Retailers I Like
The reasons my child will be going to a State school...

In no order whatsoever...

Kane's Flower World - located on 114 in Danvers -- they have awesome plants, great selection and prices, but you need to go in the Spring to get the best stuff. Their shrubs and trees are a bit pricey, but the size is big, so you will get a good value.  They also have really nice indoor plants and pretty much any garden-related supply you might need (though on the expensive side).  The selection is really what makes this place outstanding.

Bluestone Perennials - if you are having a hard time locating something a bit more unusual, or don't want to pay hefty prices for bigger plants, Bluestone might be the way to go.  They have a beautiful catalog, they always have specials, and the customer service is great.  Just keep in mind that anything you order will be pretty small and probably won't do much for a couple of years.  If you send the shipping material back to them, they give you free shipping on your next order (any size), so you may want to order something small the first time, send back the packing, then order a ton of stuff next time (sneaky, I know).  I got a great deal on bulbs from them, and all of the tulips and crocuses (crocusi?) I planted last Fall grew this Spring. Oh, yeah, on their website they also have these really great lists (plants for clay, containers, shade, etc), so it's worth a trip to the site just for the lists.

Lowes and Home Depot - have good prices and are conveniently located everywhere, but the service is pretty bad and a lot of times their stock isn't really right for the region (like selling those Zone 7 Azaleas).  I've found that Lowes is much better than Home Depot in terms of selection and qualilty and often price too (however, it's a longer trip from my house).  Though I did have good luck with seed starting kits at Home Depot and cheap grow lights (fluorescent hanging work lights), but probably would have found the same stuff at Lowes. Mulch, manure, peat moss may be a buck cheaper, but I like supporting the locals.

My Mom's Garden - I've dug up a number of plants from my Mom's garden.  This is great for many reasons: they are cheap (as in free), I know they grow in our climate (though Swampscott is slightly different from Lowell's), and I know what they look like at their peak.  Other gardeners are a great source of materials, so don't be shy about begging for some stuff every once in a while.  One day hopefully, I will be giving away my own plants,  so it will all come full circle.  And Garden Club sales (usually in May are another great source of stuff).

 

Honorable Mentions

I either haven't ordered from these places, or haven't ordered very much, but I like there selection and/or website.

  • Oakes Daylilies - Specializes in Daylilies (obviously). Has a 'Wish List' feature that is very handy.
  • Paradise Garden - Their specialty is larger size plants, usually in gallon pots.  Accordingly prices and shipping is higher than average, but could be worth it for a larger size plant.
  • Antique Rose Emporium - They have tons of old-fashioned (and some modern ones too) roses and tons of information on each rose. 
  • RareFindNursery.com - The name pretty much says it all. I stumbled on this site looking for something like, Cimifuga, and I think they had it.
  • Renee's Garden - A seed company. Nice pictures and growing info.  Good selection of old-fashioned flowers, herbs, and veggies.
  • Old House Gardens - This is the place I ordered my lily bulbs from.  I'll post on this if I have any success with the bulbs.
  • Planet Natural - Free shipping on seeds (and a bunch of other things)! Tons of other stuff for the tree huggers (Worm composters, organic fertilizer, etc).
  • BloomingBulb.com - Despite their name, they have things besides bulbs.  I actually ordered a couple of seed mats from them.  I had some success w/ the seed mats (thought they need a lot of water).
  • Seed Savers Exchange - They collect and sell heirloom seeds (flowers, veggies, herbs). Their website could use a little work , but they had a great selection of heirloom flowers.  I actually think they supply Planet Natural w/ seed because many of the seeds on Planet Natural were the same (just w/less variety).
  • Swallowtail Garden Seeds - I was searching for anemone seeds and found them here, along with a bunch of other more obscure seeds (you won't find these seeds at Parks or Burpee).  They're in California, so expect a bit of a wait for your seeds, if you're ordering from the East Coast as I am.