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I was just wondering if any of you could share your experiences of ordering plants online. I am quiet new to gardening and some of the offers I have seen online seem pretty good value compared to what I have found in some of the garden centres
Many thanks in advance
Look up the thread 'the good guys'. Many of us have highlighted suppliers of high quality plants, with value for money and good service. As a gardening community, many of us stick to tried and trusted suppliers;
My recommendations include the following;
There are many others, and others on here will have their recommendations as well.
One supplier I would avoid is Parkers Dutch bulbs, although some have had good experiences of them.
Don't ignore your local GC, they can be very helpful and you can inspect the plants before you buy. If they are good they will always be helpful and offer free advice.
Choices are an individual thing, you have to be happy with who you buy from, and you do get what you pay for.
Don't ignore the discount stores and supermarkets, Wilko, poundland, aldi and lidl. It's amazing what you can pick up for very little. Ebay have some very good suppliers as do amazon, so it pays to shop around, and a few hours looking around on a wet day/night on the net can produce some real bargains, and as a bonus it's fun too.
Make use of all the free advice people give, It's literally thousands of years of gardening experience in one place. No question is too stupid either. I have learned more on here than a 100 books could teach me, and I havent been here for that long!
You have given me loads to look at Dave, many thanks
I had no idea how much I had got to learn when I started to get the gardening bug and Im loving it
I had a quick look on ebay earlier but I will take another look now because of comments Duncan, thank you
Think dave has covered it but I order lots online from excellent supplierrices reasonable prices.
Bought once or twice from eBay but never plants.
Liseals, why not get back to us when you know what plants you want and where you think you might buy them ?
Beware of offers that seem too good to be true. They prob are
Be careful where U order from
I have ordered off Thompson and Morgan and parkers and have problems with the size of the plants.
Do not use the above unless you want to repot them on for a month or two.
A new nursery has just opened down the road from where I live and it has some great mature plants which I am well happy with.
No more on line ordering for me.
when I start to look, I go from ohhhhh I like that, I want that then I fill my basket up and then the sensible lisa comes into play and I cancel my order and think about it, which is why I have ended up here tonight and thought I would ask you guys with some exeperience. I would like some climbing roses and to fill my garden with colour. I was lucky enough to get a greenhouse just before Christmas so I am on the countdown to when I can start some seeds off but would like to get a few basics to get me going
I bought some perennials from Parkers last year - the 'long summer border' collection and another - I forget the name. They were okay when they arrived, but quite small. I planted out the healthy stuff (most of it) immediately, and covered the plants with mini cloches made from plastic water bottles cut in half, to give them protection from any last minute frosts (although as perennials this might have been considered cosseting!) and the snails which infest our raised beds - just while they bedded in. The less healthy looking plants, I potted up in compost and left on an outdoor table for a few weeks, so as I could pay them special attention and monitor progress. Most of them recovered and went out a few weeks later to their final positions. A handful didn't make it. I was given some hostas and freesias as a freebie - they were okay too. I also bought two of one sort of the daphne, and one of another sort. The two, did nothing all year in terms of growth, just stayed the same, despite attentive watering. The one is still alive, but hasn't grown a lot, but daphne is like that I guess. The two just disappeared. A hardy gardenia did well last summer, but I popped it in the garage this winter to be on the safe side. So all in all, about 7/10. They were a lot cheaper than buying all those plants from a garden centre would have been, but then again, they were much smaller than a garden centre would have supplied them. So no instant impact, and a lot of the plants won't provide much of a show until this summer when they are established. I have yet to do a roll call, but some of them will be dormant underground, so in a way, it won't be until this summer is over that I can make a full judgement. My father used to rate Thompson and Morgan's plants as being of a better quality, but they cost a bit more.
I agree with Dave that some of the discount stores can be a great source of plants. Every year I wait until about May when they are getting rid of the last of their bare root stock roses for 50p. I then set up a rose sanctuary in pots. Provided the roses are sending out those sickly white long shoots with yellow leaves, desperately hoping that someone does something before they give up, you have a chance. Within a couple of weeks the shoots will have 'greened' up, and once they look happy, they can go straight in the ground. At the back end of the summer you might get a flower or two, but by the next year they are in full health. They are never the same rose that was printed on the packaging - even if they are full price!! So don't base a colour scheme on the pictures, but for 50p and a bit of tlc, they owe you nothing and there is something about lost causes that appeals to us gardeners I think. One of my plants comes up with the largest flower heads I have ever seen on a rose - one day I will have to try and identify what variety it really is. I used not to like roses much, but have done a 180 on them!
I have been sowing seeds now for the last two weeks.
All of which are annuals.
Alot more can be sown in a green house.
I thought I would have to wait till the end of march before I started to do that?
As long as you put them under cover in your greenhouse.
Some seeds need a longer growing season to get the best results.
just got 10 orange pyracantha for £8.49 off eBay
Sounds good value Duncan.
Just as an add on, I bought 2 camellia's from aldi today, bushy, well rooted specimens in a 2 litre pot for £3.99 each. So far I haven't found a better deal anwhere either online or the GC. They had some standard rosemary there which I regret not buying for £3 and some flower seeds for 69p.
They had loads of roses there as well all cheap and as busy bee said, with a bit of tlc they would be great.
Gardening doesn't have to be expensive. Oh and cross check prices between websites. T&M are selling some blackberry canes for £5 more(£12.99), whilst crocus are selling exactly the same product for £7.99 same size pot! Postage is higher with T&M as well usually £5.65, crocus charge £4.99, and they can't blame carriers or the post office for the difference in charges.
I fail to see the justification for the price difference so it pays to shop around from the comfort of wherever you decide to sit.
I now avoid using T&M or their sister company Van Meuwen, quality is very variable & half of my purchases from them last year were wrongly labeled.
re planting seeds. You canr just start any seeds in a greenhouse now, unless it is heated. It is too early to start half hardy plants like Dahias and begonias without heat.
I have never had a problem with T&M, apart from them being a bit dear, and not always having seeds I want in thier range. I would give an 8/10, however, if you shop at Tesco,and have a clubcard, you can get loads of stuff virtually free. And I just received a free offer plant that I had forgotten about, and it is in 2l pot, very well rooted, and showing buds. Quality has always been good for me, although they are dear if using real money, which is probably what allows them to do the Tesco thing.
Mark, thanks for that about Van Meuwen, I had wondered whether they are related as they are noe on the Tesco offers and the site looks very similar.
I also have had some great plants from the discount stores, (almost all of my bulbs come from discount stores or B&Q sales) and got some lovely plants on ebay in Nov, small but great price, and growing away strongly,even was able to take cuttings which have rooted and grown on (albeit in a heated, lit prop.)
The most notable example was an Escallonia 'Apple Blossom', It cost £2.49 and gave me 10 cuttings, of which all have taken extremely well,(100% strike rate!) just been potted on and moved to frost free gh, and are already half the size of the mother plant that I bought. By my reckoning, that makes £25 worth of plants for £2.49. Not bad for a small scale, unknown grower. Which reminds me that I haven't sent a review yet! They sent 10 small plants, and combined the postage, which was if I remember rightly, 99p or so, and the plants were here within 2 days, happy, healthy, well grown and ready to go. As hardy evergreens, they could have gone out straight away. The original plants are out, in pots until I can re-arrange my beds for them, and are thriving.
So, definately shop around. Also, be cheeky and ask on here for plants. Many people, like me, Verdun,and others, need to divide plants. I can't throw them out. I give them to our school, friends and local charities, but have also given some away on this and other forums. I ask that you arrange the courier so that you know the plants are free, but a carrier like Hermes will collect from me to deliver to you for something like £10 for a 15kg parcel (depending where you live) That can be a lot of bareroot plants. However, as many of my plants were here before, or have been given to me, I can't always name the variety like others can, although they all make good fillers, and some good specimens. Pm me if interested.
As my add-on, I have to agree with Dave, in that I have learnt far more on here than anywhere else. This is a forum where no question is too basic, or too stupid. If you are a raw beginner, an answer will be given, then more details as you need them. If you are experienced, but need more, there is a wealth of it here, and everyone loves to share thier own. If you are an expert, then you are also a liar. Even people who the rest of us think as experts on a subject are willing and eager to learn more. We can all offer advice based on our own experiences. Beginners can help other beginners, but they can also help more experienced gardeners who may have become set in their ways. the beauty of gardening is that there is always so much more to learn, and the beauty of the internet is that it is all available at the click of a few buttons. AND WE CAN SHARE IT! New pests and diseases can be discussed before they spread too far. New plants can be spread and shared quickly, along with new ideas. Us gardeners are so lucky now. we don't have to wait years for new developements, ideas or plants to spread. we can have them NOW, and share tehm NOW. if anything will help our world and environment, it will be, ironically, through the medium of something that is not readily recyclable, or reusable. The computer in all of it's guises. But it has enabled us to discover the plight of bees and other pollinators, to put in place measures to help, and to capture the imagination of millions of people to try to save our planet in countless other ways. It has led to a serious revival in growing our own food, and plants to help in other ways. And this site is at the forefront of this, I really believe.
Sorry, now I'm off on one But sites like this could really help to save our world. Easily accessible, friendly, educational and FUN.you can't help but learn here. One day millions of years hence, the fossils will say 'Gardener's World forum wuz ere'!
Amen Gardenjeannie - well said!! Also Liseals not sure if anyone here has suggested that you send off for the offers in the GW magazine - they are usually from the main mail order companies, and although you do pay for the postage, it is still a cheap way of getting some plants/bulbs/seeds and trying out the suppliers. Oh, and car-boot-sales often have people offering plants cheaply.