i try to support any local nurseries first, then if they don't have the herbs i want (mostly the medicinals) i go to the cheapest catalog i can find (this year it was pinetree garden seeds) and for herbs that are from native tribal medicines i go through native seeds search, but they are out of most of their unusual ones by this time of year.
If you are talking live plants, I have bought live herbs from Richter's and had problems in that I was charged for the plants but they did not have them. Then they wanted to keep the money as a credit towards my next purchase. This made me mad. They also kept the plants up on the website so that others would order them even though they had a crop failure in them. That did not seem honest to me.
I have had problems with ordering seeds from them as well, but when I have asked the customer service rep to go and check if they actually have the seed in stock, then I have gotten the seed. Otherwise, they will take an order for a seed they don't have and you will get it three months later. This happened to me three times, so now I always have them check.
This year I bought herb seeds from various places but I bought live plants from a wonderful local greenhouse called Baker's Acres. Excellent plants and big selection, plus a nice ride up in the Fingerlakes area.
I've been buying plants from a garden center but next year they'll be bought at a nursery. For seed I'd like to experiment with trading or ordering online because finding what I want has been frustrating.
this site: http://www.seedsite.eu is really good, it is owned by a DG member Jonna Sudenius that also sells in the DG marketplace. excellent service, seeds, she does a lot of trades and has some things that are hard to find here.
I've had good luck purchasing herbs from our local W-mart. Some W-marts are better than others, and it's best to make plant purchases a day or so after they arrive at the store because as far as I can tell the staff don't take care of them.
Paracelsus ~ do you use Dittany of Crete in foods? I love it and have grown it in the past as an ornamental oregano. Never for consumption so am curious.
More good links to shop thru. Thanks for reviving this thread. I purchase herbs at Wmart and other garden centers as well as from small growers at the local flea markets and farmers markets and have found some very unusual herbals via ebay.
I had Kent's Beauty too. It was identified as O. dictamnus "Kent's Beauty" when I bought it and it had fuzzy leaves but not as fuzzy as the O. dictamnus I got from Mountain Valley Growers, but according to photos, O. rotundifolia does not have very fuzzy leaves. Check out this pic of Kent Beauty: