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Gardening Questions or Comments?

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Ray Allen, Founder of AmericanMeadows.com & The VT Wildflower Farm Our founder, Ray Allen, has been a gardener and working in the mail order business for a long time. Born in Florida, and gardening in New England since 1981, he’s created perennial gardens, herb gardens, and many a wildflower meadow over the years, in climates from the subtropics all the way to Canada, and ordered most of his plant material by mail. Operating American Meadows for over 20 years has introduced him to a lot of people in the lawn & garden industry, and also in the wide world of catalogs and websites. By now, we usually know a good internet or mail order company when we see one. So here are some we recommend. Some are large, some are small. In fact, some are tiny, but we know and like them all. We can’t vouch for the info or merchandise from any site, but we either know or have investigated all these companies, and are happy to recommend them. Please let us know if any of the links don’t work, or if you have one you’d like us to add. Send your comments to Webmaster@americanmeadows.com.

Click on the following sections to view links:
Gardening Info Websites
Wildflower Associations & Organizations
Reputable Wildflower Plant Nurseries and Hard-to-Find Seed Sources
Gardening Supplies and Accessories
Fresh Flowers, Food and Fruit
Environmental Organizations
Wildflower Reference and Photo Sites
Wildflower Folklore and Crafts


Gardening Info Websites


BHG.comBetter Homes and Gardens One of our finest national magazines has one of our best websites. This site is one of the biggest and most complete for gardeners. They have wonderful discussion (message) boards, an excellent article archive, and really useful gardening newsletters.

Dave's Garden.com This unique site allows gardeners to set up their own Gardening Journals, and contribute comments and photos to what's becoming the biggest plant database on the web. As of 2004, the site had over 100,000 members and over 70,000 plants listed. It's fun and really informative to read about members' enthusiasm for certain plants they've grown, and also see the prized photos from their gardens.

Floridata Floridata.com This beautiful website is run and was created by our friend, Jack Scheper. Jack is a tireless gardener, excellent writer, and careful archivist. His own photography illustrates the site, and he now has a database of "plant profiles" most other sites can only dream about. The site is easy to use, authoritative, but still lots of fun. Specialties are perennials, trees, shrubs and palms.

GardenWeb GardenWeb The No. 1 (largest) gardening information site on the internet. A wonderfully-run website that's easy to use and always up to date. Includes their famous "Forums" where gardeners exchange info on every subject from Achillea to Zinnia. You’ll enjoy the forums on Meadows & Prairies, Native Plants, and more. Now owned by iVillage.

Gardening Know How Get your gardening questions answered by an expert gardener. Learn everything from vegetable gardening for beginners to how to xeriscape your garden. Grow the garden you want after reading these articles packed with gardening advise and gardening tips.

GardeningLaunchPad.com This is the well-known compendium of a stupendous number of gardening info links compiled by Jim Parra, a very friendly and knowledgeable Texan. Jim spent 26 years at the Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, and today is, as he says, "a master composter and Flower Show Judge." Jim knows his stuff.

IcanGarden.com This is Canada’s leading gardening site, built and operated by Donna Dawson who is a true plant expert and master gardener. The site is extremely well put together, and the information is clear and complete.

National Gardening Assn. National Gardening Assn. One of the best sources of all kinds of gardening information. Their well-known national magazine, National Gardening, is no longer published. However, their extensive information base, research and writings still set standards for industry. NGA publishes a great "Kid's Gardening Catalog" which has been used by teachers and families for years. And they are nationally known for their annual national survey of gardening trends.


National Home Gardening Club Begins with Free Gifts. This club is what we think is one of the best values in gardening. It's now quite large, and growing with thousands of very happy members. To begin with, a 30-day Trial Membership is free, and then it's just $12 a year. Best of all, membership gives you a subscription to their excellent magazine, "Gardening How-To." And once you've joined, you also have full access to their website and all its articles. Members are offered free gardening products to test, there are contests, and really good content. We know the people who operate NHGC and know what a well-run organzition it is.


PlantExplorers.com A great new site that has wonderful biographies of the pioneers in botanical exploration, always interesting to wildflower enthusiasts. The site also has info on the history of botanical art, and many other articles of great interest to any serious "plant person."

Tropical Flowers Forums A beautiful site for Tropical Flowers Lovers. You can open a free account and upload your discussions and favorite photos.

TurfgalProfessional Lawn and Garden Advice since 1985

What's What at MiMi.hu "Gardening Definitions." A fantastic website that has a huge database, very easy to use. Anything from Acid Rain to Zinnias, botanical names, fertilizers--everything! Simple A-Z search on the Gardening page. You'll love this.


Wildflower Associations & Organizations


Lady Bird Johnson National Wildflower Center This is the famous place outside Austin, Texas, which was formerly called the National Wildflower Research Center. They actively promote the use of native plantings in landscapes nationwide. We've been enthusiastic members for years. It's a great place to visit, and they'd welcome your membership.

Native Plant Societies by State or Province. Most every US state and Canadian province has its own Native Plant Society. These groups often operate wild gardens, are always interested in protecting the native flora of the area, and signing up interested residents as members.

New England Wildflower Society This is the granddaddy of all of America's native plant societies, and the operators of the largest native wildflower garden in the US, The Garden in the Woods at Framingham, MA, just west of Boston. Really a national organization. We've been members for decades. Great information, publications, memberships.

The National Park Service's "Celebrating Wildflowers" Links. In collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center, the National Park Service has launched a site called "Celebrating Wildflowers". There they've assembled a large group of links to various regional and specialized wildflower organization sites, and of course, wildflower information about our national parks.


Reputable Wildflower Plant Nurseries and Hard-to-Find Seed Sources


GardenMakers.com Hard-to-find Eastern Wildflower Seed Packets. This is a quite complete, no-nonsense site in Massachusetts with a very long list of packet seed of woodland species, uncommon wildflowers, grasses, and lots of natives you won't find most places. They also provide an expert "germination guide" for each species, which the gardener often needs for many of these species. It's great to see important native seed like Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Wild Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and lots of others readily available for wildflower gardeners.

High Country Roses: An excellent species rose source in the West. This mail order nursery is the outgrowth of High Country Rosarium which was begun in Denver in 1970 by Dr. Bill Campbell, a nationally-recognized rose expert. Today, Dr. Campbell's daughter and son-in-law operate High Country Roses from Utah.

Native-Gardens is another really good plant source, also in North Carolina. This is a very personal site with lots of experience. Don't be surprised if either Meredith or Ed, the owners, help you in person. No online ordering, but a good catalog, and easy print-out order form for mail orders.

Niche Gardens has become a leader in native wildflower plants. This nursery in North Carolina has been at it for years, and many wildgardeners consider them the best. They also do garden consulting in their area of the country.

Orion Farm: A new website, with years of rose experience in the Upper Midwest. Orion Farm is operated by rose experts who specialize in the ones that "don't take a Herculean effort". They have a good list of species roses.

Rockspray.comRockspray.com The place for Heath and Heather. This group of plants is often hard to find, and I know once a gardener starts growing them... they're hooked. This unique specialist nursery is located in Truro, MA, which is on Cape Cod, and they specialize in a selection of hardy heaths and heathers. You'll enjoy both the photos and the solid "how-to" info.

Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery: The famous rare plant specialist in the Northwest is Baldassare Mineo, creator and operator of this now-renowned nursery. Beautiful display gardens and a great catalog that specializes in the alpines, conifers (evergreens), trees, shrubs and wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest has made Siskiyou famous. (The name refers to a Mountain Range in Oregon, the Siskiyou Mountains.) It's all now online; enjoy.

SunlightGardens.com is one of the best sources for wildflower plants, from woodland favorites to meadow species. And they are experienced at shipping nationwide. It's run by a husband and wife team, Marty Zenni and Andy Sessions, and for years, they've been providing fine propagated plants and really expert customer help. We have recommend them highly for years. They also have a fantastically beautiful new website. Pay them a visit.

Thompson & Morgan. When you're looking for flower seed you can't seem to find anywhere else, this is the one to try. For that elusive European hybrid, or the latest in colors in any heavily hybridized species, this fine old English firm has probably the widest selection.

Wild Roses for your Wildflower Meadow. Exactly what is a "wild" rose? Robert Burns' poem notwithstanding, the story is simple. A true wild rose, or "species rose" has five petals, never more, and yes, there are over a hundred species worldwide, most all either pink or white (a few yellow). Among the North American native species roses are some very beautiful ones such as Rosa carolina and Rosa virginiana. The old pink one your grandmother called "wild" probably wasn't. Because there are even more old hybrids that are tough as oaks and "grow wild". Some of these multi-petaled old hybrids date back to Roman times. Of course, you can plant whatever you please in your own meadow, but if you'd like true "wildflower roses", choose a few beautiful, very hardy "species" roses.


Gardening Supplies and Accessories


Country Home Products: The ultimate Trimmer/Mower for Wildflower Meadows; we've used it for years. This is the company that invented the weed trimmer with big wheels: the now-famous DR Trimmer. We knew the man who started this company, Lyman Wood, who also began GardenWay, which many gardeners remember fondly. Lyman is gone now, but the DR trimmers (DR is for garden guru Dick Raymond) roll on, and believe me, nothing cleans up a fall meadow better or quicker than the one we've used for years. A really good company, highly recommended.

Spring - Flower - 4 Gardener's Supply A company we know well, and recommend highly. Gardener's Supply is a real leader. We know the people and the product lines, and have ordered from them often. It all began as a non-profit that encouraged people to garden, and today, it's a powerhouse of good products and advice. My favorite part of their excellent website is "Innovative Gardener", the column written by my friend Kathy LaLiberte, who is a true gardening expert. The products are exactly what the name implies-gardener's supplies. They have the very best selection of things every gardener needs such as seed starting materials, all kinds of helpful things for vegetable gardens, pest control solutions, perennial stakes you won't find elsewhere, and best of all, clear, complete information about everything.

Garden Design Paradise: Quality and Quantity for Exterior Decorating. This is a big site that's not as famous as it should be. It's the very best place I know for finding that great focal point every garden needs-an elegant arbor, a beautiful statue, antique reproduction birdbath-here the choices go on and on. (And by the way, this site is internet only; there is no paper catalog.) Their huge selection includes classics from the best manufacturers such as Virginia Metalcrafters and Pawley Island Hammocks. There's everything from teak furniture to flags (American and decorative). You can browse through really distinctive things like heavy, reproduction door knockers and the internet's largest selection of metal address markers. And here, expect the unexpected. For example, among their huge group of birdfeeders and birdhouses, you'll find one really elaborate collection with an item called "The Summer Palace", an 3-story white Victorian masterpiece that any family of birds would love! The site is no no-nonsense, and sort of folksy, which I like, but it's easy to use, and you'll be amazed at the almost endless selection of things that would look great in your garden.

Orvis Orvis.Com. The name-recognition says it all. Orvis's name has been well-earned over the years. We've spent decades in VT, and know what an excellent outfit they are--for both products and service. If you're in the market for quality outdoor gear, then this is the place to visit.


Fresh Flowers, Food and Fruit


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Flowers from 1800Flowers.com Everyone knows the leader in this category, but what used to be just fresh flowers has blossomed into gifts, candy, and all kinds of unusual arrangements--like their famous birthday flower cake. You can choose various things for birthdays, and they always have a good selections of seasonal flowers. We've used them many times, and have always been more than satisfied.

Dakin Farm: The very best Vermont Ham, Cheese and Maple Syrup. We know. Dakin Farm is our neighbor in Vermont, and we know the people and the products well. This is a smart, booming family business that is the very best at everything. Dedicated to customer service, with really outstanding product standards. We send their delicious gift boxes as business gifts, and everyone who receives them is delighted. A great company.

Hale Citrus The real thing: The Best of Florida Citrus is still there. Since I'm from Florida, I know a thing or two about this. Hale has been there forever, and began as a roadside stand up along US 1 in South Florida. They're in the heart of Florida's Indian River citrus country (near Cape Canaveral), long recognized as the home of the best oranges, grapefruits, etc. If you're old enough, you remember your grandparents bringing great oranges back home from their trips to Florida. Chances are they were from Hale's.

125x125 LogoHarry and David Big, well-run, and fantastic! Pears from Heaven. (Click icon) In my opinion, Harry & David is one of the prides of American mailorder. It's an outfit that started small with great products, and has grown into a huge, but very well-run internet/catalog marketing machine. We have relatives in the Pacific NW, and it began with them sending us H&D's "Royal Riviera Pears" for Christmas. If you've never tasted one, you've never tasted a pear; they are incredibly juicy and delicious. Today, Harry and David's line includes some of the world's best fruit and candy gift boxes, exquisite wrapping-everything you want for a really great gift. I like to order from them by phone, since their order takers are so nice and so well-trained, it's always a pleasure. Warning: Their blueberry and cherry candies are addictive.

120x90 LogoJackson and Perkins Famous for living roses and much more.
I love Jackson & Perkins. It's an old firm world famous for roses that has blossomed into a really fabulous source for not only their staple rose bush and perennial plant selections, but also really tasteful and interesting houseplants to send as gifts. (After all, why send cut roses, when you can send a beautiful blooming miniature rose in a nice planter for about the same price…or less?) Roses, gardenias, and many more are available all sorts of ways. And this company is also known for excellent customer service.


Environmental Organizations


National Wildflife Federation is a great organization, and not only has very important programs to protect wildlife, but also distributes carefully selected native wildflower seed to current and prospective members, nationwide. They're also the leaders in helping homeowners create "Backyard Habitats" with lots of easy "how-to" information, and a certification program second to none. This is the program's 30th anniversary year, and it now has tens of thousands of North American backyards and businesses listed as "certified wildlife habitats." (Our 6-acre Vermont Wildflower Farm is one of them.) National Wildlife is an organization that would welcome your membership, and is deserving of your donations. Click here for National Wildlife's Backyard Habitat Homepage.

Banner 10000051 The Sierra Club. One of the best environmental organization sites for shopping. Famous for its fantastic calendars.


Wildflower Reference and Photo Sites


California Academy of Science, Database of California Native Flowers.

Dereila Nature Inn. A fantastic site for wildflower photos and any naturalist interest, W. Canada. I recently discovered this amazing site, and you'll enjoy it. It's what the developers call a "Cyber Nature Inn,", in other words, a place to check into when you'd like to learn about, look at, or simply enjoy nature. You'll be treated to page after page of spectacular wildflower photos, stories, journals, and much more. There is the "Bird's Nest Lounge" with everything about birds, then you can take the "Lagoon Trail" or "Woodland Pathway", and see and read about all sorts of great things. Beautiful web design, and fantastic photography-- and you don't need a reservation. Enjoy!

Enature The Audubon Wildflower Guides Free Online! At this great site, operated by the National Wildlife Federation, you'll find all the Audubon Guides, photos and descriptions, online and free for all. This means almost 2000 wildflower photos in the Eastern and Western Editions, combined. And that's not all. You may browse the Guides for mammals, trees, birds-the whole set. Enature also has a gift shop and other useful features.

Peterjhosey.comEnglish Wildflower Photography Peterjhosey.com is a new photographic website based in the UK concentrating on images of wild and cultivated flowers and fungi.

Martha Stewart.Com. The lady needs no introduction, but her excellent Plant Database does. Martha's website is as tasteful as you'd expect, but there is at least one hidden gem: the Plant Database, one of the best on the web. There, you'll find really useful gardening information, great photographs, and really good gardening information. Simply click the icon above, scroll down to and click the 'gardening' link (it's in a grouping under "learn"), and then click on the link labeled 'Encyclopedia of Plants' ...and you're on your way!

MyWildflowers.com This is an amazing photo ID site created by a Pennsylvania woman who bicycles with her husband and takes photos of wildflowers along the way. The bike paths of their area, plus an incredible photo database are now on the site. I like this site because it shows ONLY the wildflowers they've found, and that means it shows the one you'll see out on a country road or on a walk through the woods--not thousands you'll never see. But this couple has really built up quite a gallery... and you can buy any of her photos if you like! She transfers them to tote bags, mouse pads, notecards, etc. A really fun personal wildflower site. Enjoy.

P-Pod is an image library focusing on horticultural, gardening and environmental pictures. It has been created by people from a horticultural and botanical background to give the maximum amount of choice. It has been designed with simplicity at its heart. Our collection features plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, fungi, fruit, vegetables and much more.

Sunshine Farm & GardenThis is a unique nursery in West Virginia that propagates over 10,000 plants. Operated by Barry Glick, who is not only a fine nurseryman, but also an artful photographer. He has put literally thousands of his exquisite plant and flower photos on his website, and if you know the botanical name of the plant you want to see, it's there.

Wildflowers at IBM's Almaden, CA facility: Here's a treat for you from IBM. Employees at this California IBM location have put together a fantastic little "movie" of photos of wildflowers in and around their offices. Unique.


Wildflower Folklore and Crafts


Alexa-Jayne Flower Petal Crafts. This is a very elegant site by a woman named Pam Roberts who is an artist with flower petals. Her framed monograms of carefully-arranged, dried flower petals are truly unique and incredibly beautiful. There could be no more thoughtful and unique wedding or anniversary gift. Imagine a three-initial monogram all done in a rainbow of real flower petals, all beautifully framed-and each one done as a custom-made gift. They are "flower paintings" you must see to appreciate. Enjoy.

Arnold Grummer's Paper Making Make your own paper! Use petals and ferns from your garden or add seeds to pulp and make paper you can plant and grow! Easy to use kits, award winning "Seed Paper Flowers" set for children, supplies and projects.

Language of Flowers Database "Violets mean love, Daisies mean this or that, etc"…when the Victorians devised their romantic "Language of Flowers", they had no idea some smart modern woman named Katherine Bryant would put it all into a computer-driven database. Here, you'll find several authoritative sources cross-referenced, so you can literally "Say it with flowers."

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