Today I became the happy recipient of a package from White Flower Farms. Several of my garden writer Friends had already received plants to trial in their gardens, courtesy of Proven Winners Color Choice Flowering Shrubs and WFF. I was beginning to feel sadly neglected until the friendly UPS man pulled up to my curb. He got quite a kick out of my exuberant welcome ... I knew what was inside as soon as I saw the box. I carried the box inside and unpacked it on my dining room table.
I received a total of 8 plants in all. As you saw in the top picture, each quart pot came tidily bagged, with a card inside the bag that provided cultural information and a color photograph of the plant in bloom. A shout out to White Flower Farm: I have to rave about the careful packaging of these plants. The box above was packed in two layers. Each pot was laid on its side with the bottom of the pot resting against a side wall of the box. A cardboard insert in the center of the box held the foliage from all 4 plants in place; a layer of cardboard covered the bottom 4 plants and was the resting place for the top 4 plants. Another layer of cardboard also covered the top 4 plants. Wadded sheets of blank newsprint were stuffed in between them to help hold them in place and cushion them. There was no sign that they had shifted at all during transit; not even a speck of soil was loose!
When I removed the bags and set the plants out on the patio, they were a little contorted from their stay in the box but the foliage on all but one, a CANDY OH (TM) Vivid Red rose, was healthy and vigorous. As you can see below, the plant on the left has some blackspot and dead leaves at the bottom. The soil in this pot was dry to the touch, unlike that of the other plants, so I would suspect that's the cause of the foliage problems.
The double flowering quinces, however, were all in excellent condition. There are 2 pots each of Chaenomele Double Take Scarlet Storm, Orange Storm and Pink Storm. These spring-blooming shrubs are thornless and just as importantly for me, heat tolerant. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do in my garden.
When I joined Garden Writers of America, I wasn't aware that I'd receive occasional deliveries like this of plants, garden tools or even soils from growers and manufacturers. It's an interesting perk but I believe it does carry with it the responsibility to provide a fair and impartial review of the plants or products I received. In the case of Proven Winners, I was asked to share my experiences growing these plants with them and with readers. In the case of the latter, I'll do my best to let you know the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to growing these plants on my corner of Katy.