Buying locally vs online

redsox_gwApril 11, 2009

We are very, very new to bulbs. So far, other than what I inherited with the house, we have planted Allium around a tree. That is it.

So this Fall we are ready to make our first investment in bulbs. Would you advise buying locally or online? Is the quality much better online? Larger sized bulbs?

Since we have limited experience, I have checked Dave's Garden watchdog for sources and have received a couple of catalogs that seem reputable (also checked those on Dave's.) What would you recommend?

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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

If you can find what you want locally for a price that is similar I would buy locally since you can pick the exact bulbs you want and do not have to worry about it. You also support the local economy and do not have to pay shipping, but have to pay for fuel to get to the nursery. The problem is that you will not know what the local nurseries have until fall comes and then it may be too late to order on-line. Any nursery should have a nice collection of the more common Daffs, Tulips, Crocus, Allium, etc. but if you want some more unusual species/hybrids you might want to get those on-line now so they are ordered and in stock. Just a thought :o) Dan

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 10:16PM
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Brent & Becky's, Breck's, Van Engelen are my sources...all good online for specific wants and best stored quality. But more important is comparing prices accurately, one company's lower price may seem like a better bargain, but make sure the bulb sizes being solid are comparatively the same. Smaller bulbs have not matured and their blooms will will not be as large.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 10:22PM
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Thank you. Are there specific sizes you should look for depending on the genus? We will probably just start by adding some more allium, daffodils and tulips. Maybe try anemones.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:27AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

If you live where there are lots of deer like I do then tulips are just food for are most of the Crocus. The huge Allium have never lasted more than about 3-4 years for me so I quit with them....not sure of others luck. Colchium are beautiful fall flowering bulbs, but some do not like the foliage in the spring....I think it is very nice and the deer do not bother these lovelies :o) Dan

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:53AM
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The term 'top size' refers to largest, most mature size bulb size available.

Allium bulbs divide, so it's best to periodically dig up, separate and replant them for continuity.

The little bulbs that will naturalize and spread, and make a nice show are scilla, chionodoxa, and crocus , especially tommasinianus - plant a few in your lawn, far apart, and they'll seed and fill your lawn in years to come with a late winter show.

Tulips can be more trouble than they're worth, being deer candy and other critters like them too. Most gardens are not dry enough in summer that the bulbs demand for continued vigor. They should be dug up after bloom, stored in hot and dry conditions, like hanging them in your garage in mesh bags, then re-planted in the fall. Species tulips can continue if given the dryest conditions, planted deeply, but are still critter food.

Nothing eats daffs, being poisonous. Best way to use them is in wilder areas, rather than beds. I have tons planted on my driveway bank, where after bloom, deciduous groundcover takes over, and hides the browning daff foliage. I have to divide the the biggest mounds each year, or they just continue to divide until there's hardly any bloom.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 7:09PM
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gonegardening(7 VA)

I guess it depends on what you want. If you don't really care...for instance, just want 'yellow' daffodils, then buying locally is probably fine. Most local sources from big box stores to local nurseries (around here) sell mixes...which is what you get, anyway. Very seldom do you get a correct named variety.

I collect daffodils, so it matters to me. After years of buying, I am very picky. I joined a local daffodil society and am making my third order with them. Very pleased... they procure bulbs from specialty growers around the world.

Btw, now is a great time to be thinking of what you might want to plant (in the fall). I always order now...and then the bulbs arrive at the right time in fall.

Remember for the little bulbs, like crocus, glory of the snow and scilla that you'll need a bunch to make a show.

You'll be so glad (next spring) that you spent a bit time (and $$) thinking about this now. I love spring!

Have a look, if you want, at some of my daffodils now blooming at the link below...the mids are blooming now with still the lates to come. I am always looking to add more lates because I want to the show to go on and on...

Take care now....Happy Spring!

Here is a link that might be useful: Scroll down to see some daffodils now in bloom...

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 9:04PM
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Buy local. Not that they are better---who knows where the bulb came from if you order online.
At least local nurseries you can ask questions.
Like....where were these grown...from what supplier and where is he located.

Imagine online you buy a bulb or a plant and you are in Maine....and you find out the plants come from California...or Florida...or Alaska.
i know this is extreme in geography but the examples are to show that a plant grown in an out-of-your-local-zone may not, probably isn't, hardy to your area and your soil conditions.
Locally grown, locally hardy is what you should always strive for. They are the ones that can take local conditions.

You can take the girl out of the country.......
but you cant take the country ouf of the girl.
A bulb hardy to Kansas is not the sort of bulb you want in Wisconsin.

Now if you can find an online nursery in your local zone, then you still can ask questions and rely on being able to return them without too much hassle.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 8:13PM
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what a wonderful web site! I think it is all beautiful and those are lucky puss cats too.

thank you

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:37PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Love your daffs. So many unusual ones that I am not even aware of exhisting. Very nice.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:32AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have had a lot of trouble with locally purchased bulbs not being labeled correctly. However, every one I've purchased mail order has been.

This includes bulbs purchased at local independent garden centers as well as big box stores and chains.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 12:13PM
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Personally, I buy EVERYWHERE!!! I have some natural areas where if I see a variety in a box store that I don't have, I will purchase them for that area. My favorites come from the Bulb Sale from the Daffodil Society to which I belong (same one that gonegardening mentions above.) I also buy at a local gardening store. I am such a regular, they tell me when the bulbs are expected to be available for sale. I get there before anyone else so that I can select the double and triple noses (and before people have a chance to mix them up). I purchase every year from Brent and Becky's, as they are in Virginia, I consider them local. I also purchase from Van Engelen and have been very satisfied.


Here is a link that might be useful: some of my daffodils

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:52PM
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