I've been doing more research about plants for my flowerbed. Today I checked out English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners by Margaret Hensel from a local library. Beautiful photography covers every page. It is very inspiring to learn from. I will have fun with that over the next few weeks.
Aside from the book, I discovered Bluestone Perennials. (See my links.) I previously bought two plants through mail-order (Springhill Nursery) with much trepidation, especially after reading some reviews. But my plants arrived looking healthy, although extremely small. The clematis had all of one green leaf on it, but within days of planting, it was 6 inches tall and sprouting more leaves. It has since slowed way down. I rigged up a trellis for it, but so far it's not catching onto the idea of climbing. Not sure what's up. I've heard it said about clematis that "the first year it sleeps; the second year it creeps; the third year it leaps". I'd say it's sleeping at present. I'll be patient, though. The other plant I bought was a hydrangea (Nikko Blue). It was about 3 inches tall. Now it is in full PINK bloom and about 10 inches tall. Not sure what pink blooms are doing on a Nikko Blue plant, but it's pretty nonetheless.
So, with the above in mind, while I was leafing through a magazine the other night, I came upon a listing for plants from Bluestone Perennials. After seeing their prices and reading their reviews, I was very impressed! I perused through their site, and easily came up with several plants I think I'll be ordering, if it's not too late in the season to do so: Echinops Ritro (Globe Thistle), Eryngium Plano (Sea Holly), Perovskia Atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), and a salvia. (Can you tell I'm going for the blues and purples?) There are others that I love as well, but I'll wait till fall or spring. These, though, I think I could work into my garden now. And Bluestone sends three plants for approximately $10-14.