A New Source for Unusual Seeds

Within a few days of each other, two gardening friends mentioned the same company as a source for different plants  we had been discussing. It’s a grower and retailer called Outside Pride, and their website is here.

DSC_0237
Blue Pimpernel at Reford Gardens

The first plant was Blue Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis caerulea), an annual that we had seen while visiting Reford Gardens in Quebec. And yes, this is the blue version of Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), which is an actual flower and not just a character out of a novel set during the French Revolution.

The second plant is the herb Rue (Ruta graveolens), which has been on my wish list for a while because it is a host plant for Giant Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, and some other butterflies.

seeds outside pride

I also ordered some white clover seed for the lawn.

All the seeds arrived on Friday, which made me happy.

Both Tammy from Casa Mariposa and Rachelle from Talking to Plants pointed me towards Outside Pride. Though I had just heard of them, they’ve been around since 2000. They have a very wide variety of seeds for herbs, flowers (including many wildflowers), grasses, and groundcovers – including some that are hard to find. They grow the seed themselves in Oregon’s Wilamette Valley.

They don’t put out a catalog, unfortunately, to add to the stack on my side of the bed. The website is easy to use, though.

Have you ordered any interesting new seeds lately, or found a new source of seeds?

54 Comments on “A New Source for Unusual Seeds

  1. Plus the seed packets give you a zillion seeds, usually. I bought my tithonia from them last year and have extras to sow this year. Also, their growing info is excellent. 🙂

  2. I did order some Nicotianas that are hard to find but the company is now out of business. Usually, I just go to Garden Fever, a local shop that has racks and racks of unusual seed offerings and do my impulse buying there. Today I bought a bunch of the usuals (nasturtiums and such) at our local one-stop (on sale, no less).

  3. I’m trying to use the seeds I have this year, well, except for bush beans. Oh, and I’d like to try Malabar spinach…

  4. I ordered some Tithonia seeds last autumn, and just this week got some yellow cosmos and babyleaf salad seeds. I’m going to try growing Ricinus again this year as it did well here a few years back and gave the garden a tropical feel. 🙂

  5. I am a huge fan of FEDCO seeds here in Maine. The catalogs (tree and seed) are exquisite–packed with information, funny, and entertaining. They have a wide array and unusual varieties (many suited to northern climates) and fantastic service. Also, they offer small quantity packets, which allows you to try several different varieties for the same price as one packet at most places (and the prices are low). I ordered so many unusual seeds from them this year, it’s ridiculous. But fun.

  6. Always good to hear of a new seed source! The mini clover sounds interesting but with regular clover taking over the backyard I don’t think it would stand a chance.

  7. I do like Outside Pride for their extensive growing information. Another that does that is Johnny’s Seed. It seems the brick and mortars in my area have gone exclusively with Burpees, not a source for the unusual. You know Jason, I am starting way too many seeds again this year!

  8. Thanks for the tip Jason! Especially timely for us, since we are planning to add some ornamental grasses to an open, grassy area on our property. We hope to mow paths through the existing grass and punctuate the look with a few wildflowers and clumping grasses as focal points. The hope is to have less mowing to do and also to provide some good hiding and entertainment spots for our four cats.

  9. Ooh, the Willamette Valley is a favorite place of mine. Thanks for the heads-up about this company.

  10. Oh, that will be fun to grow Rue and see if it attracts the Swallowtails! I’m thinking we must have some Prickly Ash or some other Giant Swallowtail host plant nearby because I’ve been seeing them regularly for the past several years. They are incredible butterflies! I wasn’t familiar with this source. Thanks! I think I might try Fedco Seeds (http://www.fedcoseeds.com/), because they seem to have all my favorite varieties of annual seeds. Usually, I buy seedling plants because our growing season is so short, but I might try some seeds this year.

    • We have had one sighting of Giant Swallowtail in the garden, fortunately Judy had her camera and got some nice shots. I also usually buy seedlings because I am an uncontrollable spendthrift, but rue and pimpernel plants are very hard to find.

  11. I always love learning of a new seed source, and this one is new to me! So thank you for the introduction. I’d have to say that my favorite seed source is Seeds from Italy. They sell all sorts of seeds for Italian vegetables that are otherwise quite difficult to find here in the U.S.

    • I imagine there are all kinds of varieties available in Italy that are pretty uncommon here, especially for vegetables that like hot weather.

  12. I once grew Rue, and it was a wonderful host plant for swallowtail butterflies. I want to grow it again, but it has been hard to come by. Glad to know there is a seed source!

  13. Blue Pimpernel is tempting! I usually have terrible follow-through with seeds. A few zinnias maybe. Glad to know about this source though. It will be fun to read.

  14. Blogging is great for sharing experiences Jason, although obviously I can’t buy US seeds in Europe I still enjoyed the post. I hope you’ll follow up with information about germination rates etc. I’m growing far, far too many seeds this year, the greenhouse is already full and there’s lots more to sow!

    • Far better to have too many plants than too few. I will definitely post about how these seeds do in the garden. I’ll be sowing both outdoors.

  15. Always fun to find a new seed source. I tried to cut back on my seed orders this year and use up some leftovers. But I did receive my Tithonia! I noticed on the seed packet that they recommend starting them indoors–is that what you do, or do you direct sow yours?

  16. Isn’t it wonderful to discover new seed companies and nurseries? I thought of you at the weekend as I sowed TIthonia seeds for the first time. I suspect you may be responsible for a global increase in the sales of Tithonia!

  17. That Blue Pimpernel is gorgeous, but I’m particularly interested in the Rue. I’m in zone 4, which is just a bit cold for it. Do you know if it grows enough in one year to treat it as an annual? (Since Outside Pride sells it in packs of 1000 seeds!) Have you grown it previously?

  18. Thanks for the tip Jason. I just placed an order–can’t wait to get my seeds!! Spring is in the air.

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