When I ordered Fine Gardening magazine last year, I received a $25.00 gift certificate to White Flower Farm along with the subscription. I just ran across it in my 'paper cleaning' frenzy, so I thought that I had better decide on what I wanted from the catalog.
Now, if you have never seen a catalog from this company, don't bother unless you have stacks of money sitting around that you don't have anything to do with. Their prices are higher, by far, than any catalog I get in the mail. They do have some unusual plants, and if you are unable to find them anywhere else, you might want to check them out. I also do not know the quality of their plant material, because I have never ordered from them.
My beef with them is that even the common plants they carry cost a fortune. One of the most common, Leucantheum "Becky", is priced at $10.95, and all their varieties of columbine are priced at $10.95 also. Most all of the perennials are from $8.95-$21.00. As you all know, columbine is easily started from seed, and even if you buy plants they are very cheap. Some of the specialty plants can go as high as $50.00.
So, it was a challenge to try and find something that I wanted, that I knew that I could not find locally for a lower price, and in the $25.00 range.
After going over the catalog several times, I decided on the Calycanthus 'Venus'.
I have a god customer of mine that has the common form of Calycanthus. Most people know it as Sweet Shrub, or Carolina Spice Bush. Her plant has the most interesting cinnamon colored blooms, with a wonderful spicy smell. It is probably a 10-15 year old specimen, and is only 4-5 foot tall, and about 3-4 foot wide. Venus is supposed to be 6-8 foot tall, with a 8 foot spread.
When I saw this variety I feel in love with it. I think because they describe it as having glossy foliage and 5 inch magnolia-like flowers. It reminds me of my favorite tree, the Sweet Bay magnolia. They describe the flowers as emerging ivory, and then opening to white with yellow and purple infusions in the center. The fragrance of the flower is described as a strawberry and melon perfume. This shrub is also supposed to bloom off and on throughout the season, which the common sweet shrub does not do. I did go over my budget, which is what I expect they hope you will do. The price for Venus was $39.95, and with shipping it came to $50.00. So I got it for half price. I hope that it is worth it. Now I just have to figure out where I am going to put it, before they ship it in the Spring!
We are still enjoying our Spring-like weather, 68 degrees at 2:00P.M.! I went out for a walk around the yard, to check for rabbit damage, and saw a woolly worm creeping along the foundation of the house. What is he thinking! It is winter out there! At least it was last week.