Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Annual plug plants


Like Helen and some others, I have been asked to be an ambassador for Plant me Now, a garden centre selling plants online.  This means being sent plants to review which is not a hardship!   Before I made up my mind I looked at their website and I liked the way it had been  put together, focussing very strongly at what to sow and plant at different times of year.  This knowledge is something you take for granted as a reasonably experienced gardener but chatting to my daughter in law, the proud owner of her first grown up sized garden, I was reminded that when you are starting out this is the kind of thing that you don’t know, or know in a patchy kind of way.  So it is a helpful and well thought out site which would be particularly useful to reasonably new gardeners but which I can also see myself using.

The first lot of plants to come my way are annuals, seedlings started off early which come as generous sized plug plants.  I mused a bit as to what to have.  I never used to grow much from seed.  It always seemed a bit daunting, the last step to take to becoming a serious gardener.  But over the last few years I have taken to growing  more from seed so I wouldn’t normally buy plug plants like this.  I was interested though in the idea of integrating them into my cutting garden.   The early season in the cutting garden comes from bulbs:  daffodils and tulips mean that in March, April and early May there are flowers for the house and the holiday cottage and just for looking at.  Then there is always a bit of a lull until the sweetpeas, cosmos and rudbeckia which I grow myself come in to fill the gap.  Up here it is generally quite late in July before my home sown annuals are in flower.  So I wondered if bringing in plug plants in this way and putting them  into the cold greenhouse might help to rev up the cutting garden in the first half of the year.

I chose six things.  The images are all from their website.  Mine don't look  like this just yet!

 Agyranthemum Madeira Crested Pink



 Agyranthemum Madeira Crested Yellow


Bidens Ferulifolia Golden Flame


Bidens Pirates Treasure


Verbena Aztec Burgundy


Verbena Aztec Silver


I must remember that I need to sow a lot of foliage plants to to with them!

The plants arrived the day after my order.  (I didn’t pay for them but I did make it clear that I would review them as I found them ).  They came well packaged, with an instruction leaflet as to what to do with them and a small brochure of other things that are available.


All the plants were healthy, sturdy  and well grown.  I watered them before potting them on but the plugs were not at all dry.


Now they are in the greenhouse which we are keeping frost free to look after the dahlia tubers and pelargoniums which are over wintering in there.  The plug plants have an extra lid from the propagator over them for protection in the cold nights we have had in the last week and a week after their arrival they are all doing fine.


So far then I am impressed with Plant me Now.  The range on offer is good and they also do perennials and tender annuals.  The service was quick and the packaging strong and well thought out.  The plants themselves are not large, well as plug plants you wouldn't expect them to be,  but neither are they the tiny and rather spindly things that you sometimes see sold as plug plants and they are all in very good condition.  Watch this space to see if they solve my cutting garden gap!

18 comments:

  1. Have never tried plug plants. Not sure I would. Will be interesting to see what you make of them though.

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    1. I haven't bought them before apart from one glorious insanity of buying 75 lavender plug plants when we first came here. They did ok but they were so very tiny it took a while for them to become useful! A very cheap way of getting quantity though. These plants are much more substantial!

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  2. This is an exciting program for the gardener. I wish I could find something similar in my part of the world. I love the first photo of the Madeira Crested Pink...beautiful color.

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    1. We do so much shopping on line living up here that it is great to be able to do the same with gardening stuff. Also buy a lot mail order from smaller nurseries. Invaluable.

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  3. I enjoyed your review of these plug plants-I intend to look at their website when I finish here. The argyranthemums look very sturdy and especially tempting, if not as cut flowers certainly as container plants for the summer.It feels good to be growing things again after the winter, doesn't it?

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    1. It does! I am pleased to have things going on in the greenhouse.

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    1. They are and still thriving and looking good. I always wonder if plant sales businesses bring things on in the kind of conditions that the rest of us can't replicate. I certainly grow things quite hard up here. These though are still looking good having been in my care for a couple of weeks!

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  5. Elizabeth, this post was interesting even to this non-gardener. Please do check in again on the progress of these plants. You reminded me of a time in the mid-1970's when I did have a garden in Brooklyn. I grew tomatoes, green peppers and zucchini from seeds! It was such fun to watch the slow progress of seeds in little peat pots through to delicious veg abundance.

    Thank you also for your comment over at my place.

    xo

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    1. It is lovely to grow things! I will still be growing things from seed but will see if these will fit into my planting and perhaps liven it up a bit.

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  6. How nice to look at flowers and seedlings as a blizzard rages outside. I miss the English primrose especially. The term "plug plants" is new to me.

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    1. Love primroses. They are out now in my garden. Might have to take some pictures!

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  7. Am off to check out the website, hope they fill the floral gap for you. They look good quality plugs, I've had some very disappointing ones in the past and tend to steer clear of them for that reason, but it is always harder to get things to flower early in the year if you sow your own. This could be the answer.

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    1. I have had disappointing ones too but these are sturdier than others I have come across!

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  8. They look like good quality healthy plugs, I imagine they will do well, and given how hard it tends to be to get annuals started off earlier enough to flower earlier than July, a good way to fill that gap.

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  9. I hate to be a pedant, but ... strictly speaking, these are neither annuals, nor seedlings ( and I know Plantmenow describe them as annuals on their website, but they're wrong!). These are cuttings raised tender or half hardy perennials, usually sold as basket or container bedding plants. Most people treat them as "annuals" in the sense that they buy them in spring and discard them in autumn each year, but I'm a bit surprised to see them being sold under that heading.

    There, I feel better now.

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    1. You are right of course and I did wonder about pointing it out but it seemed a bit churlish when I was getting the plants for free! Since you are not getting free plants, it is neither churlish nor pedantic to point it out, just accurate! I keep all sorts of things going from year to year, principally scented leaf geraniums, so if I like these in flower I will probably over winter them.

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