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AGS Seed Exchange: Seed Exchange online

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Started by: Jim McGregor

Seed Exchange goes online this year

Go to latest contribution by Colin Dolding, 30 December 2009, 14:49. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from Jim McGregor 19 November 2009, 22:07top / bottom of page

Seed lists for the 58th AGS Seed Exchange should start popping through letter boxes during next week. The AGS Seed Exchange has gone from strength in recent years under the successive management of Ken Mellows, John Saxton and Colin Dolding. 

At the beginning of the week the online seed exchange system will open for ordering for the first time. Before you can use it, you need to be a registered user of the website, so now is the time to register, or to make sure you have your password and userID ready.

The seed exchange team will be working to ensure parity between on line ordering and postal ordering so neither system will get unfair priority

The online system has been designed to make the ordering process easy. Users selct first and second choices as they browse the list and their order is assembled automatically for them. Choices can be easily changed and the numbers of first and second choices adjusted to match your quotas.

Watch this space!

Contribution from Cliff Booker 23 November 2009, 10:17top / bottom of page

Just completed my first AGS seed order for a number of years - simply because it is now online - and I felt I had to compliment everyone involved with this excellent innovation. The exercise was intuitive, incredibly easy and extremely pleasurable. Many congratulations on a wonderful introduction - I can only imagine the time and effort that it took?

Contribution from Giles Reed 23 November 2009, 10:33top / bottom of page

I have to agree with you there Cliff.

None of that 'Can they read my address', 'Will they think that's a 7 rather than a 1' etc, and can print off a list of what you ordered (as plant names) at the end too. It took less than 5 minutes and you know it can't get lost in the post. EXCELLENT.

Contribution from Gail Harland 23 November 2009, 10:45top / bottom of page

Took less that 5 minutes??? Wow - you must be decisive! It took me over an hour to go through but then like a child in a sweet shop I wanted some of everything and deciding what not to choose took the time!

Excellent system, very easy to use, thank you.

Contribution from Colin Dolding 23 November 2009, 12:01top / bottom of page
Thanks to all concerned

Thank you Cliff, Giles and Gail for your kind comments.

It certainly has taken a lot of thought, long hours and testing by mainly Jim McGregor but with a lot of input from Diane Clement, Sandra Rice, myself and others in the Seed Distribution Committee to make this as easy as possible. We wanted it to work first time and be a pleasure to use.

I would like to thank all the team, main committee and the staff at Pershore for their encouragement, hours and hard work to get this off the ground and on line!

Contribution from Brian Whyer 23 November 2009, 14:24top / bottom of page

Thanks for this, especially for the re-editing 1st and 2nd choices, and auto sequencing. Very easy to use. So easy I got too finger happy and several error messages, but even then it was easy to get back in with no problems.

Contribution from JEREMY PRATT 23 November 2009, 16:29top / bottom of page

Absolutely fantastic well done Jim, Colin and everyone else it is just so much easier.

Contribution from john lee 23 November 2009, 18:49top / bottom of page

MAGIC.Well done to all concerned and thank you.

Contribution from John Dixon 24 November 2009, 10:27top / bottom of page

I'd also like to say well done to everyone involved, the online seed exchange is excellent and avoids any potential problems with post, etc., on top of which it's very easy to use.

The only problem I had was that I ordered in the early hours, (not over-keen, just coughing and sneezing so I decided to get up rather than wake everyone up). I noticed that the seed list was available, completed my order and went back to bed, only to be woken by my credit card fraud unit phoning to check it really was me using my card at some unearthly hour! Serves me right, but I suppose they meant well...

Contribution from Jon Evans 24 November 2009, 12:46top / bottom of page
Suggestion for Next Year

One suggestion for next year. It would be great if it was possible to download a zipped copy of the list to browse offline. I am working away from home on a customer site all week, so I haven't received by paper list, and only get intermittent, brief online access. It would be brilliant to be able to look through a list in the evenings and make a selection prior to ordering online, to minimise the amount of time spent completing an online order.

Contribution from Colin Dolding 24 November 2009, 23:07top / bottom of page

The seedlist will be available in PDF form on Thursday (UK lists are being posted out Wednesday 25th).

Thank you all for your comments and observations.

Contribution from Vivien Roeder 25 November 2009, 20:30top / bottom of page

I would like to add my thanks as a new member using a seed exchange for the first time. I did not expect it to be so easy to use but logged in just to have a look. With my scant plant knowledge, the 'Google it ' links saved me so much time and effort so thank you for putting those in. I now feel very smug having made my order before the lists have even been posted. Well done to everyone concerned.

Contribution from Jim McGregor 25 November 2009, 22:38top / bottom of page

Vivien - glad you appreciated the Google links. I added them after making my own order and finding myself Googling plants I wasn't sure about.

Contribution from Richard Jeffery 26 November 2009, 21:10top / bottom of page

I have to agree with everyone else. It was so much easier to go through the seed list this year. The A-Z format was simple to navigate, the facility to select first and second choices at a click, and to actually see how many items had been chosen without having to continually count them up was a real gem, and I too found the Google link extremely useful. Oh yes, and I didn't have to write out a cheque either. All done by the click of a mouse. Brilliant.

To all those who made this possible I send a big "thank you". You all deserve a pat on the back. Well done.

Many thanks, Richard

Contribution from TONY PORTER 27 November 2009, 15:07top / bottom of page

Just completed my online seed order - what a brilliant system! Congratulations to all concerned. The ability to have all the info. literally at your fingertips complete with a plethora of images is so helpful & saves hours of book searching. Better start getting the compost ready!

Tony Porter

Contribution from Thomas Jesson 27 November 2009, 23:18top / bottom of page

Very, very impressive -so user friendly. The 'GOOGLE' link is a brilliant idea. As a picker, I'm sure it will also help to make putting up the orders easier too.

Very well done to everyon involved.

Bill Jesson

Contribution from Ruth Plant 28 November 2009, 09:16top / bottom of page

Absolutely agree that the on line system is wonderful, so much easier.

Thank you so very much to everyone who worked putting it together


Contribution from john dower 28 November 2009, 23:05top / bottom of page
So much better!

What an excellent system for ordering seed.

Congratulations to all involved.

Contribution from Mel Linney 30 November 2009, 17:52top / bottom of page

Just sent my seed order in online. Excellent addition to an alresdy magnificent website.Thanks to everyone involved.

Contribution from David Nicholson 30 November 2009, 18:47top / bottom of page

Really easy to use. I'm sure a lot of work went on behind the scenes to get this up and running so congratulations to all.

Contribution from Bjørn Håkon Smevold 30 November 2009, 23:46top / bottom of page
Excellent! 12 points out of 10 possible!

I am ordering seeds in rather large numbers, from various sources. Some webshops work well, and unfortunately others are less than acceptable, to the point that I give up ordering until better solutions are made.

However; the AGS seed-distribution worked well before, but this year I was really amazed by how thoroughly and functional everything was. When I logged in, my 'donor-status' showed at once, allowing me to easily pick 30 choices, making second choices at the same time. Thanks to all of you that made this possible, I didnt find a single bug or fault, I have probably never seen something better, or as good as this!

Contribution from John Bailey 01 December 2009, 18:52top / bottom of page

Online ordering is brilliant. It has been on my wish list.

Contribution from Eric Burrows 01 December 2009, 21:39top / bottom of page

Good, yes, but it would have been quicker to have just listed the seed numbers in an on-line form, if like me you have already checked them from the booklet.

Contribution from Peter Paul Hayes 02 December 2009, 11:25top / bottom of page
Stunningly good

Ordering was incredibly easy. Though I had a list of numbers ready, I also had all the names. Names are much safer, and the numbers appear on the order, which can be viewed at any time. An amazing amount of time and care must have been put in on this, it is so flexible, well organised and tailored to the needs of the individual user. Congratulations! Medals are deserved. It even worked flawlessly on an iMac running an obscure, Mac-only browser.

Contribution from Sandra Rice 02 December 2009, 12:43top / bottom of page
Thanks to Jim!!!!!!!!

After struggling to make an order up using paper list, I decided to move to a web only selection process. (I had tried out various prototypes) No problems, and an order made up in record time. Could those who wish go green and move to web only ordering next year?

Glad to hear there are other Mac users out there, Peter. Jim very carefully trialed versions using as many browsers as he could find, and Macs had to be in there from a very early stage.

Contribution from Janet Fielden 02 December 2009, 14:59top / bottom of page

I have never ordered seed frm you before and was slightly daunted by the thought of the operation. But the online service is brilliant. Wonderful links for the plants, easy to use and none of the usual idiocies one gets with being routed back to original pages. Excellent. Well done! Now look forward to receiving the seeds and hoping they'll grow!

Contribution from Lesley Cox 02 December 2009, 20:45top / bottom of page
Paper list

I decided to wait for the hard copy paper list but this has not yet arrived. Not for any NZ members that I've spoken with about it. Is there any reason for this?

Contribution from Chris McGregor 02 December 2009, 23:20top / bottom of page

Hi Lesley

The paper copies were posted out airmail to all overseas members on the 20th November. It appears that there has been a problem somewhere in the postal system but everything left our mailing house on time. We have investigated as far as we are able and it looks as if the problem may be due to a backlog somewhere in the mail system following the recent UK postal strikes.

Contribution from Rick Lambert 03 December 2009, 18:44top / bottom of page
Web seed list

Many, many thanks. The seed list on-line was very easy to use especially when topping up with second choices.

The links to other sites are pretty dubious (I especially checked the Dianthus links and very few were correct) but a very good idea to incluide them.

Payment was easy and smooth.

Thanks very much for all the hard work that must have been put in (especially Jim, Colin, Diane and I am sure many others)

Well done AGS

Rick Lambert

Contribution from Gail Harland 05 December 2009, 07:23top / bottom of page
Seed arrived - many thanks

My seed arrived at lunchtime yesterday, so that was work over for the day and I spent the afternoon getting it sown. Very many thanks to all involved in the seed distribution, particularly of course the donors. I am delighted with my allocation and now just have to resist prodding it until things start to emerge!

I was intrigued by the article in the September issue of The Plantsman about sowing fritillaries in Seramis - the author gets bulbs to flowering much faster when using this product. I couldn't get any Seramis at my local Garden Centre and when searching for it on the web I came across a bonsai site which recommends using Tesco's 'Low Dust Lightweight Catlitter' as an alternative. ( I received generous packets of some bulb items so I'm going to get cat litter today to try with some half packets I saved. It will worry my husband though if he sees what I've bought, I lost my cat over a year ago and he doesn't want me to get another one!

Contribution from Doreen Mear 05 December 2009, 09:11top / bottom of page

Two friends and I (in New Zealand) received our hard copy seedlists yesterday. The on-line ordering was a bit daunting at first as I'd only written out a list of numbers, but soon got into the swing of it. When an error message popped up I expected to have lost everything I'd ordered so far and to have to start again, so was heartily relieved to find it was all still there. So congratulations to the brains behind the system!

Contribution from Ian McEnery 05 December 2009, 09:38top / bottom of page

My thanks to all those involved. My natural sceptisim meant that I intended to only look at the new procedure and order on paper but before I could say no I had completed my order. In all my experience of new system introduction this is certainly the most faultless - a triumph. The online system worked smoothly and effectively. I was able to refine my selections and finally be able to copy selections and past the into the database. A great system, quick and easy to operate well done

Contribution from Marianne Kuchel 05 December 2009, 20:41top / bottom of page

The ordering on line was very easy, thank you all. My seedlist arrived here today. I could not understand why all the Dianthus seed were marked not available for the US. They are not in NARGS's list of forbidden plants.

Marianne Kuchel

Fairlee, VT USA

Contribution from Pam Kench 06 December 2009, 03:52top / bottom of page
Contribution from Pam Kench Australia, 6th December

Just completed seed application for my husband Geoff very easy to do now on-line. However as we have a family membership I don't seem to be able to submit my own choices. Can you help please? Perhaps I should have registered separately?

Contribution from Ken Curtis 06 December 2009, 05:33top / bottom of page

It appears that some members are receiving seed shipments before many of us have received the Seed Exchange Listing by post. I only found the online listing yesterday. The system worked fine, I just wish I would have known about it sooner.

Contribution from Jim McGregor 06 December 2009, 14:30top / bottom of page

Pam - you need a separate usreID and password for each seed application. The website allows one userID on a Single Membership and two userIDs on a Double Membership. So you need to register in your own name and login to do your order.

Contribution from Rod Haenni 07 December 2009, 19:12top / bottom of page
Excellent Seed List Enhancement

Congratulations to all concerned in setting-up online ordering. The ordering procedures are quick and easy to follow and I was able to submit my order and import permit number with no issues.

Best to all,

Rod Haenni, Littleton, Colorado USA

Contribution from Colin Dolding 07 December 2009, 23:46top / bottom of page

Thank you for all your kind comments. With regard to Ken's comment, I appreciate the problems caused by appalling postal deliveries this year. Your lists were sent out on 20th Nov and the system went live 23rd. We could not have the lists out with the online ordering not in place. We have compensated the best we could to allow for poor postal times. ( Your order has already been picked along with many USA, NZ, and Australian orders. The online ordering was advertised in the September newsletter to warn people it was happening and to look out for it on the AGS website.

Thank you to all who have placed orders both online and via snail mail.

Contribution from Anthony Heaton 08 December 2009, 17:30top / bottom of page

Excellent, very easy to use and much better than filling out boxes on a paper form. I liked the way it kept the totals of 1st and 2nd choices as I went through the list.


Tony Heaton

Contribution from Steve Law 09 December 2009, 16:00top / bottom of page

It hardly seems worth adding yet more plauditss for the online order form but here it is - well done indeed! As it happens I had already been through the paper list and was all ready to put it in the post when I came across the online ordering system.

Whether to put it in the post of fill out the online version?

No contest.

Contribution from Rick Lambert 10 December 2009, 12:21top / bottom of page

...And now my seed has arrived with some exciting items to sow.

I spent a happy half hour checking numbers and names. Sometimes the simplest of tasks keeps me happy!

So now I need to get my hands dirty, though I note that, for anything high alpine, I will be using a seed compost of 1 part sharp sand, 1 part potting grit and 1 part perlite which was so sucessful spring 2009.

It is near sterile, retains moisture but is not wet and is rich in 'minerals'

Rick Lambert

Contribution from Ben Probert 10 December 2009, 19:56top / bottom of page

So easy... made the frantic search around the list a doddle! Loved the was it told you how many first and second choices you had made, and the google facility was simply a stroke of genius. Very happy with the whole experience.

Contribution from Val Keegan 12 December 2009, 14:06top / bottom of page

Very easy and efficient to choose - and the speed of arrival of seed! Mine are in before the Christmas rush! Well done.

Contribution from John Goodwin 12 December 2009, 19:33top / bottom of page

Congratulations for producing such a user-friendly ordering system. The Google links were a brilliant conception, making difficult choices so much easier.

Contribution from Luc Gilgemyn 17 December 2009, 10:35top / bottom of page

Thanks to all involved !

It was a pleasure to order online from the seed exchange !!!

Contribution from Emma Bignell 23 December 2009, 22:22top / bottom of page

I wonder if anyone can help me - I'm a bit confused with the ordering!

As I understand it, I can get a maximum of 23 packets (for a non-donor) from the main distribution. I fill in 23 first choices, and if any of these are unavailable I have chosen 56 second choices to fill the order to the 23 packets. Is this right so far?

My confusion comes when I want to order surplus seed. I have already put down 79 choices (the first and second choice), so these are the seeds that I would like the most. But if a lot of my first choice seeds are available, then most of my second choice seeds won't be picked... so do I put those in the surplus seed selections too?

Sorry if I'm being really silly... this confused me last year too, and will definately confuse me next year if I don;t ask about it now!

Thanks for your advice in advance!


Contribution from Colin Dolding 23 December 2009, 22:57top / bottom of page

Hello Emma,

Sorry you have been confused! You have got the main ordering idea correct.

With Surplus orders you can only choose complete genera rather than individual numbers, you cannot be so specific.

We are unable to refer back to your original main order so if you really want a certain genus, for the price they are it would be worth including them in your surplus and risk getting duplicates. Hope this has not confused you further. Any problems or more questions drop me an email to Many thanks

Contribution from Paula Tuckey 26 December 2009, 18:04top / bottom of page

This is truly an excellent online ordering system. I particularly like the way that one can google each plant. It is so much easier than typing in each name from the hard copy! Thank-you AGS

Contribution from Ngaere Buchanan 30 December 2009, 07:59top / bottom of page
Online - tried but...

What I wanted was a quick easy place to do the same as paper form - I have it all worked out.(by numbers). So, its tedious - the form gets reposted far too many times and I don't know my most favourites by name - I've done it by number, and if you make something a one but meant it to be a second choice - you can't in the order. Good try but I'd be here for hours. Please let me have my order sent by post - it'll be lucky to be there in time. Thanks - It can and will work this online but give us a quick easy put in the numbers option like the paper form & maybe this way too but give us the first way of doing things and look at how many times you are posting the form back to the server - way too many times.

Contribution from Colin Dolding 30 December 2009, 14:49top / bottom of page

Hello Ngaere, thank you for you comments. Next time we will have the facility for you to just enter the numbers in on the order form. This has been mentioned by several members. Regarding your order please just email it to me at and I will make sure it is in on time. If you have already posted it do not worry I will make sure it gets picked for you. Happy New Year and thank you for trying and commenting on the new system.

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