I just learned about the Plant and Seed Finder from Mother Earth News. It’s a Google-based search tool for 150+ online plant and seed catalogs–simply type in the specific name of the plant or seed you’re looking for and you can quickly find all the different online suppliers. Very handy indeed this time of year.
I did a couple of quick test searches for some shrubs that I was looking for last year and couldn’t find. Last spring, I was specifically trying to find Ilex verticillata ‘red sprite’ and Ilex verticillata ‘jim dandy,’ female and male pollinator varieties of winterberry shrubs, for a garden I was working on. I can’t remember the exact site conditions that prompted me to want those exact varieties but I couldn’t find them anywhere. So I ended up ditching the idea all together and planting viburnums instead.
Using the Plant & Seed Finder, I found one supplier for ‘red sprite’ and two for ‘jim dandy.’ If I had realized the two were so hard to find at the time I was spec’ing out the project, I would never have wasted my time trying to find them. In fact if I had known that they were so hard to find, I would have suggested different varieties from the very beginning.
I would like it a little better if I could know exactly which plant and seed companies are included in the search, but it may be too difficult to do that for some reason. It would be great if the 150 companies could be listed by region! But I’m getting carried away. I suppose. Anyway, check it out if you’re seed/plant shopping for something particular and can’t find it–it could save you a lot of frustration.
If you try it and have an opinion, I’d love to hear what you think.