Article updated on 15 Nov 2017 – I'm a keen food plant gardener and usually prefer to plant fruiting and other food crops in lieu of ornamentals; however, there are times and places in the garden where ornamentals are necessary and food crops just wouldn't be appropriate.
Today, I planted 50 Arthropodium Matapouri Bay plants, which I purchased from the Garden Express Online Nursery – it's the first time I had actually bought ornamental plants online but since I had good experiences with buying food plants from many online stores in the past so I decided to give some ornamentals a go.
I needed to create a small hedge along a long rock garden edge I had built in our front yard. The garden bed has a mix of ornamentals and food plants such as cherry guavas, native citrus, and stone fruit, but for aesthetics and practicality (due to a mix of position, shade, and full sun) an evergreen small ornamental type plant was required to run along the rock edging for about 30 metres.
Initially, I tried finding some appropriate plants at the local nurseries but they were all too expensive and tube stock seemed to be limited to certain natives that weren't suitable. Therefore, I decided to look online for the right plant and was glad I did!
The beauty of online plant shopping like this is how handy it can be when you aren't sure exactly what you're looking for… Whereas, driving from nursery to nursery and walking up and down peering at labels to try and fluke the right plant can be frustrating, to say the least! When you're shopping online it's much easier to research a certain plant and find what's in stock at a certain shop rather than hustle with the weekend crowds and try to get the attention of nursery staff, who aren't always very helpful anyway.
Image above shows front rock edge garden
In this case, I needed a plant that could fill a space, look lush, tumble over rocks, suppress grasses, hardy enough to withstand dry spells, and one that could handle lighting conditions from full sun to shade – the Arthropodium Matapouri Bay was a good fit… well, I hope it will be but only time can tell in gardening.
The plants cost $4.60 each for 50mil tube stock, which is quite a cost saving compared to buying more mature plants at a regular nursery plus it's not likely your local would stock a bulk order of the same plants anyway.
My 50 tube stock Arthropodiums arrived within 3 days of ordering online and I was impressed by the packaging of the plants all neatly positioned in the postal box in cardboard trays and covered in damp shredded paper to protect them during transit. Overall, the quality of the plants was excellent – they looked healthy and I could tell "love" went into packing and sending these items to me. Size and development of the plants were good too so I expect they should have the best chance possible to establish in our garden.
I basically got to planting them soon after delivery – for obvious reasons, it's good practice to remove plants from the box (when delivered by post) ASAP and rehydrate them in the home nursery or plant them out.
Garden Express Online Nursery is based in Victoria and ships to Australian residents only, unfortunately, and also their website is often down or glitchy and that's why I haven't linked to their online store directly but there are plenty of other good online retailers see this article here.
BTW, for those USA visitors to our site (thank you) check out Plants Express – California's Premier online plant nursery.
Also, there was a store in the UK called Gardening Express – not sure if they are available anymore as the link to their site is now blocked so personally, I would try Amazon UK as they have a good online range of plants and could be worth checking out!
With the boom in online trading worldwide we now have more choice than ever before to ensure we get the right plant for our garden and if buying in bulk then tube stock is the way to go for cost savings all round.