Alpine Garden Society

01386 554790
All topics Members' On-Line Discussion, All discussion threads for AGS Seed Exchange

AGS Seed Exchange: Seed Exchange 2013

To make contributions or to send emails to other contributors Login

Started by: Helen Poirier

Go to latest contribution by Fermi de Sousa, 10 February 2014, 11:00. Go to bottom of this page.

Images on this page are shown as thumbnails. Click on an image to enlarge it.

Contribution from Helen Poirier 30 November 2013, 14:20top / bottom of page

Have submitted my order, thanks to everyone involved in the seed exchange.

Contribution from Helen Johnstone 30 November 2013, 16:46top / bottom of page

Done mine too, great system and I love the links to google, saves me wrestling with piles of books

Contribution from Brian Tye 30 November 2013, 17:25top / bottom of page
Thanks for all your hard work

Got my order sorted in about 90 minutes. The site is a joy to use, very quick and the 'Google' links are very helpful if you're not sure on a particular plant. Many thanks to all who have worked on the exchange, not to forget the many contributors.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 30 November 2013, 17:44top / bottom of page

Hear, hear! A superb system - so much easier than poring over a paper list. Many thanks also to all those involved. Access to so many images via Google is a real revelation - just how the Internet can really score (though one still needs to be careful in finding true representatives of some genera like Pulsatilla!).

Contribution from Ivan Miles 30 November 2013, 20:10top / bottom of page

I would like to add my thanks to all who make this such an easy process to use. I have just completed my order and look forward to receiving my seeds.

Ivan Miles

 top / bottom of page

Thanks for all the comments and a big thanks to Jim for his work on the website

Diane Clement AGS Director of Seed

Contribution from june saddington 30 November 2013, 20:40top / bottom of page

Is there no way to download and print off the current list for perusal..?

Contribution from Diane Clement 30 November 2013, 21:45top / bottom of page

June, it is possible to download or print the seed list from this page:

Contribution from Fermi de Sousa 01 December 2013, 05:36top / bottom of page

Hi Diane,

many thanks to you and your team! Ordering on-line seems to get smoother each year! I remember the first time I had to keep logging-in because moving between pages meant that I'd find I was no longer logged on - now the system takes it in its stride.

Too many good plants to choose between as always and some new ones to try and some stand-bys,



Contribution from Diane Clement 01 December 2013, 08:32top / bottom of page

Thanks Fermi, glad you like the system and the list


Contribution from Fermi de Sousa 01 December 2013, 10:16top / bottom of page

Hi Diane,

as you know, I also belong to SRGC and NARGS both of whom also offer an on-line system. All three are different and I think each has benefits and quirks. I'm very glad that the ordering times are staggered between the 3 Groups - how fortuitous (or very well co-ordinated),



Contribution from John Willis 06 December 2013, 02:35top / bottom of page
Restrictions on seed

I just finished sending off my seed request (there are so many great choices!) and I love the fact that the system remembers where I was at in between sessions.  Before sending I double-checked my choices against the restricted list for the U.S. on the NARGS site.  So I was surprised when I was just now reviewing your information for foreign participants to see the statement "USDA regulations do not permit the importation into the USA of any parasitic species, any species of the genus Lathyrus (without treatment which we cannot fulfil), nor any member of the families Berberidaceae, Rutaceae or Poaceae."  I immediately went to the latest APHIS summary that I found on the web ( and I don't see anything there about prohibiting the family Berberidaceae.  On the NARGS link to APHIS I do see lots of restrictions on the genus Berberis and similar, but not the whole family.  In particular I was requesting Ranzania and I didn't see any listed restriction on that genus.

Contribution from Margaret Young 06 December 2013, 11:19top / bottom of page
USA seed import restriction

John,  on page 178 of the USDA /APHIS document "Plants for Planting"  it is stated that while various types  of propagules of Berberis are listed as restricted, this is not extended to seed of these plants. There is no mention whatsoever of Ranzania.

In fact for a great many of the species which have some restriction on the import of plants, cuttings etc, there is no such restriction on seed on these plants.

The APHIS  listings are not the clearest to wade through and there has been some confusion in the list on the NARGS site too, which, for instance, showed that Rhododendron seed is prohibited - this is not the case and the NARGS list is being amended.

Hope this helps,

 M. Y.

Contribution from John Willis 06 December 2013, 21:31top / bottom of page
Follow up on restrictions

Thanks Maggi, that was my reading of the rules as well.  It's a bit much to expect everyone else to become an expert on the U.S. restrictions but the text I quoted is from the AGS website 'Introduction and General Information' and I believe it's incorrect (I hope so anyway).  As you said that statement does not apply to small lots of seeds.

Contribution from Raymond Dunkerton 07 December 2013, 06:53top / bottom of page
quetzal from Australia

Just wish everything on line was so straight forward      -----   just 1 st Class

Contribution from john dower 08 December 2013, 15:15top / bottom of page

Great system - thanks.

Contribution from Diane Clement 09 December 2013, 21:28top / bottom of page

John and Maggi, thanks for your comments on the US regulations.  It is a very complex system which seems to frequently change in the detail of which species are banned. A few years ago there were more bans on whole families whereas now it seems the ban tends to be on genera or just species.  There was wording on one of our pages which was incorrectly stating "Berberidaceae" were all banned.  Sorry for that error and I have now changed it to read "Berberis and Mahonia".  The database for US members ordering online was actually correct for them at the point of ordering, so Ranzania and Podophyllum were allowed. Sorry for any any confusion.

Contribution from Bertil Larsson 10 December 2013, 01:20top / bottom of page

I got the seedlist today and have already made my choises. Exelent way to do it. Thanks to all involved

Contribution from Margaret Young 12 December 2013, 18:35top / bottom of page
import/export regulations

Diane,  the regulations of most countries are written in such a way as to be best deciphered by GCHQ as far as I can see - and that's not accounting for rapid changes in their forbidden plants.  These difficulties are just another facet  of the Seed Exchanges of the likes of AGS, SRGC, NARGS, NZAGS and so on may be little realised by most members.  I consider - and I venture to suggest I am not alone in this - that your job and that of  your Seed Team in coping with such difficulties is an enormous  task and one which deserves the highest praise and appreciation.

Contribution from John Good 12 December 2013, 22:22top / bottom of page

Hear, hear!

Contribution from Diane Clement 14 December 2013, 17:06top / bottom of page

Thanks, Maggi and John, nice to know the work of all the volunteers is appreciated.

Contribution from Fermi de Sousa 20 December 2013, 09:12top / bottom of page
paper lists not yet received

Hi Diane,

I've had concerns raised that the paper-lists (for those who don't use the internet - yes, some members are still "off-line") haven't arrived yet here in Oz. Have others received theirs yet? I believe they were being sent with The Alpine Gardener. Do we know when they were posted?

Their concern is that they'll miss out altogether if the Journal doesn't arrive till the New Year!





Contribution from John Good 20 December 2013, 12:30top / bottom of page

Seeds received today only 2 weeks after ordering online - fantastic service and I got most of my first choices - thanks to all the team.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 20 December 2013, 16:05top / bottom of page

Seed also arrived today - good time for Christmas! My most grateful thanks and seasonal good wishes to all the seed team.

Contribution from Tony Wilson-Bligh 21 December 2013, 07:09top / bottom of page
Seeds arrived

Just like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the seed exchange.

Its the first time I have ordered and I found the whole system very easy and efficient.

The link to Google was a great help to me as I am new to the 'Alpine World'

Thank you again ........

Contribution from Martin Rogerson 21 December 2013, 10:05top / bottom of page

Just in case you're wondering why people volunteer to get up early, drive for an hour and a half, stand all day picking seed packets out of racks, checking orders, putting seed packets in envelopes and sealing them, driving for an hour and a half and getting home after's why :-)

Contribution from Brian Goodall 21 December 2013, 13:57top / bottom of page
Excellent System

Many thanks to the donors and those who have organised the seed exchange - the online software is excellent - I shop extensively online and this is  the BEST online ordering system I have used - being able to see the progress of the order as you choose seeds is great and  the links so that you can see photographs of the plants online is a brilliant idea - thank you Brian

Contribution from Helen Johnstone 21 December 2013, 16:12top / bottom of page

Hi Martin

and there was I think we had good cake the day before!

Contribution from Brian Goodall 21 December 2013, 16:42top / bottom of page
Second Choices / surplus seed suggestion

I think it would be good if the software was updated to give the option to use the second choices to become the list for surplus seed. This would save having to re enter a great many numbers and given the high quality of the software I would imagine this would be relatively easy to do.

Contribution from june saddington 21 December 2013, 17:19top / bottom of page

I recieved my seeds today, I just wanted to say thankyou to everybody involved in the scheme, inparticular to the volunteer packers and sorters, it must have been an ordeal to deal with such lovely looking cake.!

Wish Iived nearer to help.

Thanks again.

Contribution from Ivan Miles 22 December 2013, 09:46top / bottom of page
Seeds received

I also have received my seeds, mostly from my first choice. I am very pleased and would like to say a big thankyou to everyone who makes the AGS seed distribution such a success.

Thank you again and Merry Christmas to everyone. 

Regards Ivan


Contribution from Martin Rogerson 22 December 2013, 10:21top / bottom of page

Helen, you should have looked in the fridge. That cake photo was taken on Tuesday and half was still there on Friday isn't now :-)))

Contribution from DIANA WHIMP 24 December 2013, 04:13top / bottom of page

No hassels. Easy . Submitted order . REALLY GREAT.

THANKS and a Happy Xmass from New Zealand.

It is hot and humid here

Contribution from Yann DUPONT 27 December 2013, 21:43top / bottom of page

Seeds arrived this morning, this gonna be a busy week end and the first batch of sowing.

Many thanks to the team!


Contribution from Henning Fjordvald 03 January 2014, 15:02top / bottom of page

The online system works exelent. Seeds arrived just before christmas. All is sown now.

Can anyone tell me exactly what the term 'aff' means?. I have seen it now and then in AGS seedlists and other seedlists.

From Henning Fjordvald.


Contribution from Margaret Young 03 January 2014, 15:30top / bottom of page
meaning of "aff."

There are two main abbreviations that when applied to plant names  denote that the true identity is uncertain.

aff. is from the Latin affinis, meaning,  'related to'  - and cf. from confer, 'compare' seems mostly to be used for an even more uncertain relationship - so we can tell that a plant so described bears some likeness and relationship to the stated plant, but may not aggree in all aspects with the  official description of that plant.

aff. Akin to or bordering
cf. Compare with

The above meanings are taken from Stearn, W.T. (1972). 'Botanical Latin' (David & Charles: Newton Abbot).

Hope  this helps you.




Contribution from Fermi de Sousa 17 January 2014, 11:31top / bottom of page

AGS seeds have started arriving in Australia! Ours arrived in Redesdale today and a friend in Macedon got hers yesterday.

Thanks to all the hard working volunteers in getting the seeds out to us in the Antipodes! Much too hot at present to do any sowing!



Contribution from Diane Clement 19 January 2014, 10:16top / bottom of page

Hi Fermi, Thanks for letting us know that orders have reached Australia.  I am still in the process of doing the remaining the paperwork for Australian, New Zealand and US orders, so not all have been posted out yet, but should be very soon. 

Contribution from Yann DUPONT 18 January 2014, 17:37top / bottom of page

60% of my ags seeds are germinating only 8-10 days after sowing.

i got them fresh!


Contribution from Diane Clement 19 January 2014, 10:10top / bottom of page

Great news, Yann!  Nice to have your feedback. 

Contribution from Yann DUPONT 29 January 2014, 19:37top / bottom of page

Diane is it possible to get the xls/flat file of the seeds list?

thank you

Contribution from Fermi de Sousa 08 February 2014, 07:21top / bottom of page
Severe entry conditions into Australia

I'm not talking about airports or boats! It appears that government cutbacks or "efficiencies" have led to "simplification" of the inspection of seeds - if the inspector can't find the name on the list then that packet of seed will be destroyed! No second chances and no ability to explain that there is a synonym under which it is allowed or that the inspector didn't look far enough down the list to see that the seed was listed out of sequence! The Sydney facility in fact is likely to reject any seed packets that aren't individually labelled.

Once again it has raised the prospect of getting the seed packets labelled with the full botanical name for seeds sent to Australia, but I wonder how possible that will be! These problems are not the making of the AGS but of our government, but they will affect us as the recipients.



Contribution from Martin Rogerson 08 February 2014, 08:28top / bottom of page

Fermi, on  a slightly different tack I've had contact with one Australian member disappointed at very poor germination from last year's seed. He suspects they are being irradiated on entry to kill harmful organisms. Is there any truth in this or is it just urban myth?

Contribution from Diane Clement 10 February 2014, 10:19top / bottom of page

Fermi, if the problem has occurred because the AQIS list is not in alphabetical order and doesn't have synonyms, I'm not sure how labelling the packets would help that aspect?

We used to label all the US packets with names and it was a massive extra job for me and other volunteers,  sticking labels on thousands of packets.  For the Australian and NZ orders, years ago we used to include the handwritten list from the members, then we were told that wasn't official enough, so moved on to including the whole seed list but that wasn't liked as the officers had to wade through it to find the numbers.  We now just include the printed list of the actual seed enclosed and I had thought this was acceptable.  Of those Aussie members who have contacted me this year, I hadn't heard of any problems so far.

Contribution from Fermi de Sousa 10 February 2014, 11:00top / bottom of page

Hi Diane,

This was the suggestion made by the AQIS inspector who spoke to Jon Ballard, one of our members (he's now mentioned it on the SRGC forum as it was actually his SRGC seed which was intercepted) - meaning that all the seed should really have been destroyed because it wasn't labelled! I think it was a defensive position taken because they were actually at fault in this case.

The problem is that if we push them because of this "crackdown" they may take the defence that all the seed packets must be individually labelled and it's a fight we'll be engaged in for a while.



This discussion Thread: Seed Exchange 2013 - To make contributions or to send emails to other contributors Login

Go to top of this page
Discussion Topic AGS Seed Exchange
All topics Members' On-Line Discussion