Last year I made up my list of Iris to order early in the year. I wanted:
Daughter of Stars
I looked around the internet and found C & T Irises, claiming to have "over 3,500 varieties of tall bearded iris," including all of the ones on my list. Knowing as I do that irises sell out early, I placed my order well in advance, specifying no substitutions. I had metal labels waiting for all of them when they arrived, so there was no confusion as to labeling. Furthermore, these were the first iris to go into this particular garden, so again, no possibility of confusion on my part.
All were sent with plastic printed labels except as otherwise listed below.
1. Paul Black was not sent, though no refund was offered for it.
2. The single fan of Daughter of Stars was so small and sickly looking that I figured it might not live. It didn't.
3. Vanity came labled as such with black magic marker on the leaves, rather than having the usual plastic label. It bloomed this spring as a somewhat deformed yellow/ white amoena. Definitely not Vanity.
4. Lady Friend again was labeled as such by C&T using magic marker on the leaves, instead of a plastic label. It bloomed as a supremely ugly muddy cream with lavendar horns. I can't even find anything like it in the iris database. Suspect it is an unregistered seedling. Anyway, it definitely is not Lady Friend.
5. Most of the irises were just single fans. Other than throwing in another fan of Mary Frances to perhaps compensate for not sending Paul Black, there were NO bonuses given.
So, 50% of my order was a total waste. I complained to C&T about it this spring, and to give them credit, they sent me a $30 refund. But that really does not cover the lack of ethics in labeling plants as things I had ordered when in fact they were NOT what I had ordered. And it does not cover a year's loss of my time when I am already 71 years of age. They could have been honest and admitted they didn't have things I had ordered, but instead marked substitutes with my ordered names, with magic marker, knowing the leaves would be gone by spring. Only, I had marked them with metal markers, so come spring, I knew what they had done.
I will never order from C & T again. Any company that burns me this way does not deserve a second chance. This spring, right after the irises finished blooming, I ordered Paul Black, Vanity, and Lady Friend, plus 6 other new irises from two other iris companies. Ethical companies will get my repeat business. This should be a clear message to any of you iris retailers who hang out on this forum.