Are you a plant collector? If so it is possible there are many plants on your list of must haves that you might not be able to find locally. I myself have this problem. It seems most of the usual suspects (viburnums, hydrangeas, evergreens, and spiraeas, etc) are mainly what I can find locally in any big box store. I rarely shop at local nurseries but when I do I find they rarely have anything all that different from the local big box stores but they have much higher prices so I pretty much only buy the majority of my plants at big box stores-generally marked down 50-75%. Yes, I am a bargain shopper and you might call my garden a bargain garden but the plants don't know I purchased them cheaply-shhh-don't tell them okay?
I do occasionally order hard to find plants from mail order nurseries that have fabulous prices. If a nursery has shipping costs higher than my order for plants I am most definitely not going to buy plants there-even if their plants are on sale. I just can't justify the expense so I am very careful with where I order my plants. Enter We Du Natives, aka Meadowbrook Nursery in Marion North Carolina.
I first came to be aware of this small nursery in the mountains just off from I40 at exit 85 when I was looking for witch hazels back in 2006. There were two nurseries I found that carried witch hazels. One was the We Du Natives and the other was a nursery in Louisville Kentucky. Both were doable for a road trip but since my in-laws live just east of Marion North Carolina around exit 110 I decided that upon our next visit with them that I would make a trip to We Du Natives. I was not disappointed and purchased two witch hazels for my garden. Ever since then whenever I could I would travel to We Du for more unique native and non-native plants. Some of the plants I have purchased there are: Japanese roof irises (the best iris of all!), silverbell tree, heath aster and a few more that don't come to mind right now. While visiting the nursery I signed up for the emailed newsletter.
This month's newsletter said their hydrangeas were on sale. Hydrangeas are a favorite shrub of mine so I decided to investigate further. Come to find out they had two gallon 'Silver Dollar' and 'Phantom' Hydrangea paniculata on sale for $9 each. I researched the two hydrangeas and found that 'Phantom' was the one for me and went to order it. Well, when I ordered I was informed the nursery has a $35 minimum order. Ah ha! That meant I could do more shopping and shop I did. I really only wanted the hydrangea but managed to find two other shrubs that I thought would make good additions to Tiger Gardens-especially since I was reworking a rather big bed that needed some structure in the form of shade and drought tolerant shrubs. Those two shrubs are Adina rubella, aka Chinese Buttonbush and 'Reifler's Dwarf' Littleleaf Viburnum, aka Viburnum ovatum. The Chinese buttonbush is pictured above and the Littleleaf Viburnum is shown below exactly as they came out of the huge box they arrived in from UPS. The dried seedpods (I'm guessing) on the buttonbush look just like spent blooms on brown eyed Susans and really make the shrub very interesting even without leaves! This buttonbush is supposed to be more drought tolerant than our native buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) and is also supposed to be shade tolerant. It will slowly grow to about 10 feet tall with an 8 foot spread.
The littleleaf viburnum is supposed to be a small viburnum that will grow to about 3-5' tall and wide. It is supposed to have good year round interest and hey, I believe it since it is a viburnum. Viburnums are a genus I am particularly fond of due to their ease of cultivation and wide variety of types. The fall color on this viburnum looks great so I am already impressed.
I chose the 'Phantom' hydrangea because it is supposed to be similar to 'Limelight' but with bigger and better blooms. I love love love 'Limelight' hydrangeas so this one will fit right in. This shrub arrived with a few leaves still attached and I was so excited to see this! All three shrubs look great and were well wrapped. They looked as though I had simply driven to a local nursery and picked them up in person. I was so totally shocked by the good condition and LARGE size of all three of these shrubs for $54 (shipping and cost of the large shrubs) that I decided I should finally write a post dedicated to We Du Natives. I had been promising I would do a post on them to Jamie Oxley for like forever but somehow it always slipped through the cracks. The size of the plants shocked me because normally when I order mail order plants-even from good quality nurseries-the plants arrive looking dead (many are) and are so small they succumb to the shock and give up the fight pretty quickly. I then wind up losing the money I spent on the plants. This is very frustrating. Have any of you received pitiful mail order plants that died no matter what you did? If so you might check out We Du Natives for great prices, good selections, and fantastic shipping and handling. These three shrubs are all safely tucked into my Front Perennial Garden and I am looking for good things from them in the future. It is not too late to plant shrubs in Middle Tennessee-this is actually an ideal time to plant most shrubs. The ground is still wet and fairly warm so the roots will be able to establish rather quickly.
There is another reason I am writing this post now. The gathering of all garden bloggers (who so desire to gather) will be held in Asheville North Carolina from May 18-20. Both myself and Skeeter already have our hotel reservations and are looking forward to meeting all other garden bloggers who attend. I also wanted to let you all know about this nursery that is very close to where our meet up will be held. I for one plan to visit this nursery during my visit and personally thank Jamie for taking such good care of my mail order bargain plants....
in the garden....
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE!
P.S. I did not receive any compensation in any form for this post from anyone. I paid for all of my plants I purchased at We Du.
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden