf Chinese delphinium, Chinese larkspur and Siberian Larkspur. It is a member of the buttercup family. It can grow to 12”-18” tall and wide as opposed to the standard Delphinium which grows up to 36” tall. It can take full sun to part shade and blooms early summer to early fall. It attracts bees, butterflies, birds. All of my favorite wildlife.

Two things I wasn’t aware of when I ordered it was that contact with foliage may irritate skin and it is short lived so reseeding is encouraged but cultivars don’t prove true to the parent. If I had known this before hand I probably would have not ordered it. So, I am going to look at this plant as one of those serendipitous things that nature throws at you, and sometimes works out knowing full well that I may have to replace the plant with something more desirable.

The flowers are good for cutting and in cutting I may be able to get another bloom. I definitely want to keep some seed heads on it so it will reseed itself just to see what comes up next.

Geranium Birch’s Double
This is one of the perennial Geraniums, a true Geranium, the Cranesbill. The ‘other’ Geranium is not really a Geranium at all but a Pelargonium, although it is a relative. As the name suggests this one has double flowers.

My wife loves Geraniums but my experience with them is that they can get leggy and straggly and therefore not very attractive. Now at this point I must confess that I probably have, in my pre-gardener awakening, confused Pelargonium with true Geraniums. Now that I have discovered the difference, I am willing to give these ground-hugging true Geraniums a chance.

There are three commonly grown Geranium species: clarkei (most common), endressii (Wargrave Pink, which is a quick spreader), and sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill, bright crimson foliage). The newest Geraniums are hybrids, and there are many, that have been bred to bring out desirable traits such as a true blue flowers (Johnson’s Blue), a neater growth habit (Rozanne), height (2’ tall Patricia), and early blooming (Ann Folkard).

Double Geraniums are the newest hybrids, such as Birch’s Double, Double Jewel (upright habit great for pots), and Southcombe Double (also good for containers).

Birch’s Double foliage turns red in the fall but is not listed as a sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill). It is actually a himalayense which will grow to 14”-16” tall and blooms from early summer to autumn.

The plant will spread out among other taller plants and I have planted them between Monarda Jacob Cline and Stella de Oro Daylily. It sounds like it could be a good groundcover. The daylily might be a little too small for it but I’ll have to wait and see. After all, part of gardening is the fun of experimentation.

The planting instructions says to plant 1” below the soil so along with a good layer of mulch they should come through Utah’s winter just fine.

Monarda Jacob Cline
Aka Bee Balm, Bergamot, Oswego Tea, Horsemint. The many different names attests to how popular the plant has been throughout American history. It is native to eastern North America and its leaves were used by Oswego Indians of western New York to make tea. They shared its use with early American settlers who gave it the name Oswego Tea. It was used as a substitute for imported tea after the Boston Tea Party. The Shakers thought the tea effective in treating colds and sore throats and many have steamed the aromatic plant and inhaled the fumes to clear sinuses.

The genus was later named for the 16th century Spanish botanist Nicolas Monardes.

The name Bergamot was given because the scent closely resembles that of the bergamot orange.

Horsemint is similar to this Monarda, didyma, but is actually another Monarda, punctata, which is very similar in growth but its flowers are a lighter purplish color.

Herbalist have used this plant to treat nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, antiseptic, flatulence and insomnia. Its flowers can be used in salads, its leaves can be used in tomato dishes and as a substitute for sage in stuffing. No mater what the name, its herbal qualities and ability to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, along with its beautiful deep red flowers make it a very useful addition to any garden.

Monarda can grow to 5’ tall and, since it is a member of the mint family, it can spread rapidly, especially in shady damp areas.

Jacob Cline is the most mildew resistant and rust resistant cultivar on the market.

Daylily Stella de Oro
This daylily has once been named Perennial of the Year. It has outstanding color and is a definite rebloomer, more than any other in its family. As is typical of daylilies, the blooms last one day but there are many on strong stems. They can be used for cut flowers, edging, borders or in mixed containers.

Stella de Oro is a compact daylily reaching only 12” tall in May-July. The flowers are fragrant and the plant forms a dense clump that can functions as a groundcover. It is also drought-tolerant, a real bonus. I am really looking forward to seeing this plant bloom. This is my first daylily.

Lavender Hardy
What more can be said about Lavender. It is a very popular herb mainly for its fragrance. Running your hand over the tops of the plants fills the air with a sweet aroma that makes you think of English gardens and a sweet, unpolluted countryside. It has been used for over 2,500 years as a stewing herb, a mood tonic, an insect repellant, and a food flavoring. Ancient Egyptians used it in the mummification process. Medieval and Renaissance laundresses were called "lavenders" because they used lavender in the storage of clean laundry. The Pilgrims brought the plant to North America in the early 1600s; at that time, lavender flowers sewn in a cap were thought to "comfort the brain very well."

Some lavenders are ‘hardy’ and some are ‘tender’. The tender lavenders are best grown in pots while the hardy lavenders can be grown outdoors as perennials. The best way to determine which is which is by checking the botanical name. The most widely grown hardy lavender is English lavender which comes in two varieties, ‘Munstead’ (18” tall with lilac-colored flowers) and ‘Hidcote’ (16” tall with deep purple-blue flowers). This plant, from Gurney’s, was not labeled as Munstead or Hidcote. The height listed for this plant is 15”-20” with purple flowers. My guess is that maybe they plant one or both varieties together and since they are so similar it doesn’t really matter which one is sold. My rookie eyes cannot tell the difference and I’ll wager the fragrance is just as sweet with either one.


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