Peonygaeden.com MISSION IS TO PROVIDE WIDEST VARITY OF PEONIES IN THE WORLD. IT IS MOST UNFORTUNATE THAT WHEN ONE HAS SOME SUCCESS PROVIDING PLANTS THAT SOME CUSTOMERS DO NOT USE COMMON SENSE OR COURTESY. ONE CUSTOMER FORM OVER SEAS PAID FOR PLANTS MIN NOV THEN NEGLECTED TO EVER PAY ONE CENT OF THE SHIPPING CHARGES THEN BEGAN DEMANDING REFUND A WEEK AFTER THEY LEFT BUT POST OFFICE AT MY EXPENSE AFTER A NUMBER OF INSULTS THEY ENDED UP ON MY BLOCK SENDER LIST .BUT IF THEY HAD JUST NICELY ASKED FOR A REASONABLE REQUEST EVERY AFFORD WOULD BE MADE TO KEEP THEM HAPPY. ANOTHER CUSTOMER ON THIS LIST WROTE AND ASKED FOR A DESCRIPTION OF THE FRAGRANCE OF 1200 VARIETIES OF PEONIES THINK I SAID I JUST CANT REMEMBER THE SENT OF THAT MANY PLANTS AND I STILL CANT I KNOW ANY ONE ELSE WHO CAN .
RECENTLY A PERSON ASKED ME TO REPLACE AN ENTIRE SHIPMENT WHICH SHE LEFT IN AN UNHEATED GARAGE IN ALASKA ALL WINTER NATURALLY THEY WERE ALL DEAD ( WHAT WOULD YOU DO ?) I REPLACED THEM SHE SEEMED LIKE A NICE PERSON AND SENT A NICE NOTE TOO. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WHEN A PLANT IS LOST SOME PEOPLE WANT TO BLAME THE SUPPLIER INSTEAD OF THE REAL PERSON AT FAULT. IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT A SUPPLIER CAN TON PRODUCE INDESTRUCTIBLE PLANTS. THERE ARE MANY NEW VARIETIES THAT I HAVE NO LUCK RAISING BUT I CANT BLAME MY SUPPLIERS
I FIND THAT IF YOU WANT A FAVOR FROM ANY SUPPLER IT PAYS TO BE REASONABLE AND TRY TO MAKE THE SUPPLIER WANT TO KEEP YOU FOR A CUSTOMER IT IS ALWAYS NICER TO HELP A FRIEND THAN TO DEAL WITH AN ENEMY NO SUPPLIER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR PLANTS ONCE YOU GET THEM
I requested a September 2014 shipping date to avoid freezing conditions during planting in our Zone 3 and to allow feeder roots to develop before winter's onset. This September shipping schedule was accepted by them (via email confirmation) when my order was placed in July 2014. Later, when the peonies did not arrive on time, I sent emails asking for details on the shipment problem. Finally, I received the shipment in late October during freezing conditions. The quality of roots was poor. Among others, I ordered the rare 'Dark Eyes' Itoh at a cost of $250! Unfortunately, this plant and another did not survive and, although the remaining plants have grown, they only began to show signs of life in mid-June and are very stunted - they may not survive through the year.
This failure is not due to grower negligence or lack of attention. I grow more than 200 peonies and have more than 45 years experience. I am also a member of the Prairie Peony Society and the Canadian Peony Society.
Contacted them and they refused to replace or refund the two confirmed dead peonies. I checked and read that this is the policy that is posted on their web site, but they should be much more co-operative if it is their fault.
Recommend that buyers beware and avoid this supplier.
I ordered several.... first of all they came extremely late beyond the time for planting. When I FINALLY received them they were very small with some appearing to be mildewed.He replaced them after I planted them, complained and they died; some being substituted and they died!!!! I was furious since he would not refund my money and a friend had already warned me about ordering from Canada. She said most of Mr. Clare's pictures are from friends and their gardens.... not his.
All I can say is RUN RUN RUN and stay local or use reliable US supplier. His nursery and service SUCKS! I couldn't even report him to the BBB! What a loser he is!
peony61 Kolkwitz Germany (10 reviews) October 13, 2007
I just had a replacement arrive for a tree peony that didn't survive. Ken has been very gracious and helpful. I would not hesitate to order from him again.
timberline Moncton Canada (1 review) October 18, 2006
I have nothing but positive comments to make about Ken and his Peony nursery. I am disappointed to see the negative comments written ,but that is personal opinion.
I have been ordering from Ken for 5 years now. I have always been very pleased with the product he sends. He has the most varieties of peonies and great communication. He stands behind his product and does everything in his power to make it right. I guess that is why I am a repeat customer.
An example of his good business practices can be demonstrated by a recent event. I ordered a Itoh hybrid "Garden Treasure" 3 years ago. It arrived and was planted. It bloomed this year and to my disappointment it wasn't GT. It was however still an itoh hybrid.
I contacted Ken this summer and after he saw the pictures agreed it was not what I purchased. He asked me if I wanted a refund or a new plant. I told him a replacement would be nice. I received an email shortly after telling me I would be getting a replacement from his own personal stock at no extra charge to myself. I was still able to keep the other plant .
I just planted the new plant. I am thankful to Ken for being an honest retailer. I am sure other nurseries would not have treated me as well.
sranger RedDeer , Alberta Canada (4 reviews) October 3, 2006
I had ordered with Kenneth last season, and was shipped 3 peony tree's. I found the prices reasonable, considering the sizes, and prefered to pick my plants myself, instead of waiting for a nurseries selection and higher prices. I got my order in October, and the plants were a decent size, except for one had been broken in the box.
The broken peony did not survive the winter, and I had really looked after it, plus we had a mild winter. I felt the plant had been too stressed, and planted too late. I expressed my thoughts to Ken, by e-mail, not expecting to be refunded, nor did I ask for a new plant. He automatically offered to replace the plant, which I recieved, and it was huge. It looks really great, and he made an effort to send it earlier, as we have snow, and cold weather early here.
I do however think that Ken has a big business, and might not have enough help to get these plants dug up and sent out. I know that mail order is an extremely difficult business, and owning a nursery take a huge amount of time. He answered all my e-mails quickly, and I really think he does his best. Thanks for the replacement Ken. S.R from Alberta.
penny6539 Ottawa Canada (1 review) August 14, 2006
Last year I ordered 4 peony plants from Ken. They arrived and were healthy - beautiful. Unfortunately one of the peony trees I order did not make it thru the winter. I contacted Ken and he told me that some peony trees came up later than others. I was to contact him again in August if the tree did not show any life. Well it is now August and my poor tree is not showing any sign of life. I re-contacted Ken who has sent me a free replacement plant(today). Ken did this even though his site clearly states that he is not responsible for the peony(s) living after they have been delivered to the customer. I would most certainly, deal with Ken again.
I'm a garden designer and also a peony collector. In 2004 I ordered a lot of peonies from Ken Clare. ($1,900.00) to be exact. Every peony I ordered was in excellent shape, packaged beautifully and shipped at the appropriate time. This shipment included tree and herbaceous plants. Some of the plants bloomed the first year (2005) and most are blooming this year. He also sent me 2 or 3 free tree peonies that are lovely. They were what I wanted NOT what he sent along as a "bonus". His prices are excellent and he was great every time we talked. When my order arrived it was missing 2 or 3 plants (the order was complicated from my end because I was ordering so many and if he thought they weren't large enough to suit my needs he would call me and let me know. I would then substitute something similar.) When I called and told him he immediately shipped them at no additional cost. He was extremely nice and fair. I would buy from him again.
My mother loves peonies and every year, I'd order a plant from Ken Clare to be sent to her as a gift. I enjoy looking through Ken's huge peony collection and picking out peonies that I feel my mom would like and a little more "special". Ordering has been always been pretty smooth: I'd send him an email and he'd respond within 24 hours, nice and prompt. The exchange has always been efficient and the plants received have been great. Except one. About two years ago, I'd ordered a larger tree peony and it was damaged during the transit. When I contacted Ken about it, he said to give it a chance and if it really doesn't make it, he'd send a replacement plant. My mom tried to revive the plant but after two years, the plant still looks pretty dead. This morning, I emailed Ken and was pleased to hear a gracious response by this evening that he would send my mom a replacement this Fall. So far, I've had a pleasant experience dealing with Peony Garden.
I'll post again in Fall when the replacement is sent.On October 5th, 2006, rowy added the following:
This morning, my mom received the replacement plant from Ken and though it was a little smaller than she'd expected, it's a healthy beautiful plant. Ken did mention that this variety is slower growing. Kudos for the great packaging and shipping too, which I think is very important for a mail order company. The tree peony arrived in great shape, packed with plenty of wood shavings in a sturdy box that was large enough to accomodate it. In our email exchange, Ken even offered some planting tips and advice, which is always appreciated.
care_free New York, NY (3 reviews) November 2, 2005
My first experience with the vendor so far is mostly positive. There were prompt order status updates and helpful planting tips via email. Because this is my first year, I ordered late - at the middle of the October -and expecting to get plants in a few days as the owner said he was digging & shipping them right away. But I was then told they won't arrive until end of October. I was really upset at first because of the late of the season. But the owner was responsive to my complaining mail and gave reasonable explanations. And the plants arrived earlier this week, later than I was hoping for but within the promised time of the vendor. All of the bear roots looked healthy and strong, two were very large relative to my limited tree peony experiences (a few 3-year roots with another vendor). In addtion, given I'm new to this, the owner promised that he would help if the plants was not grow well. say So overall, I appreciate the vendor's efforts. Hope next spring, the result will be fine given the whether this week is not as cold as last months.On May 13th, 2006, care_free added the following:
All tree peonies are growing nicely: one or two big flower buds on each plant now. One (high noon) didn't show much growth at all at first, but now it started growing to over 6" (although no bud yet). Happy with the growth.
I ordered several divisions (I think about 6)from Mr. Clare in 2003. The plants were mostly very small with few eyes and some that were very expensive had only 1-2 eyes ($60-100 one at $160- the average was $45).
Most other companies that I have dealt with sent product in this price range that had AT LEAST 3 EYES- USUALLY LOADED.
Considering that I can get better quality divisions from other Canadian sources at the same or lower prices I dont think I will ever do business here again. I feel that for the most part I wasted my money here and was tempted by the large number of selections.Had I tried a few other nurseries and inquired as to whether or not they had some of the less available ones that tempted me at Mr.Clares I might have found them elsewhere at a better size.
At least 3 of the divisions did not survive the first year in my garden and while it would be impossible to say I am not at all at fault here I can say that I lost NONE OF THE DIVISIONS FROM THE OTHER SUPPLIERS that i ordered from that year and that would be at least an additional 15 plants that are all doing fine and bloomed the first summer!
Two years ago I ordered Sea Shell from Mr. Clare. Granted, it arrived in the midle of November, however, Mr. Clare answered all my e-mail regarding the late delivery.
The peony had one great bloom in its first year whch I did not even expect and this year it blossomed with many blooms. You have to be carefull with planting peonies, it is easy to blame the supplier rather than yourself for plants that do not perform. I will order from this nursery again.
Last year I ordered several herbacous peonies from Mr. Clare's farm. We also received a tree peony as a gift from someone who ordered it from Mr. Clare and had it shipped to us. They all wintered well (we had 4 - 5 feet of snow all winter long) and grew into healthy plants in the spring. Not all blossomed as will happen with peonies, but the plants are all strong and very robust. The tree peony was especially beautiful with several blossoms. I have placed an order for several more peonies for this planting season and I look forward to doing so for many years to come. If something does not grow well, I will first look to my own mistakes as the reason, just as any responsible gardener would do. I have read all of the comments, negative as well as positive, and I am very confident that venting, thought a healthy exercise in self preservation, is not the intent of this website. If you are not a perfect gardener with a 100% success rate, don't worry. Next year you will do better if you can learn from your mistakes. Blaming Mr. Clare for your crop failures is counter productive. A word of advice to readers and future buyers: When reading any e-mail correspondence, including this one, read only for content, not for tone. To assume someone is being curt and short is just not fair. Mr. Clare is extremely knowlegeable about tree and herbacious peonies and is operating a substantial and obviously successful mail order business. One should not expect a doctoral dissertation length e-mail response from any busy grower, flower or otherwise. Everyone should plant peonies from Mr. Clare's farm. He grows them from the heart.
Kelly_M Fredericton Canada (4 reviews) June 5, 2004
I ordered one tree peony as a trial three seasons ago (2001). It arrived in very poor condition -- damp and soft -- and did not survive.
peonygirl Franklin, OH (3 reviews) November 19, 2003
This past spring, I placed a substantial order from Peony Garden. After placing my order and sending money, I read the comments from other customers here on the Gardenwatchdog. I was really nervous about the order I had already placed, and had paid for. (To say the least, my expectations of what this order would turn out to be - were very small after reading the comments.) Before my peonies arrived, I received an e-mail notifying me of their shipping, and they arrived in great shape. The roots were no smaller than other peony suppliers have sent me. I was very pleased and very suprised at the way this purchase came out. I would buy from them again.
DonnaMack Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) (54 reviews) July 1, 2003
Peony Garden/Frankfurt Superstore is a small operation run by a Canadian gentleman named Ken Clare. He is a peony enthusiastist extrordinaire! There are a number of great and better known suppliers of peonies, but Ken has the distinction of being able to obtain hard to find peonies (Pfeiffer's Red Triumph, Helen Matthews, Cornelia Shaylor) for conventional prices, since he has access to almost a thousand different varieties. His website has hundreds of pictures of peonies, which is very helpful if you want, for example, a rose shaped red peony, or you want something different and need more than just a written description. I ordered three peonies from him last year, and two of them bloomed this year, with the third forming a healthy plant. One root had seven eyes! Best of all, when you write to him a human being responds. He also asked me to let him know how the peonies performed.
Because he is in Canada, he is obliged to provide an inspection certificate, which is $10.00 per SHIPMENT, not peony. But there are no taxes, which does a nice job of offsetting that cost.
Seeing last year's peonies in beautiful and healthy bloom, I am ordering more this year.
Mistake #1: Being a neophyte gardener, I was seduced by the beautiful peony blooms portrayed on this website. I purchased two expensive(!) peony bushes 2 years ago ($25 & $30, respectively). Upon enquiring about the scents of the two varieties I was interested in purchasing, was advised by Ken Clare that there were too many varieties he couldn't determine which were scented or not (red flag). Mistake #2: When enquiring about the varieties I was interested in, Ken Clare advised that my selections would be "dug" up from his collection of established 3-year old bushes. Deliveries were late in the season; the tubers I received were scrawny. It is now Year 3 of my purchases. One is now about the size you would get if you were to buy it at a local nursery, the other was killed by ignornant home contractors last year. Mistake #3: any enquiries were answered with short, terse reply, almost as if I was inconveniencing him. Mistake #4: purchasing on-line without seeing the product first. Conclusion: If you are within driving distance to local, reputable nurseries, go there first. I won't ever buy from this grower again.
seashore New Haven, CT (3 reviews) September 29, 2002
I was attracted by the incredible variety, but the, at that time 2 very negative comments gave me pause. I decided to email the nursery asking about availibility and about the nature of the plants sold---how many eyes, how packed, etc. I was unsettled to hear that some of the plants were dug, but others had been in containers from the previous year. Perhaps this accounts for the size problems some report. But what really made me feel I would not be dealing with a very knowledgeable source was the reply to my inquiry about which of the plants offered are very small, but do not drop their leaves in late summer. The response was "the problem with 1000 varieties is that I just can't remember all that information about each variety." I'm sorry; any true plantsman I have ever met is intimately familiar with an incredible amount of detail about every single plant he or she sells. All of my antennae went up, and additional negative comments have made me feel I did the right thing.
Bought a 7 yr old peony plant. It died within 3 months and Ken said he would replace it. I've emailed many times, no response and no replacement. Please take your business elsewhere.
cyclamen near Vancouver, BC (Zone 7a) (5 reviews) September 29, 2002
Only ordered once from this source, 1 root as a test before ordering more. Buyer beware. The catalogue is impressive. Would like to order some TPs, but it seems too risky. Probably best to visit the nursery and choose plants. This business did nothing to encourage me to grow more peonies. Still waiting for bloom after 2 years.
flower_fairy North Reading, MA (8 reviews) September 4, 2002
Plants arrived much later than optimal planting time. Most were very small. Received several roots with no eyes at all. Didn't receive one root at all. When I called, a woman told me THEY hadn't received any of those, so I certainly hadn't. That didn't stop them from charging me for them. I made many attempts to contact Ken Clare and he was completely unresponsive. I contacted the BBB, who contacted him. He never responded. On September 8th, 2004, flower_fairy added the following:
Poor Ken! I just read his pouting comments above. Well, it's too bad he didn't try in any way to satisfy me. Or refund my money for the plant he never sent, or the ones that arrived with no (NO) eyes. And finally this year I had at least one bloom on all of the viable plants he sent. Guess what...most of them are mislabeled. He sent me two plants of one variety- neither bears any resemblance to the other, or to the actual cultivar. Is there a category below negative, please?
uroboros Montreal, QC (Zone 5b) (18 reviews) June 15, 2002
I ordered 5 peonies from this grower 2 years ago. The rhizomes arived in the fall, and were large, fleshy, well packed, and with a minimum of 3 eyes. This year they have buds and I can't wait to see how they turn out. The plant selection is amazing, and the web site often features more than one photo of the flowers, which gives a more realistic impression of what they will look like in the garden.
I ordered in May 2001 peonies from Ken Clare, peonygarden.com (Frankford Nursery), Canada. I explained the special instructions needed for shipping to Finland, which is a member of European Union, and asked the company to send the plants to me in September or in the beginning of October, because the ground can be frozen here in November.
The plants arrived to me in the middle of the winter 4. December 2001. The root divisions were very small. The nursery failed not only to use air mail but to fulfil almost all the special instructions that I had given:
- Health Certificate - OK
- proforma invoice for Custom-house - failed
- receipt for my book-keeping - failed
- no organic materials as a packing material - failed
- send by air mail - failed
- inform me when they are coming - ?
- send them to me in September or in the beginning of October - failed
Lynnette Courtenay Canada (31 reviews) January 10, 2002
I have placed two orders with this company and had to accept the peonies in the spring as this is the only time they ship. The plants were the size of a man's thumb, were poorly packed and some of the eyes broke off. The owner did offer to grow the plants on for year and then send them, but because the prices were too high and the quality low, I refused.