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The scoop on 'Chalk Hill Clematis'

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  Company Profile  
Chalk Hill Clematis

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1847
Healdsburg, California 95448 (United States)

Phone: (707) 433-8416
Fax: (707) 433-8963

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Recent reviews:
Past month Past 6 Months Past 12 Months
Positive 0 0 0
Neutral 0 0 0
Negative 0 0 0
This company specializes in:

  Editor's Comment:  
Closed Per a note on their website, the nursery and online store were closed in 2008.

  Feedback History and Summary  
20 positives
2 neutrals
5 negatives

Comments:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative LeeAnne151
Portland, OR
(11 reviews)
June 10, 2011
Posted on April 9, 2009, updated June 10, 2011
I purchased six hard to find Clematis when they had a clearance sale since they were closing.

I found their shipping price to be outrageous. The plants were potted into long pots full of gravel that greatly increased the weight. None of the root systems were even half way down the pots and standard four inch pots would have sufficed. Even though the Clematis were on sale for half off, with shipping the price was the same as they are locally in gallon pots.

Two of the six show no growth this spring. All six were less than impressive when received....

If they weren't closed, I would not order again.
On June 10th, 2011, LeeAnne151 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:

Five of the six died!

I have about 70 Clematis in my garden and call the survivor my $80 baby. She is finally of blooming size this year and I hope she is worth it.....
Neutral seagardener
Southport, ME
(32 reviews)
December 31, 2008
According to Chalk Hill's website, this nursery has closed permanently and is no longer accepting orders.
Neutral Kamikid
Thomasville, GA (Zone 8a)
(6 reviews)
September 13, 2008
I am a little concerned about an order that I made on 07/05/2008 for 4 clematis. I called and left a message however I have not received any call or email. My credit card was charged but to date I have nothing. This company has a good record but I am beginning to wonder what is the problem.
On September 24th, 2008, Kamikid added the following:

I received my clematis on Monday and 3 of them look good. The Ivan Olsson is questionable at this point. I have 5 days to notify them and I will do that. My rating will still remain a Neutral.
Positive floweringsteve
Trinity, AL
(1 review)
April 30, 2008
First time to do mail order flowers so I thought I would just try two and see if I liked them. The {carnaby} clematis was beautiful and I liked them so much I decided to get two more. Great selection and nice plants when they arrived. Very happy with company.
Positive cutflowermama
Oakland, CA
(4 reviews)
March 29, 2008
Great packaging, well-established plants. 'Rhapsody' has flower buds & has grown 2' since planted 2 weeks ago. Other varieties were smaller initially, but they have taken off, too. Quick arrival, best selection of clematis around, fair prices.
Positive budster22
Hightstown, NJ
(2 reviews)
April 27, 2007
Received my pink fantasy clematis promptly & shipping pkg was excellent. Healthy strong looking plant. A little disappointed in the root development as a majority of the soil just fell away from the root. Roots did not fill much of the 9"plus container. Have it planted for a week thought & is doing nicely.
Negative stefanimc
Philomath, OR
(1 review)
January 19, 2007
Chalk Hill listed a specific Clematis I was seeking as 'in stock' on their website. Because the cost of shipping 4 plants is very little more than shipping on one plant, I ordered 3 other cultivars online as well. The one I particularly wanted was not sent- they said it was out of stock. Since I ordered from their website, it would appear that the listings are not up to date.

The plants which arrived were very small and poorly rooted. They looked like cuttings that were less than 3 months old and the soil fell away from the roots when I handled the plants.

I contacted the company by email to ask why they listed a plant as in stock on the website, and failed to fulfull the order. I received a stock reply which did not address my complaint, but said that the cultivar would be available at a later date.

I will not order any other plants from Chalk Hill, even though they list some hard-to-find cultivars.

I order plants by mail from several nurseries and have had very positive experiences. I have never received plants so poorly grown as the ones from Chalk Hill.
Company representative comment on January 19, 2007:

On Jan 19, 2007 2:44 PM, Chalk Hill Clematis added:

Dear Customer, I have reviewed your order and notice you ordered 3 plants not the 4 you mentioned and that we decided not to send one of the 3 because we felt that particular variety was not well enough developed to ship. You received an email from us that was not a stock response but one that informed you that severe weather conditions had slowed the development of some of the plants that we expected would be ready. We apolgized to you then for the inconvenience and issued you a credit for the plant and shipping costs. Most of the stock shipped in fall is cut back to the base so the plant will start working to develop its root system in the short period it has before going dormant and not spend its energy trying to grow. The standard for us to ship a plant is to see roots out from the base of the pot which is 9.5 inches deep. Our plants are 2-3 years old not a 3 month old cutting. Depending on the type of clematis the roots may be dark and very fine , or large, white and rope-like. The two varieties we did ship you have the finer roots. So perhaps your expectation was of the other type. We received no phone calls or emails expressing your concerns or dissatisfaction with the plants after you received them in October. We regret that you didn't contact us because you would have found our staff more than happy to talk with you, make note of you concerns and if need be replace the plants if indeed they don't grow well for you next spring. We will extend this courtesy to you now as we do for all of our customers.
Murray Rosen
Manager
Chalk Hill Clematis

Positive charlenenj
Fanwood, NJ
(12 reviews)
October 16, 2006
Great selection of clematis. I ordered a number of them, including Arabella and Ruutel. They arrived looking very healthy. What's nice is that Chalk Hill uses these funky extra long containers. This way, if you want to keep your clem in a container for a while (even a year) the roots won't have plenty of room to spread downward.
Negative leah3
Washington, DC
(1 review)
October 10, 2006
I ordered 6 plants from Chalk Hill last spring. Only 5 arrived, but the packing form said my order was complete. I emailed several times, and was finally told that my remaining plant must be out of stock, and they would send it when it became available. More than two months later the plant still had not arrived. I emailed and asked for a refund. Again, I received no response. I began to email every other week, and it took at least 4 emails to get a response.

Chalk Hill has the worst customer service of any company I've dealt with online. I would not deal with them again.
Company representative comment on October 10, 2006:

On Oct 10, 2006 10:13 AM, Chalk Hill Clematis added:

Dear Leah, We are truly very sorry you are so unhappy with our customer service. All our customers and their opinions are very important to us even when they are not favorable.

Our records show in response to your initial phone call about the back order of the 'Shooun' our office manager contacted you by email on April 24, 2006 within 2 days of your call - "Hi Leah, thanks for your phone call. Yes, 1 - 'Shooun' has been back ordered. It should be ready within 4-6 weeks. We will ship it to you as soon as it is ready. Sorry for the inconvenience." We were still hoping the plant would be ready for shipping later in the spring. Unfortunately, this was not the case and rather than send you a plant that we felt was not ready, a credit was issued to you on June 12, 2006 for the plant and shipping. If a bookkeeping error has occurred and you did not receive this credit please let us know and we will issue a new credit immediately. Again, we are very sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your comments.

Sincerely,
Murray Rosen
Manager
Chalk Hill Clematis

Positive gordo
Gulfport, FL (Zone 9b)
(14 reviews)
September 26, 2006
I ordered seven Clematis from Chalk Hill, because their selection was superb. I wanted to get them ASAP, made a note of it on the order form and was really surprised when they contacted me to say they would have them out to me in September.

When one of the plants became unavailable, I was informed immediately and my card was credited.

They arrived today, beautifuly packaged and in great looking, tall gallons. They were of good size and look healthy. I would not hesitate to order from them again and recommend Chalk Hill to anyone interested in hard to find Clematis varieties.

My only suggestion would be that they switch to Priority Mail for shipping. They are currently using UPS ground. Plants shipped from the West coast to Florida can take up to 7 days or more, and this is extremely stressful to plants. Sometimes, plants are thoroughly cooked when they arrive. With Priority Mail, plants arrive from the coast in three days.
Although my plants made it through, they look more stressed than they might have been if their trip was shortened by four days.

All in all...buy from Chalk Hill without reservation.
Positive peonymaniac
Berkeley, CA
(3 reviews)
May 21, 2006
My recent order included some typical large-flowered cultivars, which were well-rooted and had lots of top growth, and a new species, C. chiiasenensis 'Lemon Bells.' I was concerned about the size of the latter, called the nursery, and they said they'd replace it if it failed to thrive. In a few weeks that species took off and now reaches the eaves of my kitchen door! With their recent price reductions and extensive selection, this has proven to be the best place for clematis plants anywhere I've found.
Positive fwolfe
Wichita, KS
(3 reviews)
May 5, 2006
Plants arrived on time. Very healthy and well-packed.
Positive simkodam
Stockton, CA
(1 review)
December 8, 2005
A few years ago, I ventured into clematis and bought my initial ones from Chalk Hill Clematis. I have bought several more over the various years and the plants always arrive healthy and are a good size. Murray the nursery manager has been an enthusiastic advisor to me in my learning process. I have found the nursery to stand behind its products 100%. At this point, if I am interested in seeing a picture of a specific variety or trying it out, I go to their excellent website and find the plant more often than not!
Positive SeattleSuze
Renton, WA
(5 reviews)
April 17, 2005
My favorite nursery for clematis! Large, healthy, strong woody plants with well-developed root systems and green tops to match. Superb packaging of top-notch material. Plants were shipped quickly and service was excellent. I'll be back.
Positive renojean
Reno, NV (Zone 6a)
(2 reviews)
April 14, 2005
I received my two clematis today. They arrived beautifully packed showing no signs of stress. They are small plants but have good strong roots and I am sure they will do quite well once established.
Positive Cloisters
New Bern, NC
(15 reviews)
April 8, 2005
I've just received my first clematis from Chalk Hill. Really very nice plants -- full, robust top growth & good root systems. Very carefully packed.

These plants are FAR superior to clems also just received (at far greater overall cost) from another West Coast supplier. Will definitely order again from Chalk Hill.
Positive doss
Stanford, CA (Zone 9b)
(39 reviews)
November 1, 2004
A great selection, swift mailing, good packaging, good plants. Opening the box was pure joy. I have never received such beautiful plants through the mail and they arrived right away. The plants were well hardened - lots of woody growth. I have found that this is the key to planting Clematis, in addition to the plants not being too big (larger than a gallon). This way I don't get wilt and they can stand transplant. The new Clematis are in the ground now and doing fine. I will order from Chalk Hill Again.
Positive tamarava
Chesapeake, VA
(13 reviews)
June 14, 2004
This is a nursery who cares about their plants.My first order with them was last spring.Received huge.healthy plants and even help on a problem I was having with one due to my own care.I recommend them highly.
Positive Meelickmusic
(4 reviews)
April 21, 2004
I ordered about 15 plants last year and every one has come back strong and healthy.
Positive MrBoo
(3 reviews)
March 24, 2004
I ordered 2 clems in October and received them promptly. The plants were exceptionally well packaged. The root systems of the plants were large and nearly filled the pots. They both began to grow as soon as they were planted, although it was October, when clematis don't usually grow much. Now in March, they are both growing rapidly and look very healthy. The best thing about this company is the size of the plants. I have paid exactly the same price for Clematis from a well known CT mail order nursery that were approximately 1/10 the size of what I got from Chalk Hill. Although the CT clems have grown and are healthy, the Chalk Hill ones are so much bigger!
On June 17th, 2004, MrBoo added the following:

I ordered from them again this spring. The plants were once again large, healthy, and well-packed. Several months on, they are growing well and have bloomed.
Positive KarenFisk
(3 reviews)
March 12, 2004
When I discovered Chalk Hill Clematis it was the answer to a prayer. They have unusual and unique varieties, and despite the cost of the shipping (California to Michigan) it is worth every penny. The plants are mature, healthy, and packed so securely that I find myself mumbling with irritation trying to get them free of their containers with arthritic fingers, but grateful at the same time they weren't damaged during shipping. I have more than 80 clematis in my yard, and all recent ones have been ordered from Chalk Hill. I have received via email the answers to all of my questions and inquiries very promptly and thoroughly. Yes, I have lost a few plants, but they were replaced without question, even though I did not request replacement, feeling that the harsh Michigan winter was a contributing factor. I wish I had stock in this company - I have that much confidence in these people. A side note: Chalk Hill is apparently in the process of working out a way to ship in a lighter medium so the shipping costs aren't so high. I don't know much about it yet, but this is a good example of their efforts to always improve and better serve the customer.
Negative StacyInAustinTX
Pasadena, CA
(2 reviews)
February 6, 2004
I think this company has a fantastic catalog, and the most outstanding shipping I've seen yet in mail order plants.

My complaint about them relates to customer service.

I ordered two vines this past fall and received them both. However, one was a sickly yellow color. I quickly notified the company, yet surprisingly, I never heard from them. I told them I was willing to wait to see if the plant rebounded in the spring (it did faster than that). Nonetheless, I was unhappy that I never received any follow-up, even though I contacted them more than once about this issue. They could have saved me some anxiety.
Company representative comment on February 16, 2004:
We have contacted Stacy directly the day we were made aware of her comments and informed her that we have searched our email archives and phone logs over the last year and found only one contact from her other than her order. This was regarding a plant change in her order which was handled promptly. We have offered a sincere apology for any inconvenience or anxiety she may have felt about her plant. Had we received Stacy's message about her plant having yellow foliage we would have told her that the lower than normal fall temperatures (the plants were shipped in October) affected the foliage of this variety but that the plant was perfectly healthy. Plants shipped in fall can have brown crispy or yellow foliage as a natural response to cooler fall temperatures.

Chalk Hill Clematis
Negative LauraLeaZone5
(2 reviews)
August 7, 2003
The good: Large selection of many harder to find clematis, good root systems, excellent packaging.

The bad: Sent me 2 plants covered in mildew with a note to tell me they had just been sprayed, all 3 plants I ordered had very few stems and little top growth (apparently they cut the plants down prior to shipping).

The just plain awful: Customer Service was worst I've ever experienced from a mail-order nursery. When I emailed the company to ask about the mildew, the manager sent an extremely rude reply and suggested my expectations were just "too high." When I expressed my concern about the mildew and asked how to handle it, rather than answer my questions, I received a very curt email informing me that UPS would come by to pick up my plants & I'd be issued a refund. I didn't ask to for a refund, I just wanted some assistance & information. Apparently this offended the manager and he wanted to be done with me.

There are several nurseries on the web that sell plants of better quality AND have top-notch customer service to boot. Any company that treats it's customers as an inconvenience is not one I would order from again.
Company representative comment on August 11, 2003:
Chalk Hill Clematis is sorry that Laura has apparently had such an unhappy experience. However, after a careful review of her email contacts with our nursery manager, in our view she has misrepresented her contact with Chalk Hill. The responses to her questions were informative, courteous, fair and professional. The manager responded promptly in a reassuring way and in detail. The mildew on the foliage had been treated before the plants were shipped. The plants were indeed healthy and the new foliage should come out clean. In addition, a great deal more information was sent about clematis in general as far as understanding that the roots are 99% of the plant and not to place too much emphasis on the foliage at this early stage etc.

Apparently the advice of our manager, an internationally respected clematis grower and lecturer, did not satisfy Laura. She responded in an incredulous tone with another long list of questions, still questioning the health of the plants. Since she was not convinced of the health of the plants and this seemed to be her primary concern and the other questions secondary the manager offered to refund her money and arrange to have the plants returned to Chalk Hill. As of this date, it appears that Laura has refused our offer and decided to keep the plants although this offer still stands. In fact, if Laura keeps our clematis and plants them, we will extend our refund guarantee for a year because we are so certain of the health of the plants we shipped.

No company likes to have an unhappy customer especially one like Chalk Hill that prides itself on good customer service. We will always go the extra mile to satisfy our customers. Laura's issues were not complicated and could and should have been resolved without dispute. The fact that they were not we feel is something Laura will need to examine.

Chalk Hill Clematis
Positive nevadagdn
Sparks, NV (Zone 7a)
(117 reviews)
May 2, 2003
WOW! I placed an order for two clematis. The total cost, including shipping, was $44.00 (I ordered two of the plants on special, and I live only about 350 miles away from the nursery). A week later, I wrestled a huge, heavy package through the house on to my patio, and was very pleased to discover two well-packed, healthy, TWO GALLON clematises with just the right amount of top growth. This company provides excellent plants and excellent value for the money. As soon as I find places to put more plants, I'll order again.
On June 1st, 2003, nevadagdn added the following:

The two clematis I purchased are more than healthy. Rampant is the word that comes to mind.
On March 24th, 2004, nevadagdn added the following:

Both plants made it through a long, cold, dry winter, and are now hell-bent on strangling the Virginia Creeper which also adorns parts of my fence. This is good.
On April 25th, 2008, nevadagdn added the following:

I ordered 4 plants this year. I was a little apprehensive, because I knew that Chalk Hill no longer shipped 2-gallon plants, but shipped 2-quart plants instead. I shouldn't have worried. The wrestling of packages was considerably less, planting will be considerably easier, AND the plants are large and healthy.
On April 25th, 2008, nevadagdn added the following:

I ordered 4 plants this year. I was a little apprehensive, because I knew that Chalk Hill no longer shipped 2-gallon plants, but shipped 2-quart plants instead. I shouldn't have worried. The wrestling of packages was considerably less, planting will be considerably easier, AND the plants are large and healthy.
Positive ASnows
(2 reviews)
April 26, 2003
This company is A#1! Their merchandise is exotic, yet not wildly expensive. Their shipping is superlative, thick peat pots, thick boxes, the plants braced by large braces of wood. The plants arrive very alive and I have never seen one smaller than 6 inches in height.

Every clematis I have ordered from them is alive and thriving. They have not all bloomed - one remains, but the others have put out from 2 - 25 flowers of exquisite color.
Positive ElizabethN
(9 reviews)
March 9, 2003
I ordered twelve clematis from them last fall. They were all strong and healthy when they arrived and are establishing well now.
Positive jeanmayberry
(2 reviews)
August 1, 2001
I've bought clematis from these folks and they are marvelous. The plants are in great shape, they arrive when they say they are going to arrive, and they are in fiber pots so you don't have to disturb the roots. Just plant them pot and all. My clematis are two years old now and I couldn't be happier.

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