Have you ever pored through garden catalogs and websites looking for beautiful plants, marveled at the photos of lush, elegant plants, placed your order and waited in anticipation for…a nine inch brown twig with bare roots to arrive on your doorstep? I’ve had so many disappointments with that exact scenario, so it is with absolute delight that I get to share the first giveaway sponsor of my 50th Birthday Bash, Brighter Blooms!
I have a hard time putting into words and describing for you, the feeling of surprise when my Brighter Blooms package arrived and I opened my front door to find a large package, as tall as me, waiting to be brought inside. I had an idea that this was definitely not going to be my typical mail order plants experience. Yippee! I couldn’t believe my eyes!
What an exciting day! I received a Meyer Lemon Tree, a Frost-Proof Gardenia Shrub and a Fragrant Tea Olive Shrub. I am seriously in love with every one of these plants — and even more so, with Brighter Blooms. When I was contacted about doing a review, the email included a list of a few of their plants and like the gardening goof that I am, I got so excited, I just picked three items from the list that I wanted to test and review and fired the email right back to them. Did I first go to the website and check the Growing Zones for each of those plants? Of course not. That would have been incredibly smart and non-menopausal. I just waited with giddy anticipation for the plants to arrive while I explored the site to see what other kinds of plants Brighter Blooms had to offer. Well, obviously, arrive they did, to much hoopla and fanfare. I opened the box immediately, ran to Wal-Mart and found this pretty pot for the Meyer Lemon Tree…
… and got the tree transplanted, immediately.
I quickly turned to the other two plants, went directly to the website to get their planting and care instructions and THEN discovered that my silly Zone 5 self had ordered plants that grow in Zones 7-9…Ummm…ummm….email someone. -lol- Travis at Brighter Blooms has been a peach through this entire process and so naturally, I emailed him with my burning question, “Can an
idiot overly excitable, intermediate gardener keep plants alive through the winters in Nebraska when they are intended to grow at least one state south of me, if I 1) plant in an area protected from north wind and 2) do a heavy mulching in the fall?” Here’s yet another reason I absolutely love this company — no ignored emails and no dancing around the answers. Travis didn’t give me a sales pitch to keep me happy. He went straight to their on-site nursery manager and got me an answer from someone who knows plants. Obviously, they can make no guarantees about this situation, but he did say that I had the right idea if I was going to try and grow the gardenia, that far north — heavy mulching and protection from harsh northern winds. He also suggested a product called Wilt Proof that might help it through the winter, saying that much depended on how hard a winter we had. Knowing that I have space on the south side of my house, actually up against the house where I can plant both the gardenia and the tea olive, in full warm sunshine, is giving me more hope for their survival, after talking to an expert.
I also learned from the website, that the gardenia can actually be grown in a pot, so I think I will err on the side of caution for that one. I can plant it in a lovely pot to keep by my front steps through the summer and early fall and then bring it inside for the winter. You have to come visit me, so you can smell the fragrance of gardenias as you come up to the front door! It’s going to be amazing! I’m feeling fairly confident about getting the tree olive established on the south side of my house. I know it’s an evergreen and with some extra attention and care, I plan to be enjoying it’s sweet fragrant blossoms, next spring. I can’t wait to show you how these plants look, then, but in the meantime, here is what I received.
I know you are probably more interested in actual details about these plants, than in my excited gushing, so here are a few pertinent facts from the Brighter blooms website.
“Tasty Lemons… North or South – Love lemons, but find that store-bought lemons are often too tart? Try the Improved Meyer Lemon – a hybrid lemon tree that produces sweet lemons that are sure to be the most amazing lemon you’ve ever tasted. Do not bother looking for them in the grocery store, these lemons are not grown commercially, you must have your own tree. Now’s your chance!
Improved Meyer lemons are naturally sweeter than most other lemon varieties. If you’ve ever been to a state fair, you’ve probably tasted fresh squeezed, ice cold sweet lemonade. That’s what a Meyer Lemons taste like! The Meyer Lemon Tree produces fruit that is actually a cross between a lemon and Mandarin orange. Because these lemons have the typical lemony flavor, but are more naturally sweet, they are a favorite of chefs and bakers all over the world. Just think of the drinks and treats you’ll be able to surprise your family with, using these succulent, sweet lemons!
You can grow these tasty lemons wherever you live because these dwarf citrus trees can be easily grown in all 50 states. This improved variety is naturally pest and disease resistant and trouble-free. In cold climates just plant your tree in a large pot and move it indoors during the winter. It will become your favorite houseplant because it adapts beautifully and becomes a great conversation piece. The bright yellow/orange fruit set against deep green foliage, and sweet fragrance, will catch everyone’s attention. Children love to watch the fruit grow.
This tree is very heavy bearing and will provide you with a larger number of lemons every year. Plus, it’s self pollinating, so you can grow fruit indoors or out. Imagine your guests picking fresh lemons during your Super Bowl party! The Improved Meyer Lemon tree fruits abundantly in winter, but can have some fruit most months of the year. ”
“New Frost Proof Gardenias are unaffected by cold snaps and thrive on neglect. They adapt to a variety of soil conditions… do great in full sun or partial shade… and resist insects and disease. Even deer leave them alone. Frost Proof won the “2007 Garden Writers Best Plants Award” for good reasons. They’re just as beautiful as they are tough. You get huge, velvety white flowers that bloom in pairs. They start blooming in late spring. These flowers last longer after being cut than old Gardenia varieties.
Frost Proof also makes a great evergreen foundation hedge. They are bushy and well branched. They look great pruned or left natural. Plant several for a fragrance you can smell from a distance.
You won’t find Frost Proof in big box stores for several more years. They only offer new plants when a large number of educated customers request the variety by name. Meanwhile, they continue to sell the same problem-plagued varieties.
We refuse to sell 2 quart or smaller sized plants. Instead, you get fully rooted, well developed 1 and 3 gallon plants that will give you blooms the very first season.”
“Fragrant Tea Olive -Small Flowers… Amazing Fragrance for 4 Months – Osmanthus Fragrans, better known as the Fragrant Tea Olive, produces small white blooms that pack a punch. Some describe it as a rose scent, others as gardenia and still others as jasmine. These unusually scented flowers come on in late winter, signaling the beginning of spring, then bloom sporadically during the summer. For an encore, the Fragrant Tea Olive puts on a show again in the fall. This isn’t a flower you have to bury your nose in to smell. Some customers have said they can smell a row of Tea Olives from up to 100 feet away! Plant them near your entryway, windows or patio. On breezy days let the refreshing fragrance fill your home. This strong scent attracts the usual summertime characters of humming birds and butterflies. Adapts to any soil and thrives on neglect. Tea Olives are long-lived, but grow slowly. This is why we send out larger sizes. This way you don’t have to wait a year or more before you can start enjoying them.
Okay, enough from me and on to what YOU are excited about. Brighter Blooms has been incredibly generous and they are sponsoring a giveaway of a $100 Gift Certificate to their online store, so one lucky Busy-at-Home reader can pick out their favorite plants! (Check the growing zones before you order, please. 🙂 ) Here’s how to enter.
You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter. Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted. Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org. Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, August 28, 2011.
Visit the Brighter Blooms website and in a comment below, tell me what plant you would love to try at home.
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I received a Meyer Lemon Tree, Fragrant Tree Olive and a Frost-Proof Gardenia, in order to test them and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always, at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.