If you have a mailbox or an internet connection I’m sure you’ve heard of Gurney’s Seed and Plant Company. They’ve been around forever, I remember looking at their catalogs when I was very little at my Great Grandmas house. They sell seeds, vegetable plants, annuals, perennials, fruit, nut and decorative trees. They also happen to have some pretty extreme coupons. They have sales for $25 off $50 and $50 off $100.
2017 update at the bottom!Early this spring I ordered a selection of plants and waited (and waited… and waited… My only problem with Gurney’s is their shipping. You are basically left in the dark from the time you order to the time your order is shipped, they give you a window but when your order will arrive in that window is anyone’s guess) for them to arrive.
You know the saying you get what you pay for? Well here is an awesome time to apply that! As long as you don’t expect your $6 plant to look like a $50 top of the line specimen you’ll be fine. I ordered: Butterfly Flower Mix (3 pack, no longer available in 2018), Mixed Bee Balm (3 pack), 3 PrairieMallow (no longer available), 1 Red Penstemon, 1 Russian Sage and a rosebush.
Full disclosure, the rosebush looked amazing and I was really excited about it. But my dog kinda killed it. I can’t explain it but my puppy dog has it our for rose bushes. He rips them out of the ground and carries them around. He also kills fig trees.
Right out of the box the plants are a little sad. Instead of popping them in the ground to fend for themselves I planted them all in bagged garden soil in recycled plant pots. Most of the plants looked like the prairie mallow, they came in little biodegradable pots. They were small, they were sad and I was a little disappointed.
One of the prairie mallows was missing most of it’s leaves (my fault, I tried to pull it out and a bunch of the leaves came off in the process, I ripped the cardboard sleeve on the rest of the plants) . I wasn’t even sure it would come back at all. But they all survived and grew into pretty nice plants and everything is currently flowering.
The butterfly flowers were the only ones that came bare root. There was a bit of a size discrepancy. Two were ‘holy cow huge!’ and one was much smaller. The larger roots came up much quicker and grew taller plants. The smaller one is a beautiful orange-yellow one and I can’t wait to see how it comes up next year.
I very recently moved them into the garden. Everything from this order was supposed to go down by the barn quilt but since it’s rained for weeks on end (serious flooding all around us) it’s all going in the front. Now the front garden had awful soil. It’s really hard clay, the previous owners put down heavy duty landscape fabric and planted creeping junipers everywhere.
I’ve been slowly ripping up the landscape fabric and pulling out the offending plants. The earth worms are moving in and the soil is finally breaking up. Basically, these plants have quite a bit of work ahead of them. Here is how they look now:
There are a few cone flowers and Asiatic lilies planted around them too. The prairie mallows looked much better but the ducks knocked them over and they suffered some heat stress. They are all sending up pretty pink flower stalks.
Over all, I was happy with my experience. For ~$35 I ended up with quite a few plants, some where smaller than others but everything has done well. I only wish they had a larger selection of perennials!
*I was not compensated in anyway for this post. Gurney’s doesn’t even know about this post 🙂
2018 Gurney Plant Review update:
It’s been a few years since I wrote this post and I thought I’d fill you in on the plants. Everything lives! I’ve even divided the prairie mallow. One bee balm was planted in an area that’s a bit too shady and it’s struggled but I’m moving it to the herb garden in 2018. In the back left of the picture above you can see one of the pink butterfly flowers, bottom center behind the chicken is one of the prairie mallow divisions.
I just got my new Gurneys catalog and I’ll be checking out the plant selection. For $35 I have no complaints and I’ll certainly be back for some ‘filler’ perennials.