well we are having dozens of garden catalogs arriving, and with my experiences in the past years i'm a bit bitter about some ..and glad of others..
i think this would be a good thread to list bad and good experiences with certain company catalogs (hope this is legal )
i can tell you the best quality shipping of tomato plants ever was from Burpee this past year..they were absolutely wonderfully contained and shipped and arrived totally bruise free..
the best shipping for trees was from Starks..every single stark tree i planted grew well and arrived in good condition.
some catalogs that i wouldn't recommend unless you are buying bulbs or rhizomes are Michigan bulb, springhill, wayside gardens, etc.
as far as seeds..i unfortunately had a lot of seeds that i bought last year that were NOT viable..period..they didnt' grow..not one sprouted..and i was very very disappoited...these were companies i had ordered from in the past with no problems..but i'm very concerned on buying form them in the future..
although they are more expensive i think i'll stick with burpee and starks for any mail orders this year
Bloom where you are planted.
I love to peruse the catalogs (I get them second hand usually) but I have always had trouble getting myself to actually order from them personally because of the difficulty in determining what you are really going to get and what kind of shape it will be in when it arrives. and my gardening/homesteading budget is very limited. I'm glad to hear of what companies are producing quality products and happy customers.
I don't much like buying live plants by mail order. Only rarely has it been successful for me.
As for seeds, I like Johnnies for most things. Unfortunately, I'm in a difficult climate and there are not many companies that cater to plants for my climate so I sometimes have to order from several places to get everything on my list.
I tried to work up the gumption last spring to purchase asian pear trees. my only option is to order them but I am afraid that they will end up being a waste of money and two asian pears would probably cost as much as I spend each spring total on seeds and seedlings.
Seed Savers Exchange offers heirloom, open pollinated and certified organic seed. Seed is packaged in paper/foil pouches with clear printing. I spent several hundred on their products this past year on too much stuff to list. The only problem was a missing package of 25 watermelon seeds which was shipped out upon my call. Shipping was a little slow, but I ordered at a busy time of year. Membership gets you 10% off. I have been pleased with their product and service and will use them again.
I have used Fedco Seeds, a seed co-op up in Waterville, Maine. Here's what they say about Monsanto buying SeminisMonsanto buying Seminis. Packaging is paper envelope. No issues with price or delivery.
Main Street Seed and Supply can get you volume. They offer a limited selection of organic seed. Packaging is plastic pouch. Shipping was so fast I think the stuff showed up before I ordered it.
did get a JUNGS catalog last week..and was very pleased with it's prices..have decided that I'm going to give them a try again this year..the seeds i bought from them were really nice last year..and their tomato and pepper plants if ordered in collections are only about $1 each..which isn't horrible..they ship them in sturdy plastic containers.
will give them a try..order going out Wednesday this week.
Bloom where you are planted.