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The scoop on 'Gardens North'

  Company Profile  
Gardens North

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 370
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia B0S 1A0 (Canada)

Fax: (902) 532-7949

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This company offers a variety of seeds.

This company specializes in:

  Editor's Comment:  
Closed No longer in business and up for sale.

  Company Comment, posted on October 21, 2002:  

  Feedback History and Summary  
39 positives
No neutrals
1 negative


Positive Mitchella
Pownal, ME (Zone 5b)
(5 reviews)
July 12, 2017
As another reviewer said, my experiences with Gardens North over many years has been "beyond Positive." Fresh seed, amazing selection, personal advice, prompt shipment, and on and on - everything about this company is perfect. I had wonderful success this spring with seed purchased last fall by following Kristl's excellent instructions and helpful answers to my questions. I thought it was time for a more recent review: nothing has changed - Gardens North is still the best!
Positive EmpressWu
Québec (Beauport),
(1 review)
January 20, 2015
Very good and fast service, I received an email to confirm my order and also another one to let me know that it was on the way. It was my first time ordering with them and I am really please (my primula and arisaema seeds are already growing :)

I would order again with no hesitation.....
Positive grenouille
Canada (Zone 5a)
(18 reviews)
November 4, 2014
They offer such a vast variety of unusual seeds. Fulfillment very, prompt. Will continue to be a customer.

Positive Audrey
Hadley, PA (Zone 5a)
(16 reviews)
December 10, 2011
I was, as always, very pleased with my order from Gardens North. Kristl keeps some of the more difficult seeds damp (in vermiculite) to give them a better chance at germinating. Something that few sellers do, but which we avid seed-sowers appreciate very much! She also has many types not readily available elsewhere, and is very patient about answering questions. Highly recommended.

Positive grik
Saint Paul, MN
(11 reviews)
August 24, 2011
Posted on March 30, 2010, updated August 24, 2011
Posted on August 19, 2009, updated March 30, 2010
I purchased several sorts of hardy tree seeds from this company. I had almost 100% germination of my Cercis canadensis seed. One seed of my Korean maple sprouted right away too which I didn't expect but maybe because they said it was especially fresh. The others are being stratified at present but I hope for good things. Seeds arrived quickly.
On March 30th, 2010, grik added the following:

I just potted up the rest of my sprouted seeds. I had great germination after stratifying them over the winter. I'll definitely buy from them again.
On August 24th, 2011, grik added the following:

Received another order from this company. Love thier seeds. One thing is that it took over two weeks from their shipment notification for the seeds to reach me in Minnesota from Canada so don't panic, they are probably on their way.
Positive jardinomane
(2 reviews)
May 6, 2011
I have been ordering from this excellent company for about 7 years now, and I can say my beautiful garden would be a lot more boring without them. The choice is simply the best I have found so far. I can easily get lost for hours on the extensive Web site and I always have to make difficult choices when finalizing my orders because there is only so much room under my three grow lights. Plus, the instructions are very clear, the quantity of seeds is pretty generous and the germination rate is usually excellent. Personnaly, I have always received my orders quite quickly. I just love this company!

The other suppliers I have delt with really pale in comparison.
Positive Crazy_Seeds
Jerslev J,
(1 review)
March 6, 2011
I have bought seeds online for a number of years now. And I must say: Gardens North is a very professional and serious seed company, always providing fresh (and tested) seeds along with exellent germination instructions. This last month I have sown quite a few species from them: an example is six seeds sown = and five germinators! Another species with twelve seeds sown = eleven germinated! I am very happy with their seeds and service. Don't waste your money buying from others.
Positive egm
Ottawa, ON (Zone 4a)
(7 reviews)
February 25, 2011
Posted on March 21, 2007, updated February 25, 2011
This is my new favorite company! I came across their website through a gardening magazine. Browsing through the site I could not believe the variety of plants that can be grown in this area. I ordered a few varieties, expecting them to be difficult to get started - once planted they all nearly jumped out of the soil! The germination was outstanding! I can't wait until next year - I have been growing plants from seed for years, but this catalogue has opened a new world for me. The growing instructions provided are excellent, as is shipping time, and the online catalog could keep me occupied for hours at a time, I'm in love!
On February 25th, 2011, egm added the following:

The Paw-Paw seeds did well for me as well 10/10. I have had great success with Gardens North over the last few years. This is the best seed company.
Positive clematis_girl
(1 review)
February 25, 2011
I ordered from Gardens North for many years, first in Japan, now in Canada. My love is wild Clematis and this is only company that sell rare species. In the beginning, I was not very good but with very kind help from owner, I learn the perfect way to sprout the clematis seed. This company is special, different from the rest I have tried. Owner has high standards for quality of seed and wants customer to succeed.
Positive beartown
Stanbridge East,
(4 reviews)
February 23, 2011
It has been a few years since I ordered from Garden's North but I was always a satisfied customer. This winter I made a small order that was very promptly shipped. The preconditioned PawPaw seeds are starting to sprout. Very pleased.
Positive JiriCerny
Czech Republic
(1 review)
February 22, 2011
Kristl Walek and her Gardens North should get excellence award.

Can say perfect (more than positive) experience over many years buying seed. I learn everything I know about growing seed from this company because of beautiful, fresh seed and very careful instructions.

Also, very interesting lady who writes many great stories about seed collecting in wild places, and about how to keep seed stored and germination. I love reading about her adventures on the Scottish Rock Garden Club in "My Bit Of Heaven" thread where she talks of her love of North American wildflowers.

She give me personal advice when I need it and always new seed to try from her beautiful website. She has many fans all over the world and I am sure more than me in the Czech Republic.


Positive spiny1000
Norway (Zone 5a)
(2 reviews)
October 26, 2010
Posted on January 18, 2010, updated October 26, 2010
I have placed the incredible amount of 50 orders by Gardens North. I never experienced anything close to a problem, and the service and friendliness is superb! The seedlist is loaded with rare to find and never to be seen species.

Kristl always leaves a friendly note / e-mail if questions and information, and I always receive my seeds shortly after placing my order.

When you receive your seeds, the very correct and informative sowing instructions are printed on the envelope, and the seeds are treated the proper way to secure germination.
Examples are Cardiocrinum glehnii, Acer, Symplocarpus, Daphne, the species of spring ephemerals from the eastern USA and others, where the seeds are kept in moist vermiculite to stay fertile. Trillium, Asarum, Hepatica and others are sent fresh when harvested.
Seeds from species like Acer pennsylvanicum, Acer spicatum and Acer griseum have yielded many seedlings, and the quality is high.

Do never discard your seedtrays if they havent germinated during the season, as some species requireing stratification may take a year or three to germinate.

I can warmly recommend Gardens North. I'm a great fan!
On October 26th, 2010, spiny1000 added the following:

I have been a customer of Gardens North for some years, and they are my favorite seed company. Fantastic seed-list, fast delivery, and high quality seeds with very detailed instructions helping you to germinate the trickier species.

Very friendly service as well, and since there are new species added every week around the year, I am sure to make their website a visit several times each week!

Highly recommended!
Positive dieseldoug
(5 reviews)
February 24, 2010
TOP NOTCH! Always great service and selection. Kristl is doing excellent work and I wish her continued success for many years. The positive feedback speaks for itself.
Positive Tyrol_Girl
(1 review)
February 8, 2010
I am very happy to write this review of my favorite seed company.

I have done business with Gardens North for over 20 years; and, having learned the hard way, I don't waste my time (or money) with anyone else anymore. I have been successful with even the most challenging seeds---as long as I follow the very specific instructions (which are unmatched in the seed company world).

It's really beyond me how Kristl, the owner, has managed what she does, mostly on her own, as I understand---from her exceptional seed quality, to proper nomenclature, excellent customer service and her incredible knowledge of germination. I believe she is working on a book on propagation of native species. She also lectures and writes widely on seed germination and is considered an international expert in this area---something beyond the ordinary among owners of seed companies.

Gardens North was also the first (and I think remains the only) seedhouse that moist packs ephemeral (short-lived) seed, which has enabled gardeners to obtain fresh seed of many species such as Trillium.

As I so well know, when Kristl first started her business there were no sources of interesting, rare species for cold climate gardeners anywhere in the world and she has set the standard since then and I am very pleased to see that she has become a Canadian institution and her business is also highly respected throughout the world.

Perhaps not many customers realize that she collects all of the seed she carries herself, both cultivated and those from the wild, cleans it, does germination testing and packaging single handedly. She also receives some seed from private sources all over the world, often also wild collected. This is an unusual thing, as I understand, because the majority of seedhouses have become simple re-sellers of seed they purchase from others.

Over the years, Gardens North has consistently offered seed I have found nowhere else.

I think it is one thing to judge seed companies offering common, easy plants that are resold through middlemen at the cheapest prices. But when compared to the unusually high standards consistently self-imposed by this seedhouse, I know where my money will continue to go. Hurray to you, Kristl. I think it is time for a reward beyond the "Top 5."
Positive cactus01
Milwaukee, WI
(1 review)
January 29, 2010
The seed selection at Gardens North is outstanding. Always changing with more selections added all the time. The owner gives very specific info on how to germinate the seeds right on the seed packet. I've had excellent germinating success, also.
Positive Bittergreen
Ottawa, ON (Zone 4a)
(1 review)
December 13, 2008
This is my favourite seed house. An exciting selection, many hard-to-find natives as well as exotics not available anywhere else. High quality, exceptional personal assistance, and best of all, they are constantly testing the hardiness of plants in their own zone 4 gardens. It's amazing what they have found to be hardy! Kristl Walek appears to know everything there is to know about seeds. I have ordered from them for a number of years now and will continue to do. My only complaint is that they no longer make their beautiful printed catalogue, and their website is a little slow and awkward.
Positive evr
Toronto, ON (Zone 5b)
(8 reviews)
August 18, 2008
I would have to say that this store has one of the best selections in the market and compared to that of other Canadian companies. A bit pricey I think though for some of their seeds that you could find anywhere else.
Positive Menk
Darling Downs,
(9 reviews)
August 2, 2008
One of the best! Will definitely order from again. Large selection, reasonable prices, fast shipment, great communication.
Positive northeastwisc
Northeastern, WI (Zone 4a)
(5 reviews)
April 8, 2008
Excellent service. Wonderful selection of hard to find seeds. Very responsive to questions. The owner seems to be right on top of everything; I don't know how she does it! I highly recommend this company.
Positive Azurronero
(5 reviews)
February 18, 2008
I order seeds every year from this company for several years now. The owner Kristl Walek makes sure that seeds are fresh and arrive safely every time I order. Communication is excellent. Very recommendable and trustworthy! It is one of my favourite seed selling companies.

John Aipassa
Aalten, The Netherlands
Positive Moskvichka
(2 reviews)
February 7, 2008
In it to year the first time did the order and I am very happy! All was remarkable! Seeds have come to Russia very quickly! I hope for long friendship with this company!
Positive kirsitn
(Zone 6b)
(13 reviews)
January 4, 2008
Lots of interesting species at reasonable prices. Have ordered from them every year since I discovered them some years ago.
Positive Martinska
(4 reviews)
August 30, 2007
I recently received my first seed order from them, I can say only positive about this experience with the company - nice webpage, easy ordering, seeds from very interesting plants. Also very detailed germination instructions on every seed package. Seeds arrived safely and in good time taking into consideration the distance. They looks healthy and some are even starting to germinate! I particulary highly evaluate the possibility to obtain efemeral seeds packed moist to keep their viability. I will certainly order seeds from this company again!
Positive ginnylynn
Blyth, ON (Zone 5b)
(6 reviews)
June 8, 2007
This was my first year ordering from Gardens North, and I must say that I am very pleased.

They have a fantastic selection of seed from all over, the germination instructions are very detailed, the germination rate is very high when you follow those instructions, and shipping is fast and reliable.

I would recommend Gardens North to anyone, and will definitely be ordering from them again.
Positive Erynne
Orangeville, ON (Zone 4b)
(10 reviews)
March 21, 2007
My first experience ordering from Gardens North was a good one. Shipping was super fast and very courteous emails were sent to me. I have noted very good germination with the seeds I have sowed thus far. Their website is very easy to navigate and ordering was no only gripe is that the pages loaded rather slowly and I'm on high speed.
I would buy from them again.
Positive congminglaoshi
Tuckahoe, NY
(31 reviews)
April 22, 2006
Wonderful choice of hard to find seeds, I like that some spp that die if dried out are available "moist packed", seeds of high quality and generous quantity. Highly recommended!
Positive johnnycanuck
Gananoque, ON (Zone 5b)
(3 reviews)
April 22, 2006
Fast service, outstanding selection of native and hard to find species. Detailed, concise and clear germination instructions for each species clearly labeled on packets. Super website which is fun just to browse.
Positive cathaleen
Prince George,
(10 reviews)
March 18, 2006
Have placed my first order for seeds late fall 2005 - was extremely happy with the manner in which the order was received - and more importantly - in the midst of germination time - am very happy with the success rates of my seed germinations. I liked the web site listing the seeds, and have a copy of the print catalogue - lots of information and more importantly this company offers so many great seed choices out of the ordinary.. Would not hesitate for a moment to recommend this company. Will certainly order from them again.
Positive PlantsnobIN
Paoli, IN
(31 reviews)
February 9, 2006
Ordered seeds for the first time this year online. Seeds came quickly, well packed. I won't have germination for quite some time on most of the seeds because they need stratification, but the seed all looked good. Nice selection of uncommon species that I can offer my customers. Will be ordering more when the ephemeral seed is ready.
Positive crazy_gardener
Wainwright, AB (Zone 2b)
(42 reviews)
January 13, 2006
I have been ordering seed from Kristl for years now and not once have I ever ran into a problem either with service or merchandise. Black and white catalogue that comes out every year of the most impressive, hardy, hard to find seeds. Now these are not your average seeds that you’ll find on the seed rack or in other perennial/woody catalogues out there, this seed company always have a diversity of new species and something exciting to try each season! Website is trouble-free, easy to use with splendid photos, which is always updated. Excellent sowing instructions and excellent germination %. I highly recommend Gardens North for the amateur gardener or pro!

Positive hillfarm
Quesnel, BC (Zone 4a)
(36 reviews)
October 24, 2005
I have dealt with this company for 10 years+.

Large, interesting, & ever-changing selection of HARDY perennial seed. Germination instructions which come with the seeds are detailed, accurate & helpful.

I operate a perennial & herb nursery & Gardens North has been a consistently useful supplier for me in my never-ending quest for "different" hardy perennials. (I garden in Zone 4 & many of my customers are in Zones 3 & even 2.)

The website is up & running & is very well done & quite user friendly.

The service can be a bit slower (but never excessively slow - I think 4 weeks from order time to delivery has been the longest I've experienced which isn't bad at all) during "busy time" in January-March but the website is updated in the fall & you can order in November/December & get your seeds quickly & be ready to get those seeds started in January under grow lights.

My only "complaint" (& it's not really a complaint at that, because there is always a legitmate reason for it) is that the paper catalogue is sometimes late in arriving (I think I got mine in March last year), & I still like to use paper catalogues for my main referencing & ordering tool versus websites.

Overall, EXCELLENT seed company. My "negative" comments above were made in the interests of reflecting my experience accurately & in no way are meant to discourage anyone from dealing with Kristl who is providing a wonderful seed source of hardy perennials to northern gardeners.
Positive rebaru
(1 review)
February 14, 2005
I will have to wait for my experience with the plants-to-be that I hope will germinate and thrive, but I am very happy with the service I have had. I ordered some things in December, got an e-mail when they were mailed. Then I decided to order one more thing. When the packet came, it was short of the number promised. I e-mailed them, got an immediate apology with promise of a new pack, and even better quite a long message with advice on something I'd enquired about. I'd say their service is great. More in a few months on the plants!
Positive nevadagdn
Sparks, NV (Zone 7a)
(118 reviews)
January 17, 2005
I can't speak to germination rates yet, because this is my first year growing perennials from seed. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. When my seeds were late in arriving, I was pleased to receive an e-mail on the very day I planned to e-mail Gardens North with an inquiry. Quite understandably, the holidays had slowed everything down. The seeds arrived on the day I expected based on the information in that e-mail, and they seem just fine. In at least one case, I simply couldn't find the seed anywhere else. If I get even one or two to germinate, I'll be thrilled.
On March 14th, 2005, nevadagdn added the following:

Seeds from the varieties I've already started have germinated, which means a great germination rate in my hands.
On January 10th, 2006, nevadagdn added the following:

I placed an order this year, and it arrived about when expected. Quality seems good, as usual.
On April 22nd, 2006, nevadagdn added the following:

I bought more seeds during the recent half-price sale. Quality on the seeds already started is excellent.
Positive vicki448
masury, OH (Zone 5a)
(1 review)
January 5, 2005
Placed an on-line order in the 1st week of december. Web page says orders are processed in 7 days. I have not received the seeds. I have e-mailed them twice with no response. Not good business practices!
On January 7th, 2005, vicki448 changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:

RECEIVED A PHONE CALL TODAY FROM THE VERY NICE LADY AT GARDENS NORTH. I was not receiving her e-mails, so she could not tell me what was going on with my order. Would definitely order from her in the future. Sorry Gardens North!
Positive calgary
(9 reviews)
March 1, 2003
Have been ordering from Gardens North for 7 years. Wonderful personal attention, handwritten notes and comments about germination techniques for each individual seed packet is an outstanding approach. Have several times requested they fill a wish list of rare perennials and alpines, which they have filled on the following years order. I feel like they are part of my garden. Wonderful seed and results. 5 Stars.
Negative Twrosz
(8 reviews)
February 13, 2003
I would have tend to disagree with the above comment regarding their seeds having a HIGH germination rate ... at least with some. Have been very disappointed with the acer, clematis and hollyhock seeds in which I have recently received. Upon close inspection many appear to have been harvested immature with ever so many NOT containing viable seed! I had soaked in water (for a few hours) and VERY CAREFULLY removed the seed coats from the acer mandschuricum and clematis Lake Baikal only to find they were completely void of any seed! ... and at best contained only a few immature and very shrivled up seed coats. Last year the hollyhocks "Fiesta Time" germinated most poorly BUT, fortunatly did get two plants which when bloomed were totally STUNNING!
I'm a gardener of much experience and can say for certain these seeds in which I have received were definitely duds! ... and shall be contacting them regarding this matter.
On the other hand they do have many interesting and unusal seed varieties! And because of this will be giving them another try and hoping for better things! Terry
Positive IngaMi
(5 reviews)
November 12, 2002
I have ordered from Gardens North for about the past three years, and never a year goes by now that don't order at least two or more times. Their catalog is wonderful, as well as their selection, and their service is very quick.
They will always contact you if you have put in a special order for seeds that need to be sent later in the year ( because of having to sew only freshly harvested seeds, etc. ) I fully recommend them.
Positive rfoulis
(1 review)
February 15, 2002
I have been ordering seed from this company since 1995 and have never had a bad experience. They carry a wide variety of perrennial seed, hardy in northern regions, with great germination tips and information. All the seed is tested and the germination rates are very high. I usually only wait about a week for my order to arrive. I think what impressed me most was the fact that if I write with a question I get a handwritten letter in return.
Positive NinaAprile
(4 reviews)
December 1, 2001
A must for the cold season perennial gardener. Quality is high, germination instructions are excellent and the company provides great cultural information. Seed count per package provided. Plant descriptions are exquisite, worth reading again and again. Lots and lots of unusual varieties. I look forward to the arrival of my Gardens North catalogue each year. Even if you never ordered a seed from them, the catalogue is more than worth the $4.00 charge. I find myself consulting it during growing season again and again.
Positive moiralaw
(1 review)
December 1, 1998
They are a perennial seed house specializing in hardy perennials for Canadian (and other colder) areas - zone 5 and colder. I really enjoy reading their catalogue and appreciate their explicit germination directions. They have a good selection of seeds to chose from, including some really unusual plants. I believe a web site is in development. I really recommend them.

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