As promised, I wanted to share my favorite mail-order resources for plants. After years of good and bad experiences, these companies have provided me with the best plants and service. The following list is not in any particular order, and if I come across some new stand-outs this season, I'll report back.
Oakes Daylilies (www.oakesdaylilies.com)/ 1-800-532-9545
This daylily grower from Tennessee has an incredible selection. They also send extra large fans (divisions) so your plants establish faster. In the past, they've sent me bonus plants to try. Their paper and online catalogs present each hybrid with clear pictures and good descriptions. The online catalog allows you to quickly search selection by height, bloom size, bloom period, color and even fragrance.
Lazy S's Farm Nursery (www.lazyssfarm.com)
I found this delightful company a few years ago. They have a great selection of plants online (they don't produce a mail catalog). They have one of the largest selections of Anemones that I've found. I also enjoy their wide range of ferns and grasses. The perennials are mostly quart sizes and arrive big and healthy. I haven't bought any shrubs or trees, but may peruse that department this season. Most of their pictures and growing information come from their own experiences. Love that.
Bluestone Perennials (www.bluestoneperennials.com)/ 1-800-852-5243
This company has been a favorite of mine for many years. (My first post was about this nursery back in 2008.) I love to browse through their glossy catalogs and then order online. Until recently, you could buy a 3-pack of plants for a great price. The plants were small, but allowed me to fill in large areas fast as I developed my first planting beds. Now they sell plants individually in biodegradable pots. A bit more expensive but plants are bigger. Check out their specials online.
Meadowbrook Nursery (www.we-du.com)/ 1-828-738-8300
This North Carolina nursery was the resource for my first white native azaleas, Rhododendron viscosum. They have an incredible collection of native azaleas and other native shrubs. Plants arrive well-developed.
David Austin Roses (www.davidaustinroses.com)/ 1-903-526-1800
The American outpost of British David Austin Roses is in Tyler, Texas. This company is know for its English Roses. This variety of roses combine the fragrance of old roses with the repeat blooms and disease resistance of modern roses. You may find potted David Austin roses locally, but I've had great success with their bare root roses planted early enough to acclimate before summer heat.
Wilkerson Mill Gardens (www.hydrangea.com)/ 1-770-463-2400
I find a lot of my hydrangeas locally since they are a popular plant in the Hamptons. However, when I want a hydrangea not found everywhere, I come here. I bought my 'Pee-Wee' oakleaf hydrangeas and my stunning 'Purple Tiers' hydrangea from this company. I'm eyeing a Hydrangea serrata for this season.
Plant Delights Nursery (www.plantdelights.com)/ 1-919-772-4794
If you're a plant collector like me, look no further. This company prides itself on serving up some of the rarest perennials. Fortunately, they also test-drive them in their North Carolina nursery. I've ordered quite a few plants from Plants Delights that I would never have found locally. But, I'll be honest. My favorite part of shopping with this company is reading the fun, and sometimes irreverent, plant descriptions and commentary. You can get a taste of it online, but order a paper catalog for a really fun read.
I'd love to hear your experiences with these or other mail-order sources.