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Bluestone offers a large number of flowering perennials and allows you to do labor-saving customized searches on its Web site. If you enter your hardiness zone, soil type, sun exposure, the bloom time you're looking for, colors and so on, the site will pull up pages of plant photos that meet those criteria. To find out more detailed information about growing a specific plant, all you need to do is click on a photo.
It's wise to order seeds early, when the stock is plentiful. If you wait too long, you may end up with substitutes rather than the seeds you choose, especially if you selected new offerings. And if you plan to start early seeds in mid-February (begonias, geraniums, heliotrope, pansies) it's none too soon to get organized.
One thing to remember: If you order plants early, you may need to include a date for shipping. Early May should be safe for the Twin Cities area.
Deb Brown is a horticulturist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service Yard and Garden Line. For help with garden, plant and insect questions, call the Yard and Garden Line at 612-624-4771.