Should I purchase my seed from a mail order company or from a shop?
There are things to be said in favour of both methods.
Shopping by post, is certainly more convenient than visiting several shops / garden centres to buy all the seeds you require.
In general terms you may get more information about varieties from a catalogue , i.e. what they look like, and how they grow,something you might not get from seed packets sold in shops.
On the other hand, if you want information about how to grow the plants, quite often the shopkeeper will be able to assist you in this matter.
Catalogues tend to offer more new, and often a better selection of varieties, whereas shops tend to stock varieties that are best sellers thus limiting choice.
With mail order, sometimes you won't get what you asked for, due to some items being sold out.
This can result in substitute varieties being sent in their place, which may or may not be satisfactory.
If you order by mail order, you may have to wait weeks for your seeds, if you don't get your order in early, whereas if you buy from a shop you can take your seeds home and sow them the same day if you wished.
Shop purchases can sometimes work out cheaper because of postage and packing.
This can make quite a difference, particularly if you only want a few packets of seeds.