On one side of me, a six-year-old is singing the theme to SpongeBob SquarePants as loud as she can. On the other side, an eighteen-month old screams out for “more bah-bo,” whatever that is. I am blissfully unaware of any of it because the Bluestone Perennials catalog has arrived.
This catalog carries the same wonders as others that make us long for their arrival in the mail. What makes this one dear to me are all the pictures: side-by-side (usually) comparisons of different cultivars that say much more to me than any poetic description could. They usually carry the straight species (or the most common cultivar) of a perennial so I can see whether the different varieties are an improvement. The little symbols for bloom time and appropriate exposure are easy to grasp at a glance make checking back a snap.
7211 Middle Ridge Rd.
Madison, OH 44057
Phone: (800) 852-5243
Fax: (440) 428-7198
I have ordered from the company numerous times. I love that the perennials usually come in packs of three (it is hard to design with groups of one). Like most mail-order plants, they are small when they arrive, but quickly thrive. I have had a few failures, but they have a generous return policy and a truly helpful customer service staff (which, for me, makes all the difference). Even better: every order is shipped with a little coupon book, and you can send back your packing material so they can re-use it again (and you get a discount, I think).
Update from Bluestone, December 2011
Bluestone no longer uses the three-pack plastic cell packs. The company has changed over to a 100% biodegradable, plantable pot, made from coconut fiber husks. That has allowed them to get all of the non-recyclable plastic material and shipping peanuts out of their shipments. Also, the plants are growing much faster and more robustly than in the plastic pots.