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The scoop on 'Sutton's Iris Gardens'

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  Company Profile  
Sutton's Iris Gardens

Mailing Address:
16592 Road 208
Porterville, California 93257 (United States)

Phone: 1-888-558-5107
Fax: (559) 784-6701

Catalog Order Page: Hyperlink
Paper Catalog Cost: $3 US/$5 elsewhere

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  Feedback History and Summary  
35 positives
6 neutrals
3 negatives

Comments:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive Bartell
Rochester, MI
(8 reviews)
September 9, 2011
My first iris orders from a hybridizer years ago were from Sutton's. They specialized in rebloomers and spaceagers, both of which interested me
.
The rhizomes were always good-sized (and the size of a rhizome doesn't necessarily indicate a more vigorous grower than smaller ones.) Hadn't ordered from them in awhile, but I did this year and was reminded why I often ordered from them in the past.

As for bonuses, George's generosity was unsurpassed when it came to bonus iris...as his friends in the AIS will tell you! And Mike is following in his footsteps.

Highly recommended!

Thanks, Mike!
Positive dmac085
Greensboro, NC (Zone 7a)
(39 reviews)
September 9, 2011
This is my second season ordering and having received this years box, I have to say I'm extremely pleased with the iris I ordered (this year and last) and a bit amazed at the bonus iris they generously included (this year and last).

To me the sizes were fairly consistant--nothing I would consider small by any means. Most had numerous increases forming along the base of the main foliage as well. Last years order bloomed true to name. Very pleased with everything I've experienced with Suttons and look forward to my fall 2012 order!
Positive TuddyE
Georgetown, KY (Zone 6a)
(51 reviews)
July 28, 2011
I am very thankful for the bonus iris that they sent. Actually, I got bonuses worth as much as or more than my original order. They came very clean and packed beautifully.
Yes some are smaller than others, but after dividing some of my own iris, I realize this kind of thing happens. I am looking forward to blooms in the future and would definitely buy again. Wonderful selection and good quality.
Positive RobertWM
Clawson, MI
(10 reviews)
June 12, 2011
I've ordered from Sutton's twice now and been pleased with the results I've had both times. The plants all started growing as soon as they were planted, most of them quite vigorously, and everything bloomed the next year. (First year bloom is usually small and short on iris sent through the mail but that is normal.) Everything was correctly labeled and the Suttons were VERY generous with bonuses, including a number of well chosen gift iris with both orders. My suburban yard is small but if I had more room, I would definitely order from them again. They have many more beautiful things than what I have room for. Darn!
Positive JenniferRuth
San Diego, CA (Zone 9b)
(27 reviews)
September 28, 2010
I ordered from Sutton's about five years ago and wasn't very happy with the tiny plants they sent. Encouraged by the
number of positive reports at Gardenwatchdog in more recent times, I decided to give them another chance. The irises arrived today and are in good shape. Quite a range of sizes, a couple pretty small, a few large with a bit of increase on them, and the rest in the middle. They aren't as big as most California-grown irises I've received (Sutton's is in California), but I'm sure they will make it.

Of the dozen irises I ordered, 4 were unavailable. I was very pleased with the replacements they sent, though. Three were from my "acceptable substitutes and bonuses list," one a $9 iris to replace a $6 one, another a $9 iris to replace a $4.50 one, the third an $18 one to replace a $6 one. The fourth was one of their $50 new intros to replace a $5 one. They also sent six bonuses: four of those were a second one of something I ordered, and the other two were a couple of their $50 new intros that I had put on my subs and bonuses list.

If you haven't ordered irises before, you should know that the price is mostly dependent on how new the particular iris is. If this is the first year they've brought it out, it's usually high in price--in fact, I've seen them as high as $60. Over the next few years, the price gradually comes down. But it never hurts to put some of those new ones on your subs and bonuses list. It's quite common, though never a sure thing, for iris nurseries to throw in a new intro or two. I was surprised that Sutton's sent me three, but it probably had something to do with the fact that I ordered at the end of the season. Whatever the reason, I was very pleased.
Positive Bill97739
La Pine, OR
(1 review)
July 26, 2009
I just received my order and the plants were in great shape, well packed and labeled and the bonus iris were VERY generous. Excellent communication and a great experience.


Positive Tntigger
Greeneville, TN (Zone 6b)
(28 reviews)
November 7, 2008
Not getting to order from them last year, I wanted to get an order in this year to them. The irises we recieved were huge with great increases already on them. They were also very generous in their shipment, and we were extremely pleased with the bonus selections they chose for us. We will happily order from them again.
Positive BlissfulGarden
Baton Rouge, LA
(51 reviews)
August 1, 2008
This was my first order of beareded iris. After researching which varieties might stand up to Louisiana heat and humidity, I researched who had what I wanted and placed good-size orders with five different companies who were highly rated here. I have received all the orders now, and I can say without hesitation that the Sutton's order is by far healthier, cleaner, better labeled, and better packaged than any of the other companies. I ordered two of their collections, the dwarf bearded and the warm climate rebloomers. With the collections (a total of 16 iris ordered), I received a tremendous discount over the per rhizome price, plus they included ten bonus iris. One of the bonus iris was even a $50.00 specialty selection! Their staff has also proven helpful and friendly in answering my questions about any special needs for planting bearded iris in Louisiana... information that can be quite elusive since bearded iris are generally considered "impossible to grow" here. Overall, I can say my purchase from Sutton's was extremely pleasant and positive. A+++
Positive bayoui
Visalia, CA
(2 reviews)
April 1, 2007
I have bought several rhizomes from Sutton's at their location in Porterville and at the Visalia Farmers' Market. Until I tried their reblooming iris I hadn't been a big fan of iris in general. Wow! What a show they put on! Several of the strong rebloomers flower from Late February or early March to July. Then they put a show on again in the autumn. This year I had flowers until late November! I missed the autumn planting season this year, and I am looking forward to their opening in the spring.

I found the people of the garden kind and helpful. However, the operation seems to be a bit "mom and pop." They don't seem to update their website very often. I would also like to see more photos of the iris.
Negative BELO
Aguanga, CA
(3 reviews)
February 6, 2007
I'VE ORDERED FROM SUTTONS 3 TIMES. THE PLANTS WERE BIG AND BEAUTIFUL, THEY ARRIVED IN GOOD CONDITION. BUT AT LEAST 25% OF THEM DID NOT HAVE CORRECT NAMES ON THEM.

SO MY WELL PLANNED GARDEN IS NOT SO WELL PLANNED. BUT I DO HAVE A GARDEN I CALL
DAMIFIKNOW. AS I DON'T KNOW WHAT I HAVE.

Positive Cordeledawg
Cordele, GA (Zone 8a)
(19 reviews)
October 16, 2006
I placed an order by mail on 9-26-06, just before the Oct1 season ended. I promptly received my order plus several bonus irises that I wasn't even expecting. The size of these irises are bigger than any I've ordered from other companies. Sutton's Irises are excellent!
Neutral White_Hydrangea
Aurora, CO (Zone 5a)
(20 reviews)
October 6, 2006
I made an order to Sutton's a month ago for irises that had specific places in my beds.

Sutton's was a no-show. The irises never arrived. Other companies deliver LIVE PLANTS within several days. If my irises are on the way, considering that we've had two frosts so far, I doubt if they'll arrive alive after a month in transit with no water, no soil, no sun, and cold temperatures.

I e-mailed them, but that won't do any good. They're closed down and won't open for another several months.

If I'd known they were going to do something this irresponsible, I could have ordered from a more reliable company, but it's too late to order irises now. I'll have to wait until September 2007 to get these specific irises.

I'll never order from Sutton's again. What would be the point, anyway?
On October 6th, 2006, White_Hydrangea changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

I'm not an idiot. If I'd received an e-mail about an iris order I'd put in, I would have opened it immediately. I checked back. I received an e-mail CONFIRMING my order right away.

And then nothing. No communication at all. I was waiting for an order that I was given to expect would arrive in timely fashion for planting. Now my first iris beds will have holes in them because the irises I'd designed them for will not arrive. I have to wait 12 months and then maybe the irises I planned won't be available at all.

I've upgraded this to a neutral because it seems to be the result of a screwed up communication and a royal mixup instead of actual negligence, but I'm not happy. And it's unlikely that I'll try them again next year.
On October 23rd, 2006, White_Hydrangea added the following:

Just as an update -- I did receive an e-mail from Sutton's telling me that they had sent me an e-mail canceling my order but that they've since found out that their e-mails weren't going through, and the recipients weren't receiving them. I feel somewhat vindicated, but it's still disappointing. I had really looked forward to those irises.
Company representative comment on October 6, 2006:

On Oct 6, 2006 10:12 AM, Sutton's Iris Gardens added:

Order was received from customer on Sept. 9, 2006. Order cut off for her area was August 31rst. An immediate email response was sent stating that it was too late to order from her area, she either didn't read it or it didn't make it to her inbox. No contact from customer before negative feedback was left, we had no idea she was expecting an order or, as usual, we would have done something to rectify the situation.


Positive victorianangel
Lake Arrowhead, CA
(14 reviews)
September 10, 2006
Was on vacation and visited Sutten's. We dropped in unanounced and at their busiest time. They were so sweet to Mom and I. Invited us in and let us place our order there. They took the time to help us know what colors they had available and talked to us about our climate and which ones would do best. I ordered some and so did my Mom. I even had mine shipped to two different places and they have all arrived on time, and beautiful sized I might add. Very Very Very happy.
Neutral laurief
Deer River, MN (Zone 3b)
(6 reviews)
August 5, 2006
I have purchased irises from Sutton's for five years.

Good points:
Very large, healthy rhizomes
Excellent packing
EXTREMELY generous with free bonus irises, often provided from the buyer's request list
Will unquestioningly replace misidentified irises
Will try to identify misidentified irises from submitted photos
Nice people

Not so good points:
Ongoing problems with misidentified stock
Replacements for misidentified irises sometimes turn out to be the same incorrect irises
Email communications are sometimes (understandably) slow

Laurie
Neutral Margiempv
Oro Valley, AZ (Zone 9a)
(30 reviews)
March 30, 2006
I have ordered quite a few times from Suttons. And I have had mixed experiences with them. They do answer their e-mails quick, and friendly-like with helpful advice and a wilingness to help. However, more than once I've received mis-named irises. Unfortunately - - one has to wait until they bloom before you discover the mistake. Once I wrote and told them, and asked for a replacement for a rightly named variety - - I again received a misnamed variety.

However, on their behalf, they do send large, healthy rhizomes (most of the time). I think the key is to order early. Don't ask for late shipments either. I did that once and it was a whole month later than I requested when they finally arrived.

I would probably order from them again - - because I believe in giving people second chances, and even third chances. They do have nice irises and I'd like to have some of them.
Positive linjasar
Sarver, PA (Zone 5a)
(6 reviews)
May 20, 2005
They gave me great suggestions, the iris grew better than ones I had received from anywhere else, and my order was on time and correct. Plus, they threw in an extra which has turned out to be one of my favorties! I'm a very happy customer and will order from them in the future.
Neutral flowerfrenzy
Vancouver, WA (Zone 7a)
(42 reviews)
May 19, 2005
I have had mixed experiences with this company. I first ordered from them in 2003. In all fairness, that year was particuarily bad for them. However, the rhizomes I received were very small and dried up. Most of them have never bloomed in my garden, and it's been 2 years now. Out of the four or five that did bloom, two were not true to name. I decided to give them another try in 2004, and it must have been a better year for them because the rhizomes I received were a lot healthier and fresher. They have bloomed nicely this year, with a lot of increase. I wouldn't discourage someone from giving them a try, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend them either. However, if you're in the market for Space Age Irises, they have the best selection available anywhere.
Positive turtlelu
Seattle, WA (Zone 8a)
(1 review)
May 16, 2005
I ordered 10 irises from Sutton's last year (in June 2004) and received them in August. All the rhizomes were in great shape and I received some really great bonuses as well. THis spring, every single rhizome I received from them put up flowering stalks, and only one was a single stalk; the rest put up 2-4 stalks each! I would say that Sutton's irises were the most cost effective and the most successful in my garden this year. I ordered from 5 reputable mail order iris farms last year and Sutton's outdid them all.
Negative langbr
Olathe, KS (Zone 6a)
(25 reviews)
March 24, 2005
I sure hope that this company is just having a bad year. I ordered for the first time from them in June 2004 for fall shipping. I requested a July ship date. In mid August I contacted them a total of 3 times in 2 weeks. The first time I was told my order would ship the "next week". When I went to check on it I was told it was not shipped and that they had some large wholesale orders that took longer than expected to dig. They went on to say they had 3 digs in process and my order was in the first bunch. I emailed again and the order was shipped the day of my email (exactly 14 days after my initial shipping status request).

My order was received nearly 45 days later than requested and 4 of my 10 requested varieties were not available and substituted for with either other varieties on my order or different plants entirely.

I wasn't especially overwhelmed by the size of the rhizomes but I've not got a lot of experience buying iris via mail order. I'll wait a year before even considering ordering from them again (I prefer to see if next year is a repeat of the 2004 shipping season).

It's a shame that a first time customer's experience with them, when I had heard such glowing reports about them, turned out so poorly. I'll watch reports here before buying again.
Positive stellamae
Beaver Dams, NY
(7 reviews)
November 20, 2004
I have ordered from Suttons 3 times including during their fall sale. The irises received were large with the majority having lots of babies attached. They were received on time with many extras that I was grateful to receive. It is getting to the point where people EXPECT to receive bonuses instead of being thankful for the free gifts the company has given. The owner was very nice and helpful on the phone. I will be ordering many more times without hesitation from this company.
Neutral MikenMyrtle
Myrtle Beach, SC
(6 reviews)
November 19, 2004
As a person whose family was involved in a small business, I am not happy to provide a negative report here, but if it can prevent the same thing from happening again to another customer, then I must look at it that way.

I ordered from Sutton's this summer, and soon came to find that they were significantly "behind." I had requested early September shipping. My shipment arrived in October. Luckily, this was not too late, but I was a bit worried because in 2003 we had an unseasonably cool spell in October that dipped almost to freezing. Would my plants make it?

I understand that iris are a crop and that there is nothing the company could do about the late harvest. I certainly accept this. And I should also say that the folks on the phone and by e-mail were exceedingly nice. No complaint there at all.

My real beef came when I received my order. To say the least, I was profoundly disappointed. I had ordered six plants, and their spots in the garden beds were waiting (having planted the other iris I'd bought from other companies in early September). Three of the rhizomes (50%) I'd ordered from Suttons had been substituted for, and substituted for I might add with iris that did NOT match the color scheme I had in mind for the planting beds that had been arranged for them. In fact, I would not have purchased any of the three in a million years. I think this is very bad company policy, and the customer really needs to be contacted. I feel certain that I could have found plants on their premises I would actually have wanted had I been notified. Yes, as many have noted, I received extras, but the rhizomes (all of them) are so small that I have no idea how they'll do in the garden (where they are literally dwarfed by the iris I had purchased from another company).

Nice people--no doubt. But I won't be trading with them in the future.
On August 10th, 2008, MikenMyrtle changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

Neutral SugarMaple
Southbridge, MA (Zone 5b)
(11 reviews)
October 26, 2004
I ordered 12 iris from Sutton's and received 22. I asked that any substitutes be of the type I ordered, meaning that if something on my order wasn't available, substitute it with something on my list that was. I am trying to recreate my Grandmother's old iris garden with iris from the 60's and 70's, otherwise I wouldn't have really cared what substitutes they chose for me. Two of the iris were substituted, one with something from my list and one with something too new to plant in an old-style garden. Of the 10 bonuses, 3 were on my list. I planted all of the old-style iris alongside 21 iris that I had just received from another company. I had to find an entirely different spot in my yard to plant the bonuses that were from the wrong era. Even before I planted the Sutton iris, it was quite obvious that they were very puny compared to the other iris I had already planted. Despite an entire summer of growth, the Sutton iris are still the smallest in my garden. The iris from the other company grew to be quite huge with numerous fans. Sutton's prices are very low and you get a lot more than what you ask for. I just wish that the size was better. Maybe next year, if they survive the winter, they will bloom as labelled and look just fine compared to the others.
Positive lanap123
Nevada, IA (Zone 5a)
(1 review)
September 30, 2004
Ordered 8 irises on 8/20 and received 12 a couple days ago. Two of the ones I ordered were out of stock so they doubled my order on two of the ones I ordered plus I received 4 bonus irises. All packaged really well and arrived in great shape. Would definitely order from again!
Positive Vashur
Wichita, KS (Zone 6b)
(9 reviews)
September 23, 2004
I just received my order of a collection of reblooming iris along with 8 FREE selections of rebloomers. Now the question is where am I going to put all the extras? Heehees... The plants are really nice and healthy looking and they were exceptionally well packaged. I'd certainly order again if I could find a place for them... :)
On April 15th, 2005, Vashur added the following:

At least half of these new plantings are already showing buds this spring !!! I haven't lost any but evidently one of my cats dug up one. It's still alive but it will take some tlc.
Positive coo_sasuke
Osaka
Japan (Zone 9b)
(6 reviews)
September 19, 2004
I orderd from this company for the first time. The rhizomes were nicely packaged and labeled. They arrived one month later than the promised time, but they were shipped EMS and I didn't have to pay for the extra shipping cost. I ordered 16 rhizomes and received 12 bonus plants, of which 5 were their most recent introductions. The plants were healthy, and some already had new growth. I will not hesitate to order from them again.
Negative charlesgrey
Champaign, IL
(6 reviews)
September 7, 2004
I'm sorry to be the first one to leave negative feedback about this company, but I feel that I must. I placed my order on 8/9 and specifically requesting August shipping. I called them today (9/7) and they said it would ship next week (9/13). I'm in Illinois, so it would take a week to get here, and waiting until late September to plant iris would be risky.
Had I known that they wouldn't ship the order for over a month, I would have ordered from another company. They should have let me know about the delay so that I could have found another source. Six weeks to receive an order is just too long.
Positive Noldor
(6 reviews)
April 5, 2004
Very high quality, large plants. Each is clean and without pests. VERY competitive prices. Shipped promptly and always gives polite service. I give Suttons my highest praise.
Positive cls009
(43 reviews)
January 18, 2004
This is a wonderful company to order from. I purchased 8 varieties from them last year and they sent me 9 bonus plants. The plants were all large and healthy. I will definately be a repeat customer!
On March 18th, 2005, cls009 added the following:

I placed another order with this company last summer and couldn't have been happier with the results. My total with shipping was around 130.00, and they sent me over 200.00 worth of bonuses. Of the iris that I purchased in the fall of 2003 almost all bloomed the first year and only one was mislabeled, I'm looking forward to seeing my iris from last fall blooming soon.

I always loose a small percentage of iris to rot over the winter, this is just one of the joys of gardening in Montana, with Suttons I have had only 1 iris rot out of probably 70 rhizomes I've ordered from them. Their iris are smaller than some places send, however I believe this is due to being in California, and not in Oregon or places that get frequent rain. The size in many cases really has more to do with location rather than quality of plant etc, and the iris I've received from them I've had around the same percentage bloom the first year as the massive ones I've received from other companies. I will definately continue to order from this company and would recommend them fully.
Positive Karensmurf
Easley, SC (Zone 7b)
(4 reviews)
September 29, 2003
My order from this company was sent specifically when I requested, which was superb. The rhizomes were huge and the bonuses that they sent were extremely generous. I gave permission for substitions, and in each case (only a few) where they had to substitute, the replacement was a similar, more recent introduction of greater value. One was of substantially greater value. I wouldn't hesitate to order from this company again! Excellent!
Positive Melissa_Ohio
Southwestern, OH (Zone 6b)
(37 reviews)
September 6, 2003
Rhizomes were very large, packaged perfectly, I'm very pleased with the quality I received from Sutton's!!
Positive wingnutdad620
Coventry, RI
(10 reviews)
August 27, 2003
Simply Wonderful. This is my first order with Sutton's and I will be a repeat customer. The plants were wonderfully packaged, all healthy and clean. I ordered 13 varities totaling $52 to "test them". I received more than that much in bonus plants. That doesn't even include the 2003 Introduction. Can't wait to see them flower next spring as all are a great size rhizome. Good communication with the owner too!
Positive SueZQ
(2 reviews)
June 30, 2003
Excellent quality rhizomes, packaging, and customer service. Can't think of any suggestions to improve upon!...I will be a repeat customer.
Positive rudydude
(2 reviews)
April 4, 2003
A super company. My order was shipped at the proper time and the rhizomes were healthy and a very nice size. I have planted over 200 iris varieties and I have never lost one of theirs. The bonus iris they send are very generous and their prices are very good. If you want the best value for your money and reliability, buy from Suttons
Positive JoulesLynne
(1 review)
March 20, 2003
I ordered approximately two dozen iris from this company over the past three years and these have been the best iris of all. I have several hundred iris in my garden and the ones of Sutton are far superior than others that I have mail ordered or gotten locally. Sutton's re-bloomers actually re-bloom exactly as promised. Great Service too!!
Positive AISMasterJudge
(5 reviews)
March 17, 2003
You can order from this grower with confidence. I toured their gardens and met the family. I can only give the Sutton's my highest compliments as growers of excellent iris and for being really nice people!

The plants I have received were large, healthy, and fresh with many increase on each rhizome. Top quality hybrids grown to perfection!
Positive WVGrower
(6 reviews)
February 21, 2003
Fantastic service, prices, and quality. They filled a rush order for me within a very short timeframe. Went out of their way to make sure I got the order on time and called to clarify details. Rhizomes arrived cross-country looking as if they had been dug the day before. Some substitutions on varieties, but all varieties they chose were identical in type and very similar in color to what I ordered. VERY generous with bonus plants. Also have very large selection. I recommend them highly.
Positive earthdude
Kernersville, NC
(2 reviews)
October 13, 2002
This was my first time ordering from Sutton's. They didn't have some of the varieties I ordered (didn't charge me for the missing ones), but they made up for it very generously with bonus irises. The rhizomes arrived well-packed and nice and healthy looking. I can't wait to see how they turn out.
Positive Terri2
Roswell, NM (Zone 7a)
(8 reviews)
September 1, 2002
2nd year ordering from them,VERY satisfied,,Rhizomes are good quality,,and the bonus were terrific...Friendly,,fast ,,effecient service..will order again and again...large selection...
Positive terri195
(1 review)
February 1, 2002
WOW, ordered from Suttons this past year (2001). I bought 13 irises I was mailed 22...all different, order was shipped on time and arrived in excellent condition. I will order again from Suttons.
Positive FL_Gator
Dunnellon, FL (Zone 8b)
(11 reviews)
January 11, 2002
I have dealt with Sutton's Iris Garden several times. The first times were prior to 1997 when I was living in Kentucky. Most recently, I ordered some Reblooming Irises from then for Fall 2001 Delivery.
Sutton's provide excellent service, are willing to give advice, send excellent quality Irises, and their bonus plants are terrific. I highly recommend this company.

FL_Gator.

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