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Buying on-line - tips?

Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142

After quite a lot of searching I think I've found the right shrub for a tricky spot I have free. It's a Camellia Cornish Snow.

However, it doesn't seem overly common and certainly none of my local garden centres stock it. I have found a few options on-line with with Burncoose looking a likely option.

A couple of questions:

There is no height information on the product, only a pot size. Are there any rule-of-thumb indications of what I can expect? I guess you could pretty much have any size plant in a 2L pot so that description is not particulalry hepful.

Obviously there is also a delivery charge (£13.50) to consider which starts making this option a little expensive. Do you think one of the local garden centres would be prepared to order one in or is that likely to be a no-go? I'm guessing they would also want to pass on any delivery charges although I was hoping that might get 'lost' if they ordered it as part of one of their regular bulk orders? Do they do this sort of thing?

So, any pointers or ideas, or even suggestions of a suitable supplier (I have no idea whether Burncoose are good, bad or indifferent) would be great.

Many thanks



  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,053

    That delivery charge is horrendous so I would ask the local garden centres first - although they may have done their shrub ordering for the year already. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142

    Thanks hogweed, I'll speak with one of the local garden centres / nurseries to see what the options might be.

    My concern with buying online is that I have no idea what I would be receiving. In saying that, I'm sure plenty of people do purchase this way. 

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,143

    Are you in a warm sheltered spot, this camellia is native to west Cornwall where the climate is much different from other areas in the country.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142

    I'm in southern Hampshire Lyn so not hugely different climate to Cornwall, just less rain here! 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,147

    How can they justify that charge? image

    I appreciate they have to package carefully, but that's ridiculous. We send stuff (not plants!) by carrier all over the country and the basic charge is about £8 for a fairly big box. That's a lot of packaging.....

    Is that the only choice of Camellia that would suit you though? Surely there must be something similar which would suit you Dave? 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142

    Thanks FG, yes there probably is. I was looking for one that would grow vertically without a huge amount of spread and Cornish Snow seemed to fit that bill. I would definitely welcome any suggestions!

    It would sit in a NE aspect on a bank with quite poor soil quality but free draining. It would be shaded from early morning sun but catch the sun from after lunch.

  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 1,099

    Hi Dave,

    Personally I wouldn't buy any shrub on line. I'm more than happy to buy bulbs and perennials ... but with shrubs I like to chose one that's got a nice shape. I'd be concerned that they might send something very lopsided or spindly etc.  ... and then you'd have the hassle of returning it.



    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142

    Yes, that was my concern too Bee. No pics (not even indicative), no nothing other than the pot size which, to me, is rather meaningless. I know how particular I am with choosing a shrub from a selection at the GC so to shop 'blind' would be a risk I'd rather not take. I'll look at some other variants as suggested by Fairygirl and / or speak to my local GC to see if they have some ideas on either an alternative or maybe sourcing a Cornish Snow for me. 

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,531

    I've heard Burncoose is rather good but haven't tried them myself yet.  Camellias like acid soil and must be watered with rainwater - I keep mine in a pot and it does well for me here in Bath, but perhaps doesn't flower as much as I would like.

    You could always make an overnight trip of it and pick your own!

  • Sounds like Burncoose garden centre in Cornwall.
    Edit. yes just seen that you mentioned it

    As it happens we visited when we were in the area in Summer and was going to have some plants delivered to our home as they wouldn't fit in our vehicle.

    They have had problems with couriers so send themselves now and it is therefore expensive.

    They have some nice plants though it is always better to pick your own.

    I often check the RHS and then scan their suggested suppliers.

    did a search for the plant you want and have this link

    Last edited: 25 September 2017 20:30:57

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