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Postal Increases on 31 March 2014

  • Mar 5 2014
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No one likes to see increases in postal costs. But on 31 March all postal charges will once again have to rise. Of particular concern are the international rates, where the letter loophole used by every seed seller I am aware of has been firmly closed and all goods will have to use the parcel rate - which will be an increase of 300% in postal costs. This is not something we can absorb and will have to pass this on to our international customers.

If you want to avoid this hike in charges for this year, you will need to have submitted and paid for your order by no later than 1700 GMT on Friday 28 March. The new rates will apply to all items paid for after this date.

A link to the new charges is here:

More Aroids

  • Feb 11 2014
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We are now stocking 7 more Aroids, all Arisaema, to go along with the Arisaema speciosum we stocked earlier this year. These are fascinating plants known as Cobra Lily, Dragon Arum, Whip Cord Lily or Jack-in-the-Pulpit. They all have brooding look about them, with flowers in shades of purple and the curious way the spathe bends at the tip, looking like a fanciful striking cobra. They are gernerally hardy plants, with the leaves dying back each season to an underground rhizome. They require a mulch in the manner of Gunnera or Rhubarb to provide frost protection for the buried rhizomes. Alternatively they may be grown in pots, either singly or in groups, and lifted each year once the foliage has gone (to be stored cool and dry).

The rhizomes of these species command prices for a single example many times what you will pay here for a pack of seeds. We are unsure how long these will be available for, suffice to say the collector has already run out of the first species (Arisaema speciosum), so what we have right now, is all we will have for this season.

Pot of ten seedlings of Arisaema consanguinem - showing how they can be pot grown, albeit in a big pot.

Along with the seeds, we have created a very comprehensive care sheet for the species, probably our most detailed one to date. It is in text format, so is completely compatible with both computers and mobile devices such as smart-phones and tablets. The link to the intstructions is here.

Five Arisaema speciosum in a terracotta pot of around 40 cm diameter.

Preparing and Growing Seeds

  • Feb 3 2014
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Today we have published the first in a planned series of addtions to our care sheet collection. We plan to add leaflets covering more generic aspects of care and the first of the these covers preparation prior to sowing (such as scarification, soaking and stratification). Our hope is that by using these sheets in conjunction with the specific care sheets will enable higher degrees of success in your seed raising efforts.

The first sheet can be accessed via our cultural notes page or for a direct link, click here.

Future sheets will cover soil choice, germination using artificial heat, growing containers, pests/diseases and growing on.

Growing Instructions

  • Jan 23 2014
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With Spring just around the corner (well in the Northern Hemisphere) its time to start growing seeds. Within our various stores you will find all manner of seeds of various species. On the cultural notes page here you will find the instructions as to how to grow those seeds we sell. The link is on the top of every single shop page here.

Some have asked why we no longer send out written instructions. The reason here is quite simple - cost. Royal Mail now charge banded prices for UK mail and whilst the odd extra sheet does not add much to the overall dimensions of the package, some times there is more paper in an envelope than seeds. For overseas customers this is even more critical as each 20 grams in weight sees the postal cost jump quite a bit.

So to keep the cost of postage reasonable and in check, we publish our instructions here in our shop.

There are other advantages too. You can check before you buy. Less trees get cut down - as we move to as near a paperless system as we can. You cannot lose them, the dog cannot eat them, children cannot use them to draw on, you cannot spill coffee on them (well there's always the keyboard but lets hope that doesn't happen). All of the preceding are reasons we have been asked to re-send instructions - now all you need is the link.

New Seeds Arriving Soon

  • Jan 11 2014
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Whilst we always have a flow of new seeds throughout the year - either to replace sold stock or in some cases old stock that needs replacing, it is always exciting to be able to list new species that we either have never listed before or have returned to stock after a long absence.

Next week keep an eye out for Adenia subsessilifolia, a succulent member of the Passion fruit family, grown for the shape of its swollen base (a caudex). Like most members of this genus, it retains the climbing nature of the stems, whilst growing from a narrow caudex. In this species, the stems remain even when not in leaf and are green and succulent. In this respect it grows rather like a Ceropegia.

Cultivated specimen in the Palmengarten, Frankfurt am Main.

Also due in are new (to us) Cacti species including Echinocactus texensis, Opuntia procumbens and Opuntia tomentosa. Each of these is well worth growing as reliably flowering species. Echinocactus texensis may be more familiar to many as Homalocephala texensis, a small barrel cactus with pink flowers carried whilst still quite young. Very frost hardy provided the roots are dry taking temperatures down to 18 Deg C.

Shown flowering whilst still quite small, a characteristic of this Echinocactus.

The two prickly pears are quite large species, but also very dependable in terms of producing flowers provided they have had a cool winter rest.

Opunita tomentosa, in the Jardin Exotique, Monaco.

Look out for these species and others we are trying to acquire over the next few weeks.

Weclome To Our New Blog

  • Jan 8 2014
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Thanks to our e-commerce partner, Highwire, we now have several new features in both our online shop and our eBay sales presence. One of these is this blog. Here we can let you know about our new seeds and cultural advice as well existing seeds and old favourites.

Over the next few months, we intend to expand our range even further than we did over the whole of last year. In the last 6 months of 2013 we added over 100 new varieties to our product lines to take our total number of offerings to over 800. Ultimately we would like to take this to over 1000 to include many garden varieties both annual and perennial. Watch this space for more news.

Once we get a full picture on what we can offer in our multi-channel shop, it will become apparent that we will be able to offer a much fuller range of seeds, some of which, although perfectly legal to trade in, 'transgress' some of eBay's rules - again more to follow on this.

Finally as the Northern Hemisphere season looms and our busiest time of year approaches, we would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our customers both old and new.

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