Posted on April 6, 2016, updated July 28, 2016
I ordered one blackberry, one boysenberry and one raspberry from Gardens Alive! They sent me an email announcing that my order had been shipped with a tracking number. The order arrived on time and all plants were alive. They included planting instructions. On July 28th, 2016, syswriter changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
The blackberry was supposed to be Ouachita, but while thriving, it is obviously another thornless blackberry that has trailing rather than erect stems. They deceived me just to take my money.
The boysenberry died after planting because the cane (with roots) was too slender and lacked the energy to thrive. The raspberry seems to have been as advertised. One out of three.
Received an offer in the mail that stated (in bold red lettering):
"$25 GIFT COUPON Good for $25 worth of products from this catalog when you buy $25 or more of additional products at the catalog price."
Under that, written in black:
"Use the order form inside the catalog to deduct $25 off your order of $50 or more. What a great way to try our gardening products with no risk!"
I thought, is it just me or are there two completely different offers on the same coupon? I decided to call to check on the offer and just as I suspected, I was not being offered the portion of the coupon in red, my offer was the one in black. The man (answering the phone in India where the call had been routed, even though the Garden's Alive number appears to be stateside) gave me some silly excuse about the coupon being misprinted. I'm inclined to believe that this was meant to be a bait and switch. Needless to say, I will not be placing an order with this company.
I purchased from two of Garden Alive's subsidiaries this past Spring. One had a 50% off coupon which I enclosed a full two weeks before the deadline. This coupon was not honored. I was assessed an additional $10.00 late fee and then the bill was sent on to a collections company. The second subsidiary posted in big letters on the front page that everything in the catalog was 50% off if sent in by the deadline. I did just that. Again, I was assessed a $10.00 late fee and the bill was sent to collections, who, by the way, are very harassing.
I would like to add that many of the plants did not make it as they were sent at a time that was not optimal for northern New England. I am very unhappy with this company and will shop only local from now on.
I am a member of our local Garden Club and annually host the membership at our home and gardens. This experience has taught me that purchasing with catalogs is not a good experience.
SadieRose12 Loves Park, IL (1 review) September 3, 2015
I first try to purchase nematodes to keep the Japanese Beatles at bay, but they sent them not in a "perishable envelope," and they were left in my box, as I was not aware of a shipping on the way. None lived. I called and they were going to send more, but the timing was too late, but they sent some moth catchers that I was interested instead; although I am trying another lure from another company.... THIS IS SOMETHING YOU ALL NEED TO KNOW...I RECEIVED A MAGAZINE CALLED 'TOUCH OF CLASS,' I DID NOT ORDER THIS MAGAZINE, NEVER PURCHASED ANYTHING FROM THEM. I CALLED AND THEY WERE KIND ENOUGH TO RESEARCH IT AND LEARNED THAT MY NAME AND ADDRESS WAS PURCHASED THROUGH 'GARDENS ALIVE.'
I WAS LIVID, I WAS A CUSTOMER AND THEY ARE SELLING MY NAME TO OTHER COMPANIES FOR A PROFIT. I CALLED AND WAS LEFT ON HOLD FOR 18 MINUTES UNTIL 'CARLA,' WITH CUSTOMER [NOT VERY SERVICABLE] SERVICE CAME ON GIVING ME A LAME; 'I APOLOGIZE ABOUT THAT!' ATTITUDE, BUT STARTS GIVING ME THE LECTURE ON HOW I CAN CONTACT THE DO NOT MAILING LIST [paraphrased]. I would not have had to contact anyone if they were respectful to their customers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BE ADVISED THAT IF YOU START GETTING MAGAZINES FROM ANOTHER COMPANY...I ALLEGE IT IS FROM ORDERING FROM GARDENS ALIVE! I HAVE IT ON A VOICE MAIL from the Rep with Touch of Class!
Emerogork Wethersfield, CT (1 review) March 19, 2015
Last fall, I was purchasing on-line plants for the first time. I was going through SpringHill and Breck. Generally, I was very happy with them but this year when I was going through my E-voices I saw that they have the same format in their messages. Apparently just the names were changed.
From my experience last fall, I was not happy with the invoices because they did not place the invoice number in the subject line making it very difficult to track. So I wrote to both of them saying that I would not be ordering from them unless they modified their message structure.
Now for the strange part. I received an e-mail response TO me and it was marked as being FROM me too. I have seen this in scam messages before so I looked at the hidden header. It is from GARDENS ALIVE!
P.S. I hear that Springhill is probably going bankrupt as hears in an NPR article this afternoon. Apparently they have been in the red for three years now. NPR mentioned that they are the largest grower/nursery in US.
I just checked the headers for Michigan Bulb, Breck's, and Spring Hill. They are all through Garden's Alive.
The plot thickens....
Regality Concord, CA (Zone 9b) (1 review) June 25, 2014
This is just an interesting FYI: I recently received a notice from UPS that a package was being sent to me from Gardens Alive! Since I had not ordered anything from the company in quite a while, I was confused. After a little research, I discovered that the package was from Bits and Pieces, a jigsaw puzzle company, which is also owned by GA.
I ordered from gardens Alive with one of their buy $25 get $25 promotional catalogs. I ordered promptly from them and had the four items I ordered, a sprayer, packet of corn, key lime plant, and a meyer lemon plant on hold with four estimated ship dates. Within a month the corn and sprayer arrived and they changed the date of the lime plant to deliver another month behind and the lemon was to ship in September. After receiving several notices on ship dates being changed the company just cancelled the remainder of my order. BUYER BEWARE. I spent $25 on corn and a sprayer and never got the free products.
Thank you for your email and interest in our products. Unfortunately, in compliance with our agreement with our vendors, we are unable to disclose manufacturer information. I apologize for any inconvenience. If we can be of further assistance, feel free to contact us.
Now, I believe in full disclosure & transparency from anyone wanting my money &/or support. (For example, upon questioning, Johnny's Selected Seed & Territorial both admit to purchasing some of their seed from Seminis. Johnny's even lists the varieties so a person can choose to avoid. I do not believe in the ag gag law either, I want to know about my food, how it is cared for, what's in it & where it is from! So, buyer beware when it comes to Garden's Alive!!!
food4me Idaho Falls, ID (Zone 5a) (2 reviews) March 19, 2014
Posted on March 19, 2014, updated March 19, 2014
I've been a customer for over 10 years, usually two orders a year, each usually a minimum of $100 or more. Beginning of March I went online to place my spring order, had problems with the web page although it indicated the charge had gone through, called on a weekend to do order corrections and got a polite male person in India who spoke heavily accented English. Order confirmation he did was wrong. Called back, got a female person in India who spoke heavily accented English who could not understand me and I could understand only an occasional word she said. It took a lot of repetition but she finally got my name and address correct and identified my order. It was taking forever to go over and over the same information and I had other obligations that day, so I asked three times for a representative in the USA or someone who was a native English speaker but she wouldn't/didn't transfer me. She kept repeating over and over "give me your credit card number" "give me your credit card number" until I finally hung up. The next person I got had a Philippines type accent and when I asked she said she was not in India. Gave her my credit card information. Cancelled one of my two orders. Their overseas representatives apparently can read a script from a computer screen but they don't have the knowledge of the context of what they are reading. Then I kept getting emails from them saying my credit card charge had been declined and had been referred to another department. I went in person to my bank, thinking my card information might have been stolen, and verified that I have more than enough available credit for that order. Called them back. Company said I had to call to verify my credit card information. I did that twice. Kept gettng emails that said the charge had been declined. Kept sending emails back to them that my card was OK. Got an emal back that I had to call the company. It's been over a dozen emails since the first of March and today I got one that said they had cancelled the order because the charge wouldn't go through. This used to be a very reliable company, but I'm not going to waste time trying to deal with them again and won't recommend them. I looked online and found a variety of stories similar to mine told by people who won't deal with them any more and also read the reviews on Dave's Garden. Something has gone very wrong at Gardens Alive. Have they gone bankrupt, been sold to a company in India, been bought by a conglomerate that owns other gardening companies? Sad. They can't afford to pay someone in Indiana or a US call center $7.50 an hour for a person to help their customers and process orders? Very sad. On March 19th, 2014, food4me added the following:
After I posted this comment a letter arrived in the mail from a Jack Gregory, Controller, saying that an order I cancelled at the beginning of March (about 2 1/2 weeks ago) was on hold because my credit card charge did not go through. I also have an email from customer service in India saying the order had been cancelled. No one told Mr. Gregory yet. As I read the other comments about people being billed incorrectly or being sent someone else's bills I wonder what will show up on my credit card statement this month and in the months to come. Customer no-Service incompetence is one thing; financial and billing mistakes are scary. You have no idea what they've done with your credit card information or whose charges you are going to get. I have to agree with the person who said to stay away from this company.
First they lost my shipment. They sent a replacement. Then they sent a bill. I indicated that I'd paid by credit card and sent copy of order showing nothing due. I suggested that they were charging for the replacement. T
They sent another bill with a statement form someone else in an entirely different state and 3x the amount I ordered. And a pretty nasty letter. Indicating that there had been a "glitch' in their system and they'd been unable to charge my card. NO envelope to send payment. I sent e-mail indicating that enclosed statement was not mine and requested they call me so can correct. They indicated that I needed call them. They have NO 800# so this will be along distance call. Requested they call me and I'd give them cc#. They e-mailed back that they can't call out.
Said no thank you. Send me another invoice with correct statement and a return envelope with postage paid. Why should I need to spend my $$ to call them to correct their errors or for that matter spend the $$ for an envelope and a stamp...it's down to the the principal of it now.
Horrible Customer Service. There are so many companies out there that actually care. do business with someone else.
I operate a small farm http://www.thenatomasfarm.com AND a landscaping business for years.Seen many good vendors out there.....these guys are not the good guys at all.
These guys sent me a catalog with a big $25.00 off any purchase....even if it is under $25.00! I seen this scam from the Gurney Seed folks (the ones that never responses back to inquires). Gurneys simple charged $25.00 for a postal fee to mail out a two pound box to Sacramento ca. to make up the "deep discount".
I had to test the Garden Alive site to see what the scam was for them. Well....Garden Alive simple wont accept the coupon code for a purchase under $25.00! Say Gardens Alive.....dont respond here saying "perhaps I entered the code wrong". I did not after three tries.......and the Internet was working perfectly here too....so no loss connection to mess up the code process :-)
I believe these companies are betting on the fact that someone has spent so much time at their site picking out stuff, and then finds out that there are real issues with these so called coupons.....that the buyer will just go ahead and purchase anyhow.
Gurneys is known to have less seed count per package.....I bet this company does the same.Company representative comment on April 29, 2014: On Apr 29, 2014 8:14 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate your posting. All of the coupons we offer are valid and can be used. We do have problems at times with the codes not working properly but we will always honor our coupons. If you have problems like this you can call us and we would be happy to place your order for you. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information.
This company has turned into a conglomerate of low class, low quality, and poorly rated gardening companies that were formerly independent. Gardens Alive bought out these struggling companies and did not improve them but rather made them worse and continues to sell defective, dead, dying, low quality items.
I once used to order a lot of their lawn and garden fertilizers and potions. Over the years, I've watched them deteriorate into a giant cesspool of bad products, no customer service, and useless bankrupt companies. They bought these companies not to improve them but to feed off of the previous reputations before they were tarnished. Here is an example:
1984 Natural Gardening Research Center founded
1988 company name changed to Gardens Alive!
1997 acquired Audubon Workshop catalog out of bankruptcy
2001 paid $10.75 million for most of the horticultural titles from bankrupt Foster & Gallagher’s, which included Breck’s, Gurney Seeds, Henry Field’s, Michigan Bulb and Spring Hill Nursery; sells F&G’s Stark Bros. catalog
2008 acquired former BlueSky Brands catalogs Bits and Pieces and The Paragon
2009 purchased six catalogs: Room Service Home, Spilsbury, The Added Touch, Images of Canada, TouchStone and the U.S. operations of Thompson & Morgan Seedsmen
2010 bid unsuccessfully for the Park Seed and Jackson & Perkins catalogs.
I fully expect them to buy Burgess Seed, a notoriously poor company with reviews which reflects it.
Even Gardens Alive has outsourced it's customer service and order lines to India rather than provide jobs in the USA. When I called last fall, I couldn't understand the rep I was speaking with and called back. I received another rep that repeated the same monologue but couldn't answer my questions or deal with the call adequately. If you don't understand how these call centers work in foreign countries, there are "grades" of them. The skilled ones have people working in them that have little accents, speak English as well or better than we do, and get paid substantially more. It goes down from there and I'm fairly certain that Gardens Alive has hired the bottom of the slum dwellers.
Products that were previously good are no longer available or have changed formulations. My last order never arrived, it was out of stock. I think I lucked out although getting a refund was quite a chore. Never again.
I'm sure I'll get a company response to this and then no follow-up that I would be able to understand if they even made an attempt. Beware of these types of businesses. They are bottom feeders, have poor or non-existent customer service, and low quality control, if any. Company representative comment on February 11, 2014: On Feb 11, 2014 1:02 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate your feedback. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information.
Over a month ago I ordered 2 #4413 Sunshine Blue Blueberries from Gardens Alive after receiving from them an unsolicited "$25.00 FREE" offer of plants. Shortly thereafter I received 3 emails from them to ADD to my present order which I declined. Today, over a month later I received a postcard, NOT an email, stating "The following items are out of stock for the season", which of course negates and cancels their "$25.00 FREE" plant offer! If when I originally ordered these plants they were UNAVAILABLE, why was I not advised of this, instead of them attempting to increase my order? No matter how I look at this, it seems a "scam" to me!Company representative comment on February 11, 2014: On Feb 11, 2014 1:00 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback and I apologize for the problems with your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check into this for you.
gpowless Port Hope, Canada (2 reviews) January 19, 2014
I have ordered from Hentry Fields for the past 3 years and was satisfied with the varieties and quantity of seeds I received. However last year I tried ordering live plants with the expectation that they would provide the same satisfaction.
I ordered blueberries, strawberries and raspberries and they were shipped long after they should have been planted. When they arrived all the strawberries were completely dried out. The raspberry canes had some evidence of growth and the blueberries were still dormant.
As soon as the plants arrived they were planted, watered and nurtured. Of 24 strawberry plants only about 6 were viable. 1 of 5 raspberry canes survived and only 1 of 4 blueberry plants grew. Extreme disappointment not only at getting ripped off but of having to delay another year for fruit plants.
Never shopping through Henry Fields or any of their affilliates again.Company representative comment on January 22, 2014: On Jan 22, 2014 11:57 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
I am sorry to hear about the problem with your plants. I would be happy to reship these to you. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information.
MaryArneson Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4b) (14 reviews) November 10, 2013
I ordered some organic drain cleaner and a couple of garden items recently. A few days later, there was a call from Gardens Alive! but I missed it and didn't know what it was about. Maybe a week later, they called again and left a message with my son that I needed to call them. I phoned and was told that my credit card number had been wrong. I gave them the card number and was assured that the order would be on its way. Nothing happened for another 10 days or so, until they called again, saying that I needed to call them. I called, and they said that they had no credit card information on my order, so they couldn't ship it. I canceled the order and told them that I had lost confidence that they could handle credit card information safely and securely. Company representative comment on November 15, 2013: On Nov 15, 2013 12:50 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. We apologize for the confusion over your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check into this matter.
I have not received my product yet but I would like to post feedback on the ordering and delivery process. Early on a Monday morning, I ordered 900 ladybugs. The person who took the order said that since I had called before noon, the package would go out that day. On Wednesday I called because I had gotten no bugs and no shipping notice of any kind. I was told that the ladybugs had not shipped; they only ship one day a week, either on a Thursday or Friday and they ship UPS. I said that since UPS doesn't deliver on the week-ends, there was a good chance that all these bugs could be sitting somewhere in a building or on a truck over the week-end. The person on the phone agreed but assured me it wouldn't hurt the bugs. Every other company that I know of that ships live insects and even many companies that ship life plants, always ship early in the week to avoid this exact problem. No wonder the instructions for the ladybugs say to give them water as soon as they arrive because they will thirsty! It makes no sense at all to pick one day a week and then pick a day when the bugs aren't likely to make it to their destination in the week they are shipped!! If you want ladybugs, I would go somewhere else to get them!Company representative comment on August 23, 2013: On Aug 23, 2013 9:06 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I apologize for the confusion on the shipping of the ladybeetles. We usually ship the ladybeetles on Monday or Tuesday and we ship via first class mail. The information you were given is incorrect. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check on the status of your ladybeetles for you.
I have used their fertilizer products (Vegetables Alive, Tomatoes Alive and Roots Alive) and some of their garden pest controls (Bulls Eye, Pyola, Escar-go and Green Step at different times and for several years. I still use them especially the fertilizers. They have all performed very well to my satisfaction. Well Done!Company representative comment on July 12, 2013: On Jul 12, 2013 11:11 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you so much for your wonderful testimonial about our products. We look forward to helping with your gardening needs for many years to come.
This year was my first order. So far everything has been positive. I ordered pest control powder and 6 roses. So far all the roses, except one, is thriving and growing. One of the grafted roses turned completely black after about 2 wks. They said another one would be sent. This is the negative part. it has been 5 weeks and I haven't received the rose replacement yet!!!!!!!!!Company representative comment on June 21, 2013: On Jun 21, 2013 11:12 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting. I will have one of our customer service representatives contact you for your account information and check on the reshipment for you.
I am an avid gardener, PhD scientist and Director of Sales in a Biotech company and have used Gardens Alive products for a few years now. I recently made 2 separate orders of 3 different species of grafted tomato plants on each order to be sent to 2 different delivery addresses in my home state of Connecticut. I placed these orders in March and when I received my first shipment in mid May, only one plant arrived and it was in a state of dehydration with dead branches and severe yellowing on the plant sent. I'm sure this is an expected possible consequence of shipping immature seedlings in a cardboard box thru UPS & USPS delivery. My first shipment at my other address also arrived in mid May and contained only 2 of the 3 ordered plants with 1 plant in a similar stressed condition to above, while the other plant was broken in half at the point of the graft. I contacted Customer Service and they said I would receive a replacement for the broken dead plant in 4-6 weeks and the remainder of my outstanding orders on both orders would ship in 2-3 weeks. I did receive another shipment at my first address in the beginning of June that contained only 1 of the 2 plants due. I contacted Customer Service again and they told me that their records show there were 2 plants sent, despite the fact it had only one in it when I opened it. They also told me that the replacement plant for the broken plant sent to the second address was now canceled and the outstanding plant due along w the replacement for the missing plant would arrive in a possible 4 weeks (July). I was never notified of the cancellation of the broken plant and dismayed that the partial completion of the remainder of my orders was delayed even further. More than the loss of the plants, I was at odds w/ their Customer Service's perspective to accept the possibility of a discrepency in what their records say was shipped in the box and what was present when I opened it. In addition, in my mind, waiting until July to plant tomato seedlings in Connecticut is a waste of a gardening opportunity this year. Since the Customer Service Rep was in the Phillipines, I concluded he didn't appreciate the limitations of the New Engtand growing seasons and now I just wanted to forget this entire experience. He offered a credit slip for the cost of the 3 missing plants that could be used for future purchases with Gardens Alive, but I insisted on a direct credit be applied to my Visa card. I have not verified receipt of this credit on my Credit Card account yet, but I have learned a valuable lesson about buying grafted seedlings shipped thru UPS&USPS delivery. I recognize this seems like a lot of hysteria for a few tomato plants, but I was interested in the hybrid plants as a scientific experiment and I want others to understand possible consequences in a much larger financial investment in this type of product.Company representative comment on June 18, 2013: On Jun 18, 2013 12:51 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your order. I apologize for the inconvenience. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and make sure your refund has been issued.
timc61552 Antelope Hills, WY (1 review) May 13, 2013
last year i ordered 2 grafted plants from gardens alive.they were impressive!packaging was incredible plants arrived healthy and large. 8-10 inches tall.i bragged them up all year!!!several people made the decision to order this year.i avoid them at all cost!!the plants i ordered were almost dead or already dead.packaging was awful !!i was upset!!.i emailed them and they are sorry.so what?my garden is ruined.i have to buy from a greenhouse now.normaly i start my own plants from seed.the grafted plants last year were just see what they were like.i was so impressed there was no need to start my own tomatos and peppers.3 plants might pull thru but the san marzono was doa.last year the box proudly said gardens alive in large letters like they were proud of the product.this year the shipping label said gardens alive in very small letters.the old bait and switch!Company representative comment on May 18, 2013: On May 18, 2013 9:19 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your plants. I apologize the plants were not in good shape and for all your inconvenience. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you. I can assure you we are the same company and we will do everything we can to make this right.
Posted on May 5, 2013, updated May 12, 2013
I ordered online $250+ of grafted tomato and pepper plants from Gardens Alive. The health quality of the plants I received was pitiful considering they sell them at $9.95 a piece. All the tomatoe plants I received looked more dead than alive and were all rootbound in pots too small when compared to the height of the plant. The website advertises you will receive Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter varieties in 3" pots, but I did not. I have sense purchased a few more grafted tomato plants from my local nursery. These plants are from Burpee and the difference is night and day. The proof is in the pudding.On May 12th, 2013, aacook72 added the following:
Dear Company Representative,
The grafted tomato plants weren't the only disappointment. Your grafted pepper plants arrived half dead, the leaves were yellow in color, and the majority of the leaves dropped off before I could transplant. The charge of $9.95 per grafted pepper plant is too high for the quality of plant you deliver. Company representative comment on May 8, 2013: On May 8, 2013 7:35 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your tomato plants. I apologize the plants were not in good shape and for all your inconvenience. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you.
asgn77 Orland Park, IL (Zone 5a) (2 reviews) May 10, 2013
I ordered online 3 beefsteak tomato plants and 1 GRAFTED TOMATO CARMELLO in the middle of February .
When i get beefsteak tomatoes i was so damn badly shocked!!!!
I get 3 dead yellow sticks instead of plants. they advertised that plant come in 3 in. pots but it was 1.5 .
As for grafted tomatoes i get almost dead plant ,which costs me $8.46. For beefsteaks i payed $11.
Yesterday i went to Menards and find a lot of different kinds of tomatoes there hardy ,alive and the same size for $1.50 per 6 pack.
I HATE GARDEN ALIVE! STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY!Company representative comment on May 11, 2013: On May 11, 2013 10:24 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the condition of your tomato plants. I apologize for the problems. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you.
Posted on April 2, 2013, updated April 10, 2013
I recently placed an order for several items, one of which was a tool. When the box arrived, I opened it and found that the tool was broken. When I called customer service, the said they could give me a credit towards my next purchase but no coverage of the shipping costs. When I explained that I was not at all happy to find that despite having paid for a product and paid to have it delivered that I would in fact not end up with the product, they hung up on me. If they can't stand by their shipping, then why should I waste more of my money trying to order the same item again and paying shipping again? They also weren't willing to just refund the money so I could purchase the item from either a local store or a place where I know I'll get what I paid for.
Last time I order from them. On April 10th, 2013, danmc91 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I contacted customer service via email and relayed my phone experience. They sent a replacement order (without charging shipping) and the item arrive undamaged this time. Changed rating from negative to neutral. They made it right in the end but not without getting the runaround on the phone first.Company representative comment on April 5, 2013: On Apr 5, 2013 12:04 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I truly apologize for the way this was handled. I would be happy to reship the tool or refund you for the product including shipping. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information.
I've ordered from Baker's Seeds, Burpee, Johnny's, and Seedsavers Exchange with no problems whatsoever. I had to email Gardensalive over 6 times because they charged double my state tax, and they had difficulties inputing my address (adding a line for my apartment number!).
After the first 4 emails, each from a different representative, I asked them to send me a $3.95 packet of seeds to make me a happy customer. Rather than that, they wanted to send me a $5 gift certificate that would have required me to overpay on my next online purchase by $5, and then, trust them to deduct that $5 from my credit card. As if I would trust them again in the first place! I told them to please keep the certificate. In my final email, I requested that they unsubscribe me from their email list and to not contact me again.
A simple first-ever order of 4 smart pots should never be this difficult. I also nixed one phone order with Gardensalive when I called a few months ago. I didn't feel confident giving my credit card number to what sounded like an overseas call center.
There are better companies out there that listen to their customers, have better IT systems and better customer representatives. Let's find better companies and do our business with them!Company representative comment on April 5, 2013: On Apr 5, 2013 12:14 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate you letting us know about the problems you had with your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and rectify this for you.
aphrab Saint Stephens, NC (1 review) March 12, 2013
I can't get unsubscribed from Gardens Alive. They send ads every day. Company representative comment on March 14, 2013: On Mar 14, 2013 8:31 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know. I apologize for the inconvenience. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your email address and make sure you are unsubscribed.
I have been a long time customer (over 10 years) and the last two times I have called because of an issue with their website ordering process, discounts, etc. (including not being able to sign in without a catalog), the customer service rep has spoken to me like a child and when I stop to tell her I understand the issue, I just want it corrected, her tone of voice very snippy and insulting. I will take my business elsewhere and I am called to be removed from their mailing list and website. They also spam you will catalogs by selling your name to other garden supply companies.Company representative comment on February 19, 2013: On Feb 19, 2013 10:47 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I apologize for the problems you have had with our site and one of our agents. I will have one of our customer service representatives contact you so we can take care of these issues for you.
We have spent a lot of money at Garden's Alive while starting our kitchen garden over the past couple years. Most of the things we have from this company are good to great. Unfortunately, we got 6 Blueberry and 2 Huckleberry plants in the spring that quickly deteriorated and then died. We got blueberries from other companies that have thrived, and our soil tests perfect for blueberries, so that is not a problem. We contacted the company about their satisfaction guarantee but have yet to hear anything.
:( Company representative comment on October 31, 2012: On Oct 31, 2012 9:08 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting. We apologize for the problems with your plants and we would be happy to take care of this for you. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information.
nashnewbie Nashville, TN (4 reviews) July 16, 2012
I placed a large order this spring with Gardens Alive, primarily because I'm an organic gardener and they have a variety of organic products. It's very difficult to find organic plants in my area, so I had decided to start and/or plant my own.
Mail order companies are a boon to gardeners, because they make it possible to find plants that we might not have available through local stores. So in that regard, I want to be fair to companies I've ordered from. On the other hand, I think it's only fair to warn others if I've encountered consistent problems with a company.
My main complaint is low/no germination of a number of the organic seeds/bulbs: most notably two types of onion, summer squash, spinach, garlic, arugula. Also, a raspberry plant that never grew.
It also took 2 months for all the items to arrive. I'm not sure how to prevent this--my order was placed in early April, which I guess is the busy season for nurseries. When I've ordered from other companies, I've never had quite as many items on back order or slow to arrive, but perhaps it has to do with the fact the items were organically grown.
I would not give this company an F; in fact, the tomato seeds all sprouted. But if you're ordering organic products, you might want to think twice about it and/or just order a few so that you aren't risking your whole crop.
I just contacted the company about the problems, so will update my rating after I hear from them.
Company representative comment on July 16, 2012: On Jul 16, 2012 1:21 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting. We apologize for the problem you has with the seeds and we would be happy to replace them for you or refund your money, whichever you would prefer. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you.
I've ordered plants from SpringHIll, Brecks and Michigan Bulb for almost 3 years now. I have to say that I've been mostly satisfied with the plants I've received. Some have made it and flourished while others not so much.
What I love about these guys is that their customer service is awesome! You don't have to send any shipping labels back or beg for replacement plants, etc.
I have noticed that some of the plants don't always do so well in the Colorado sun. I ordered hardy geraniums and the first order all plants died. I asked for replacements and even that batch only 3 plants out of 9 made it. I do have another hardy geranium that I bought from a local nursery and it does very well. I think the ones ordered from SpringHill just aren't used to our sun or summers. I don't know just a guess.
I did just recently order some german irises and only a few grew out of 40 bulbs!!! So, I will probably need to get replacements in the fall. Otherwise, the clematis, rose of sharons, sedums, lavenders, coneflowers, etc. etc. I've ordered over the years have done very well!!
Ordered many packets of seeds and have been horrified at the germination rate - less than 10%. I've been gardening for over 30 years and have never had so much trouble. Out of the 450 seeds of corn I planted only 14 plants have come up over a month later. In Utah the growing season is VERY short so my guess is I will not see one ear before frost. Not ONE of the zuchini has germinated, not one. Butternut trees leafed out and promptly died, ditto for the rasberries. Canadice grape is doing great. I did contact the company (Gurney's) with my complaint and they are promising a refund. Happy with that but will never order from this company again. They also owe me a refund of $142 from a previous complaint, have yet to see that oneCompany representative comment on June 21, 2012: On Jun 21, 2012 2:57 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting.We apologize for the problems with your order. A customer service representative will contact you for your account information and check on your refunds for you.
Annie321 Pleasant Valley, MO (1 review) May 29, 2012
I ordered a batch of 5 million flea-eating Nematodes on May 2 and waited...and waited some more. I received no explanation for the delay. I finally emailed customer service and explained I needed to cancel my order if they were unable to supply the item. A few days later I received an email that my item had shipped on May 23 (21 days after I ordered them--not including the actual time in route). Again, the email included no information regarding the reason for the delay and a simple "sorry for any inconvenience." Nematodes work best if introduced in the cool temps of spring before fleas get going, so a month delay is significant. Company representative comment on May 29, 2012: On May 29, 2012 1:17 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting. It may be the nematodes were on backorder. We apologize for the delay. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check on what had happened.
I have never had problems with any plant material that I have ordered from Gardens Alive. And I do appreciate their coupon.
I was especially impressed with their elephant garlic bulbs. They were large (a bit more than golf ball size) and very healthy. The bulbs sprouted and began to grow within a few days of planting.
I have had elephant garlic from other companies. The bulbs were about 1/2 the size, obviously stressed and did not compare to the quality from Gardens Alive. I am ordering again while I am still in the shipping period for my State.Company representative comment on May 16, 2012: On May 16, 2012 11:51 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you so much for your post. Enjoy your garlic!
weasel71 Lombard, IL (Zone 5a) (3 reviews) May 15, 2012
Posted on May 12, 2011, updated May 15, 2012
Posted on March 8, 2007, updated May 12, 2011
I ordered Tomatoes Alive and Shrubs Alive (for acid-loving plants) in March, 2006. The order arrived promptly. I was very happy with these products, especially the Tomatoes Alive fertilizer. I had so many tomatoes, I couldn't eat them fast enough. Plus I have plenty of fertilizer left over for this season! Anyway, I just placed a $75 order online today and experienced absolutely no drama. Their system accepted my catalog codes, gave me my $25 discount without hassle and I ended up paying $50 for 5 products, one of which was a 10# bag of rose fertilizer..not a bad deal. On May 12th, 2011, weasel71 added the following:
I have ordered from Gardens Alive several times over the past few years, always taking advantage of the $25 coupons. The online system is very easy to use and my orders have always shipped quickly. I've used the following products- Tomatoes Alive, Vegetables Alive, Strawberries Alive and something for acid-loving plants, maybe Shrubs Alive, can't remember the name. The plants have done well with this fertilizer, especially the tomoatoes. Gardens Alive is always on my short list of online companies that I use regularly. Thank you, Gardens Alive!On May 15th, 2012, weasel71 added the following:
Again, another great experience ordering from Gardens Alive. This time I ordered more Tomatoes Alive fertilizer and a pair of 8X4 foot trellises that seem very sturdy. I plan to grow snap peas on one and pickling cukes on the other. I did take advantage of their $25 offer and ordering online was simple. I highly recommend this company. Company representative comment on May 13, 2011: On May 13, 2011 8:48 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your wonderful testimonial about our products. We appreciate you as one of our customers and look forward to serving you in the future.
ibewgirl Wilmington, DE (19 reviews) April 27, 2012
Just released ladybugs and extremely surprised that every single one is alive. Hoping they are feasting on thrips for dinner tonight. Company representative comment on May 3, 2012: On May 3, 2012 12:00 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
I have used Gardens Alive products in the past and the performed very well. The reason for my negative rating is that I suspect that some of their products, specifically, Tomatoes Alive, Vegetables Alive, and Root Crops Alive may contain high levels of dangerous heavy metals like Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead.
My suspicion is based on the fact that I asked Gardens Alive to tell me the level of these heavy metals in the products listed above and they declined. They told me that the numbers were low but declined to give them to me even after repeated requests. The word "low" is good but it means very little without the actual number to compare to other products and my own acceptance levels. The only reason that I can think of for this refusal is that the numbers were not favorable.
Beyond this, I have nothing but praise for the company and the performance of its products. Unfortunately not knowing the heavy metal contents of the products make them too risky for me.Company representative comment on May 3, 2012: On May 3, 2012 11:55 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting. We checked on this for you and the amounts of heavy metals in our products are so low they are below the minimum reporting amount.
I have ordered from this company for several years and have never had any problem whatsoever. Garden's Alive makes some good products for those interested in organic gardening.Company representative comment on February 14, 2012: On Feb 14, 2012 5:28 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your nice feedback. We do offer some excellent organic items as well as many enviromentally friendly items.
I ordered a bunch of lady bugs and nematodes this past year. Couldn't be happier, the lady bugs hung around for a good while, and the nematodes, well, who knows, but my plants and veggies all did well and I will be applying them again this year. Everything was smooth in ordering and everything came as expected. Nothing quite as funny as hearing a thousand ladybugs walking around in a mesh bag. Except maybe the look on my husband's face when I told him they'd be hanging out in the fridge until the weather was better to release them. Definitely will repeat business this year! Thanks!Company representative comment on January 31, 2012: On Jan 31, 2012 2:01 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for sharing about your order. We look forward to your order this spring. Happy Gardening.
I'm so happy to have found Dave's Garden again! I couldn't remember for years and years what this site was called.
I used to work for Gardens alive (aka Breck's bulbs, Spring Hill, Gurneys, Audubon Workshop, Thompson & Morgan and a handful others I can't remember.) A lot of times, my friends/coworkers and I would pull up this site and have a good laugh. Not *at* the customers, mind you, but at our company for making people so mad.
All in all, I don't really have too many complaints about the company. I used some Brecks once and it didn't grow, but who's to say if that was my fault or theirs.
I will say you need to do your own research. The people you're speaking with when you call in have as much information on the products as you do. If someone asked me a question, I'd just pull out the catalog and clarify what was in it. We didn't really have extensive training on the products.
Additionally, don't abuse the "Unhappy? Send it back and we'll refund/replace for free" policy. If you return/refund a little less than half of the things you've bought (legit or not,) they'll ban you.
Lastly, cut them some slack when they try to "upsell" you at the end of the call. They have to sell a certain number of items per month or they get in trouble, or possibly fired if it's happened enough. That was always the most frustrating. In this economy, GA should be happy people are still ordering at all.
Hope everyone is doing well up there in Indiana! I'd say I miss it... but.... I do not. At all. :)Company representative comment on January 25, 2012: On Jan 25, 2012 11:21 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Gardens Alive is always working to improve our customer experience which includes product training and information provided to our employees. We are also dedicated to maintaining a positive working environment for our employees. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you well in your future endeavors.
mizznkeeper Lincolnville, SC (3 reviews) October 28, 2011
After ordering from Burpee and waiting months for my order I was elated to find that ordering from Gardens Alive only takes days to receive an order. My dry mole relief seems to be working so I give them a 10!!!Company representative comment on October 31, 2011: On Oct 31, 2011 11:28 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
At Gardens Alive we do our best to ship your order the same day. Thank you for your nice feedback.
lapaixfarm ALUM BRIDGE, WV (1 review) October 11, 2011
I ordered two lady bug traps from Gardens Alive within the last two months, and as the lady bugs (Japanese and not
really ladies) descended this autumn day, we read the directions closely and affixed (or thought we did) the two boxes to the windows as directed. Later that day (yesterday), I noted that the one which was attached to the window in my office had fallen - the sticky part on one side was not sticky at all. I re-placed the trap on the wooden frame between the upper and lower windows. This a.m., my helper, who had put the traps on the windows arrived and we examined what was wrong with the trap. The sticky part on one side was not sticky and trying to find another layer did not reveal any solution to the problem. In doing this I accidentally upended the trap and powder flew out and up my lungs. That was a good l/2 hour ago and I am still coughing and choking - I vacuumed up what was on the floor but have no idea what I have inhaled. I called the phone # of Gardens Alive and talked to someone in India who after hearing my complaint and getting my name and address and business name stated that I did not have any account with Garden's Alive nor did I ever order from them. Therefore, I did not exist and there was no help to be had. I wanted to let the company know that they had a defective product, one with unknown repercussions should the powder get in the atmosphere - that the sticky part didn't work - and I needed to know what was in the powder. Would it draw lady bugs to inundate my office? Was it dangerous? Do I need to go to a Dr. or emergency ward? Well, obviously I am frustrated. I will never order from them again. Their product is inherently defective and possibly dangerous. But the man in India didn't care - I think his name might have been Peggy. Throroughly disgusted and pretty much alarmed. Company representative comment on October 17, 2011: On Oct 17, 2011 10:36 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I apologize that your account could not be located. A customerr service representative will contact you for your account information so we can locate your account and take care of this for you.