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I never buy plants online and rarely mail order. These are the 10 reasons why:-
i. I like to have a day out every now and again.
2. I like to see the actual plant i am buying. i get to chose the best.
3. i can see the actual colour of the flowers/leaves.
4. i get to make friends.
5. I get expert advice from people I trust.
6. I find bargains.
7. Sometimes I treat myself to a very nice lunch or a cream tea.
8. I don't have to pay postage and packing for heavy items.
9. I have been badly let down by mail order.
10. I am an old fashioned so and so who wants to retain the old ways as long as possible. What will you do if the internet closes down all the Nurseries/garden centres?
Do you agree and how many other reasons can you contribute?
Seeds on line, Chiltern, Plant world and specialists like Touchwood for the aquilegias. Not enough choice from GC seeds
Plants from nurseries and plant fairs. Not GCs very often as they all have the same, (whatever's in this year), I like to look a bit further.
I got my Sisyrinchium from ebay last year, eight actual plants when only five had been promised.
Not only were they lovingly wrapped and posted, but grew into a sizable clump waiting for division just one year later.
I was thrilled with this experience, BUT, on the whole, I don't use the Internet for plants for all the reasons above. I like to see it with my own eyes, smell it, touch it, judge its form and habit, note the exact -exact- shade of flower and foliage, none of which can be done to my standards in the virtual world.
The internet has its uses but I will always prefer the hands on shopping experience
I agree with many of the points, but also with Verdun regarding choice - the average GC cannot hope to match the multitude of varieties available online from specialist nurseries. For bedding plants and gardening sundries etc (many of which are available much cheaper online), I always go to the local GC to try and help them stay in business.
I've found the condition and packaging of plants sent by post to be very good on the whole and on the rare occasion when there has been a problem it has always been quickly put right usually with profuse apologies (and often freebie/voucher etc) from the supplier.
It's the independent Garden Centres, which are worth while supporting as they are more prepared to order in more unusual plants, there is a pretty good chance that the man or woman you are talking to will be putting in the orders with the nurserys or will be talking directly with the one who does.
mostly orders go in at the beginning of the week for delivery thursday or friday.
Seed ranges are standardised a company like suttons will send a range of around a 100 or 200 seeds depending on the footage to a GC once or maybe twice a year. (unsold go back for credit). If you want anything outside of these ranges online is the way to go. Garden furniture tends to be sourced from china either direct by chains like b&q or via wholesalers who pretty much charge the GC at around the price a chain sells at retail.
Things like sheds, fencing, dog boxes and unusual handcrafted items can be locally produced and custom made which supports the local economy. Most independent gardencentres will produce individual planters and hanging baskets to order, you can often get last years refilled. Of course if you are a regular customer at an independent you are more likely to be able to get things sourced for you,(if it is the right time of year).
Last year in my area at least 4 independents went bust. It's pretty tight for the rest of them too. Have a day out , enjoy a cream tea, find plants you like and if you don't see what you are looking for ask.
You might find your local independent agreeable to a little bit of haggling on the price of plants. This is where it helps to be a regular customer but please don't do this when you just want a couple of bedding plants, if your spending cash (not cards as visa are already taking a chunk out of the profit margin) and buying a good number of plants thats when your more likely to get a deal particularly on the quieter wetter colder days.
Unfortunately Internet shopping has gone from strength to strength, I appreciate what you are saying WW but don't necessarily agree, I would imagine you are an able bodied person ? What about the less fortunate people who may have some sort of disability ?? .............. Disabled people like to garden as well and see the Internet as a vein of hope to enable them possibly to see everything you may see and MORE ! I AGREE with a lot of the points Verdun has made , BUT AS I HAVE SAID LET'S NOT FORGET OUR DISABLED LESS FORTUNATE GARDENING COLLEAGUES ! ............ so you are lucky WW you can walk into your local GC and browse at your leisure whilst others may have to depend on others to take them or perhaps they browse the INTERNET ?
And with small independent nurseries, online is the only way they can compete with the huge chains of Garden Centres.
It does seem that in many fields of business, online sales are the saviour of the small independent retailers.
Verdun, I agree that Woodgreen wonderboy has started an interesting thread here. There are so many reasons why people use all these methods of purchasing their plants, seeds etc. Personally I use the lot! Main reason is that I like to research and hopefully purchase the best for my garden at the best price, unfortunately this does not always work. I have used my local independent nursery for larger plants and shrubs as they have probably been growing outside for sometime and will have endured a few seasons and will survive in my garden... this is opposed to buying from other sources where they may have been grown under perfect conditions to ensure success. It is down to trust and confidence and... not wasting money. I really look forward to reading more on this subject so keep them coming.
I agree with several of the comments made above. I am all for supporting the smaller business & there is a certain thrill in going to a garden centre or nursery, there is a buzz and an atmosphere that you don't get online. It can also be slightly lethal for the wallet.
But Brumball has hit the nail on the head, I struggle to get to a garden centre, my nearest is a 45min walk away (I don't have a car) and busses would be an impossible journey, I think its 4 connecting busses each way. If I get to go to one of them its usually in a friends car but thats rare (2-3 times a year). I also have severe joint pains & illness meaning that some days I sleep for upto 15 even 20 hours, my ankles and knees give out or sieze up & I have broken several bones with no explination. If it wasnt for buying some items on the internet I wouldnt have a garden.
Thank you dd, if i lived nearer i would take you myself
SORRY.... Brumbull, I spelt your username wrong...
Yes there was a troll who had the name Brumball but i'am Brumbull thanks
Brumbull wrote (see)
Yes there was a troll who had the name Brumball but i'am Brumbull thanks
I know, thats why I appologised for it.
DD, I commend your courage in continuiing to garden. It seems a bit short-sighted to criticise buying plants online when we are all socialising and learning online, and this, too, is a boon for older and less fit gardeners.
Our local GC was taken over from a chain by a private owner, recently. It has improved vastly and I love it and visit it monthly, at least, for all the reasons mentioned above. I have noticed that it has less stock this year than last, though, and really hope it continues to do well. It is fairly cheap for plants and I do buy there. Nutcutlet mentioned Touchwood for aquilegias and since this is local for me, I visited there and bought seeds and other plants, which were dug up before my eyes. That lady gardens in a tiny area and I imagine that online sales provide her main business income.
Wherever you buy plants, online or locally, the growers are local to someone! They are merely expanding their business online and by catalogue in order to survive. We all know that there are issues of price and some are cheaper and of poorer quality than others, but it is horses for courses. I've been to Hayloft plant centre and it is a charming small garden centre. I spent too much but loved it.
I use both, and think this gives the best of both worlds - loads of choice online (and most online nurseries I use are very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful - if they are not, they do not get repeat orders!), and the chance to see things (and be tempted) in a GC. Long may both continue.
Well said GG
Thanks GG & Brumbull, I do have to be carefull, I do tend to break easily and have alot of pain & gardening is my only real pleasure since I can barely tollerate alcohol anymore ..
This site has been my winter saviour and has been lovely to chat along with regular posters. I do get told off by my mothering next door neighbour (lol, she's only in her late 40's). But like I say, I do what I can & I stop when I have to. If I don't do it its not going to get done and since I am the one sitting out there in the nice weather (if it ever comes back), I just don't want to be looking at a pile of weeds.