Seed Sources for Annual Flowers & Plants, per Graham Rice

Discovering Annuals, by Graham Rice

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Ordering British seed from the USA

A number of British seed companies will supply seed to gardeners in the USA. American gardeners will find varieties of seed raised plants in British mail order seed catalogues which are not available in the USA; some will be heirloom varieties which have been kept going in Europe or recently reintroduced, others will be new varieties which have not yet been listed in American catalogues.

I must mention, however, that especially amongst heirloom varieties, the names used in Britain may not be the same as the names used in the USA so it's possible that varieties apparently only available in Britain may actually be available in the USA under other names.

The following seed companies will send seed from the UK to the USA:


(Please wait for the page to load before clicking on these links)

Mr Fothergill's Seeds
DT Brown & Co
Chiltern Seeds

Thompson & Morgan

Mr Fothergill's Seeds

One of Britain's newer seed companies but one which lists many unusual varieties in its two seed catalogues, the general catalogue and the enthusiasts' catalogue. Both catalogues include a number of excellent nineteenth century heirlooms, as well as modern varieties in single colours where most companies offer only mixtures.

The two seed catalogues are well worth requesting; Mr Fothergill's also publish a catalogue devoted to young plants which is one of the best but plants are not sent outside the British Isles.

USA customers ordering seed must pay in sterling or by credit card and add a flat fee of £2.50 to cover post and packing.

Mr Fothergill's Seeds, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7QB UK
Tel (from outside UK): 01144 1638 552512
Fax (from outside UK): 01144 1638 751624
Tel (from inside UK): 01638 552512
Fax (from inside UK): 01638 751624 

DT Brown & Co

An old established company enjoying an impressive revival with an excellent choice of modern and traditional varieties. Their Heritage range includes many heirloom varieties incluing striped zinnias, striped French marigolds, dark-leaved nasturtiums and other varieties usually unavailable elsewhere.

Their vegetable range is also one of the best in the UK, with a most thoughtful choice of modern F1 hybrid vegetabkles as well as heirlooms like the pink and white flowered 'Painted Lady' climbing bean. The catalogue includes plants and seedlings which cannot be sent overseas. DT Brown also publish an excellent trade catalogue, specifically aimed at smaller commercial growers.

Having received catalogue requests over the Internet from a large number of people they describe as 'catalogue collectors', DT Brown have decided to respond only to catalogue requests received by post or fax.

USA customers ordering seed must pay in sterling or by credit card and add a flat fee of £2.00 to cover post and packing.

DT Brown & Co, Station Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, FY6 7HX, UK
Tel (from outside UK): 01144 1253 882371
Fax (from outside UK): 01144 1253 890923
Tel (from inside UK): 01253 882371
Free Orderline (from UK only): 0800 731 1231
Fax (from inside UK): 01253 890923
Email (trade only): 

Chiltern Seeds

When the Chiltern Seeds catalogue arrives around New Year everything stops - it's simply fascinating. The catalogue, with no colour pictures but some spirited and at times hyperbolic text, specialises in annuals and bedding plants in separate colours along with many unusual botanical items ranging from cacti and palms to trees and vines.

This catalogue is aimed more at knowledgeable gardeners than those from Mr Fothergill and DT Brown and the seed comes in simple paper packets without instructions.

Orders from the USA below £20 require a £2 charge to cover airmail post and packing, orders over £20 are post and packing free. Payment in sterling or by credit card.

Chiltern Seeds, Bortree Stile, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 7PB, UK
Tel (from outside UK): 01144 1229 581137
Fax (from outside UK): 01144 1229 584549
Tel (from inside UK): 01229 581137
Fax (from inside UK): 01229 584549

Seeds by Size

An extraordinary catalogue, which is replicated in full on the website. The list (there are no pictures in either the catalogue or on the website) features many unusual annuals and many single colours available to home gardeners from no other company - anywhere in the world.

But while this is perhaps the most comprehensive list of both hardy and half hardy annuals available to home gardeners, it cannot be denied that the presentation of the material, both in the list and on the website, leaves a lot to be desired.

Seed is available is any quantity and I would encourage gardeners to spend a little time working through the material in order to find varieties available nowhere else. Oh, and just to make it clear, the company is named after its proprietor John Size - it's not a case of large seeds being listed separately from small ones!

Seeds-by-Size, 45 Crouchfield, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 1PA, UK
Tel (from outside UK): 01144 1442 251458
Tel (from inside UK): 01442 251458

Thompson & Morgan Seeds

Thompson & Morgan are the only British seed company with a substantial presence on both sides of the Atlantic. There catalogue is the by far the largest of the colour catalogues and especially features new flowers bred on the own researh facilities in the UK.

The catalogues issued in the UK and the USA are almost identical and there is little point ordering from across the Atlantic as all the new introductions, except sometimes the occasional vegetable variety, are common to both catalogues. T&M also publishes plant catalogues but these are strictly country-specific.

Thompson & Morgan Seeds UK
Poplar Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 3BU
Tel (inside UK): 01473 688588
Fax(inside UK): 01473 680199

Thompson & Morgan Seeds USA
PO Box 1308, Jackson, NJ 08527
Tel: (732) 363 2225
Fax: (732) 3633 9356
Email (catalogue requests):
Email (customer service):


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