updated: new source list includes plant societies

THE FIRST CATALOGS ARRIVED THIS WEEK and made me think how out of date my source list was, so finally: an update–the first of several to come. To my former list of links I’ve added many catalog vendors; more reference sites–and the start of a whole section of plant societies. The whole growing-by-the-minute list now has its own page for easy reference. How you can help, and my thoughts on what makes the cut:

My original list, which I’ve edited a bit here and there since I posted it in 2008, included only sources I had personally done business with, either here at home, or in my former job and other professional affiliations. Now I have expanded it to include some that relied-upon friends rely upon, too.

I’m open to new sources and hope you’ll share yours, with the disclaimer that I will first get in touch with them, order a catalog (where applicable), have a look for myself, and either order or ask around. No one who list links can be sure that every reader who tries a recommended source will have an ideal experience, but I want to exercise caution. I have a pile of catalogs on order at the moment for just that reason, that may soon make the list.

As for the plant societies, I’m just getting started compiling them, and here’s what their sites are good for: Typically they have an FAQ that’s genus-specific, and other often hard-to-find-elsewhere information like how to start the plant from seed. In addition, many offer subscription publications geared to enthusiasts, lists of local chapters you can join–and entire source lists of their own, geared to the particular plant. Enjoy!

  1. Melissa says:

    Thanks for posting this list! My husband got a huge laugh out of how excited I got over the arrival of the new Johnny’s magazine for 2011! I can’t wait for the rest- I eagerly await the mail arrival each day!

  2. What a great sources list! Several are new to me, and I’m excited to start exploring them.
    A couple sources not on the list that I adore: Plant World Seeds (http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/) and Chiltern Seeds (http://www.chilternseeds.co.uk/chilternseeds/index/pn/12/) — both in the UK, ship to the US, and full of insanely cool things like fragrant columbine. I’m also a huge fan of Gardens North: http://www.gardensnorth.com/site/

    For your “questions” section, I was inspired by a question I got from Annie Hayes of Annies Annuals to start a “Sciency Answers” http://greensparrowgardens.blogspot.com/search/label/Sciency%20answers feature on my blog — different from your forum, less directly practical, I use the questions as a jumping off point to explore the weird world of plant science.

    1. Margaret says:

      Thanks, Joseph — I love Chiltern, and will put it on the list, yes. And off I go to look at the rest of what you recommend. Great to hear from you.

  3. terryk says:

    Thanks for updating your list. So many good ones are no longer operating (Sennaca Hills, Asiatica). I have ordered from Gardens North also. So many unusual things. I try not to visit too often, very dangerous, especially when she holds her April sale! If one wants to learn more on cyclamen, the cyclamen society is very good.

  4. Rosella says:

    Oooh! Thank you for the list — more and more temptations for me! I didn’t see The Lily Garden on the list — I have had very good luck with their lilies, and their catalogue is ravishing. Last year they sent me a “bonus” of two Silk Road lilies with my small order.

  5. Ellen says:

    Thank you for this list – perfect timing! I needed bulbs and all our local places were sold-out. I ordered from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs just in time to catch their 1/2 price sale!

  6. toni says:

    Hi Margaret…Great List. Here’s my addition: Seeds From Italy. There’s an email newsletter that’s chock full of good things. http://www.growitalian.com
    Snail mail: POBox 149, Winchester, MA 01890. I stumbled across it by accident years ago and am A Fan. 781-721-5904 phone, 612-435-4020 fax Italian organic seeds, not treated or genetically engineered…and They Grow.
    So, put me in the drawing for the book…now wouldn’t that be a winter joy?
    And if you have time, visit us – I just wrote about missing the garden in winter, Patty replied about a book on being in the garden in winter and – voila, the author Suzy Bales saw it and is sending a copy.
    No pressure here – just to say we love to read as much as we love to garden. Cheers!

  7. Katie Pence says:

    Dear Margaret,
    I’m really loving your website.
    Here’s some more specific nurseries I really think should be included.

    Vintage Gardens Petaluma,Ca. http://www.vintagegardens.com/ Largest collection of rare and antique roses in the US. Greg Lowry’s book on roses is wonderful.Growing mosaic virus free roses.

    Heath and Heather http://www.heathsandheathers.com/ Best mail order heather nursery in US. Carla Lortz is a gem

    Gossler Farms Nursery https://secure.gosslerfarms.com/home.php For Magnolias, dogwoods, azaleas. Wonderful magnolias and Exbury azaleas .

    Enjoy Rhododendron – http://www.enjoyrhododendrons.com/description.html
    The best Rhody grower I’ve ever dealt with.Specializes in Maddenii he breeds and researches rare rhodys. Paul Molinari

    I’ve dealt and purchased from all these nurseries over the last twenty five years they are all really reputable.

  8. Karla says:

    Like Tina, above, I too love Territorial, if just for the reading. Another great source for seeds, espcially for small quantities of seeds is Pinetree Gardens in Maine (www.superseeds.com) I have ordered from them many times over the years and been very pleased. They also have great close outs on books and some great craft supplies to get us all through the winters too!

  9. You already have most of my favorites listed, but here are several more:

    I have bought hard-to-find bulbs from McClure and Zimmerman for years. I especially like the species tulips and summer bulbs. There are no bargain bulbs here, but you will discover high-quality rarities.


    A relative newcomer is The Southern Bulb Co., based in East Texas about 80 miles due east of Dallas. Chris Wiesinger specializes in Southern heirlooms, particularly the Narcissus genus. He raises his bulbs on a former sweet potato farm and roves the South hunting for more inventory. He is dedicated and conscientious and a tiny business worthy of support.


    Also: The Lily Pad Bulb Farm. http://www.lilypadbulbs.com

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome Susan E…and off I go to look over Heirloom Roses, whose catalog I don’t have…yet. Thank you.

      Nice to see you, Mariana. I just ordered a M&Z catalog last week, since I had not ordered from them recently and didn’t automatically receive one. Glad to hear they are still a good source. Funny you also mention Southern Bulb, as I came across them somewhere recently, too. Will inquire.

  10. Nora says:

    I always feel like Alice falling down the hole when I read your newsletter and visit your website….one link leads to the next to the next….! At any rate, I don’t think I saw one of my favorite rose suppliers, Heirloom Roses, http://www.heirloomroses.com/ Also, I should’ve been an editor somewhere, I got a nice chuckle in reading your resources when I saw the PrOmrose Society. Conjured up high school memories. Thanks for the garden uplift on a cold day.

    1. Margaret says:

      Thanks, Nora, for affirming Heirloom Roses (that’s two recommendations already, so it must be good!) and for the typo. Fixing now…one of the horrors of working all alone. Much appreciated.

  11. Kate Federico says:

    Since I bought my new laptop, I like to cozy up on the couch and get lost online discovering the latest plant topics. More little nurseries are focusing on their online presence. I’m a big fan of a little nursery in Massachusetts…Avant Gardens http://www.avantgardensne.com They no longer produce a paper catalog, instead focusing on an informative easy to use web catalog. They just started a blog called GardenForeplay http://gardenforeplay.avantgardensne.com which is a bit more like biweekly e-magazine.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Kate, and thank you for this affirmation of a source a couple of people have written to me about. I was waiting until they posted next year’s catalog offerings and prices (when I looked last week they weren’t there) but I didn’t see the blog. Thanks for the head’s-up.

  12. Clare says:

    You’ve got a great, growing list of sources here!
    I have two references and one plant source to suggest:
    ConiferBase (http://www.conifersociety.org/cs2/index.php?module=iw_webbox&ref=ConiferDB): extensive searchable database of conifer species and cultivars (curated and hosted by the American Conifer Society website);
    PlantFiles (http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/): searchable, curated, gardener-generated plant database at Dave’s Garden (http://davesgarden.com) which I particularly like because there are usually several different photos and comments about each plant- thus providing a me with a better sense of the plant if I’ve never seen it but am thinking of ordering it;
    High Country Roses (http://www.highcountryroses.com/index.html): supplies an enormous variety (from species to hybrid teas) of OWN-ROOT, hardy, non-finicky roses as well as copious info about these roses; of particular note are their species and heirloom roses (including “Cemetery Roses”)


    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Clare. Thank you for three more sources that I must now go bone up on! Much appreciated, and don’t be a stranger.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Donna, and thank you. Am going to go find Munchkin now. Always glad for these tips…so many undiscovered places! See you soon.

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