The Garden, magazine is full of practical advice, ideas and inspiration. RHS members receive free entry with a guest to RHS Gardens: Wisley, Rosemoor, Harlow Carr and Hyde Hall. Members may apply for seeds harvested from RHS Gardens. Their Garden Shop is fascinating and includes UK property rentals and sales; - nonetheless, it may be easier for most gardeners to bypass their seed purchases due to the USDA-APHIS import certificate requirements.
We have loved membership in the Royal Horticultural Society and they have a great publication "The Garden" which I believe is worth the membership cost. We have participated in their seed sharing program for at least 10 years but this year it simply became too complicated. I jumped through hoops attempting to get a USDA-APHIS import certificate, some of which could be done online but they then require you to physically go to a USDA location during business hours with a photo ID plus a list of seeds (with proper Latin names) that you want to import. This is complicated because you have to list alternates on the RHS application, so there's no guarantee that you'll get what you sign up for. Unfortunately the membership belongs to my employer and I couldn't sign up on his/her behalf. Even so, it's a lot of work for 20 packets of seeds.
nevadagdn Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) (118 reviews) December 13, 2004
Membership in the RHS isn't cheap, but for the cost (about $ 80.00 a year), you get the monthly publication "The Garden" which is worth the cost alone. You also get free access to hundreds of gardens in the UK, and a handful in other countries, plus up to 25 packets of seed harvested from RHS gardens (e.g. Wisley, Harlow Carr).On March 9th, 2005, nevadagdn added the following:
HMPH! My seed request STILL hasn't arrived. When it's warm and sunny like this week, I want all of my gardening supplies NOW!!!! Just watch...the packet will be in my mailbox when I arrive home tonight...On March 23rd, 2005, nevadagdn added the following:
About the seed exchange: the seeds arrived today, properly packed, and in good quantities. Bear in mind that these seeds cost only an additional $10.00 (approximate) for the phytosanitary certificate--and you could easily receive $80.00 worth of seed depending on the varieties you choose.
A few caveats on seed selection: 1) submit your order early
2) Don't request mixes, because they can't pass the phytosanitary inspection. RHS doesn't even try to get them to pass because the process would be far too complex. 3) Include a USDA "aphis" permit if you want to obtain seeds for trees and/or shrubs (woody plants). 4) Be very good at starting hardy perennial seeds or have a good reference to hand when they arrive. They do include a brochure with some germination tips, but you might want a bit more information.