anyone ordered from both?
I know what PDN sends but am somewhat enchanted with Bluestems 'log & offerings...how are the plants??
I've never ordered from either, but I visit Bluestem's website at least once a day. They've got the most informative website of any web grass dealer. They've also got a 100/100 rating at Garden Watchdog, compared to 92/100 for PDN.
I keep PDN's catalog in the bathroom. The copy cracks me up, but it would take a special plant to get me to order from him.
I've ordered twice from Bluestem in the last few years; the most recent order was last year. I'm sorry to say that in both of my very large (and expensive!) orders, I've received a significant number of grass plants that were essentially dead, i.e. large plants with only a very small number of green leaves (and by this I mean 3 or 4 green leaves out of a good-sized "field-dug" clump). If I went out in spring and found my own grasses in this state, I'd dig them and up and throw them in the composter without a second thought (and have done so the odd time)... but having paid quite a bit for these, I divided out the tiny living fragments and put them in a holding bed, where they eked out the summer. Given that I could buy healthy live 1-gallon potted grasses locally for the same price as these mail-order ones, I'm not impressed. In spite of the Garden Watchdog "recommendation", I'm aware of at least one other local report (from another forum) of a similar experience. I've never ordered from Plant Delights, so have no comparison to them. I have, however, ordered bare-root perennials from other sources and never received plants that were on the brink of death before.
Anyway, I didn't complain either time (just assumed it was bad luck the first time, and gave them another chance), though I'm sure if this is anything more than random bad luck, they'll evetually be forced to face it. And I can't imagine the owner or management intentionally sent out such poor quality stock... I assume it was untrained staff, or who knows what...but, whatever, I'm not planning on ordering again from Bluestem in the conceivable future.
are you sure those grasses weren't partially dormant material? What time of year was it? I'm not questioning your evaluation, but I know that grasses are often shipped before coming out of dormancy, especially late sleepers like panicums and others. I'm also curious as to how they responded for any type of credit/replacement...that's important.
I also get a kick out of the pdn covers. i wonder though if the expense of the cover art is part of the plant pricing??? lol...just a joke
I think these guys both do a great job. Being in the industry, i can say its not easy to always provide the perfect plant...nature can be so darn unpredictable. I think if you find a seller who truly loves ornamental grasses, they're going to want to provide quality.
For the record, my last order was was shipped at the end of May, which even here, is well into the growing season, including for the other cool season grasses in the yard... Also, the grower is located in a milder climate that this one, which usually results in plants being sent that are more advanced than the ones in the ground here (assuming the grasses may have been dug that spring and shipped, rather than possibly kept in cold storage over the winter?)
I probably should have mentioned, for the record, that I potted up the entire order and tended it for well over 6 weeks, before finally resorting to a rescue of the live bits; I can accept that a couple of plants out of a large order might be in rough shape, but having to nurse a third of the grass order was beyond my tolerance. (I haven't gone back into my records of the first order, as to shipping date, species, etc..)
As I said, I agree entirely that I doubt the owner/management would have intentionally sent out poor stock if they had personally been packing the order... hey, I like the website, too! As to how they responded for any type of credit/replacement, please reread my posting. After a couple of tries, I've decided to just shop elsewhere, as I said. Anyway, undeniably, even 2 substandard orders over a few years may just be bad luck...
May is pretty late. It doesn't sound like these would have been dormant grasses, so I retract my hypothesis...lol.
It's too bad your Bluestem orders weren't up to par. I know what you mean about not complaining - I tend to do the same thing - but I can't imagine that Bluestem wouldn't have righted the wrong if you had told them about your order. However, be that as it may, I certainly can understand your resolve to no longer order from them.
By contrast, I've been more than pleased with my orders from Bluestem. I've ordered the bare root and plugs and must say the plugs (Deschampsia's and Helictotrichon) were amazing - way beyond my expectations - and grew to very nice sized plants by the end of the year. There was a bareroot something last year - perhaps a Panicum - that didn't look too great upon arrival and never did grow into anything that will survive winter, but that was only one plant amongst the so many that I've ordered over the last 3 or 4 years. I'll continue to order from them - this year they have Calamagrostis Avalanche that I've been drooling over and not been able to find locally.