Veseys Perennials Yea or Nay

aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. CanadaMarch 18, 2009

I was just thumbing through their catalog looking at all the eye candy has anybody had good/rotten luck with their perennials? Do you get decent sized viable plants or... are they wizened up bits of roots packed in peat in a plastic bag.

A

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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Hi Aftermidnight,

check this out and you will get your answer.

http://www.canadiangardening.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16388

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 10:02PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Thanks green thumb, that pretty well answered my question.

A

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 11:05PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

I just read the link you provided Green Thumb Guy and I have to respond.

I have been quite happy with Vesey's. A couple of years ago, I did order some bareroot plants and was not happy at their state upon arrival. After contacting them, they sent out replacements which were wonderful. My experience is that they have been improving in this area continuously. We have to remember that these folks started out just doing seeds and were doing just that for the longest time. If you look at some of the comments, they state 'a couple of years ago' and such. IMHO, this company has grown in the bareroot department do doubt.

Summer 2007, I ordered several peonies and other perennials. They did very well and last year flowered beautifully. Fall 2007 I ordered bulbs and was impressed with the size. Last fall I ordered a Peony Tree as well as several perennials. The Peony tree was in great shape (best one I've ever seen at the sale point) and the perennials were of a good size. I have no doubt they will flourish this year.

I placed another order with them for this spring and am anxiously waiting for things to warm-up.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:22PM
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marricgardens

That's good news Tiffy. I've seen various things in their catalogue that I liked but always hesitated to order them because of things I'd read. The things that really interested me were the bearded iris and perennial geranium collections. Now I may just go ahead and order them! Marg

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 8:18AM
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mitanoff(Z4b Ontario)

Garden watchdog
http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/93/
basically says Vesseys are great for seeds, and mixed reviews for the live plants. I decided to see for myself and placed a small order, which included a few hardy geraniums. It helped that I had a coupon (expired now) though.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 10:01AM
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marricgardens

mitanoff: I have always ordered seeds from Veseys and they were fine. Two years ago I ordered 'Iron Maiden' Penstemon and it turned out to be completely different one. I emailed them and they asked for a picture of the plant. Once they saw the picture, they refunded my money. I have noticed though that this plant is not in their catalogue this year. I will keep an eye on this post. Can you post and tell us the condition of the plants when they arrived? thanks. Marg

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 10:33AM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Hi Tiffy,

Glad you have had a positive experience with them.

My preference is to make the selection myself.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 12:15PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Anyone ordered tubers, rhizomes or bulbs from them? Are they a decent size? The reason I ask is once I ordered a dwarf bearded Iris from, I can't remember which mail order co. when I finally found it in the peat mix it was sent in it was viable but the rhizome was as big as my little fingernail.

A

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 2:42PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Green Thumb Guy,

My preference is also to make the selection myself but sometimes these folks carry things which are not offered locally, and by locally I mean the left 1/2 of the province since I travel it's roads in the summer quite often.

Unfortunately our resources are not as prolific here in the Atlantic provinces when trying to make personal selections as they are in central Canada...

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 4:20PM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Tiffy, I too I'm in the same boat as you, our local nurseries do not sell uncommon plants. Therefore I rely considerately on mail-order.

Veseys have improved greatly in the past few years. I've never had a problem with their customer service that's for sure. I've had a couple of mislabeled lily bulbs and a few potted plants that were not so healthy looking and they have always credited me or replaced the item no questions asked.

They are not huge but a fair size.

If itÂs a common plant, then by all means shop locally.

I especially love when they have sales ;)

Sharon

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 9:14PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Yes, Sharon, the sales... YUM!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 1:49PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

When you go to your local nurseries and garden centres, do you think to make requests? It's hard enough for places to predict what people are interested in; perhaps they would be able to order in what you see offered in the catalogues.

I have to admit that I do take for granted the number of garden centres and the selection. Unfortunately, it is not always great here either. The big box stores are squeezing out the family owned places where you get personalized services and advice. Then the supermarkets set up their centres to do the same.

There's an area not to far away called Huttonville; historically, they were a flower belt. Numerous growers and garden centres where you could but plants. The lure of the $$$ for their prime agricultural lands is slowly killing them off.

I loved this area because you could pick up the most spectacular annuals and geraniums etc. They were not cheap but you were buying from the grower rather than just a distributor. I like that idea.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:27AM
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kinglemuelswife(3)

I've had mixed experience with the quality of goods, but must say that whatever happened, their customer service was very good. I'll order from them this year because I know that even if there is a problem, they'll fix it without a fuss.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 11:44PM
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tambo747(5 Canada)

This is my second gardening season. I stumbled upon Vesseys while doing research for my garden. I placed an order last summer for spring bulbs and other perennials. I ordered daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, reblooming bearded iris, oriental lilies, and gaillardia's. Being an amateur, I couldn't attest to the quality of the bulbs, but they looked larged, healthy, and strong. The snow has recently melted and our temps are slowly on the rise. I go out EVERYDAY, to check on how my bulbs are doing. The tulips are coming up strong. The daff's and hyacinths are bearly showing yet, but I think it might be a bit early for the daff's. The iris's look wonderful, strong foliage of at least 2-3 inches (except for one with no foliage at all, but again, it's early). It's still much to early for the lilies, but I am trying so very hard to be patient. I'll keep you posted as spring emerges, and will try to take pictures and upload them on this forum although I don't know how!!!
This year I am working on another symetrical raised bed in the opposite corner from where my bulbs are. It is mostly shade. I ordered a fern, bleeding hearts, lily of the valley, and astilbe from Vesseys to put with my hostas. I haven't received them yet, but will let you know how they do.
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:21AM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Greenthumb, I order and buy from local growers and far away nurseries all over Canada. I'll buy from Walmart, CT and No Frill if I have to. I'll buy from farmer's markets, and even do trades. I'll buy even buy from the USA if need be. If I like it and I want it and I like the price is where my money will go.

Here is a photo of some daffs I bought on sale last year from Veseys.


Daffodil 'Ice Follies'
Blooming indoors March 26th, I bought these on sale late last fall, too late to plant then so they were overwintered down in the pumphouse all winter long.

Sharon

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 5:05PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Wow, nice Sharon. Sure is a pretty sight when one is expecting another 15cm of snow...

Greenthumb,
Let me quote you a piece from Vesey's website...
"It all began on a shoestring" is the way Arthur Vesey (the founder of Veseys Seeds) described the beginning days of Veseys Seeds. From a very young age, Mr. Vesey operated a market garden in the rural community of York, Prince Edward Island. During his market garden years, he was keenly interested in securing and testing seeds that were suitable for the cool, short growing seasons of Atlantic Canada.

Since 1939, Veseys seed has been tested and packaged on the premises in York. Today, automated packaging has mostly replaced what had been done by hand. However, many small and delicate flower seeds are still packaged by hand using a combination of measuring devices not unlike the original spoons and scoops of Arthur's day."

Now if that's not the makings of a small local business gone successful... I do support local business and consider this as being one of those. If I can order from the Atlantic provinces before heading westward for what I want, then I will.

But sometimes there are things which catch the eye such as lovelies from Botanus in BC, Hortico in Ontario, a special Peonie place in Quebec, etc.

Here in Nova Scotia there are quite a few places full of treasures. For tropicals and annuals to die for there can be no better that Den Han's in Middleton. For unusual evergreens and to die for perennials I head to the Briar Patch in Berwick. Another place for excellent perennials and grasses beyond belief is Blomidon Nurseries in Wolfville. Then there's pinegrove Nurseries in Bridgewater, and that place in Lunenburg which sells amazing trees such as Redbuds as well as massive and hardy plants such as Gunneras(sp?) and Rodgersias.

Yes, I know all the great places to the west of Halifax in this province and given the time and $$ will definitely visit and buy in the course of the summer.

But the question here was "Veseys Perennials Yea or Nay". Hence the answer and my point of view.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 7:03PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Hi Tiffy,

This past weekend, while flipping channels, the Shopping Channel had show on Botanus perennial packages. Perhaps they willhave it again or maybe it's on their website.

I have to tell you that one year, I was visiting family in Liverpool and they took me to a house near the old Mersey paper mill. There was a guy who bought a piece of land near the mill that was used as a dump for the scrap bark wood etc. Kind of looked like at one time it was a valley that ended up being filled in.

The ground was the most gorgeous site you coule see. I just wanted to roll around in it. Anyway, this guy grew the most amazing Azaleas and Rhodos I have ever seen. I don't think he had a business - just a hobby.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:17AM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Sorry, forgot to add this.

Garden Watchdog is a great resource for helping you to decide if you want to take a chance on ordeing from a company.

This link will get you to the index where you can begin your search.

http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/

Here's some reviews for Veseys.

http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd/c/93/

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:48AM
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mitanoff(Z4b Ontario)

Received my Vesey's order
1. Came too early.
2. Everything I ordered came
3. Erlicheer bulbs were about 3" across and firm (not hard). No rotten spots. (Can someone tell me if this is good? great? mediocre?)
4.Glamini glads were about 2-3" across, firm. A few sprouts.
5. Hardy Geranium roots were long, firm. Quite a bit of sprouting (all white and albino looking). One or two rotted sprouts.
This is my first mail order arrival ever. I have nothing to compare this order to, so overall I'm satisfied. Well, I guess I'll be satisfied once I see how the plants come up. Wished it came a little later, but whaddya do? eh.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:17PM
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green_thumb_guy(Z5 Ont)

Hi Mitanoff,

I'm kind of puzzled as to why they aresending daffodils in the spring? They are daffs are they not?
If the bulbs are firm that's good.

Same for the glads.

Really you will want to grade the bulbs on how well they perform once you find that they are firm.

Hardy Geraniums usually are indestructable. As long as the roots are not black you are probably fine. I would pot the geranium up so that it doesn't dry out. Just watch it if you put it in bright sun. The shoots will get scorched. Once they develop some colour you should be safe. You don't have to really baby it other than protect it from frost.

Enjoy and let us know how things performed for you.

:)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:33PM
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mitanoff(Z4b Ontario)

Hey Gtg:
The Erlicheer daffs are supposed to give me blooms this summer. . hence the name I suppose. ."Early Cheer ??". In the following years it is supposed to bloom in the spring as per normal.
Thanks for the tip re. the scorching. I also have some daylilies and lilies (box store purchase) that are also white and sickly looking. Will move them to a shadier location until they green up some more.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 9:43AM
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madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

I have had mixed experiences with their plants in the spring - too many died for me and I will not order again. I also don't like the fact that they way over price things and then give huge discounts.

Fall bulbs are shipped to late for Ontario. I have complained about this in the past and they just told me they have a 'system'. I get much better results with local bought bulbs.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 10:53PM
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mora(6)

I'm glad to hear Veseys has improved. I placed two big orders with them a few years ago as did my neighbour and received plants that were tiny and mostly dead. The orders were through a school and a cub scout promotion so I "sucked it up" but will never order from them again.
My "stars" go to Lindenberg Seeds Ltd.Manitoba for the best quality and prices. M

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 10:01AM
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alexg(z5b ONT)

No way - tried a few times, most everything died. Yes, good customer service, and yes they replaced, but the replacements died as well. I will buy seeds and bulbs from them - these generally do well.
I don't think that it is a particular fault of Vesey's though. The only mail-order perennials I have ever had survive are those that came potted up, not bare-root (Oh I miss Patrick Studio!!!!)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:00AM
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oilpainter(3)

Did anyone ever try Dominion seeds in Ontario. I ordered from them for years

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 6:23PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

In the "good ole days" Dominion in Georgetown had a good reputation and good quality stuff. I used to order asparagus and rhubarb plants, seeds, etc. from them with no regrets. Then they were bought out by a company from Quebec, and I feel that the quality has definitely declined. I believe that the plants are now grown and shipped from Quebec. Oh, yes, if you are considering ordering from Hortico in Waterdown, you should try a visit to their nursery. Quantity, not quality, is the name of the game. Also for the prices they ask, the plants are just not worth it. I wouldn't be surprised if many were mis-labelled as well.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:39AM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Erlicheer narcissus were sent to you in the spring because they are NOT supposed to be hardy in Canada zone 4-5. They are usually grown as potted bulbs indoors in these areas. In the middle and southern USA they are grown outdoors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Erlicheer narcissus

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:49AM
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mitanoff(Z4b Ontario)

Hmmm. .
Well, I just don't know what to believe re. the hardiness of the erlicheer. According to brecks, dutchbulbs, veseys etc. .this daff is supposed to be ok up to zone 3a. Other sites support what you (ontnative) say.
Well, I'll just have to experiment myself. I'll lift a few a leave a few in the ground and see what happens next year!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 12:28PM
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dahlitsa

I have had a very positive experience with them even thought they sent me wrong once, they made it right and I got to keep the mistake (which wasn't too bad in the end)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 4:04PM
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mitanoff(Z4b Ontario)

Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say.
All my other daffodils that I had planted came up, but erlicheer did NOT. Definitely NOT rated for my z4 zone. I do wish these companies would NOT misrepresent what zone plants are rated for. It's false advertising! So pretty too.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 9:55AM
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ninamarie(4Ont.)

Basically, you are paying for the free catalogue and the glossy coloured pictures. Printing, especially in colour, is very expensive.
Vesey's prices are higher than most nurseries, but their plants are much smaller. Anything shipped has to be kept small or shipping charges are ruinous.
If you live in the middle of nowhere, then Vesey's offers great variety by mail.
But if you live near real garden centres - the kind that grow their own plants- then you can usually pick up less expensive, better quality plants than Vesey's is able to send. You should be able to find everything Veseys offers and a whole lot more.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:23AM
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ianna(Z5b)

Mitanof,

I have to point out other sites do mention Erlicheer to be hardy to US zone 3 (Zone 4 for us).

I was rather suspect when you mentioned receiving your erlicheer bulbs in April 09. It leads me to think you received poor quality bulbs if this was the case. This was probably part of Vessey's clearances. Was it part of their special offers.

You see the norm is most bulbs are shipped off for fall planting - so you should have received those bulbs in Oct 2008. - to have an understanding of how the bulbs are are prepared for spring blooms, let me explain... That means the bulbs were dug up even earlier in summer or late spring in the same year (2008). By the time you received the bulbs in April, - those bulbs were out of the ground say,, since late spring or the summer before. They may have been kept in storage in some cold room but probably it was not so well maintained. That means the bulbs you received were out of the ground far too long to be healthy. So my thinking is, you received poor quality bulbs.

I noticed that with the case of bulbs I did get a mix of poor quality and okay bulbs when I had ordered from Vessesys before. I must confess I took advantage of their discounts and kind of suspected I might have poor quality bulbs. Sure enough I didn't get results from the bulbs I put in last year - some did come up this year. At least one Fritallaria poked it's head out.

I agree with Ninamarie's observations. Distance does make a difference when it comes to ordering plants. Except, glossy catalogues are not that expensive (think cents) to produce especially if they keep large volumes of the materials. - it's the cost of mailing them that's expensive.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 10:04AM
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ianna(Z5b)

I just received my Vesey's catalogue for fall plantings. Can you believe it? I am very tempted by their iris collection. They are cheaper compared to other catalogs.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:55AM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Many catalogues, including Vesey's, do NOT show accurate photos of their plants. Colour especially is not true, scientific names are often not used or are incorrrect, and often plants appear (through trick photography) to be much more floriferous than they really are. Buy locally if at all possible, or if you choose to order by mail, be prepared for receiving something much less than the "glowing" write-up and "glossy picture" would have you believe.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 10:20PM
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ianna(Z5b)

Ontnative. I've purchased from Vesey's 2x before - and with exception to the fritallaria bulbs I got from them, I've so far been satisfied with the products I got. The only time I've experienced problematic service when a plant I ordered was substituted without my permission (and I did request no substitution) was from a local catalogue. To their credit they did apologize for their mistake and gave me the plants for free.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 11:55PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I have to agree with others here about the poor quality of Vesey's plants in the past few years. I had good luck in the past, but not lately. The plants have arrived way too late in the fall, and bulbs that have come from them have been soft and small.

The catalogs are tempting but, buyer beware!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 7:54AM
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ianna(Z5b)

Thanks for the warning Marcia. I have a question. Have you complained to them and what was their response?

Ianna

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 12:07PM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

I have heard that sometimes they advertise reblooming iris. The varieties they sell might rebloom somewhere but probably not in our zones. I have a friend who got a reblooming iris collection(I think from Veseys) last year. I will have to see if they rebloom for her.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 5:41PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I did complain to them about the bulbs i got through their fundraiser catalogue and got a credit. I've since bought some sale items from them, but that's about all. I like looking at their catalogue, though - good eye candy!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 8:52PM
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jenangelcat

Where can I buy bulbs from in Canada if not from Veseys?

This year the red tulips I planted in the fall came up orange, yellow or pink and the red border lilies didn't come up at all. Neither did the phlox.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 4:58PM
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origami_master(5b)

Jen, I would strongly recommend Lindenderg in Princes Manitoba. They don't have a nice glossy cataogue (just a regular newsprint one) but their prices are usually quite a bit cheaper, definitely worth the trade in my opinion. My orders always comes firm and healthy, and because they're colder than my zone, their perennials do fine through our winters. Make sure to write no substitution on your order form if you don't want substitutions. Oh and did I mention shipping is free over $40...you'll come to realize you can easily spend $40 on plants whether in the store or through catalogues!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 8:08PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Botanus is wonderful too. Their selection isn't as large as Vesey's but what you get are good quality plants and bulbs and great customer service.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 9:37PM
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