Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Walters Gardens Shipment

Lots of cardboard to recycle
The shelves got installed in the nick of time, this morning. Mr. UPS came with a shipment of 9 boxes this afternoon, just after 4. Called Walters Gardens at the last minute yesterday and got the plants put onto the right credit card and asked them for a credit application, so I can get some time to pay off the account. Had the UPS man help me put the boxes right into the back of the van and I was off to Vicki's greenhouse. Got the boxes loaded onto the shelves and began unpacking. Think I'll try and get Vicki to save the cardboard so we can put it on top of the future garden beds, cover with mulch and have some good weed-free soil in a season.

Snowdrop anemone and goatseard
The unpacking was not as much of the pleasant surprise that the Raker's shipment was. Walters Gardens is one of the world's largest perennial producers and I've been amazed with their quality. The plants are fine but they don't look so glorious as they do in the summer. Most are sticks and looking a bit gnarly. May take up to six weeks to make a good-sized show, but they'll grow. I got shorted one of the bleeding hearts, so I'm going to have to call to make sure it is included in their future shipments.

Corydalis and Brunnera Jack Frost
Walter's is great for their packing. Every plant arrived intact and with a full cell of soil. I haven't yet unpacked the bare-root stock, Pam and I will do that tomorrow. We already ran out of soil from Hortmark, so we are going to make a trip to Telly's in Troy to pick up some Sunshine Mix LC1. This mix doesn't have the microrrhizae or root stimulating microbes that the Hortmark mix has but it will do so we don't have to make the day-long journey to Capac. I save money on soil if I buy it up north, but the gas and lunch money may make up the difference.

Poppy starts
Some of the flats had top growth and looked fairly good. The Corydalis and Brunnera looked fine as did the poppies. Tried to grow Corydalis from divisions from Chris' garden last year and failed miserably, so these plants look like they're off to a good start. I love Corydalis lutea for its sweet little yellow blooms all summer in a shady spot. Can reseed all over the place but is pulled up quite easily.

Viola Rebecca and Baptisia
The poppy, above, is a pale salmon called Queen Alexandra. I love poppies. Their bloom season is so short but they are so dramatic in the garden. Plus you can use the space they occupied in spring with some summer-flowering annuals since they die and go underground for most of the summer.

The Baptisia was just stems with a few leaves but the Violas looked OK. They were a bit yellowed on what looked like where they took cuttings. The wholesale growers use these flats sometimes as stock plants so they can take cuttings to propagate with. On the whole the shipment looks good but will take longer than the Raker's material to grow out.

The greenhouse was a pleasant 60F today and only had gotten to a low of 40F. My smaller greenhouse which had been running warmer was only 50F today and I had the heater on high. I think the mass of the bigger greenhouse is holding some heat and not letting it go off at night as much. We don't have any thermal mass in Vicki's greenhouse but it is finally warm enough to do some growing.

Pam and I will have our hands full tomorrow - getting soil, potting starts and going to the big greenhouse to do some transplanting as well. Pam is scheduled to work Friday so we can always do some more transplanting then. The greenhouse hours are early on Fridays, so we can get the work done in the morning instead of waiting until 4pm when we're both worn out.

The seedlings in the big greenhouse are doing OK - many are just slow since that darn house is kept so cold. Still waiting for the peppers and all the tomatoes to emerge -I think it has been about two weeks now. The dried flower seedlings haven't yet emerged and I think it has been a week to ten days for them...

Well Live and Learn - this year is really the learning curve - for me to figure out my timing and space utilization. We won't have the big greenhouse next year so I don't think I'll be growing as many plants from seed. We'll have to figure out space in Vicki's greenhouse as we want to keep growing greens all winter - both for personal use and if there's extra - for the market.


  1. Enjoyed reading through your blog and following your progress so far! Looking forward to watching how things go in the future! Happy Spring!


  2. Thank you Mary - It has been an expensive and very enjoyable experiment to date. Hopefully this spring will be the kick off to gaining back some monetary compensation for all our hard work and love!


Thank you for your comments. I always appreciate feedback from other gardeners and bloggers.