best mail order companies is the best?

andrewlina(Z5)August 28, 2005

I am starting to get into planting bulbs. What is the best place(s) to order bulbs considering price,value... Thanks!

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patwood(6a NJ)

Well, I guess you didn't want to start with an easy question....

You should check out Brent & Becky's bulbs, bloomingbulb.com, John Scheepers, Terra Ceia Farms, and ... hmmm I'm sure I'm forgetting some other good mail order firms. You should also check out Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, and Wal Mart; they have decent bulbs for very good prices, and you don't have to pay shipping (limited selection, though).

Personally, I'd avoid Breck's, Michigan Bulb, Van Dyck's, and Van Bourgondien for now; they've all seen a drop in quality and customer services the last few years.

Check out the site gardenwatchdog.com; they have user ratings of many mail order firms.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 12:40AM
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athomein1914(z5 UT)

My favorite is Van Engelen (sister co to John Scheepers), though you must be in the market for bigger batches of bulbs. I've been ordering from them for years and I am always pleased with the quality, pricing, and service. Love picking my own shipping week, which VE respects. One year some creamy tulips erupted in orange with purple streaked leaves and when I rang them up to report my "trouble" they could not have been more gracious and accommodating. When VE offered to replace my bulbs I sheepishly declined as I suddenly realized comments from passersby more than made up for the garish slip-up. Guess I garden for the entertainment value as much as for the aesthetics.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 9:08PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Another vote for VE. I order a huge number of bulbs from this supplier every year. This year it's over 2000 bulbs already and counting. Just placed addtional 300 last week. :-D

This year I have to order a lot more minor bulbs than before, because I am running out of room for major ones. :-P

If you would like fewer number of bulbs, try John Scheepers, VE's sister company.

Here is a link that might be useful: John Scheepers

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 8:08AM
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summerstar(Z7VA)

I've received my first catalog from Michigan Bulb a couple of days ago and the prices are sure good, but I just don't know about the quality and service. I just read one comment here on this forum and it was negative about this company. Please post back any comments about Mich. Bulb so I can get a broader opinion and more comments. Thanks much!

By the way, I was dismayed to find that Daves Garden has gone to being a paid subscriber site. Disappointing!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 3:55PM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

I ordered from Michigan Bulb once.

I was not pleased, and I didn't even try to grow any bulbs for a long time afterward.

Janie

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 8:11AM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

It's kind of late, but I recommend John Scheepers/ Van Engelen, Brent and Becky's Bulbs, Odyssey Bulbs, Old House Gardens and Colorblends. For lilies, I like The Lily Garden--just be aware it's a little company and they are slow to charge your card and/or cash your check. They send the bulbs when the bulbs are "ready".

Dutch Gardens is basically okay, but don't buy bare-root perennials from them. Quality from Park's and Wayside Gardens is good for bulbs--avoid the non-bulb plants. Same goes for White Flower Farm (WFF). WFF seems to have reduced their prices for bulbs to about the industry standard--they used to be hideously overpriced.

Avoid Michigan Bulb, Van Dyck's, Breck's and Van Bourgondien.

Check out ANY merchant at www.gardenwatchdog.com before buying. Generally speaking, I prefer those merchants who have at least an 80% positive rating--and be sure to read the negative ratings. Some of the posters are just whiners ("I planted my bulbs, then it flooded and the company wouldn't refund my money...") and can be ignored. Others have legitimate complaints.

For those of you who want really unusual, unique stuff, I have tried Telos Rare Bulbs, Jane McGary and am trying Far West Bulb Farm. So far no complaints. There are a couple other daffodil vendors out there I want to try, too, and a guy who specializes in snowdrops. By this point you probably will have joined several plant societies and know about the specialist suppliers anyways :-)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 2:06PM
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covella

Costco has bags of 100 King Alfred daffs for $15.99 and the bulbs are huge. They also had the dark purple fritillaria persicifolia that usually sells for $8 or more each for 4 for $8.89. I bought bags of
80 mixed crocus,
100 muscari armeniacum,
mixed bag of 40 blue anemone and 40 white species tulips -
each bag was $8.89

I had good luck with the bulbs I bought last year and also the bare root tree peonies I bought early this spring all grew in nicely and put out big root systems

If I was buying named bulbs in quantity I'd probably go to Van Engelen or John Scheepers. BTW - shop both because I noticed that the price per bulb is sometimes the same between those 2 sister companies even tho Van Engelen is supposed to be more like wholesale prices.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 5:07PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

Just a note about Odyssey Bulbs--they just received a lot of their stock last week so they are running behind on filling orders. I didn't want anyone new to the company thinking they are not a great company because of circumstances beyond Odyssey's control.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 11:30AM
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oldroser(z5)

Michigan Bulbs is a good firm to stay away from - far, far away.
I think we've all been burned once - and you know the old saying about fool me once.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 4:19PM
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emmaelice

I too stay far away from Michigan Bulb company...Thier plants and bulbs are not of good quality, and their customer service is horrible. I have had the best luck with Blooming Bulbs.com. Wonderful Customer service, very polite and reasonable prices.

Sounds like I need to check out Costco for bulbs, thanks alyrics:) !!!!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 9:53PM
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macnang(z5MI)

I have ordered from both Michigan Bulb and Breck's. With Michigan Bulb, some of my plants did not come up in the spring at all. They did offer to send replacements. Breck's sent me a coupon this fall for $25 of free bulbs, so I tried them. I just planted them a couple of days ago, and they look like nice bulbs. We'll see how they turn out in the spring.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 3:37PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

I did order Gloriosa Lily from Van Bourgonien and they were very nice, fat, plump little tubers. I had also bought some locally at Home Depot. I gave the VB tubers to my neighbor and planted the HD ones myself, thinking I was getting the better part of the deal. LOL! As you are thinking already, my neighbors came up beautifully, and I got diddly squat.

If you have a really good nurseryman locally, they often have nice bulbs you can actually see in person. I always check them out first. I have ordered from John Scheepers, and they were the biggest and best by far. I ordered lilies, daffodils, and hyacinth. Their daffs are marvelous- sometimes 2 or 3 necks on one bulb, and very healthy. I really feel like I got MORE than what I paid for from them. The bulbs were larger than what they advertise, too. The lilies were the healthiest flowers and stems I've ever seen.

I am ordering a couple of lilies from The Lily Garden. I've heard you can't go wrong with them, even though they are a bit more expensive. They are the elite of lilies and a lot of the hybrids they sell, are there own.

I've gotten mixed messages about B&B. Someone said they are not going to be doing lilies anymore? Am I dreaming that up or what?

I've had good luck and bad luck with the bargain bulbs from HD. But for the price, you really can't go wrong.

Susan

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 4:23PM
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