Online nursery reviews: Conifer Kingdom

firefightergardener(7/8)March 30, 2012

Though my collection has reached both my space capacity and financial budget, I have still made a few new nursery discoveries and as before, I'd like to share my experience with them. Hopefully it can be a useful tool for others considering sources or looking for rare plants.

This order was from Conifer Kingdom, a Japanese maple and conifer nursery out of Oregon. Their website states their nursery staff has 20+ years in the industry and it shows in their product. I'll stay with the format I've used for some 15 nursery reviews. One star(*) is poor/unacceptable, three stars(***) is average and five stars(*****) is exceptional/outstanding.

INVENTORY: ***** I've scoured in internet for the last four years and only a few nurseries have collections this vast. In addition to several hundred varieties, ranging from somewhat common to extremely rare, they have what appears to be a dozen or more introductions/finds of their own. Conifer Kingdom offers plant sizes from ban pots(BP) to #3 and above. I think with most online sources, 5-7 gallons is the largest that will ship. Any collector or gardener would be thrilled to scan their photos and inventory. Just take a look(link below).

Japanese maple growers would also be very pleased with their offerings as well.

STOCK QUALITY/SIZE: ****

On quality alone, it's pretty easy to give them five stars. The plants are meticulously grown with care and it's readily apparent, at least with my order, that they don't ship ugly specimens. The size of the plants is about average to the size of the pots. Most gallon specimens seem to be 2-4 years old, and 2 gallons 3-7 years old.

CUSTOMER SERVICE/GENERAL EXPERIENCE: *****

Shipping was excellent, fast and very affordable. The entire box was $31, though your prices, particularly across the country, may vary. The plants came in bags, twisted off and staked to keep them in place. I didn't notice a broken or bent brench amongst them.

I visited the nursery in person and met a fellow named Dick who's probably been in the industry since I was in diapers. He was very courteous and seemed genuinely interested in the customer's satisfaction, a dying trait in some nurseries.

VALUE: ****

Conifer Kingdom offers some really choice and rare plants. Some plants are in the $18-24 range while some of the rarest command a serious price(almost $100 for a 2 GAL plant), but taken as a whole, most of the prices are reasonable. Combine the quality of the plants, how rare they are and the professional approach and you have an above average value for your shopping dollar.

www.coniferkingdom.com

How things arrived.

The maples were tucked away safe and sound.

Abies nordmanniana 'Berlin Dahlem' $36

Abies koreana 'Olhtacca' 2 GAL $48

Pinus parviflora 'Shikoken' 2 GAL $64

Picea glauca 'Ketch Harbor' 2 GAL $60

Picea abies 'Middle Finger' $45. Another rare introduction, this is a narrow upright similar to, but considered an improvement over Picea abies 'Hillside Upright'.

-Will

Here is a link that might be useful: Conifer Kingdom Nursery

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bluegix

Nice post and how nice to find such a nursery. Looks like good quality plants there selling, they all look nice and healthy. Don't for get theres always room when you have a passion(obsession) haha. By the way what japanese maple cultivrs did you get. I really like some of the japanese maples out now. Thx for the pics

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 3:00PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Some different plants & I didn't even get into the maples. Thanks for the review.

Dax

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 3:46PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Thank you for the time to make a review. They have a really nice website as well.

W/O "knowing" someone who has bought from a company before I have a hard time dropping a couple hundred bucks. This does help amd is appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 8:09PM
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ricksample(6)

Bookmarked... thanks! I will give them a try next year. Keep the reviews coming, I think next year I'm going to try all new companies. The companies I currently use didn't really list to many new things this year and when I order next year I don't want to 'settle' because they didn't have what I wanted. LOL @ the middle finger conifer... that's neat and would definitely be a conversation piece!

It's weird that there prices vary so dramatically. Some of the ones I found on my must have list are only $24... while Picea glauca 'Dasy's White' was a whopping $96. Very nice site and a great description of the products though... will give them a shot next year!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 8:38PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

What a great review. I appreciate hearing about other places to buy conifers and appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences. It looks like they sent some great looking plants.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:23PM
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firefightergardener(7/8)

Prices typically reflect a combination of at least three basic factors, rarity, number of years growing and ease of propogation. I paid $94 once for a three year old cedar, 'Uwe', yet I can run to Lowe's and get an Picea abies 'Little Gem' with about 5-6 years of growth for eight bucks. Generally as a collector I have found you usually get what you pay for. $80 for a Picea abies 'Wichtel' through the ACS might seem like a lot, but they are beautiful plants and very rare to boot.

Four Japanese maples came with the order, Acer palmatum 'Mayno no sato', 'Amagi Shigure' and Acer shirasawanum '6910' and 'Green Snowflake'. The maple variety selection is also impressive. 'Amagi Shigure' in particular shows considerable promise and the variegation on 'Mayno no sato' is highly unique, a purplish/yellow combination. I saw one last year in a display garden and had been looking for one ever since.

-Will

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:55PM
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ricksample(6)

I know Will... I'm not saying there prices are high by any means. Very reasonable... some of the ones I have on the top of my want list they have for under $30 bucks which is right in my price range of $25-$40. I think if I had more beds to fill and the time to do plant I would probably drop a good size order on them. Right now I'm having a hard time getting everything planted before they break bud.

I was just surprised to see Picea glauca 'Dasy's White' and a couple other ones priced so high. Since I believe this is propagated by a cutting and can be found at a lot of different nurseries. I think all the companies I use offer this plant for sale... so I wouldn't consider it rare by any means.

Keep the reviews coming, I'm looking forward to trying at least 2-3 new companies this coming fall or next spring and this is one of them.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 7:35PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Great, another source to enable more purchases!

They have a few nice selections I haven't seen before. There are a few cultivars that are priced higher than they should be...ie a 12"-18" Peve Tijn for $140, yikes!

Pinus parviflora 'Shikoken' presents itself as a nice cultivar. I'd like to see how the needles color up in Midwest winters.

That 'Ketch harbor' seems to be fairly upright.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 10:58PM
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