Avant Gardens is a micro nursery growing an exciting variety of uncommon but strongly ornamental plants, which provide a long season of interest in the garden. They grow choice trees, shrubs, vines, hardy hardy and tender perennials, annuals and alpines. They are environmentally sensitive and avoid using toxic pesticides and fungicides. Plants are shipped after they have broken dormancy in pot sizes that accomadate a healthy root system. The nursery is open for customer visits from mid April through October, Wed-Sat. 9-5.
I explored their site as they offered a tree in the small size I wanted. Initially I found their site a bit difficult, I could not figure out what size the plants came in! I emailed for help and got a prompt response (you click on Help to get plant size info). I chose three plants as well as the tree.
I was ordering at the very end of spring planting season, and they let me know that once they went out to the nursery a couple of the plants did not meet their standards and asked if I wanted to choose something else. This really impressed me--they did not want to send a poor-looking plant. They always ship plants on Monday, another way to ensure great condition, and the packing was terrific.
While the plants came in pots around one quart in size, two of the three plants were what we'd normally see in a gallon pot at the nursery. The other plant was a hellebore and while it wasn't gallon-sized it was a good size for its price. I'm very happy with how the plants and tree have done and will shop from here again.
I found the website to be very easy to navigate, the order shipped in a timely fashion. The plants were packed very well and arrived in a thriving condition. I appreciate their lengthy customer service notice that arrived with the plants, they obviously take great personal pride in their plants and business, and it shows in the care and time they spend on even small orders.
I received my order today and wrote three words on my plant log: Spectacular! HUGE!! HEALTHY!!!. Then I deleted other vendors off my Excel Go-To List, and highlighted AVANT GARDENS with a bright yellow box. A reminder to myself that last year, I grudgingly ordered from them because they were the only place that had Red Satin Coreopsis. Their price was higher than my usual vendor, with whom I’d backordered. Long story short:
Avant sent 3 terrific large plants plus a bonus Lemon Coral Sedum. (I always assumed “bonus” plants were a way of getting rid of last year’s losers as a free gift to impress customers.)
Company B eventually sent 3 so-so Red Satin and 3 tiny Fire Alarm Heuchera – but, hey. Good price.
Avant’s Red Satins bloomed profusedly from the get-go. And I absolutely fell in love with the bright iridescent Lemon Coral Sedum.
Company B’s plants limped flowerlessly along thru the summer. I babied them and kept reminding myself I’d purchased here before and had a 50-50 chance. But look how much money I saved!
Then the Super Winter of 2013-2014. I thought I’d lost half my perennials. But then … up came Avant’s 3 Red Satins, lively and active. Lemon Coral, a zone7, didn’t pull thru our Z6-going-on-Z2 winter. But neither did ALL 6 of Company B’s Red Satins and Fire Alarms! Minus the money I’d “saved”, I still had a 90% net loss and also lost a whole growing season! And I didn’t get to enjoy my plants!
Sent an SOS order to Avant Gardens for 3 Red Satin, 3 Heuchera Fire Alarm … couldn’t find Lemon Coral Sedum in their catalogue and begged if they found one, please add it to my bill.
Today, I’m delirious. Big, Happy Plants! Almost too excited to wait for them to acclimate. And guess what – a bright, glowing Lemon Coral Sedum. Bonus.
Avant, I plan to enjoy every bloom this summer. You’re my heros.
To anybody else reading this, too many places don’t get you what you pay for. Avant Gardens is not one of them. They’re worth every hard-earned penny.
My first order included asters, butterfly weeds and a fotherfilla. The plants were carefully packed and arrived in great shape! I was so happy that I followed up with a second order - a Cornus kousa tree. I've found that ordering trees online can be hit or miss in terms of the shape of the tree. The tree arrived and I was very happy with structure of the tree. Great experience with Avent Gardens.
This is the second year that I have ordered from this mail order nursery. I am absolutely highly impressed with the quality of their plants. The plant quality far exceeds that of the "big name" mail order nurseries. I highly recommend this nursery.
R. Blume, Certified Master Gardener, Morris County, NJ
My order arrived in less than a week of ordering. The plants were securely packed and were much larger that I expected them to be. I will order from Avant Gardens again!
lauraabk Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b) (1 review) September 28, 2013
I am very pleased with my recent order of fall plantings from Avant Gardens NE. I ordered some hellebores, ferns, and japanese anemone. All the plants for carefully padded with straw, held by rubber bands, and wrapped in butcher paper. The plants arrived healthy a few weeks ago and have responded well to transplanting on my terrace.
I would recommend Avant Gardens and would order from them again.
dAS_0 Coatesville, PA (1 review) September 26, 2013
I am very impressed with the speed with which my plants were sent. Avant gardens sent me emails about the order being received and shipped out. Once spring returns I will be ordering more ferns from Avant Gardens for the shady area in the works.
I had never ordered from Avant but based on their excellent Watch Dog feedback and wonderful choice of interesting and unusual plants,
I ordered 4 annuals. Somehow my order got mixed up with another customer. The Company informed me of the problem and told me to keep the misdirected order and they would resend my order ASAP. I was happy to get 6 free plants, but then my own plants were not delivered when expected. By the time they came they had been in the box for almost a week and looked it. Even before I complained, they were very quick to replace the plants. The new plants arrived in good condition and I was happy with the resolution of the problem. The misdelivery was not good, but I could not ask more than the excellent response to the problem. Mistakes happen to us all, but what counts is a company's response. I would definitely use them again and recommend them highly.
wmc Oak Park, IL (Zone 5a) (10 reviews) May 30, 2013
Posted on May 20, 2012, updated May 30, 2013
Avant Gardens has become my new favorite nursery after 2 very successful orders. Great diversity of offerings. Very competitive pricing with no shipping cost shock. They included a bonus plant with the 2nd order which was a thoughtful expression and gave me a new planting idea!On May 30th, 2013, wmc added the following:
For the past 20 years, I have been ordering plants online. Avant Gardens is second to none in every aspect. First off, their communication is above the call of duty. Secondly, when the shipment arrived today, I said aloud, "these plants are happy!" There was no spilt dirt. The soil was neither dry nor too wet. Lush green foliage popped out of what were established young plants. Some mail order nuseries gouge customers with astronomical "shipping and handling fees;" not Avant Gardens. Also, they included a not- common bonus plant that was tailored to my needs based on what I had ordered. Start at Avant Gardens!
Avant Gardens consistently ships excellent plants that are packaged very carefully and arrive in superb condition. They also have outstanding customer service. Kathy actually emailed me a couple of weeks ago and asked if she could hold my shipment an extra week so that some plants I ordered could grow on a bit more. That is so unusual! I'm so used to having plants shipped to freezing Chicago in early April by companies that don't care. Really an exceptional company!!
Have ordered a couple of times and would happily order from Avant Gardens again. Plants were healthy and packaged with great care. Communication about shipping/answers to questions about plant care were timely/accurate.
bbrookrd Nantucket, MA (Zone 7a) (36 reviews) May 14, 2013
Posted on May 12, 2010, updated May 14, 2013
Posted on May 16, 2007, updated May 12, 2010
I placed an order with Avant Gardens on April 13, 2007 for several viburnums, and other shrubs plus some unusual perennials. They sent a confirmation with a date for shipping, then followed that with an e-mail saying that due to frost warnings that they were holding the order for a couple of day. Today a BIG box of "as good as it gets" plants arrived plus a very generous bonus shrub. They must have picked out the bonus based on my order, as it couldn't have been more perfect. The plants are huge. I am totally thrilled with the service, the selection and the shipping. PattiOn May 12th, 2010, bbrookrd added the following:
I have continued to order each spring from Avant Gardens. Recently, I received, as always, my order that was a wonderful collection of healthy and unusual plants at the requested time. They sent some very nice bonus plants which where way above average for a bonus. I appreciate the email communication from them, as well as their use of recycled packing materials. Their tags are very good too, as is their web site. Nice people, selling special plants. I will be ordering again with pleasure and confidence from Avant Gardens. PattiOn May 14th, 2013, bbrookrd added the following:
My yearly order to this fine nursery did not disappoint. Plants arrived at the time I requested and were packed with care. All were as listed and have been thriving since planting them on April 19th. Choice selection, fine folks and great email communication. I always place an order from Avant Gardens as soon as they post their new offerings every January. Patti
Posted on March 21, 2012, updated April 9, 2013
I ordered four fancy geraniums on Sunday and received them on Tuesday - that's fast! The plants were securely packed and arrived in great condition. They were large and healthy with lots of branching. Communication was excellent. I am delighted and will order from Avant Gardens again!On April 9th, 2013, CindyZ4_5 added the following:
Just received my 2013 geranium order from Avant Gardens. Plants and packaging were both excellent and communication was clear and concise. You can buy cheaper geraniums, but I'd argue that these may be the best value out there, when you take size and quality into consideration.
denisefike Philadelphia, PA (1 review) November 28, 2012
Beautiful Black Mimosa tree. shipped promptly and in excellent health.
garyoconnor Brattleboro, VT (4 reviews) October 27, 2012
Ordered Abutalon" Victorian Lady"on 10/21/012 and was delivered on10/23/012 in perfect condition and a much larger size than I was expecting. Very friendly service.
This is my third order from Avant Gardens. The plants are in good shape and well grown. The unusual varieties are always tempting. This year I had to change my delivery date on short notice and this was accommodated with a personal email. When rabbits ate one of the plants during the intervening week not only did they notify me and refund me for the plant, but also sent me a complimentary plant of the same genus. Excellent plants and service.
sandraf Town and Country, WA (1 review) May 24, 2012
The tree and plant I ordered arrived well packaged and healthy even though they had traveled from Massachusetts to Washington State. I am pleased with their service and would order from them again.
I placed an order 4/22 and received it 5/24. I was notified when the order would arrive. The order of 3 Cuphea x 'David Verity' and one Lonicera sempervirons 'Major Wheeler' arrived very well packed and are vigorous and healthy plants.
jon4de Bay Shore, NY (Zone 7a) (2 reviews) May 16, 2012
I've ordered from numerous companies over the past dozen years or so, and have generally found that smaller nurseries/growers like Annie's Annuals, Brent & Becky's, High Country Gardens and Rare Find are the best bet for well-packed plants. All of them actually pack their plants like they were shipping them to themselves and I've never had any problems with any of these folks. I can now add Avant Gardens to that list. Not only did I get updates throughout the spring on the proposed shipping dates of the plants I'd ordered in January, but Kathy Tracey also advised me when and why they were splitting an order. The plants (Chelone glabra, Crambe cordifolia, Acanthus x 'Morning Candle," Sanguisorba tenuifolia, Vernonia gigantea, Thalictrum 'Splendide' and Humulus lupulus 'Aureus') were so carefully packed that there were neither broken leaves nor loose soil in the bottom of the box! And every single plant was really beefy and in healthy condition...not one needed any sort of 'babying' before being planted out. What a pleasure to do business with them. However tempting the 'bargains' from larger growers, I can't imagine getting better quality than what was offered by Avant Gardens. They are now going to the top of my 'go-to' list.
I ordered and received a little (key word) Arnolds Pride Fringe tree (sorry I'm not spelling it's "real name")... Almost a month ago. I'm used to getting some gallon sized plants via mail order, I know they can be quite small and... toothpick looking... this was one such.
It had about 6 branches, 4 were broken during shipping. There are some strange peelings or holes in the bark. I'm praying it's the "exfoliating bark" it's known for, and telling myself it's not too young for that. It was hardened off and is in ground...
I know they are late to break dormancy, but everyone who comes to see it asks why I'm growing a dead stick. There's only 2 potential buds (I guess due to breakage in transit) but they aren't breaking dormancy... It's been very unusually warm, but.. I'm in denial and telling myself I didn't spend... a lot of money for what I got, new plant or not, for a dead tree. No, I was irresponsible and didn't notify them immediately when I got plant about questions/concerns... I was ill. I guess the plant height is about described, maybe 12", maybe...
I don't know if it's dead, I don't know what's up with the bark, I think I may have lost more money in mail order and I now swear to use only one company (if any) for the rest of my life. Just my experience, mail order can be a huge risk....
Company representative comment on May 5, 2012: On May 5, 2012 10:38 AM, Avant Gardens responded with:
I'm not sure who you are, but I'm not aware that you even contacted us about the damage or the state of the plant's condition. Perhaps if you contact us about your issue we can address your problem.
The Chionanthus 'Arnold's Pride' is a slow growing, at first, small tree. It does have exfoliating bark. As for size, a starter plant from mail order is not the same as purchasing a common tree at a local home depot.
Ispahan Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) (55 reviews) March 28, 2012
I just received my first order from this company, for veronicastrum and allium. Communication was excellent from the very beginning and they responded very quickly when I e-mailed to request that one of the plants I ordered be switched to something else and then later when I requested to move up the ship date. The plants themselves could not be nicer. All of them are just breaking dormancy and have lusty top growth just beginning and full, vigorous roots that fill their pots. All in all, they at the ideal stage to transplant them into my garden. On top of it all, they even included a small creeping sedum as a bonus plant. What a pleasant surprise!
I also need to say that the packing was superbly done with newspaper. It was very easy to unpack with no messy spilled dirt everywhere and no annoying packing peanuts to deal with. Kudos to them for that!
I will not hesitate to order again from Avant Gardens in the future if they have something that catches my eye.
Beautifully packaged and very healthy plants arrived along with a bonus Asarina procumbens which I am looking forward to getting to know.
HeidiNH Brentwood, NH (Zone 6a) (11 reviews) May 17, 2011
Can I give three positives? Love love LOVE this nursery. I ordered a Crambe and two purple elephant ears. I ordered probably at the busiest time and when they told me they weren't shipping till this week, I asked if they could go sooner, they said they'd try but they were swamped with orders placed earlier. Fair enough.
My plants arrived today, and despite the UPS guy just dumping the box on end in my holding box, the plants were flawless. NOT ONE SPECK of soil out of place. They were in pots, excelsior on top of the soil held by a rubber band and wrapped in newspaper, and then laid in the box with enough packing material to hold them still. The elephant ears had leaves that were hanging out of the newspaper and there is not a mark on them. They also sent a bonus plant which I almost missed because I unpacked the three I knew I bought, and didn't think to check the box till I was taking out the packing material for recycling. I've never heard of asarina procumbens, but I think it will be a nice addition to my new garden. Stellar company, stellar care of the plants, for all those who ship in loose plastic bags full of peat moss, you can learn a few things from this place. Thank you for such great plants and great service, Avant Gardens!
brickyard23 North Wilkesboro, NC (5 reviews) May 16, 2011
Fast shipment, tree perfectly packaged and the tree is quite healthy. Would definitely buy plants from Avant again in the future. I also received a bonus groundcover that was unexpected, but appreciated!
Posted on July 22, 2009, updated May 11, 2011
I recently ordered begonia Mandalay Pearl and begonia Bonfire. I received notice of shipment on Monday and received the plants on Tuesday -- super fast shipping. The plants were large and healthy and beautifully packed so they arrived in great shape. There was also a surprise "extra" -- a Pseuderanthemum rubrum. I have ordered from Avant Gardens before and wouldn't hesitate to order from them again. They have great plants and great service.On May 11th, 2011, kins02 added the following:
Another great order -- beautifully packaged and healthy plants. Once again ordered Begonia Bonfire and am trying Begonia "Million Kisses Romance" and Begonia "Million Kisses Devotion." Great quality and service!
tepelus Nashville, MI (Zone 6a) (12 reviews) May 7, 2011
The plants arrived to me in excellent condition and look very healthy. I'm excited to finally have Spigelia marilandica and can't wait for my two new specimens to grow into big plants full of flowers, and attract those little feathered gems (hummingbirds). Same goes for the honeysuckle, 'Major Wheeler', to see it covered in blooms. This company kept me well-informed about the status of when my plants would be shipped, and I'm very appreciative of that. Thank you for the nice plants, and I plan to do more business with you in the future.
The pruning workshop was informative and relaxed. It would have been useful to have specific pruning stations set up where we could practice sharpening our own tools and pruning nursery stock (topiary anyone?!). Lots of good questions asked/answered.
jweibel Redding, CT (2 reviews) September 24, 2010
Posted on August 31, 2010, updated September 24, 2010
I ordered three Kirengeshoma palmata after admiring this unfamilar plant in a friend's shade garden. After visiting Davesgarden.com I found that Avant Gardens had them available and quickly placed my order. Three days later they were in my posession, beautifully packed and green and healthy. As an added surprise a Carix Blue Bunny was included.
I wish I could visit in person but see it's a 3 1/2 hour drive but will surely be a happy customer again and will pass along their name to garden club friends.On September 24th, 2010, jweibel added the following:
I just ordered again and two days later received a perfectly packed box of plant material. They were all bushy, green, healthy plants and the bonus eupatorium was a nice surprise. My experience could not have been better!
Greenpeter6 Astoria, NY (12 reviews) September 14, 2010
One of the great benefits of the internet is that a world of plants that are usually not available locally becomes available to anyone with access to a computer. One of the bad things is that your first order requires a certain amount of trust on the part of the buyer in the integrity of the seller. Avant Gardens repays that trust many times over. They ship beautiful, well-packed plants quickly. They are an excellent source of quality plant materials. I ordered some asters and hardy begonias and they were in my hands within a week of the order. My thanks for a job well done.
I found out about this vendor thru the internet and telephoned Kathy to inquire about purchasing rudbeckia Herbstonne. She knew exactly what I was talking about and proceeded to tell me all the necessary information. I subsequently drove about 75 miles to her place of business and purchased the plants. Had I not been in a bit of a hurry, I would have liked to look around some more. I will definitely go back....It's worth the trip. Thanks Kathy
dave12122 East Haddam, CT (69 reviews) July 31, 2010
Posted on July 31, 2010, updated July 31, 2010
Posted on August 27, 2005, updated July 31, 2010
Since I am only 2 hours away from Avant Gardens, I decided to drive there instead of ordering through the mail. I figured they probably had many more items than just what was in the paper catalogue.
What a treasure trove! A tremendous selection of rock garden plants including the rare Lewisia tweedyi, endless coleus, a whole greenhouse of hostas and shade perennials, etc. Everything looked quite healthy despite the cruel drought. I found "Trish" to be extremely knowlegable and very helpful...a true gift from God. She was also willing to state when she didn't know the answer to a question, but when the owner, Kathy Tracy arrived I was able to get some identifications on rex begonias that weren't in the catalogue. Some plants that looked especially good this time of year in case you happen to be lucky enough to live nearby:
Caryopteris divaricata Snow Fairy- variegated white and green, lovely
Leonotis menthoides - beautiful Agastache like orange flower
Orostachys spinosus- weird succulent
Pedilanthus tithymaloides variegata- Zic Zac, attractive yellow, red and green mix
Begonia "Sinbad" - pretty white veined green leaves, reddish underneath
And many more, too numerous to list. I would feel confident ordering from them through the mail...there wasn't a "dog" plant in sight! Extremely, extremely strongly recommended!! On July 31st, 2010, dave12122 added the following:
Yesterday I went back to visit Avant Gardens again. I am happy to report it is better than ever! Someone wrote that Kathy is "never particularly friendly". Frankly, I find the opposite to be true. She goes out of her way to provide a pleasant shopping experience for her customers. Some of the exciting plants (out of hundreds!) this time of year are:
Cynara cardunculus- The Cardoon. A thistle relative with beautiful gray foliage and a striking blue-purple flower. Kathy has it for a very reasonable price.
Boemeria nipponica- A new shade perennial grown for its shocking green foliage with pale yellow sections. Very hard to get and often twice the Avant Gardens price.
Salvia "Cambridge Blue"- A tender perennial Salvia (zone 8) with a magnificent flower that is pale sky blue. A must-have!
"Adopt--A-Plant" A LARGE selection of plants for $1.00. Annuals, perennials, and some woodies. I found a Ligularia Brett-Marie Crawford in this section, a plant which often sells for $13.95 or more!
Avant Gardens is absolutely worth a look if you are within driving distance, and if not, they do ship. The offerings are more extensive than ever, and Kathy generously gave me a gift variegated Agave. (their succulent selection, hardy and tender, is extensive!) Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!!!On July 31st, 2010, dave12122 added the following:
I just realized I misspelled one of the plants mentioned here. That plant is Boehmeria nipononivea, it is not Boemeria nipponica. Sorry if I caused anyone confusion in their search for this plant.
Received my order on Wednesday after placing an order on Sunday night around 10 pm. Plants were very good and even got a bonus!! Packaged well and very healthy looking. Good selection and price. Would do business with them again.
I live an hour away from Avant so every year for the last 10 yrs I make the trip and make my purchases there. Kathy has never been the friendliest person but this time she was just plain miserable, snappy, and rude. I understand everyone has a bad day but I also work in retail and don't think that is an excuse to treat loyal paying customers so poorly. I would recommend shopping with them only online and to not go to the nursery in person unless you enjoy abuse. I will not be going back again.
ge1836 Pittsford, NY (Zone 6a) (24 reviews) May 14, 2010
Wonderful packing and the plants are teriffic.