Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wonderful Surprise

This fall I was the lucky recepient of some trial plants from Southern Living. They were one of the gracious supporters of the Spring Fling that I attended this year in Asheville, NC. Their representatives gave an informative talk and offered some plants to trial in our garden if we wanted one.
Well, I ask you, does any gardener say no to free plants?  Especially when they offered to mail them to you at a later date so you didn't have to try to cram them into your already packed vehicle. I mean just imagine 3 women traveling several hundred miles over 10 days, all that luggage needed, then set loose in a few nurseries. That would be three women that like to garden. It is a good thing that Rose can back up her vehicle using the side mirrors is all I can say.
The Spring Fling was in May so by September I thought well, that was another promise not kept. I was oh so wrong. The last day of October I received this huge box with these amazingly large starts of plants. Now that is what I call mail order done right. Only I didn't have to order them. They were free
They are all tucked into the garden now. Amazingly I have had to keep them watered this fall. The drought just doesn't want to give up it's grip. We were 2 inches behind on rain in November and we are still having dry warm weather. I am not complaining though. It seems my new plants are taking the planting late in the season just fine. 
I am a little concerned that all but one is hardy to a zone just south of my zone. Hmmm We will see if global warming will be on my side in regard to these plants. I have planted them in areas I think might have a micro climate a little warmer than other areas in the garden. It will be exciting to see if they survive.

As to the plants the Purple Pixie Weeping Loropetalum is the most yummy color. I just love that purple/red color and it blooms. While most things in the garden have been frosted and frozen enough to lose their leaves  if they are going to this shrub still looks like the perky little sprite that arrived here over a month ago. 

I am not very familiar with Mahonias. The Mahonia they sent me is called 'Soft Caress'. It has bamboo-like foliage. It will get bright yellow flowers in early winter they say. This will be a real treat if it survives. I have always admired those big mahonias in the South that have big blue berries. If this one lives I will be trying one of them here too. 
My favorite plant  that they sent was the Gardenia, Gardenia jasminoides 'Leeone'. It even had a couple of blooms on it when it arrived. Those glossy leaves are marvelous and the big white blooms, mmmmmm I can't wait to have a shrub full of them. I am very hopeful that it will survive despite the zone being illadvised here. What gives me the greatest hope is that Lee, who lives and gardens in Conneticut, has a gardenia that survives and blooms. Where he lives is the same zone as where I live. His area does get more snow cover that might help it along. I don't know. We will see. I am so excited about this though.

Last but not least is the only plant that is recommended for my zone Little Bonnie Dwarf Spirea. Isn't that the sweetest name for a shrub? It has dainty blue-green foliage which I love and it blooms too. The foliage color blends well with my color scheme in the back garden. 

I put links to all the plants so you can read why I am so excited about them. I haven't taken pictures of them in situ because most of everything looks a little sad at this point in my garden due to the frost and freezing. I am looking forward to seeing how these plants do in my garden. I will keep you up to date. 


  1. Hurray for Southern Living!!!! YEEEEEE! Very nice!!! I just love the Purple Pixie! Similar in color to my Purple Knight! I clicked on the link, and it grows here, and seems to like well drained soil. I am super-de-dooper excited! Since it is more of a low plant it will go in one of my tires beautifully!!! Thanks for introducing it to me! I love all your new babies, Lisa! Have FUN!!! I hope they all survive the winter and grow to be magnificent creatures!!! :)

  2. What an exciting gift! I was like you, thinking they had forgotten all about us, and then they contacted me, too. I opted for spring delivery, so I'm excited to see what I receive then--it will be a total surprise because I've already forgotten what I had requested:) The Purple Pixie sounds and looks so sweet, but I am so envious of the gardenia and mahonia--I know they wouldn't survive here, so I'm going to enjoy yours from afar, Lisa.

  3. Those are some very interesting plants -- not the usual overused common things. I am really interested to see how they grow for you and what they will eventually look like. They're all new to me!

    What a great gift / promotion / goodwill gesture from S. Living!

  4. What a wonderful parcel to receive and in time for Christmas! Ican't believe how big these freebies are. I'm sure you were doing happy dances. Must have made your day.

  5. Lucky you! What a very nice gift! It's always exciting getting a package in the mail and twice as nice when it's free and plants. :0)

  6. Oh how fun. What a lovely thing for them to do for you. I look forward to seeing how they grow. :)

  7. Wonderful surprise, indeed, Lisa. You and your pals scored big. And to have a chance at successfully growing a gardenia really is a big deal. Here's hoping you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine, (as you noted in your post).

    Hey, I just noticed the gardenia cultivar is 'Leeone'. Though it has my name, I know it wasn't named for me. But the irony is delicious.

    Good luck on your trials.

  8. How wonderful! I can't wait to see them in their glory! Terah

  9. Happy Garden Surprise Day. I received the same box except subbing a rose for the mahonia. It will be interesting to see if they are happy here. I did want to trial the rhodos...Maybe I can talk them into sending me them!

  10. It's great that you won. These sound like interesting plants.

  11. Great plants!! I got two Soft Caress, one Purple Pixie Loropetalum and a Gardenia, think it is Jubilation. Interesting they sent you similar plants as our zones are so different. Look forward to seeing how yours do!

  12. I really like the name of that Mahonia 'Soft Caress'. The mahonia I've encountered in the past has been anything but soft so hopefully this one lives up to its moniker. Would be nice if the plant was beautiful but didn't want to attack you each time you walk past it.

  13. Receiving a surprise gift is always great. Much better than a stack of bills in the mail.

    Good luck with the new additions to your garden. I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

  14. Wishing you good luck and great success with your new plants. I'm sure with your loving care they will survive and grow and flower beautifully. It always is a great joy to get such an unexpected surprise gift. It's like having Christmas a few weeks ahead :-) !

  15. I hope they all live and grow. I received some too, and one was that loropetalum (sp?) I've also grown Soft Caress, and it's done pretty well here considering it's in a terrible spot. Plants are such fun.~~Dee

  16. A treasure for sure!Those kind of surprises are the best! I look forward to you posting photos of these plants this summer!
    Should I run out of time to make the rounds, today I wish you the Happiest Christmas and may you have many more treasured surprises in the coming year!

  17. Lisa: I just had to come back and comment once again after reading your previous post.
    Christmas will be different for you but Luna's spirit always with you shining brightly above the night skies.

  18. Lisa girl I am SO jealous of YOU !!!
    I would be in heaven receiving free plants like this and I know how happy you are too .. wish we could share. It will be something to look forward to come a proper Spring to see how they are doing .. I'll be watching too!LOL
    Congratulations and a Merry Christmas girl : )

  19. The plants look so healthy! Hopefully they will all thrive in your lovely garden!

  20. It's always fun to try new plants and watch their progress, and sometimes you never know until you experiment in your own garden how a borderline plant will do. Good luck with the Gardenia.


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