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The scoop on 'Burgess Seed'

  Company Profile  
Burgess Seed

Mailing Address:
905 Four Seasons Rd
Bloomington, Illinois 61701 (United States)

Phone: (309) 662-7761

Catalog Order Page: Hyperlink
Paper Catalog Cost: Free

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Recent reviews:
Past month Past 6 Months Past 12 Months
Positive 1 4 5
Neutral 0 0 1
Negative 2 2 12
This company is affiliated with 10 companies:This company specializes in:Other helpful information:

  Feedback History and Summary  
148 positives
55 neutrals
356 negatives


Displaying the 50 most recent comments:

Negative Jckbtt7
Grandview, MO
(1 review)
March 27, 2017
I ordered some stuff from Burgess last spring over half my purchases were either dead or died shortly after planting. I did as told wrote letter sent with order form asking for voucher not same order replacement because I needed apple tree sooner to pollinate other tree I already had didn't want risk another dead stick that would not grow or take forever to help. They sent replacement dead apple stick and more dead phlox. I called explained again the problem wrote another letter requesting voucher not replacement thinking I would be better off using it to get vegetable seeds instead of dead plants. This time they did send voucher. So I waited for spring catalog and ordered 17 packs
of seeds on February 9th . About 4 weeks got half seeds ok. I called ask about other half and was told call back every week find out when they will be shipped. So I call a few times not shipped. Then was told they were just waiting on one pepper seed that just came in should ship couple of days. Ok I call back after about a week and they can't tell me why not shipped yet. It is now March 27 the and I call and they say now they were just waiting on one lettuce seeds and should ship couple days. Being that they are a seed company you would think they know we need 8-12 weeks to have them ready to go out. I am 3-4 weeks from time put out plants. So I guess I will have to go buy plants from local nursery which will cost much more than had I just grabbed seeds from store before now. So yeah I am pretty mad!
Positive Ouizee
Osteen, FL
(1 review)
March 15, 2017
I received all products ordered over a few weeks. They explained in their catalog it would take a while to ship all ordered to Florida. No problems with anything. All onion starts, shallot starts, garlic starts, in excellent condition and are all taking off already in the garden. Robust and healthy!The best onion starts were the candy apple red ones. I have ordered from Burgess in the past and have never had any issues. This most recent order was also good and I had no problems. Thanks, Burgess!!
Negative djschoen
Lake Oswego, OR
(1 review)
March 7, 2017
One of the worst retail experiences of my life! I ordered four trees from the company. They came wrapped in plastic and were like twigs, not trees. The trees were the diameter of a pencil.

I planted these in Oregon - where the weather is not that cold or harsh - despite this, they all died after 5 months. I ordered other trees from a different company and they were all MUCH thicker and healthier looking and they all lived and are starting to show signs of early spring growth already.

The worst part was my experience afterward.... I called 8-10 times and received a busy signal each time. When they finally reached them, they insisted that I send the shipping label back for a refund. Who saves a shipping label for 5 months??? When I told them I did not have that, they told me I needed to get a receipt from my credit card company and mail in a letter asking for new trees. I told them that their trees were poor quality and were like twigs compared to other companies, they lady on the phone LAUGHED !?@!@

No email service available, hard to reach by phone. Poor product and a customer service that literally laughed at my dissatisfaction. I mailed in my request with credit card statements and am waiting for a refund, I suggest avoiding this company at all costs!!!!
Positive tsantini
Middletown, CT
(3 reviews)
January 25, 2017
I've always had good luck with Burgess. Last year I ordered 4 shrubs. All were a bit scraggly and slow to emerge, but that has been my usual experience with bare root plants. The all lived through the season and I expect to see them back this spring.
Positive tngardener865
Knoxville, TN
(1 review)
January 16, 2017
Similar to a review further below, I created a log in just to give a positive review to this company and the Direct Gardening family of companies. I also saw a lot of reviews about people being unsatisfied with the return policy, with the quality of the plants, shipping timing, etc. I took a chance on purchasing 2 different variety of blackberry bushes, hydrangea trees, strawberries, and grape vines, along with the free gifts. I've ordered a variety of live plants from other sites, and was very pleased with the pricing, timeliness of shipping, return policy, and quality of plants from this company, and will be placing a larger order this spring. Most of the plants I purchased have already come out of dormancy (unseasonably warm winter unfortunately, hope they make it when the cold weather hits), and have thrived. The company is very clear about their return policy (which is the best return policy I've seen with online nurseries) and the fact that the plants are dormant, and you can't reasonably expect full size, fruiting plants when you're buying 3 blackberries for $5. They shipped much quicker and much more affordably than a lot of other sites that I ordered from (I waited 5 months for some grape vines from a different company that gets great reviews here). To anyone that wants to try this company, please do so (after educating yourself about the return and dormancy policy)! I continue to tell everyone about how great these companies are to garden on a budget. To be fair, I have not had to deal much with their customer service (outside of a few questions, which are answered promptly), but the majority of the reviews I see are from being either uneducated about their policies, or unrealistic about the size/immediate liveliness of the plants.
Company representative comment on January 20, 2017:
On Jan 20, 2017 8:37 AM, Burgess Seed responded with:

Thank you for your kind posting on Garden Watchdog. Your experience is more typical of our normal customers as we do ship hundreds of thousands of packages to satisfied customers each year. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to post your comments.

Positive Gravypants
East Rochester, NY
(2 reviews)
October 25, 2016
I placed an order for over 60 various bare-root plants with this company in the spring. After placing the order, I read a number of negative reviews on the company, so i really didn't expect much to show up. When the plants arrived I planted them right away. Approximately 70% of the plants began growing and still look fine. 30% of the plants never showed any signs of growth (including some items they substituted for out-of-stock plants). I mailed them the packing label and requested replacement plants in the fall, To my surprise, I received all the replacement plants, including the originally requested out-of-stock plants, within 3 weeks. I will have to wait until spring to find out if the replacements survive. So far, so good.
Neutral mylittletrees
Corning, OH
(14 reviews)
September 21, 2016
Overall my experience with this company was satisfactory. The trees that were ordered survived and leafed out. However I felt like I had to really baby them along and be patient. My only complaint would be what felt like very slow delayed shipping. Our spring order arrived at a time much later than I would have liked. It was very warm, but maybe it was just an unusual year. The order contained things like Elm, Cherry, Laburnum, and Maple.
Negative MGBD13
Bunceton, MO
(1 review)
September 13, 2016
I wrote twice to the company about the problems and received a form letter the first time and no response the second.

Dear Burgess CEO,
This is my THIRD letter to you about my original and replacement orders. On June 10, 2016, (my second letter to you) I specifically requested an adjustment for the Flavorfest strawberries, one pussy willow, and two Blackhawk raspberry plants which were not viable after almost two months, plus a refund for the four Hazelnuts and the three dewberries, because it was too late in the season to plant them.
Frankly, I am very surprised by what I received in response to my letter of request:
1 package of Flavorfest strawberries, look OK, but too late to plant; 2 scrawny pussy willows, 4 inches of tops evenly broken off, nothing green under the skin and no life to the bud nodes; 3 Blackhawk raspberries - no sign of green under bark or bud nodes; a “Replacement Certificate” for $18.91.
There was no letter, notice, or mention of the refund for the dormant (dead) sticks that I received on April 28.
Within 5 minutes of receiving and opening the package, all the dead looking (dormant?) dry toothpick width sticks were placed in water to jump start the end of dormancy, and were potted up the next morning. However, two months later, the dormant/dead twigs still never showed any sign of life.

On 8/19/2016 I decided to use the replacement certificate and order some seeds. I called your company AND WAS ASSURED that the seeds I would receive would be packaged for 2017. Guess what - the seed packages that I ordered came 3-1/2 weeks later and all say “packaged for 2016.” To add insult to injury, I had to pay $9.99 to receive seeds that were already one year old.

I am very disappointed with the plants, the plant packers, and your dishonest customer service, and wonder why a large firm with a lovely catalogue would respond to their customers so slowly, knowingly send them dead plants and old seeds, and then treat customers so poorly. You make it impossible for me to recommend you to friends or my fellow Master Gardeners, and I will NEVER order from you again.

Company representative comment on September 28, 2016:
On Sep 28, 2016 2:40 PM, Burgess Seed responded with:

We are sorry to hear of this problem. A customer care representative has contacted this customer for further information.

Negative MikeMdavesgarde
Saint Louis, MO
(2 reviews)
August 13, 2016
Posted on June 9, 2016, updated August 13, 2016
Posted on August 17, 2015, updated June 9, 2016
1. Vague responses that do not answer your questions days later on emailed questions.
2. Extremely rude customer \\\"service\\\". They clearly have many customers calling them upset everyday.
3. They will charge your credit card, then not send you any plants for months, even in summer.
4. When you call them to ask nicely about when your plants will ship, they will interrupt you and rudely declare \\\"read the website, no one ever reads the website then they waste our time asking questions\\\".
5. If the info wasn\\\'t buried in the website and it was presented upfront, they would be out of business.
6. No one will wait for months, then receive different plants \\\"it says we have the option to send you different plants\\\"...what?


On June 9th, 2016, MikeMdavesgarde added the following:

1. They said they would replace the plants that never \"came out of dormancy\" 10 months after they sent me dead not dormant plants - 5-1 plum tree, 2 Nanking cherries, Gooseberry, Jostaberry, White currant.
2. The order got here after sending them their required proof...Out of Jostaberry (sent black raspberry), Sent a blackberry twig instead of the 5-1 plum tree (only plant I really wanted and by \"coincidence\" by far the most expensive plant)
3. I lose again.
On August 13th, 2016, MikeMdavesgarde added the following:

2 months later, guess what...

Company representative comment on August 22, 2016:
On Aug 22, 2016 2:26 PM, Burgess Seed responded with:

We are sorry to hear of this customer’s experience as we do take pride in our customer care. We do have both a refund and a replacement guarantee which is clearly posted on our website and we stand behind them.

A customer care representative has contacted this customer for further information. We do hope to hear back from the customer as we would like to help resolve this problem

Negative vircotto
Concord, NH
(1 review)
August 8, 2016
Beware of this company. Ordered a couple of tree peonies and one was dead on arrival. (It was sent US Postal Service in a flimsy envelope and had to sit in a hot rural mailbox all day). Tried to get a quick replacement but the company said I had to wait six weeks and then remember to keep the original label and make the request again. Their business model is to send out slick marketing materials but after-sale service is terrible. I suspect they know that they are not providing the best products and don't want to be bothered after they have your money. That explains why they operate under a variety of names. They hope to fool you again if they can. You have been warned.
Company representative comment on August 22, 2016:
On Aug 22, 2016 2:29 PM, Burgess Seed responded with:

Many of our items are shipped bare root and dormant as this allows them to be transplanted with much higher degrees of success. It does not mean they are dead, but since they are dormant, and not leafed out, people unfamiliar with bareroot nursery stock may they mistake them for dead. We suggest soaking in water overnight or for a few hours before planting. Then keep well watered after planting and within 6 weeks of warm weather, the plants should break dormancy and show signs of leaf.

We do have both a refund and a replacement guarantee and stand behind them.

A customer care representative has contacted this customer to see if we may be of assistance

Negative timonsgirl
Mount Prospect, IL
(10 reviews)
July 7, 2016
I've bought from them once in the past with no problems but never again after the experience this year.

The shipped 24 arborvitaes to us during a week when we were having several inches of snow. There's no excuse for it, as they are in the same county as us so it's not like they didn't know what the weather was like.

When I sent them a complaint they said we could just store them for several weeks since they ship their plants dormant and they should be fine. Really? Arborvitaes are evergreens and don't go dormant. They were live plants and they didn't look well, not to mention we don't have the room anywhere to store 24 plants for any period of time. So we had to plant them in the snow and had to dig in the almost frozen ground. You can just imagine what a pleasant experience that was.

They also shipped two gaillardias at the same time. One had come loose from it's case, got tumbled all around in shipping and arrived dead. The other we couldn't plant either, as it also was a live plant and not dormant and cannot be planted in the snow as the arborvitaes could.

They told me I could just put it on a sunny windowsill until the proper planting time. The proper planting time was weeks away and we have awnings - meaning no sunny windowsills in the house. Needless to say the second one also died before we could plant it.

I return my label to get a replacement on those. When they finally arrived several weeks later both were almost dead. I planted them right away, watered them, fed them and tried to nurse them back to health but both of the replacements were also dead by the end of the week.

I suppose I could have asked for another replacement but why bother? So I could receive two more dead or dying plants that I would waste my time and energy trying to save?

Yes, the prices look tempting and you might get lucky like I did on the first order several years ago. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Just not worth it.

Company representative comment on July 13, 2016:
On Jul 13, 2016 10:28 AM, Burgess Seed responded with:

We are sorry to hear of this customers experience as the first experience is more typical of our normal customers as we do ship hundreds of thousands of packages to satisfied customers each year.

A customer care representative has contacted this customer for further information. We do hope to hear back from the customer as we would like to help resolve this problem.

Negative Tropicman
Bushland, TX (Zone 6a)
(9 reviews)
June 10, 2016
Do not to business with this company,I repeat Do not buy from them. First plants where dead on arrival,but planted them,gave them 12 weeks no sign of growth,contacted them,sent original invoice as requested in order to get new replacement plants,them do were dead,scratch test was done at base of plant,brown no white or green was showing as to whether there is any life to plants,in fact whole plant was brittle and snapped in half. I sent them pictures and they wrote back that they need to be planted for at least 6 weeks,if no signs of life,refund can only be made with the return of plants and original invoice,well they have the invoice when I sent it back to get replacement plants,so without invoice no refund,I wrote and told them they are what giving the horticulture industry a bad reputation.
Negative raychris
Saint Paul, MN
(1 review)
May 16, 2016
Placed an order with these guys, I ordered some Jostaberry, white tag said "No longer available" so did I get some gooseberry, Noooo.
Did I get currants, Noooo, because that might make sense(??) they sent me Logan Beach Raspberry instead, WTH eburgess, I have Raspberries, I can tell you those things will never replace the strain I got for FREE from an 80 year old farmer, those logan berries got fired right into the trash can, it isn't about the money but I promise for as long as I draw a breath I will never order from any of your front companies again and I promise I will let everyone know your bait and switch style of Business. I just checked your site, as of 5-17-2016 your still showing that you have "Jostaberries" for sale. You might want to fix that.
Negative angelsun
Garrettsville, OH
(3 reviews)
April 30, 2016
Never again. Took almost 3 weeks to "process" my order. It was shipped in a plastic bag. Unbelievable.

They also substituted trees. Who makes substitution without first consulting the customer? Let alone TREES?!?!?
I would have rather had none than be stuck with 2 trees that I don't want. Now, have to reorder the ones that ordered initially elsewhere.
Positive Pskip
Nampa, ID
(1 review)
April 23, 2016
I registered an account at Dave's garden just to post this positive review. I read all the negative reviews about Burgess seed before placing my order, and I assumed that the complaints I read came predominantly from people who a) don't know what a bare root plant is and b) didn't read any of the information regarding processing orders, replacing items, or how to care for your plants when they arrive. I assumed correctly.

My plants arrived immediately after the weather warmed enough to permit shipping, clearly labeled, with a booklet about how to care for them and some free seeds and bulbs. Six out of eight trees are now thriving, and since my first email to the company to change part of my order was answered promptly I have every reason to believe I'll get the promised free replacements for the two persimmon trees that have not budded yet (a scratch test still shows green towards the base of the trees, so I'll wait longer before requesting replacement). I saved an enormous amount of money, I got plants that are not available at any local nursery, and I've already placed a larger second order.

I'm extremely pleased with what I got, and I would encourage anyone who's willing to follow instructions and give a little pampering to their new plants to take a chance on Burgess seed.
Negative curiousgood
Cincinnati, OH
(1 review)
April 18, 2016
I placed an order on April 5. I had received their catalog in the mail and a friend had said he was happy with the raspberries he had gotten from them.

I found it a little weird that my credit card was charged immediately and that I received no updates or communication from the company as to when my plants and seeds would arrive (since should ship immediately, right?).

Then, I found this site and after reading all the negative reviews, decided that I needed to cancel my order. I called Burgess on April 14 and after finally getting through (the phone was constantly busy) I was told I would need to send an e-mail to cancel my order. I was also told it would take a "long time" to cancel it. The customer service rep had no idea how long it would take.

I sent an email that same day requesting a cancellation. I received a response the next day stated that part of my order had shipped and "Do you still wish for us to try to cancel the remainder of the order before shipping occurs?" I replied that I had received no notification of shipment of part of the order, and that I had read several reports that this was a common Burgess practice. I received no response.

Today (4/18) I received a packet of seeds. I wanted to be fair: They might have really had it ready to ship prior to my calling to cancel. When I entered the tracking number into the USPS web site, I found that my order's shipping label was created on April 16. A full two days after I'd requested a cancellation.

I forwarded this information to the Burgess e-mail and received a canned response saying that now my WHOLE order is in their shipping department and they may be unable to cancel.

I called again. This time, I requested to speak to a manager. The manager told me there was nothing she could do and that if I wanted to go higher than her I needed to send a written letter because their office manager didn't use the telephone or email. She suggested I send the seeds back (I would have to pay for the return shipping) along with my letter.

I've filed a dispute with my credit card company, and I'm getting ready to file a BBB complaint. Ugh.
Negative mikesw
Lake Oswego, OR
(1 review)
April 18, 2016
Bought 100 seed potatos (Yukon gold), 12 grew (greenhouse with 50F soil), 3 horseradish starts-noe grew, 2 flame grass plants, neither grew, and radish seeds, planted 4 weeks, 3 weeks, and 2 weeks ago, 5 sprouts total. Called and was told that I could receive replacements, but for a refund I had to return the shipment. The fact that the seeds and potatos are rotted did not seem to register. I am tempted to dig up the rotted potatoes and seeds and send them back, but am cheap and do not want to spend $25 to get a "possible" $55 refund. They could offer free products and I would avoid. I registered a complaint with the BBB. Run, do not walk, from this company.
Negative Marigold345
Des Moines, WA
(1 review)
April 14, 2016
Stay far away from this company! Bad business! I ordered a large quantity of plants from these guys and they all arrived dead and I had plants missing from my order which they claim were shipped. The only way to get a refund is to ship all the dead plant back and pay for return shipping. They also want you to send back the shipping label, otherwise you will not get a refund or replacement. I had a friend ship back the shipping label for replacement and this company says they never received it which means there is no way to get a replacement or refund. The company claims they had sent me all of my order, but they didn't. Now in order to get a refund, they want me to ship back the plants that never were delivered. I tried disputing it with my credit card company but they would not give me a charge back. This is a very dishonest company and they should not be in business. The plants they sell are VERY expensive for what you actually get. Yes, they all look beautiful online and in their magazine, but what you get are tiny seedling that could barely survive the shipping! All the plants I received had brown dried up leaves, maybe a yellow leaf, with only one or two leaves if I was lucky!
Positive sandstone
Frenchburg, KY
(1 review)
March 29, 2016
Just received replacement items for last year's 2015 shipment. These items were sent earlier at my request and were in very good shape, unlike last year's items that were sent much later in the spring. Customer service was very nice each time I contacted them. They told me not to ask for replacements until their 2016 catalog came out so I would receive fresh plants. They kept my shipping label on file for me and never asked me to send the dead plants back. Trees are very small, but they usually grow well after they start to grow. You can't expect large trees at these prices. I ordered from them because they handle plants I can't otherwise get. I'm sorry to hear that many customers seem unsatisfied.
Negative craddock
Lerona, WV
(1 review)
March 27, 2016
Our experience with Burgess Seed is similar to many of those posted here already. Last year we ordered seeds and more from Burgess. Our order came in two shipments via USPS - the first contained various seed packets we ordered; the second was supposed to be potato eyes. The second shipment was empty except for a free seed packet, which we did not use. Their customer service rep said we had to return the shipping label along with a written explanation of the problem. After explaining that this would make for a late date for planting the potatoes, we were told that this was the Burgess policy, and we did as required. We received the potatoes a few weeks later. As the package had not been tampered with or damaged in any way, it was obvious to us that their shipping department had simply failed to include our ordered potatoes. Still, we had to go to extra work to obtain product for which we had already paid. Don't expect to ever order from Burgess again.
This year we received a Farmer Seed and Nursery catalog and considered ordering from them. Noting that the photos and other content of the catalog reminded us of Burgess, we went online and saw that Farmer and Burgess are part of Plantron, Inc. Don't expect to place the first order with Farmer Seed and Nursery.
Negative PoorWolf
Melody Hill, IN
(3 reviews)
March 23, 2016
As an avid gardener, I have relied on DavesGarden for many years, and turned to the Garden WatchDog for help making informed purchases and encouraged friends to do so as well. Ahh, Burgess Seeds now. I quickly learned it was an organized, corporate ripoff. A friend recently called and let me know I had a few blackberry plants on the way as a birthday gift and I just hoped he chose well. The plants came yesterday from Burgess, as a thornless blackberry collection of 3 plants. Alleged plants. They were 3 tiny twigs, each with very few brittle, hair like roots. Tiny plants, as in the size of a toothpick, all in one small plastic bag in my mailbox. Such a shame to abuse consumers as well as the plants. I hope more complain, as Burgess just seems to buy more nurseries and get by with poor plants, poor customer service, and absurd replacement process. Soaked, and now potted I hope for survival as we all do.
Negative rosepetal2
Danvers, MA
(8 reviews)
March 21, 2016
Posted on March 19, 2016, updated March 21, 2016
Ordered two Consort currants and two Red Lake currants earlier this winter. Received four 6 inch twigs that had been rooting less than 3 months. I didn\'t pay that much so the size was not too surprising although disappointing considering the description online. I soaked all four cuttings overnight than planted in growing medium and placed into my indoor greenhouse. After a month or so only one Consort budded and leafed out. The two Red Lake and one remaining Consort show no signs of life. When scraping the twig, there appears to be no vital inner bark and no cambium. The three were obviously sent to me dead. They were inserted into small clear plastic baggies and mailed during February to Massachusetts in a green plastic bag so there\'s likelihood the little cuttings were subjected to subfreezing temps but the cambium would still be intact - it was missing completely in all three. I\'ve written and requested replacements. I\'ll update once I hear back from them.
On March 21st, 2016, rosepetal2 added the following:

If it were possible to thoroughly damage this company's reputation I would be first in line to do so. They are CHEATERS sending immature often DEAD plants and then requiring the original ship label for return or refund. They know this is not something a vast majority of customers would be able to do. After all, we actually believe their plants will break dormancy and grow weeks later. They shipped to me in early February with no concern over freeze damage. I have filed a complaint with our state attorney general internet fraud unit, noted their name on our state's master gardener website as a vendor to avoid, noted their name on my business gardening website and post here.

Neutral RobertCrandall
Capac, MI
(8 reviews)
March 6, 2016
I consider buying from Burgess like buying from a local big-box store that does not specialize in Plants of any particular kind. I have had some good luck such as the Hanska Plumcot which 2 out 3 lived and are growing nicely. I also have some Hybrid Poplars and Willows which are doing well. I like the prices and variety but don't really expect much. I ordered 8 Kiwis and only received 4 they said I had to mail in the original shipping label. I did and they sent the other 4. When they didn't grow at all, I asked them to replace them but they told me that I had to send the shipping label. When I explained that I already did they told me it was a one-time deal so they would not replace them. I haven't ordered since but I may buy some Yuccas this year. They are inexpensive so if I loose them I am not out much. I am done with any big orders from them though.
Negative scottPi
Milwaukee, WI
(8 reviews)
February 18, 2016
Check out what a group of us on Facebook think of this vendor: []
Negative OS_Fruit_Farm
Zanesville, OH
(3 reviews)
January 29, 2016
I had placed my spring order and we had a hard dry summer. I lost half my order. I requested replacements and they said it was to late to ship for the fall. The next spring got here and still no replacements.
I was told it was over looked, they would ship in the fall. Fall and still no replacements. Farmer Seed & Nursery is also Richard Owen Nursery and Burgess Seed and Plant Co. My total order with the three companies that are one in the same totaled over $600 dollars.
I will never do business with these companies again. I am now turning to our State Attorney General Office for help.
Neutral IttyBittyAcres
Shelbyville, IN
(1 review)
January 22, 2016
I ordered from eburgess spring '15. Not being super smart we just were thrilled by the catalogues with the selection and pricing.
After mulling around we finally ordered 200 privet and 50 poplar trees. It took longer than anticipated for the arrival and eventually received an email stating "delivery in 2 weeks". Low and behold it arrived before their 2 week estimation. At this point we were not ready (no holes dug) because we had 2 weeks. Guess that was our fault. We placed the box in the basement as instructed if we could not immediately plant. We dug our holes that following weekend and got all the privet in and half the poplars.

The privet took and we maybe lost 15% of those. All in all not bad odds. However none of the poplar took. That I am miffed about. I can't say whether the trees were bad or it was the 2 days in my basement that trashed them. As many people experienced, the dead twig look filled me with dread that I had wasted my money. My entire order came in a box that I could carry (12x10x48 ish) was not optimistic my entire order was in there.

Fast forward to Jan '16. We shall see how the privet has dealt with the cold this spring. I can see a few that may have to come out.
I placed another order for seeds this time. Still not shipped. I did just receive an email telling me I had insufficient funds for the order, please place the order again. I did receive an email 2 days ago to tell me my order will be shipped. I used my farm account which has sufficent funds so I am thinking that could not fill my order. Now I am behind on my indoor starts because I am having to reorder (from another vendor now).

I am sad by the negative reviews and wish I had seen them sooner. I however am pleased with my privet, not the trees and obviously annoyed by the seed order. I would order more privet from the company and that's about it. You do get what you pay for but give the twigs some time, maybe you will be surprised...maybe.
Negative Al5843
Neshkoro, WI
(3 reviews)
August 25, 2015
This company shipped us 6 varieties of plants that were dormant in AUGUST!!
Draw you own conclusions: if that's what you like, order from them.
Negative Buck7455
Hudsonville, MI
(1 review)
August 19, 2015
I tried to cancel an order with Burgess and was told that would be no problem. They shipped the order anyway.
Upon returning the order they refused to reimburse my purchase so I had to go through the credit card company to get my money back.
Well, Burgess really knows how to play the credit card system. When they saw I got my entire $257.89 back from them they posted $247.90 to my account - $9.99 less than what they owed me. That triggered a VISA policy that took the $257.89 back from me and left me $9.99 short of a full refund from Burgess.

Burgess is a sham operation set up to collect as much money from people as possible without providing any benefits to the customer at all. They know how to play the system. If you don't want to get screwed over do not do business with this company at all. Those pretty catalogs they send you are just bait for their scam.
Negative Crazysweets
York, ND
(4 reviews)
July 14, 2015
I ordered 6 raspberries, 2 manchurian apricots, 2 juneberries, 2 honey berries from Farmer Seed, aka: Burgess, Richard Owen Nursery on January 22, 2015. I received 2 buffaloberry plants instead of the june berry the middle of May. So I sent in the shipping label right away per their request after I called them to notify them. They said they received it and had it on file numerous times. I planted all the trees immediately. June 1, 2015 I notified them that all there trees except the apricots showed no life and were presumed dead when they arrived. I have written and emailed and each time I get a different story, they are being shipped, no they are not. We don't have your shipping label, yes we do, no we don't. I still have not received any tree replacements or any juneberries. Complete waste of money. Total cost was over $100. Plus I lost out on plants, I could of reordered but had hoped they would honor there guarantee.
Neutral neferset
Rockwood, TN (Zone 7b)
(3 reviews)
June 29, 2015
Understand, I will order again, but there's a way to go about it or wind up disappointed. I have made most of my eBurgess orders through Direct Gardening. I love their prices and availability. For variety, it's hard to beat them unless you're looking for something rare. But, there are some things you have to understand.

Foremost, this is not a Deep South company. Do your home work before you order. Just because they have, say, a blackberry plant, it doesn't mean it will survive the summer sun even if your area has wild black berries. Everbearing strawberries, for instance, were not bred for Florida in August. (I used to live in FL and had a good deal of trouble ordering bareroot plants online and getting them to live before I figured that out.)

Next important thing...they will ship plants as long as your area has no frost and they deem it safe to ship. This does not mean most of the bare roots are safe to break dormancy. Either plan to break dormancy in the house or order very early in the year for shipment at the very beginning of their spring shipping cycle or late for fall shipping. You'll have bad luck if you receive dormant plants in a hot May or June and try to break dormancy outside. A lot of them require a gradual spring to wake up.

None of this applies to the citrus, which is healthy and potted on arrival. (First thing I did after moving away from citrus producing states was buy potted citrus from them.) I have been extremely happy with their citrus, though there are a few minor things. They arrive as incredibly tiny plants. The first ones I ordered looked like seedlings, with no grafts. The Meyer Lemon I got some years later looked like a rooted cutting, again, no grafts.

Perhaps they fruit in one year with optimal growing conditions. The dwarf orange, a calamondin rather than a sweet variety--more on that in a minute, flowered in the 4th year, but was unable to set fruit until the fifth year. The Meyer Lemon flowered and set fruit in the second year. Both plants remained small.

The lime, which is a Bearss or Persian Lime (this from customer service because it wasn't on the sales page) is a source of amusement for me. Though advertised to reach a maximum of two ft in container, I have four times now cut it back to about three feet. It now stands 6'3" from the top of the soil. I have had it for seven years. I am tempted to put weighted Christmas balls on it because I've heard that having the tips bend under the weight of fruit encourages branching. Anything would be better than it getting taller. It has never fruited. All it does is challenge the height of my ceilings when I bring it in for winter.

I spoke to customer service about this plant in 2012 and was told not to increase the size of the pot and not to fertilize. It had been in a two gallon pot for years at that point, so I discontinued fertilizer and cut it back again. I nearly lost it to nitrogen deficiency, so it now lives in a half barrel planter and is well fed. I didn't cut it back in 2014, before the repotting and fertilizer. It spent the winter with the top partially bent due to the ceiling height.

Now, the orange and tangerine they offer. In their defense, they don't say anything about the quality of the fruit made by the dwarf orange, but they do give the scientific name. Citrus x Citrofortunella Mitus is the calamondin orange. I knew them as the orange tree that got sold to tourists for house plants in the days before canker and greening. It's not for fresh eating but it is an absolute gem for cooking. Green, the fruit tastes just like Key Lime. Ripened to orange it's a cooking treat. I use it in Mexican dishes which would use Key Lime and the orange really pops. It's meant for Philippine cooking.

Ad text for the tangerine says "Dancy," but the page has the scientific name "Citrus Reshni Cleopatra." Look it up and you'll find it's a root stock plant. It will bear sour mandarins if it's not used for a rootstock. Most people probably think they want a tangerine to give the kids. This isn't it. I want a couple Cleopatra's myself, for cooking purposes. My original one (along with my first Meyer Lemon) was eaten by a goat.

Misleading ad text aside, it takes a lot of heat hours to produce a sweet orange or mandarin. Growing them in pots and using them as winter house plants probably wouldn't sweeten a Naval or Dancy if I did have them. (Which, if you're not in a citrus producing state, this is how you have to grow them too. If you are in a citrus producing state, they can't ship to you.) But, it would be best to let buyers know what they are buying more clearly. I knew enough to look up scientific names, but the whole Dancy/Cleopatra text...that's just odd.

I haven't tried their 3-in-1 citrus, but would welcome information on it's growth habit and fruit.

I probably would have given them a positive rather than a neutral if they only shipped bare roots at times when it was safe for their plants to break dormancy and if they would clarify the ad text on the citrus. I've always assumed my lime was a freak of nature, but who knows? Everyone's eBurgess Dwarf Lime might be 6'3".
Negative KCW0326
Pleasanton, NE
(1 review)
June 23, 2015
Last year I decided to give Burgess a try because they had the hybrid willows I was looking for. I ordered 20 hybrid willows, 1 Stanley plum/prune, & 8 hostas. When I emailed customer service about my order & told them I had 21 dead trees (I told them the plum looked like a stick with no roots) & 2 live hostas, was told to give the bareroot trees some time & if they didn't grow I would have to return my original packing slip. This spring I sent in the packing list & requested replacements for my trees & 6 hostas. 3 of the 6 hostas grew this time but my trees are still sticks & my 2 hostas that grew last year did not make it through the winter. So to sum up I have received a total of 42 dead sticks & 11 dead hostas. I am no going to waste my time trying to get any replacements. Save your money & time & do not buy from this company!
Positive sullific
West Haven, CT
(2 reviews)
June 23, 2015
Posted on May 6, 2015, updated June 23, 2015
I have not ordered from mail order garden companies in years but this winter was so debilitating and unending that when I received a Burgess catalogue I just had to thumb through it and started mentally checking off unusual things I would like just to feel like I was actually gardening again. In the end I decided to order these plants, none of these varieties of which I have seen around here in the numerous nurseries I frequent. I ordered several shade plants (primroses, hosta, dianthus) and a fruit cocktail tree as well as red daisies, day lilies, yucca, etc. The order came to a bit over $100. I made the order back when the snow was thick on the ground and was rather surprised that they charged my credit card immediately and not on shipment, but that wasn\'t really a problem. I had no trouble getting through to order.
The plants arrived in a bag a few weeks ago, just about when they should have. The bare roots all looked healthy. In the booklet they had a paragraph: Is That Tree Dead or Alive? instructing you to scrape the bark a bit and see if, of course, underneath it was green or brown. My fruit cocktail tree (which was quite thick, unlike the twigs sent by the Arbor Day foks etc which are viable but tiny) was vibrant green underneath. I was able to plant the bare root plants and the tree immediately, but there was a warning not to plant the potted plants (there were about eight small ones) if there was a chance of cold and, Unending Winter, we were expecting temps in the low 30\'s for several nights.
So I put these plants as instructed in the basement.
Meanwhile I noticed that I had received two Stella d\'oros which I hadn\'t ordered and didn\'t receive the hostas. One look at the form explained why: one of them was 7377 and one was 7337 - it was a simple error. In calling I did get a busy signal three or four times, which surprised me, but then got through and I admit I expected to be told they would simply ship the two hostas but was told I had to send back the packing slip. When I protested that this was for the warranty the clerk told me that it would be kept on file once they received it. Also a little surprising- I was starting to think the words \"fly by night\" described the company.
So I mailed it back that day with a note explaining the situation (again). Then I broke my foot. Between that and the ungodly unseasonable cold I didn\'t get the potted plants in the ground for a week and by then the edelweiss was a goner and the three primroses on their way out (the dianthus and other primrose seem to have made it). I figured a week in the basement should not have done the plants in so I attempted to call Burgess but again, busy signal. So I emailed them. I am thus postponing a verdict on their customer service. I fully expect them to send the hostas and replace the other four plants.
As for the plants themselves, outside of those weaklings that didn\'t make it, the others looked pretty healthy, as did two indoor citruses I ordered.

On June 23rd, 2015, sullific changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:


I did email Burgess several times, but did receive the hostas they had mistakenly not sent.

I asked if the edelweiss and plumeria, which were not bare root and had to be held a week due to cold weather here and didn't survive a week in the basement very well, could also be replaced. I said I would take responsibility for the three primrose which while a big ragged were still quite green when planted.

Despite the fact I had my broken foot and could not water the plants (and we were in a drought) - only got out twice to use the hose, and it only rained once, in over a month - the plants were all coming up and doing well, even the fruit cocktail tree which, due to my injury, was now being surrounded by raspberries I hadn't been able to cut back - it had several leafy branches.

Burgess did sent a replacement for the edelweiss and the plumeria,and then I received the primroses, which I had said they didn't need to replace.

It did take a while, but there were no questions asked and no demanding that I send the dead edelweiss (which of course was just a plug of dirt) or anything like that.

When I went to plant the primroses, I discovered that, against all odds and hidden under copious weeds I had not been able to remove, the original plumarias, which my husband sort of half-planted in their already sorry state after that week in the basement, were doing fine.

I do find the length of time it took to replace things inordinate, but I cant complain about the quality or the refund and replacement policy itself. Thus I am changing my neutral review to a positive.
Negative beluga11
Friday Harbor, WA
(1 review)
June 19, 2015
When ordering i always make it a point to ask the vendor to send in early March, which is proper planting time where i live. My Burgess order hadn't arrive ed by April 15, so i wrote them. It's coming they answered. Finally, on May 12 i asked them to cancel my order. They said it was mailed a week ago, which was a lie, because it didn't arrive here until June 1.Some plants were OK, but two of them 2 pawpaws and two oxydendrum looked very dead — no roots, no leaves, no buds, shriveled tips. I wrote Burgess with my invoice #. They insisted I plant the trees and give it 6 weeks. I gave it 3 weeks and when the plants snapped in half with a nudge it was totally obvious they were dead. I wrote Burgess for replacements, an issue I've never had a problem with working with any other vendor. Burgess told me I had to ship back to them both the original invoice and the trees, themselves. I didn't have the original packing anymore. I told them, they had my invoice number, and my name and email linked to that number. So what was the problem? They said they would not replace my plants without the original invoice and plants. I have complained to the Better Biz Bureau, because i feel they use this legal ploy to avoid their own responsibility in sending out live plants, let alone healthy plants.
Company representative comment on June 20, 2015:
On Jun 20, 2015 10:48 AM, Burgess Seed responded with:

Many of our items are shipped bare root and dormant as this allows them to be transplanted with much higher degrees of success. It does not mean they are dead, but since they are dormant, and not leafed out, people unfamiliar with bareroot nursery stock may they mistake them for dead. We suggest soaking in water overnight or for a few hours before planting. Then keep well watered after planting and within 6 weeks of warm weather, the plants should break dormancy and show signs of leaf.

We do have both a refund and a replacement guarantee which is clearly posted online and in our catalog, and we stand behind them. We do not require that you return the dead items when requesting replacement.

A customer care representative has contacted this customer to see if we may be of assistance

Positive vineymaple
Grand Mound, WA
(3 reviews)
June 11, 2015
I ordered about 40 willows and some other small perennials. I would say nearly all of the willows have sprouted and are growing well (maybe there is one that still has not come out yet, but it is still green). Two of the perennials were kind of dry and crisp when they arrived, however I did put them in seeding soil, watered them well, and placed them under a fluorescent for a few weeks and they came back really nice. I was hesitant from the negative reviews on here, but I am pleased overall with the quality and service.
Positive 4RealFood
Mount Orab, OH (Zone 6a)
(7 reviews)
June 11, 2015
I have had nothing but a positive experience ordering from Burgess over the years. The plants do arrive without warning but I am usually chomping at the bit in early spring to get outside and get dirty any way so it's like a pleasant surprise to me.
Some of the plants do arrive small and weak looking but plant them and give them a chance! Have patience! (After all, if you do not have patience, maybe you should pursue another hobby instead of gardening!) Some of the better trees and bushes I have on the property have come from these small, wimpy looking twigs I have gotten.
I have used their plant warranty on several occasions and they have never challenged me on anything, just sent the replacement plants and we tried again.
I have bought from Burgess and other Direct Gardening companies for about 6-7 years now and I will continue to do so.
Negative johnjay
Fallbrook, CA
(1 review)
June 7, 2015
As the majority state, plants arrive in poor state an only about 10% of what I ordered survived and sprouted. Beautiful catalog and great prices (seemed). The reality not so great. Warranty says to send back dead plant and shipping label. Except for the trees, nothing left to send back. I don't want to waste more money on shipping and have the same thing happen again. This was a tough $100 lesson for me. You have no idea when things will show up, for us was the worst time, when we were out of town, 4 different shipments. Seeds may be OK. None of my onion sets sprouted, never happened to me before!
Negative megandbruce
(1 review)
June 5, 2015
On the 1st of April, I ordered a dozen of a new kind of strawberry, called a pineberry. I was unfamiliar with them, and I wanted to try something new. Almost 60 days went by, and repeated emails to Burgess. On June 2nd I received a small plastic bag with the dozen strawberries in it..........10 of which were completely dead. The other 2 I am working on, trying to save them. It isn't so much the poor product. That happens occasionally. It was the attitude I received from the company as I tried to find out where my products were. We plant strawberries here at the end of April. That's why I ordered them at the beginning of April. These that arrived on June 2nd are absolutely no good to me(the 2 that survived). Needless to say, that was my first and only order with Burgess.
Company representative comment on June 7, 2015:
On Jun 7, 2015 12:28 PM, Burgess Seed responded with:

We are sorry to hear of this customers experience as we do take pride in our customer care. A customer care representative has contact this customer for further information. We do have a 1 year replacement guarantee on all of our plants and do hope that the customer takes advantage of this guarantee.

Positive oldfolkie
Rockford, IL
(1 review)
June 2, 2015
It's been years since I have ordered from a mail order company…. bad luck every time. But, I decided to give Burgess a try due to the selection and prices.
The plants arrived a bit later than I expected but in plenty of time to put in the ground. The root plants are excellent and the bulbs are fresh and slightly sprouting - as they should be. The seeds? Well, time will tell, of course.
I'm happy with my shipment and will most likely order from them again and definitely recommend them to my friends.
Positive Carsjuanjose
Des Moines, IA
(1 review)
May 30, 2015
I been buying from this company for over 5 years as their prices are good they do take awhile to ship out but it depends on the type of order you made potted plants tend to take a little bit more but I just got my order and every thing looks green and healthy I will be doing business again next season I order the citrus collection every thing arrive at about a a foot tall as they should be
Positive sveltevictoria78
Medway, MA
(1 review)
May 30, 2015
I found the best way to contact them is through their email. They are courteous and checked on my staus of order. They were running a little behind, but they said they would ship it right out. IT was here in 2 days! My pear tree and rose bushes were soaked, but even dormant show no sign of life remember to do the scratch test right away. My 3 in 1 citrus tree was in beautiful shape and i transplanted to a larger pot..plenty of foliage, my asparagus roots had a tiny bit of mold..just rubbed some off. They are in the ground now and are doing fine. Just remember trees are hard to ship through the mail and do scratch test right away if you wish to go that route and soak in water. Make sure to contact them right away with problems..they resolved mine right away. Better to use email..they are mostly busy on the phone. The seeds are phenomenal and they have been taking care of many generations through their seeds. Please give the seeds a try everyone. Germinate them inside first. Good luck!!!!

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