Where to buy spring flowering bulbs?

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)September 9, 2010

OK so we can find bags of tulips, daffs, hyacinths etc. at Lowe's, Home Depot, WalMart, even Stop & Shop etc. but does anyone know of a place in the Providence area (Including Attleboro, Seekonk, etc.) where they sell them individually, as in bins, where you can choose from some nice varieties? I have tried from mail order, but have been disappointed. Some unhealthy looking bulbs among the good ones, and some a little small or shriveled, and then finding that some were another variety mixed in by mistake. I want specific ones so that they all match and bloom as I want.

So I'm open to any suggestions!

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hi Bill, I wonder where you have ordered from in the past? I can offer where I have ordered from and I've been satisfied. I order from Brent and Becky's. I have gotten a few bulbs that were not up to par, but they are very good about resolving issues. They've credited me on a couple of things, very easily. They usually have a sale late in the fall and I have ordered late and planted late and had no problem really. I don't buy tulips.

Grant Mitsch Novelty Daffodils, I've read posts from people who are very happy with that company. Although I think he just does daffodils, but he is said to offer his own varieties. I haven't ordered from him yet but thinking about it this year. Guess I better get on the ball. [g]

David Burdick is in Massachusetts. He is a small grower. I ordered from him last year. He is expensive, but very knowledgeable about what grows well, where. I only ordered one each of different varieties because of the prices. So it will be awhile before I will have an opinion about whether it was worth it.

I've heard people say they like Colorblends, but haven't ordered from them yet.

There's always DG Watchdog, too. Here's a link for reviews on companies who sell daffodils, you can find a category for spring blooming too.

Unfortunately, GW won't allow me to link to it. They evidently have used recent spam attacks as a reason not to allow links to Dave's. I personally have never seen spam from Dave's Garden and I highly doubt that's the reason they block you from linking to them. But Google will easily bring you to their Watchdog site.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 6:00AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Hi Ann,

I really appreciate your input, but the thing is that I really want to buy them live, not mail order, so that I won't have to wait until next spring to find out that the display is sub-par. Hopefully one of the garden centers will have them soon.

How is the cactus doing?


    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 9:33AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Oh, do you mean you want to buy 'plants' and not bulbs to plant for the spring? If so, I have only bought bulbs and I write down what I plant and where and then in the spring, I check to see whether they were what I expected and call the company if they're not. I also haven't seen a local company have a 'live display' of plants so you can choose bulbs from a living version of what you will get. But good luck and if you find something you're looking for, let me know. I'll be curious. What are you thinking of planting for bulbs?

Oh, and if you go to Dave's Watchdog site, you can look in your area and might find reviews of what is local to you. They do have a data base that you can search by location.

The cactus are doing great! I planted them in two different locations, so I will get to see where they like it best. So far, they have produced some little spines and plumped up a bit. I think they are going to do fine for me.

How is your project coming along? Do you still have construction going on?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:39AM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

Bill: I understand what you are saying about hand-picking bulbs from bins so that you can select good sized, firm bulbs (and also select the exact number of each that you want). However, when it comes to ensuring that all bulbs in a bin will be the the exact bulb you believe you are selecting, I can't see that there are any real certainties. Someone's unattended child may have been mixing the purple crocus with the white ones in the adjacent box or an inattentive adult may have returned bulbs to the wrong bin. That was my first thought. Then I started out thinking about all the links in the chain of bulb collection and distribution and how carelessness at many points along the way can mean ending up with surprise bulbs in the mix. Of course, my guess is that this happens with greater frequency when bulbs are being sold cheaply such as in the big box stores, so your plan to go to better level nurseries would seem to offer some protection,but no guarantee.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 12:20PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, it helps to read the whole post you're responding to. Sorry Bill, I missed you completely...lol.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 1:34PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)


I meant buying bulbs in person so that I can at least select the best quality ones, not living plants.......but no problem with the misunderstanding! :-)

The construction is pretty much complete. There is some final grading and mulching with small stones and placement of stepping stones, but that's about all. I will try to post some photos before my upcoming trip, but if not then I will when I return.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 1:50PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Last year I saw decent bulbs at Ocean State Job Lot. Not a great selection, but I think they were from Van Bourgondien or some other reputable supplier. Probably hit or miss but maybe worth checking this year if an OSJL is near you, or you go regularly for something or other (good birdseed here).


    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:00PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

bill, excuse my forwardness here but 23 years of bulb catalogue buying has me telling you that quality catalogue places are the way to go. scheeper's in ct.is a 3rd generation very classy operation and very long long established.23 years and many many thousands of bulbs later,i highly recommend them to you.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:27PM
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My vote also goes to top-notch mail order suppliers. Climate-controlled conditions, no mixing things up by customers, much wider choice than any local nursery can supply. My two favorites are Old House Gardens, which specializes in heirloom bulbs of all kinds, and Scheepers, a general bulb supplier.

The founder and owner of Old House Gardens, Scott Kunst, is a gem and the website and catalog are fascinating. And you don't need an old house or garden to love those bulbs.

Scheepers is my favorite for all-around bulb selection. Terrific, healthy stock and great to deal with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old House Gardens

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:41PM
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Here is the link to Scheepers. Leave some for me!

Here is a link that might be useful: Scheepers

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:43PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I was just looking at Dave's Garden Watchdog site this morning at Bulb suppliers and was surprised to see the Scheepers is now getting negative reports of bulbs that didn't grow and customer service problems.

Old House Gardens is on their top twenty list. Sedum37 has also reported really positive experiences with them.

Bill, you've had a busy summer! We can wait until you're back from your trip to see photos. Don't try to squeeze that in. :-) Have a great trip and take a lot of photos!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:52PM
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I have about 500' of border gardens. So I go for cheap. 15 tulip bulbs for $5 at Walmart of Christmas Tree Shops.

For the front of my house, I typically buy from White Flower Farm. I only plant white flowers in the front of my house, and - surprise surprise - White Flower Farm has the best selection. I know they are in CT. I don't know if they do retail anymore, or if they are strictly mail order.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 10:40PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Thank you all for the input. I will check out Scheepers (noting the caveat from Ann) and Old House Gardens, since I have not heard of them before. I still have plenty of time to get bubls planted when I get back from the trip! Thanks again to all of you!


    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 2:29AM
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I would add a second vote for Brent and Becky's. I have bought from them for years (since before they were B and B's) and been very happy. I've also bought several years from Scheepers, but not in the last several.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 9:39PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I also buy regularly from Brent and Becky's and have never been disappointed. Last year I bought tulip bulbs from Scheepers and the tulips came up well this spring.

I just received some scilla siberica bulbs from White Flower Farm that appear to be in good condition. I'll probably plant them today.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:41AM
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ontheteam(5a-6 (S.Eastern, MA))

Bill... Costco. 50 bulbs in a bag for 20 bucks. and HUGE bulbs. I buy em every year. And.. if they do not grow like you like... bring back the empty bag in June and get your $$ back. I doubt you;ll have to. They really are the best prices around for GREAT bulbs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Those are some of MY costco bulbs

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 5:32PM
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