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Mail-order bulbs in Canada

Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 3, 09 at 21:17

Hey, everyone. My first thread on this forum, but I've been following many for a while. I tried a search for this and couldn't find it.

I understand that buying bulbs through mail order is probably more expensive than buying from a big-box store, but I live 3 hours from the nearest city that I would expect to have any selection, so I was wondering where I could get a variety of bulbs online. Please, enable me. I'm not looking for lilies (yet), but mostly for smaller bulbs like scilla, crocus, and pushkinia, and a few tulips and daffodils. So far I've found Botanus and Campbell River Garden Centre, and I hear Breck's is expensive. If I should just go with one of the first two, I'll do that, but I've made the mistake of ordering hastily before, so I wanted some opinions. I'm not a big-budget gardener. Should I try more standard companies (not bulb specialists) as well? I know Vesey's has bulbs . . .

Anyway, I'd love it if anyone had another suggestion, or just an opinion. Or even if someone wanted to encourage me to drive to Saskatoon and visit my sister-in-law, if they knew of a fantastic place to buy bulbs there.

Thanks!
Julie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

Hi Julie. I've always had good luck with Botanus and they give a free gift with your order; this year it's Jet Fire Narcissus. I have tried Veseys, but find them a little more expensive and sometimes the quality has been lacking. GardenImport is another choice especially for some more unusual bulbs but again are more expensive.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

I wouldn't recommend Brack's or Spring Garden if you paid me! STAY FAR AWAY!

Botanus is awesome. Vesey's ok but a bit more. They have some good deals on their $5, $10, and $15 specials. Dominion Seed House is pretty good as well.

That has been my experience so far. Hope this helps.

Ginny


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 3, 09 at 22:11

Wow, you guys are fast. Thanks for the input. It's good to hear others' experiences. Sounds like Botanus is highly recommended, and it's looking like they have the majority of what I want as well. If anyone does have any other suggestions, I would be happy to hear them as well, but if not I'll be happy to order from Botanus. As long as I get flowers, I'm happy.

Thanks


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

Another vote for Botanus. I had several problems with my Botanus order this spring and the customer service was wonderful. They fixed them right up as soon as they found out about them. I was amazed at the customer service.

Now years ago when Vesey's sent me less than quality plants and bulbs and I was not a happy customer.....Their customer service told me they sold nothing that would grow in zone 2. That none of their plants were zoned for zone 2 and if I ordered they were NOT guaranteed. I do NOT buy live plants or bulbs from them anymore.

Dominion Seed House I have ordered from and it is hit and miss as to the quality you get. If you get poor quality, they will usually replace for you, or give you a credit.

Garden Import is higher priced but you do get some choices you don't get anywhere else. I haven't had to deal with their customer service...the bulbs that arrived were in good shape and delivered when they said they would be.

I know you ruled out the big box stores because you are not close to them. I just want to add that I have bought a lot of fall bulbs at Costco and they have bloomed wonderfully come spring.

Sierra


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 4, 09 at 21:23

Excellent. Thank you for more information. It's power, or so I hear. I'll remember that about Vesey's and stick to seeds if I order from them. I'll keep Garden Import in mind for some time when (or if) I ever have more money. And I'll look into Dominion Seed House right now. Thanks again, everyone!


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

There's also McFayden in Manitoba.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 5, 09 at 0:06

Oh yeah, I forgot about them. I haven't ordered with them yet, because they didn't have many of my desired veggie seeds this spring. But now that it's fall . . . the less distance they travel, the less gas wasted. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll see what they've got too.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

My advice when buying is #1. buy local whenever possible, in person preferably (pics. always look better in a catalogue and are often faked) #2 if buying mail-order, buy from the closer companies. They will understand your climate and have products likely to grow well for you. #3 check with friends before ordering to get recommendations of reliable companies #4 glossy catalogues often equal higher prices. This is especially so when there is 4 feet of snow outside and the wind is howling.
All of us have been "newbies" once and many of us have learned the hard way which mail-order companies are not reliable or are always "out of stock" of the item ordered, etc.
Gardenimport is expensive but has decent quality, is sometimes out of stock of certain items. Personally I can buy cheaper at my local nurseries in person. Not everyone is so lucky. Again, Botanus is more expensive (for me) than buying local. I would never buy from Breck's, Spring Garden, Dominion Seed House. (Dominion used to be good until it was bought out by another company who continue to use the Dominion name.)


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

I'm trying Veseys. They had a $25 off offer on their catalogue that is good until October 15. I'm getting $25 of their specials for shipping ($10). If you talk nice they might give you the same deal without a coupon (number). Unless the bulbs are really good quality (as advertised), shipping may be more than local prices; but, we'll see what we get.


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local vs. mail-order bulbs

One thing (among many) that mail-order companies do not always show you is that bulbs usually sell wholesale in different sizes. I find this difficult to visualize when buying on-line. I was at a local nursery recently and they had the most enormous narcissus bulbs for sale, very firm and healthy looking. I really doubt if you can ever get bulbs that size on-line, without paying a fortune. On the other hand, I turned over a package of tulip bulbs being offered for sale in a local grocery store and they were positively puny.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 6, 09 at 13:18

I just realized: I don't think I made it clear, but the small prairie town that I live in doesn't appear to have ANY bulbs for sale, of any quality or price. That's a little confusing, because surely people must want to plant bulbs? Now that I think of it, I didn't see many bulbs flowering in people's gardens this spring . . .

ontnative - I would like to buy locally, but the gas money for the trip to Saskatoon would likely be more than the cost difference to buy online. My mother-in-law offered to buy for me, but we have very different gardening styles, so I don't think I would get what I want. I would prefer to buy from a prairie company, but there aren't many of them, and their selection is limited. As for asking friends, that's why I posted on here. I just moved here, and the only other (Canadian) gardeners I know are online. (My parents live in Arkansas). Thanks for another opinion on Dominion!

ljpother - Thanks for the info on the Vesey's offer. I'll have to see if I can dig up my Vesey's catalogue that came with my spring seeds . . . is that where the coupon was? If I can't find it, or that isn't where it was, I may have to contact them.

Thanks again, everyone. I'm getting closer to planting my dream of spring blooms!


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

hykue,

Veseys has been sending catalogues all summer, most with special offers. The coupon I used was on the latest fall bulb catalogue. They do indicate bulb sizes and one of the things I want to see is if the bulbs are really 10-15 cm (honking big bulbs).

If you call and say you haven't received the recent catalogue, they might be nice. You can check their website to get an idea of their offerings.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 7, 09 at 13:10

I just realized, I'm not getting their catalogues because my address has changed since my spring seed order . . . My mother-in-law has been getting them, and I'll bet she's thrown them all out, she only plants native species. I'll ask, though, that would be sweet! They don't have as much of what I want as Botanus, but you can't beat $25 off!

Thanks for the info, I never would have thought of that. I should also tell Vesey's about my new address, I bet my MIL is sick of their catalogues. I think it's decided, then. If I can get that coupon, I'll order from Vesey's AND Botanus, if I can't get it I'll order only from Botanus. Thanks for the input, everyone. Have fun!

Julie


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

Has anyone ever ordered from Hole's Greenhouse in Alberta? At least they should be selling northern-hardy bulbs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hole's in St.. Albert, Alberta


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

Holes has a good local reputation. However, all of the major garden centres in the area sell perennials that aren't winter hardy here. Although I can't afford to, locals buy hybrid tea roses and treat them as annuals (at $35 a pop). In short, a northern vendor isn't a guarantee they focus on plants hardy in the region. You need to check the hardiness information for the variety of plant you want.

I've never though of Holes as a mail order vendor; but, I'm local.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 13, 09 at 21:08

I was too embarrassed to admit I changed my mind again, but now that you mention it, I ended up ordering only from Hole's and Vesey's. My mother-in-law was coming to visit this weekend, so she picked up the order for me and brought it here. It looks good to me, but I've never planted any bulbs before, so it may just look good because I love flowers. I don't know how many of them are hardy here, no matter what I get I'm zone stretching . . . I say 2b, but that's with the US system, I'm actually 1b. It just makes me feel better. Anyway, I'll try anything hardy to zone 4, although I prefer if its stated hardiness is zone 3. I could grow about 15 plants total if I went with zone 2, and approximately 4 (considered ornamental) if I went with my true zone. Oh well. Sorry, tangent.

Ontnative: My Hole's order looked pretty good. I don't know if you like to order online or look at pictures in online catalogues, but their website is not completely functional. If you know what you want or want to find pictures elsewhere, I would say ordering from them over the phone is worthwhile. Their prices were lower than Botanus for nearly all of the bulbs, and they are the same size: most of the tulips are rated as 12+ cm bulbs which is the same size as Botanus lists for their tulip bulbs online. Not that I'm down on Botanus, I loved their selection, I just needed to save the money, and I didn't have to pay shipping with Hole's because of my kindly MIL delivery driver. My only complaint is that they included too few of one type of bulb and still charged me for it, but I imagine they will fix it quickly when I call them. I'll let you know, if you want.

Also, ljpother, you may have tons of experience and already know this, but I just learned it. Bulbs are sized by circumference, not diameter. I was very confused that my 12+ cm bulbs looked to be about 4 cm across. I'm a terrible estimator of size, but not that bad. Then I read that it's circumference, and it all became much more clear. Just in case you (or someone else reading this) didn't know. It could be a pretty big shock . . .


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

Hykue, you should check around and see what others in your community are growing. That's a good indicator of what will work for you. :)

Me too, i'm pushing the zone thing. I started out in 3b but it changed and i'm supposed to be in 2b. I refuse to be there!


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

hykue,

Thanks for clearing up what the bulb size referred to. I should have realized 5"in diameter was unrealistic. However, I don't buy many bulbs.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 14, 09 at 12:28

I just realized, ontnative, you probably don't actually want to order from Hole's, as they are close to me but not to you. Nonetheless, in case anyone is interested, I called Hole's this morning and they said they would send out my missing bulbs right away. Prompt and friendly!

Marcia: I am a little too shy to find out much about the gardens here just yet. Also, the majority of people here seem to be too practical to get really excited about flowers. Almost everything I could identify this summer (which wasn't really that much) was available at the ExtraFoods in town. There were a few more ambitious gardens, though. I should have paid more attention, but I hate going to town, so I'm always in a hurry to leave.

ljpother: No problem, I just figured no-one else needed that surprise and confusion . . . it's not that the actual size is so small, it just didn't live up to my expectations, so I felt disappointed anyway.

Thanks, everyone! Now I must go start planting bulbs . . . so many!
Julie


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

Hykue, I'm glad you got good service from Hole's. I think they just started doing mail-order. I just thought that being a Western company, they would be more interested in bulding up their local clientele. Having satisfied customers is the way to do it. Dominion, on the other hand, is currently owned by a company in Quebec, and Vesey's is in the Maritimes.
Lipother, I understand what you mean about local nurseries not necessarily selling items hardy for the area. I am in zone 5b but buy plants at the Royal Botanical Gardens sale in Hamilton/Burlington (40 min. away) which is 6a. Not much difference, but it may dictate which plants may die over the winter.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

I hear you, Hykue - most people here don't want anything really different. They all seem to have pretty much the same thing - not really great for trades!


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

I have been ordering from Lindenburg Seeds Limited in Brandon MB. (phone) 204-727-0575, (fax) 888-714-4542. Their web site is not a lot of help but you can order a catalogue. I live, purportedly, in Zone 1B in mid-north Manitoba although we can grow much of what is hardy to zone 3. They've been in business 73 years and cater to the climate. I've had good luck with their seeds and bulbs. Less expensive than some they don't spend a lot of money on glossy photo catalogues. To get a picture I use Google Images to find what I want.

I'll have to try Botanus.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lindenberg Seeds Ltd.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

  • Posted by hykue 2b Saskatchewan (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 22, 09 at 11:35

Excellent. I'm all done with bulbs for this fall (except planting all the ones I ordered), but I'll get a catalogue from them before my spring seed order next year. Also, this was a great reminder for me that this spring I only looked at companies with websites. How rude of me, there are many wonderful companies who have not yet gotten online! Next year I will plan ahead better, and I'll have ordered catalogues ahead of time, right? Thanks for the reminder and the link to Lindenberg.


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RE: Mail-order bulbs in Canada

I put an order in to Botanus on Sunday night and it has been shipped already - talk about quick service!


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