Perennials forum: Mail Orders, what do you think?

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Name: virginiarose
Virginia
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virginiarose
Feb 24, 2012 10:06 AM CST
I received my order from High Country Gardens, yesterday(02-23-12) and I have:

Caryopteris clandonensis 'Dark Knight'---8.49
Asclepias Tuberosa-orange butterfly weed---8.49
shipping--9.99
total---26.97

I do not understand how this could be a deciduous shrub, there is no stems and it just looks like a seedling. I expected something bigger and I am not sure why, I ordered this November 27, 2011, and if I had planted a seed that very day I would expect to have this, but I thought I was purchasing a plant,plant. Blinking
The butterfly weed is more like it, these pots are three inches wide but six inches deep, I don't know why they needed such a big pot, If they say three inch or four inch, don't you kinda expect it to be full of roots or almost full. This is a pot of fresh dirt and a freshly planted plant. I am disappointed to say the least, mainly with the shrub which is one inch tall. Glare

Thumb of 2012-02-24/virginiarose/b6cdcb-NICE PLANT.

Thumb of 2012-02-24/virginiarose/7a50e6-GOOD PACKING.

Thumb of 2012-02-24/virginiarose/dec0d7--SHRUB IN QUESTION.
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 24, 2012 11:13 AM CST
My goodness, Susan. Shrub??? That reminds me of the 3" tall "tree" I once got from Gurney's. That was the last time I ordered from them. Whistling
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Feb 24, 2012 11:48 AM CST
I got a Knockout Rose Bush from Michigan Bulb Company that was three inches tall but it was 4.99 and I expected that of them, what got me was the dehydrated hostas. That did it for me. Thumbs down By the way I think Gurney's and Michigan Bulb are the same company, I think Henry Fields is also.
THESE ARE THE HOSTAS. Angry
Thumb of 2012-02-24/virginiarose/4fc4c6
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 24, 2012 11:57 AM CST
Yes, they are the same company. I never expect a "tree" or a "shrub" to arrive that short or plants to be dried out.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Feb 25, 2012 8:38 AM (+)]
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 24, 2012 3:21 PM CST
Are you going to contact them, or if you already did, what did they say?

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Feb 24, 2012 4:52 PM CST

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Susan I would contact them using the picture shown above. I would be mad no matter what kind of plant to get something that size.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 24, 2012 5:36 PM CST
Oh, that is indeed disappointing...looks like just grew up from a seed....looks as if it needs a couple more months before being shipped out to a customer.

I ordered once from QVC, I forgot already which nursery they got it from-the plant (gaillardia) arrived well, it looked so small and frail, but after 2 months it grew rapidly. It could be your plant is expected to grow like that too..
Initial re-pot:
Thumb of 2012-02-24/tarev/991c11

Growth after 2 months:
Thumb of 2012-02-24/tarev/637009

Does High Gardens have a guaranteed satisfaction for the plants they sell? If they do, I would call them and claim that guarantee.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Feb 24, 2012 9:02 PM CST
NJBob said:Susan I would contact them using the picture shown above. I would be mad no matter what kind of plant to get something that size.


I agree, that's ridiculous size. Like Bob, I'd contact the company and include that picture.

Karen
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
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virginiarose
Feb 25, 2012 5:58 AM CST
Ok, I guess it would not hurt anything to ask. Green Grin! Some plants do grow rapidly and this could be one but I was disappointed because I saw mainly good reviews. Blinking
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 25, 2012 6:06 AM CST
Well, for the price, it's worth asking, IMHO. A lot of companies are now advertising "comes in a 4" pot" or something to that effect, but the plants and their roots don't actually fill the pots or even half-way. Seems a bit like deceptive advertising to me.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Feb 25, 2012 6:13 AM (+)]
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Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Feb 25, 2012 6:11 AM CST
Right, that is what I was thinking, they threw a seedling into a three inch pot. I guess I should ask how old is the plant and stop assuming things. Hilarious!
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Corey
Chicago (Zone 6a)
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Ispahan
Feb 25, 2012 8:03 AM CST
Hi there,

Sorry to hear about your experience with HCG. They are one of my all-time favorite mail order nurseries and I love their selection of unusual plants. That said, I don't think I have ever found any nursery that gets it 100% correct all the time. It is just the nature of the business. What sets a good nursery apart from a mediocre one, however, is how customer service handles complaints.

A couple of things to consider:

1. Did you tip the plant out of the pot to get a look at the root system? This could give you a better idea of the age.
2. Are there any trimmed off stems at the very base of the plant? Caryopteris is sometimes grown as a die-back perennial, and the plant could just be trimmed back and semi-dormant right now.

Of course, the other option is that the plant was indeed too immature for shipping. If that is the case, then shame on HCG! However, not every staff member of a large nursery--especially those at the bottom of the ladder who are likely doing the pulling and packing-- will know enough or care enough about plants to know how to select good specimens. Good plant people are unfortunately in the minority. Bad plant material is not always shipped intentionally.

HCG does have a 100% guarantee of their plant material for 1 year. Please call customer service and ask them to remedy the situation! I think they also have a claims form on their web homepage at the bottom right of the screen.

I love HCG and have been ordering from them off and on for years. I have received a handful (maybe 3 or 4 at most) duds from them over the years, but I have never had a problem with replacements.

I do hope your new plants grow well for you. They will be beautiful additions to your garden! Smiling






Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Feb 25, 2012 10:15 AM CST
Thank You Corey, Green Grin! I am glad to read your post, I have heard HCG is a good nurserie. I did not look at the roots, I was actually afraid to disturb them, however I will definitely do this now. I contacted HCG and sent a picture like the one above, I asked their opinion about the plant and suggested maybe they should ship end of April or May, I just could not see good reason to get in a hurry shipping something so small. I will wait for their response and check my roots. Thank you for your well-wishes. Smiling

susan
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Feb 25, 2012 12:21 PM CST
Well, I checked the roots and unfortunately I purchased a pot of dirt with a seedling in it. Sad I hope I will hear from HCG soon.


Thumb of 2012-02-25/virginiarose/5031e8
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Corey
Chicago (Zone 6a)
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Ispahan
Feb 25, 2012 12:29 PM CST
That is absolutely horrible! Shame on them. You have every right to complain.

If I were you, I would call them on Monday (I think they have a toll free number) to get the situation resolved ASAP. I have heard too many stories about e-mails getting lost or ending up in spam filters to trust it, not with HCG specifically but with mail order nurseries in general.

Let us know how it works out. I have a somewhat large order from HCG coming at the end of April. I hope I will not be disappointed!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
Feb 25, 2012 12:32 PM CST
I noticed elsewhere that HCG has been given 10 or more negatives and 40-something positives in the last year. That means 1-in-5 ratings were negative -- or 20%.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Feb 25, 2012 12:33 PM (+)]
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Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Feb 25, 2012 3:12 PM CST
OK, good advice, I will call them Monday. Sure hope they are not going down hill, hope everything goes will with your order in April, Corey. I will let you know of any updates.

Also I brought the plants into the house they did not respond well to the cold temperatures and it only got down to 43. Shrug!
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Mary
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fiwit
Feb 26, 2012 10:40 AM CST
If HCG has gotten 10 negatives in the last year, then something has changed. They used to be one of the best there was. I've ordered from them for several years with no issues, and have a lot of respect for them. And I've NEVER gotten something like Susan did.
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Feb 26, 2012 10:49 AM CST
I wonder if they are under new managment or bought out by a big outfit.
Name: Debra
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lovemyhouse
Feb 26, 2012 10:51 AM CST
As a manager with a shipping department, I agree with Corey that sometimes the clerks doing the packing simply don't recognize what is "good" to send out, especially if they are new to the job. It is entirely possible that HCG has a whole new staff. A big sudden turnover happens to the best of companies and it can negatively affect performance in ways not seen before. All that being said, definitely call them. I'd be willing to be $5 Smiling that their office will take care of the problem.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

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