Although the process was never predictable. Farmers, shopkeepers, & craftsmen could buy seed, when it arrived in a general cargo shipment from England from local merchants. When new seeds arrived at a port, eager gardeners & farmers could read about them in the local papers after the 1720s. And their arrival spread by work of mouth for those who did not get a paper & those who could not read. Charleston was a busy port of entry for imported garden items.
The earliest seed dealer advertising in the South Carolina Gazette was Samuel Everleigh, although his ads weren’t specific. In the December of 1732 issue, he offered for sale “divers sorts of best Garden seeds,” and 3 years later in December of 1736/7, Everleigh again advertised, “Garden seeds fresh and good.” On March 29-April 6, 1739, he offered “Grass and Garden Seeds.”
When young Charles Pinckney opened his “new store on the Bay” in the 1740s, he advertised “garden seeds Just imported from London” in the South Carolina Gazette. His competitor, Robert Pringle, whose store was also “on the Bay” advertised garden seeds imported from London.
In 1748, Frederick Merckley & Thomas Shute advertised for sale “sundry sorts of Garden Seeds” which were imported from Philadelphia rather than London. However, England remained the dominant source for plant stuffs.
Samuel Came fist appeared in the February 12, 1753 issue of the South Carolina Gazette declaring that he had “Imported from London, an assortment of useful garden seed, some flower roots and seeds, Windsor and kidney beans, dwarf, marrow-fat and Ormond Hotspur Peas.” Came advertised again in the January 1764 issue that he had “a assortment of Garden Seeds, flower roots, etc.”
The domestic commercial sale of plants continued to grow in popularity. In January 1764, Thomas Young advertised in the South Carolina Gazette that he had imported, “A greet Variety of kitchen-garden and flower Seeds, which are very fresh, having had a short passage; which, with some flower roots, eta. he will salt reasonably, at his house at the west-end of Broad-street.”
In the December issue of the same year, Young was about to move from his house, and he advertised in the South Carolina Gazette, “a parcel of seeds to dispose of cheap; also some shrubs, trees, roots, etc. among which are a great number of Cork, walnut, with some chestnut and almond trees, with squill and other medical roots and seeds.”
John Edwards came to South Carolina, from New York, in 1764. He advertised in the March 3, 1764, South Carolina Gazette that he brought with him “a large collection of English garden and flower seed” which he had raised himself.
In January of 1765, Lloyd & Neyle advertised that they had just imported from London and Bristol “garden seeds and flower roots, amongst which are the best orange carrots Turkey renunculas roots, Dutch tulips, fine anemones, double poppies, double larkspur.”
In March of 1791, Charles McDonald at 186 Meeting Street advertised “Fresh Garden Seed, a SMALL assortment of Flower and other GARDEN SEED, Just imported from London.”
In the 1803, Charleston Courier, Tait, Wilson & Co advertised that they had imported: "Early Chariton Peas, London Cauliflower, Dwarf Marrowfat do., Early Cabbage Lettuce Coss, Early Frame do.,Cabbegge of all sorts, Crown, Transparent, and White and Black Mustard, Tail Sugar do., Solid Celery, Dwarf White Kidney Beans, Curled Parsley, Canary and Rape Seeds, Green Curled Endive, Early ad Imperial York, Long Prickley Cucumber, Cabbage, Red Beet, Early Sugar-loaf do., Large Norfolk Turnip, Drumhead do., Round Spinnage, Green Glazed do., Portugal Onion, Battersea do., Garden Cress, Cornish York do., Salmon Reddish, Early Penton Cabbage, Scarlet Salmon Reddish, Red Pickling do., Short Top do., Early Purple Brocoll, Turnips do., Late do., Naples do., Siberian do., London Leek, White do., Choux de Milan, Large Green Savoy, Brussels Sprouts, Dwarf do, White Scariat Runners, Yellow do."
In the next year, Simmons & Sweeny, at the corner of East Bay & Broad Streets, advertised in the January of 1804, issue of the Charleston Courier, “JUST received and for sale by the subscribers a few bundles FRUIT TREES, of the best quality; each containing twenty-four TREES, 1 Honey CHERRY, 1 Amber do., 1 Early White Nutmeg Peach, 1 Green do., 1 Early red, or rare ripe do., 2 large yellow Lemon clingstone do., 1 White Blossom do., 1 English Swalsh, (or Nectarine), 1 Green Catherine do., 1 Late October Clingstone do., 1 Red Pine Apple do., 1 Early black Damask Plumbs, 1 Magnum Bonum, or Yellow Egg Apple, 1 large Early Harvest do., 1 large Red Spitzenburgh do., 1 Fall Pippin do., 1 Newton do., 1 Early Sugar Pear, 1 Jergonel, or large flavored Summer do., 1 Vergeline or fine Melting Fell do, 1 Almond, 1 Nectarine, 1 Apricot."
J. F. Gennerick, who was selling seeds at 150 King Street advertised in the Charleston Courier on June 18, 1807: “ELEGANT FLOWER ROOTS, RANUNCULUS, Antimonies, Imperical Manager, Blue unbellated Crechum, The Striped Lilly, Scarlet Caledonian do., Double Scarlet do., Dotted Arcadian do., The Two Stage Martagon, Variegated Colechicums, Double do., Broad leafed Poncratium, Purple Fiemanthus, Geurnsey Lilly.”