A work in progress!
This is where you can find information and links to some of the sites we visit most, including our go-to seed sources, agricultural supplies, favorite designers and other places we find inspiration!
We source our flower seeds from all over North America to find our favorite varieties of annuals and perennials. We frequently order from the U.S., but keep in mind that depending on the size of your order (along with some random checks by CBSA) you may have to pay duties and taxes on top of the price of your seeds. We have found that in general, if our order is under $100 or so, our package will be delivered to our mailbox without any extra charges. Some sources have a fixed shipping charge to Canada and others do not. Some are much more reasonable than others, so check their policies before you order.
GEO Seeds USA This is where we order the bulk of our seeds. They carry both annuals and perennials. They are definitely geared more towards farmers and commercial growers than home gardeners, but anyone can place an order. You need either their paper or PDF catalog- they don't have a regular website where you can order from directly. The catalog contains NO pictures! So, this means if you aren't familiar with the Latin names, you'll want to have your web browser open to start looking up names and varieties. It's a bit of a pain, but they have SO many great varieties of flowers for your garden.
Johnny's Selected Seeds USA We love Johnny's! These guys are the real deal: they grow seeds, develop new varieties and conduct extensive on-farm trials. Their website is a treasure trove of information on growing. They have a large growers library with articles and videos, and although their focus has always been on vegetables for market gardeners, they have lots of resources for flower growers too. They have a great selection of cut flower varieties, mostly annuals. Even if you don't buy seeds there, the website is worth perusing for all the growing information that is part of their site.
Edgebrook Farm Seeds (Stems Flower Farm) This is a relatively new Canadian company that brings in flower seeds with the flower farmer in mind. They have curated a collection of flower seeds that are specifically chosen just for cutting. They have tons of options and offer free shipping for orders over $79.
Floret Seeds USA Ok, if you don't know about Floret Farm, and you're into flowers, then you're missing out! I have more on Floret below in the "inspiration" category, so here's what you need to know about their seeds: They have some great varieties and they have curated their collection to select what their team has deemed as "must haves" for the cut flower grower. Unfortunately, they are one of the more expensive outfits for shipping, so I don't often order from them because most things I can elsewhere. But since expanding their operation into seed selling, they have conducted huge variety trials to find the very best cut flowers around that are beautiful, easy to grow and good in the vase. They are now branching out into breeding their own varieties, so I'm excited to see what the future may hold!
West Coast Seeds A BC bases seed company that is committed to organic and sustainable gardening. They offer lots of organic seeds and associated garden products. All their seeds are guaranteed to be non GMO and untreated. They also have a nice resource library on a variety of gardening topics. We often use them to source seeds for our veggie garden!
William Dam Seeds A long running Canadian company that sells all kinds of flower seeds along with veggies and herbs too. They committed to not selling treated seeds in the late 60s as a response to Mr Dam's reaction to the chemical treatments on some seeds.
Stokes Seeds Another Canadian company and long time supplier of seeds of all kinds.
Home Gardeners- If you're looking for small quantities of hard-to-find, unique varieties of bulbs such as tulips and daffodils or ranunculus and anemones here are a few places to check out. These folks are fellow flower farmers, so you'll want to sign up for their newsletters to get notified when these products become available.
Flower Farmers- Here are a few options for sourcing bulk quantities of bulbs and corms
Unicorn Blooms The best source in Canada for wholesale quantities of specialty varieties of tulips, narcissus, ranunculus, anemones and dahlias. This is the only place you'll find the amazing Italian Elegance and Cloni ranunculus or the Mistral anemones. Louise really goes the extra mile to connect with the growers in Europe to find the most sought after, gorgeous varieties available. Sign up for the newsletter to get info as you can't order directly off the website. She also has a really nice curated selection of Sweet Peas varieties and Colibri (Icelandic) Poppy seeds.
Van Noort Bulbs Here you can find wholesale bulbs of every kind along with peony roots, dahlias and perennials. They have a huge selection. They are wholesale only and you'll need to create an account with them before you can order.
Devroomen Bulbs Another larger wholesaler of tulips and spring bulbs.
We are often asked where we find things like row cover, landscape fabric or irrigation supplies. The answer is going to be different depending on the size of your garden. If you are a backyard grower, you likely will just want to go to your garden center where you can find many of these items, or check websites and catalogs such as William Dam or West Coast Seeds. However, if you're gardening a larger scale here a some places you'll want to know about:
Dubois Agrinovation This is where we source most of our row cover (also known as remay or frost blankets) as well as our drip irrigation supplies. They have most everything that market gardeners and small to large scale farmers will need. My only complaint is that their website can be somewhat hard to navigate! They offer free shipping (on most items) for orders over $200.
CY Grower Supply CY is located in Abbotsford and would only be a good resource for those of you living in BC. This is where we order our landscape fabric and any propagation trays or nursery pots we need. They also carry greenhouse plastic in just about any width as well as shade cloth. Even though shipping is expensive (you're buying everything in whole cases), we find that propagation trays, for example, are usually about 1/3 the cost compared to buying them retail. The website has a basic catalog to view as a pdf, but we often just call and explain what we're looking for and they can help us out.
Johnny's Selected Seeds Johnny's also has a great catalog of garden tools and supplies. The shipping toCanada can be expensive, but sometimes it's helpful just to review their site for ideas. This is where we purchased our soil blockers.
There are so many great books out there about gardening and farming that it can be hard to know where to start and what's worth while reading. With the so much information at our fingertips now, maybe books don't feel as relevant for some people, but I disagree. I like the focus of topic and particular perspective of the author are really valuable. By the time you have decided on buying (or borrowing!) a book, you have established that you think this person has the experience to offer an educated perspective and you can have a certain level of trust in their words.
The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman is the classic go-to book for market gardeners looking to start their farming careers. Coleman openly shares the knowledge he has gained through his decades of trial and error running his small scale organic farm in Maine. From garden planning and seeding to soil management, Coleman touches on all the foundations of starting and growing a healthy garden. Even if you're not a commercial farmer, anyone who is interested in growing healthy plants should read this book!
Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein There are ton's of gardening books out there, especially about flowers, but if you've got your mind set on growing a cut flower garden, then you need this one on your shelf. The book is divided into four sections where Erin walks you through each season and what's blooming in the garden. She also lines out all the garden tasks that need to be done in that season and finishes each chapter with a recipe for a beautiful, inspiring, seasonal floral arrangement. It's definitely geared more towards home gardeners, but the book is inspiring and absolutely gorgeous and is well worth the read even if you're operating on larger scale.
Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler