DaveH San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) (29 reviews) June 3, 2007
Last week I ordered a water lily and a pond marginal plant from the Van Ness web site. The package arrived in 2 days, and both plants were in fine shape. I've ordered from them in the past, and have been pleased with their plants and service.
The water lilies arrived slimy and just about rotten in the package. The leaves were about 1/6th the size of those on plants I had received several days earlier from another vendor. The roots were about 1/3 the size of those. They then suffered the indignity of sitting in a PO Box for a week. This address was given as billing address. Shipping physical address was given on order.Both addresses printed on label, and someone physically marked through street address in order to send this to a PO BOX. When I called to arrange return of plants, the person identiying herself as owner was defensive and rude. Regarding the garbled shipping, whe said "well, you did not specify". WHY do they call that portion of thier order form "SHIPPING ADDRESS"??? (PO Address was for billing). They did, after most unpleasant interchange on the phone, refund the charge. I am most unhappy about being delayed in locating and getting the plants that I need for my water garden.
I have been purchasing water lilies, bog plants, and other water garden supplies from Van Ness Water Gardens since 1973. In my estimation this firm sets the standard for excellence of product and service.
In all the years of working with VNWG their product delivery was always extremely prompt and I never lost a single plant which they shipped.
I have used both their print catalogue and the web site catalogue--their service with both of them is wonderful.
Ambrose Lindsay, La Quinta, CA
ma_bear Big Bear Lake, CA (1 review) March 13, 2005
Van Ness gave us a lot of time and valuable information when we first set up our pond 6 years ago. Since that time I have sent emails when I needed advice and they were politely answered. Since we live a distance from the site, I order often from them over the internet. My items are always sent very quickly and the orders have always been correct. I know there are places that may have some things cheaper, but their products are top quality and you get what you pay for.
My wife was interested in doing a back yard water garden, like one she did as a little child. She called NVWG and consulted on all the supplies required. They had a wonderful selection, and helpful (although contradictory) people on the phone, was told to wait til May to avoid a chance of cold weather. They took the order and they said they would ship later.
One box arrived, on time, with plants, fertilizer, snails, and pots. Box with liner was sent by separate courier (ground), would take three or four more days to arrive. We called to ask if the plants could wait, (they couldn't) asked them to have courier return the liner to them (no good to us if we need to get everything else planted today)and credit us, and we would buy the liner elsewhere so we could plant.
We were told we were being difficult, and never to order from them again. It was a shame, the phone and order people were very helpful and friendly. Why wouldn't they ship the heavy, non-perishable stuff when she placed the order, and then expedite the plants later?
When faced with an opportuntity to make a customer for life with a simple apology, they prefered to insult my wife and hang up. Oh, and the person on the phone claimed to be the owner.
My suggestion, they had a wonderful catalog, and knowledgable people, and good service (except for not shipping our pond liner in time). But if you require any support beyond the basic order/delivery, think carefully. Also ,if your order requires timing, be very clear about how you want it handled.
If I received an apology for the way the company/owner treated my wife, I'd be a return customer.
Kelli L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) (13 reviews) March 17, 2003
I have been to this place in person and never ordered by mail order. It takes an hour to drive there from where we live but they have much better selection than stores that are closer. They sell plants, fish, snails, and various pond supplies.