TOTW: Sources

J.E. Shields
Tue, 11 Mar 2003 05:27:11 PST
Dear all,

I can confirm much of what has already been posted on this topic: Rod & 
Rachel's Silverhill Seeds and Ron Ratko's Northwest Native Seeds are top 
notch sources of seed.

Seed exchanges are to be avoided -- god only knows what they will send you; 
sometimes it's even as labeled.  I have had much better luck with 
person-to-person exchanges of seeds.    Archibald's have sent me their 
price lists but never filled an order -- at least they don't cash my 
checks.  I've given up on them.  They were probably just sold out of 
whatever I wanted by the time I sent in my orders.

Bulbs from Mr. Janis Ruksans and from Diana Chapman's Telos are always 
excellent; I cannot recommend both highly enough.  Paul Christian does have 
very rare and expensive bulbs.  Those species from South Africa are not 
usually acclimated to the Northern Hemisphere when I have received them 
from him.  That is not damning condemnation; I supply bulbs that way myself 

Barry and Andy's Asiatica have very good quality and very pricey bulbs, 
especially Arisaema.  Recommended for big, healthy, rare Arisaema.

I have been very pleased with bulbs from Welland Cowley's Cape Flora 
Nursery in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Charles Craib has very unusual 
species and ships good quality bulbs; I can't say more without conflict of 
interest because I am working with him now myself.  Cameron and Rhoda 
McMaster are some of my favorite bulb people and -- once they get relocated 
in the Western Cape -- are a source you should look into; their business 
name is The Croft Wild Bulb Nursery.

I have had mixed luck with mass market mail order bulb houses; every one 
has occasionally shipped mis-labeled or poor quality bulbs to me.  Still, I 
go back to them almost every year for some things.

All of the above as well as some not so highly recommended sources are 
listed in the various Sources pages I maintain.  Look first at URL =

where the listings are sort of but not quite in alphabetical order.  You 
can search the page for sources of  certain genera that have happened to 
interested me from time to time by going to the page and then searching is 
using Ctrl-F in your browser.  If you want a more thorough search, but 
somewhat out of date (1999) listing, ask me for my MS Access database 
called the "Bulbfinder".

Just my 2 cents worth!

Jim Shields
in central Indiana, where the sun is shining and the forecast is for warm 
days (50°F) and mild nights (above 30°F) ahead!

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA                   Tel. +1-317-896-3925

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