I was nervous about dealing with Chris Bowers after seeing negative comments on this website. I decided to give them a go, and placed an order over the Internet for fruit bushes and rhubarb crowns. The order was placed on Wednesday evening and arrived the following Monday morning. It was well packed and the plants look like good quality. Chris Bowers is not the cheapest supplier, but with service like this I will do business with them again.
rhogarden Watton United Kingdom (1 review) November 8, 2014
I placed an order by telephone in early October for fruit trees, Immediate delivery was offered but I asked for a 2 week delay as the holes were not even dug. Recently after over 3 weeks had passed and nothing received I started telephoning but no answer so I also sent an Email asking if they were on holiday or no longer in business, again no reply! Through searching the web i found several companies ascociated with the bower name and the same postcodes so I phoned one of the other numbers, wow an answer BUT very offish, claimed to know nothing about other companies but maybe he could do something for me. Later that same day I received this increadable Email :-
You it was that asked for your order to be delayed. If you had not done so it would have been received before now. Your order had entered despatch for delivery in the next few days but I disapprove strongly of your 'tone' comments and actions. As a result your order has been cancelled and a refund made to your account.
Needless to say I have reported them to trading standards and my credit card company, my advice to anybody reading this is do not deal with any company where any of the people concerned have the name bowers and is situated in Norfolk.
I am placing my order elsewhere and wish I had in the first place, a month lost and an extremely nasty experience.
gattonero London United Kingdom (1 review) August 29, 2014
Posted on January 24, 2011, updated August 29, 2014
Posted on December 4, 2009, updated January 24, 2011
I received a small part of my order last spring. I waited and waited for my alpine strawberry plants to arrive - but they never did. Chris Bowers took the money from my credit card in May but never sent an invoice, a credit card receipt or even an acknowledgment of my order. Without this documentation, the credit card company can\'t help to get a refund. I have emailed and called often and only occasionally was able to speak to anyone. I asked for a refund in October and one person said yes - but I never received the refund. The last time I was able to get through by phone, I explained the situation and once I had stopped speaking, the person said they couldn\'t hear me! It is now December and I have not received my refund. I have now taken advice from Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506. On January 24th, 2011, gattonero added the following:
I check back occasionally and am always shocked that this kind of thing is still going on. I can only recommend that you contact the Trading Standards Officer at Norfolk County Council on 08454 04 05 06. They will help you.On August 29th, 2014, gattonero changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I was completly wrong. Chris Bowers took the time to get me the shrubs I needed to make my garden a masterpeice. I dont think Ill be able to shop anywhere else. Thank you Chris Bowers from the bottom of my heart
enead exeter United Kingdom (1 review) May 24, 2014
very poor customer service - rude and offhand response on phone, no paperwork for order. Order (strawberry plants) didn't arrive at stated time and had to be chased up and plants of very poor quality when received despite high price compared to other suppliers. Polite and constructive letter sent to them detailing problems with both service and plant quality - received dismissive and evasive email reply answering none of my points.
antique1991 inverness United Kingdom (1 review) April 12, 2014
I ordered 6 fruit bushes which were very expensive (compared to other nurseries). They arrived in 3" pots and looked weedy to say the least. When I phoned up to voice my concerns the man was extremely rude and abusive and said 'you don't know what you are talking about'. One of the bluberry bushes in this delivery was £21.95, poor plants and appalling customer service.
I did manage to get my money back 6 days after they received the plants.
Mayfly1961 Harrogate United Kingdom (1 review) January 27, 2014
I bought some trees and fruit bushes some years ago from this company- the so called fully trained fan plum was shocking- consisting of 4 branches only, two of them broken. Packing was poor just sent in a brown paper sack which had come adrift. Compared to others such as Deacons and the old Highfield Nurseries in Gloucestershire the packing was dreadful. A red currant meant to be trained on a leg was a stooled plant - poor.
lurchy Derby United Kingdom (1 review) January 16, 2014
This is the second time we've been disatisfied with Chris Bowers, the first was when we ordered some strawberries off them and some were of very poor quality and didn't survive.We tried to complain but were fobbed off and not offered replacements.We vowed never to use them again but my husband wanted a particular variety of raspberry off them so we thought we'd give them another chance.We ordered some from Chris Bowers and some of a different variety from the RHS who's were far superior.I ordered a rhubarb crown which came in the tiniest of pots and should bear us fruit in about 5 years time if we're lucky, it cost £6.95 so not cheap and I was very disappointed.We decided not to quibble about it as the first time was bad enough, needless to say we have now learned our lesson and will not be buying off Chris Bowers again under any circumstances.
SUTTY61 crewe United Kingdom (1 review) August 28, 2013
Posted on August 28, 2013, updated August 28, 2013
Posted on August 28, 2013, updated August 28, 2013
i ordered a cherry tree over the phone on the 14th August and was told that i would receive the tree early the following week. a week went by and no tree or card from anyone to say they had tried to deliver. Emailed them on the 23rd to let them know that i hadn't received the tree and was told on the 27th that the tree had been delivered on the 15th and had been left in my porch - i explained that i wasn't in on the 15th and i did not have a porch so driver must have left it on the front - my reply was that he wouldn't have left it without it being somewhere safe. Have sent photo of house and asked where this safe place is as i can't find it and i still have no tree - so far no response so i can only assume that as far as they're concerned its been delivered so tough i've lost £30.
Avoid using as very unhelpful On August 28th, 2013, SUTTY61 added the following:
update on Chris Bowers
this is email received back when asked for refund as delivered to non existant porch and i jhadn't received my order -
"We only have to ask City Link for the signature Ė there will be one, whether itís yours, neighbour or the driver to say it was left on your premises, there will be one. That is why the online tracking [which presumably you have looked at] says it was delivered. That is the whole point of having a trackable service. There is no way we would receive recompense from City Link under these circumstances."
So basically what they're saying is the courier can leave your parcel anywhere, fake anyone's signature and as far as they're concerned you've received it!!!
Great customer service - NOT
DON'T BUY FROM THEM THEY LET DRIVERS LEAVE PARCELS WITHOUT YOU BEING AT HOME AND THEN WONT DO NOTHING ABOUT IT WHEN YOU DON'T RECEIVED ITOn August 28th, 2013, SUTTY61 added the following:
final email from chris bower after i sent this email:
so what you're saying is the driver can put anything - like leaving in a porch that doesn't exist and add a signature and as far as you're concerned its delivered.
I will be taking this matter further as thats not good enough the driver could have left it anywhere
chris bowers reply:
"So really then, if youíre attitude was shared by everyone there can never be actual proof of delivery then, can there. It displays a depressing lack of scruples on your part that you really donít care whether the parcel was left or stolen from your premises or not, you donít care who pays just so long as it isnít you.I can tell you there would not be another company on this earth that would recompense you under these circumstances. But I am going to because I think the level of correspondence generated here and the growing animosity doesnít justify the end.Your attitude that Ďthe firm can always afford ití stinks frankly.
rovis99 mancgester Bolivia (1 review) August 21, 2013
Ordered a 7ft Tree from this company to have 2 twigs delivered scattered with a few leaves.....very disappointed so phoned them to complain. Surprisingly they answered but now I wished they hadn't, the very rude man on the phone tried to make out it was my fault the tree wasn't as I thought & i couldn't possible have bought a 7ft tree for the price I did. Strange how I've managed to buy the same tree at 6 1/2ft for less, the difference being the more reputable company has grown the tree from scratch and its got a lovely straight stem with a perfectly shaped top!!
AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS, EXTREMLY RUDE, UNHELPFUL AND DOWN RIGHT AGGRESIVE.........SPEACHLESS THEY ARE STILL TRADING!!!!!
lesloths Letchworth Garden City United Kingdom (1 review) January 2, 2013
In February 2012 we bought 3 fruit trees - "espalier -selected trees for training" -2 pears and 1 greengage. These were more expensive than many of the other options advertised - curiously the website does not explain the ages of the trees on offer. Three rather small trees arrived in a reinforced paper sack with no obvious sign of how they were more suited for training than maiden trees. Then we waited 3 months before any leaves appeared - worse then waiting for the kettle to boil! We called the nursery three or four times and could never talk to anyone other than the office staff who presented a variety of rebuttals that felt like well practiced fob offs: "wait a bit longer" / "have you watered them enough" /"did you think about getting the right varieties for cross pollination?" - hardly the issue as no leaves had yet appeared! We did explain that we had a small orchard already and that we were experienced gardeners but this was not really listened to. Later in the summer the Old Greengage died. Having called so many times and been fobbed off we did not have the energy to complain. The two pear trees seem to have survived but we have little faith of a successful future for them as they do not appear to be very healthy and have hardly grown. It just goes to show - experienced gardeners or not - you can learn lessons. The HDRA's view was that the trees had not been over-wintered sufficiently. The RHS's view was that you should only buy trees from a reputable nursery and ideally see the trees first - Chris Bowers is not on the RHS's list. This company should be avoided.
greensleeves1 Guernsey United Kingdom (1 review) December 4, 2012
Posted on November 28, 2012, updated December 4, 2012
I wanted to do an order for fruit trees and I came up against 'John' at Chris Bowers Nursery. The rudest most unpleasant man I have ever dealt with by email. Wouldn't answer my questions and ended up insulting me - I wanted to give him about £600 of business, so more fool him! I have ordered from another nursery who were helpful and friendlyOn December 4th, 2012, greensleeves1 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
A shame, really, as the choice looked good and the website well put together. Maybe I got him on a bad day!
louisedunn82 london United Kingdom (3 reviews) December 2, 2012
Posted on June 23, 2012, updated December 2, 2012
I ordered my Gooseberrys just before the bad snowy spell in february. Could not plant them for a month so didnt hold out much hope. They have surprisingly grown really well and I now see i even have several gooseberries coming on them. So they are definitely good stock and I would use this company again. On December 2nd, 2012, louisedunn82 added the following:
I have always found them a very pleasant company to deal with; just recieved another order in double quick time, very satisfactory.
I'm still waiting for trees from another firm, some weeks later.
Excellent stock and excellent service. No complaints.
hansolo devon United Kingdom (1 review) September 10, 2012
I am indebted to this company for 'saving' a precious apple tree planted by my father many years ago.
Forced to move, the tree was far too old to come with me and as it had many precious sentimental meomories I was desperate to keep it. Despite contacting many nurseries Chris Bowers was the only one who would help me. They successfully grafted a new tree from my old one, onto a convenient dwarf rootstock, and within 2 years I had a lovely little replica of that same precious tree. The price they charged was so modest I cannot believe they made a profit out of it; I really do think they just wanted to help.
007matty wales United Kingdom (1 review) August 16, 2012
It's awhile ago now but I guess it still counts ....... bought 3 of their miniature M27 apple trees from this company 5 yrs ago for my patio. Kept them in big pots and I have been astounded at the crops. I must have had ibs of good big fruit. Definitely a good buy.
lucindalou derby United Kingdom (1 review) August 4, 2012
We planted a new fruit garden last winter. The conditions here are difficult - high up, with poor, stony ground. Chris Bowers gave us a lot of advice regarding planting and variety selection and we were able to order and plant with more confidence.
I am delighted to say all the stock is flourishing - the strawberries arrived last, and in pots, and have already given us some good fruit. The currants also have berries, and the raspberries and tayberry have established well too. It all looks so healthy and there have been no losses, and promises much. We are indebted to this company for giving such sound advice and them time they were willing to spend helphing us out as I doubt we would have achieved such results without their help.
punchandjudy glasgow United Kingdom (1 review) July 19, 2012
An excellent buying experience; their plants and trees weren't cheap but the range they offer is easily the best and we got all that we wanted for our new fruit garden in one transaction.
The stock arrived quickly and all has established well despite a difficult year. We already have some fruits to sample in this, there first year and all appears to be true to type.
We were also grateful for the very informative cultural book which came with the stock and told us what to do with it all.
meandim09 Birmingham United Kingdom (4 reviews) July 14, 2012
Posted on June 20, 2012, updated July 14, 2012
Posted on March 17, 2010, updated June 20, 2012
They advised and 'designed' our orchard and their advise was really good, it's very productive and all we could wish for. Trees very healthy and more fruit than we can handle. No complaints at all. On June 21st, 2012, meandim09 added the following:
3 fruit trees arrived within 2 days looking really healthy and look as if they had always been in my garden. I'm delighted. On July 14th, 2012, meandim09 added the following:
We ordered a 'Jubilee' Plum tree as a gift to a friend who reported that it arrived in perfect order and on the day requested. It is now settling happily.
Another excellent transaction.
This March, to get all the varieties of fruit tree I wanted I placed two orders - one from this company and one from the other 'famous' fruit tree nursery in Essex.
The trees from Chris Bowers arrived within 3 DAYS - and 6 weeks later I was still awaiting the delivery from Essex ..... when I telephoned them they said they were waiting for 'more to come in'.
Enough said I think.
My father [who is a much better gardener than I] always swears by this Nursery for his Raspberry canes so when I planted a new bed I bought the canes from Chris Bowers. They are now taller than [I!!] and full of health.
Extensive range of orchard fruits and bush fruits planted from C Bowers this winter. All established well and are healthy. A1 service and stock; very satisfied!
ericburton edinburgh United Kingdom (1 review) June 22, 2012
I telephoned the Bowers office on Monday pm and spoke to a charming lady who had the time to talk me through planting fruit plants [I'm not an expert] and she seemed to know her subject well and I duly ordered through her.
The box arrived today and I could hardly believe it, so speedy and nice healthy looking shrubs. If I had read some of the comments here beforehand I might not have ordered but I'm glad I did.
I'm just starting a fruit cage with lots of currants, raspberry and gooseberries - looking forward to making jams and pies and filling the freezer to keep the missus quiet! I'm probably the only person hoping it keeps raining so i don't have to water them too much....
Very rude and insulting to deal with. My order was not despatched, on enquiry it was claimed that part of my payment details were missing - even though I had received a full order acknowledgement and the card had been charged! The strawberries were out of stock - although there was no mention of this on the order page of the website, and they appeared as if in stock on the order acknowledgement. Finally the goods arrived (minus the strawberries), but broken, dry at the root, and not cordons as ordered - just bush forms. Every contact with the company has been difficult (no-one to answer the phone) and distressing (they are rude and say that you are the one at fault for not knowing how to grow soft fruit.) I can't say strongly enough that no-one should give money to this company. It is unbelievable that they can stay in business when they treat their customers so very badly. I have asked for a refund three times for the canes which were dead on arrival (and never revived) and I am now putting the matter in the hands of my solicitor. The whole experience has been awful.
walsdos Milton Keynes United Kingdom (1 review) November 1, 2011
They are still at it. Chris Bowers' service can be stressful, unfriendly & plain rude.
My polite & apologetic request to cancel an order for a birthday gift due to it being accidentally replicated was met with an aggressive response - a rant about my not caring about their business and why not cancel the other order instead.
I was told I'd have to put my request in writing to the person I was speaking to, who sounded senior. The addressee's name I was given later turned out to be one that other employees had never heard of; I wonder if the person on the phone wanted to conceal his identity?
I had to pursue my request with several phone calls - often the phone was unanswered in trading hours, as others have found.
I was told I'd receive a refund within 28 days, according to the letter of the law.
My card had been debited immediately I placed the order despite plants not being despatched for at least another 6 weeks.
It took 16 days to have my money refunded; even then I had to mention the prospect of reporting the incident to Trading Standards.
stuartznn3 Taunton United Kingdom (1 review) August 2, 2011
The problem with this company is not necessarily with their plants, some of which I have had and most of which have performed really well (e.g. Early Transparant Gage has been outstanding this year - our guests have stripped the tree!). The issues I have with them are (1) plant provenance and labelling, and (2) customer service.
To demonstrate the first point just visit their website now and have a look at their Cox's Emperor plum. Then go to the National Fruit Collection's site (or Google) and you'll find the fruit they describe (yellow and dessert) is at odds with everyone else (red and culinary). I mention this because I have a Chris Bowers Cox's Emperor which has just fruited and it is clearly either a Cambridge or old greengage!
My adventures with Chris Bowers started some time ago when I ordered, inter alia, some Karaka Black blackberries. The plants turned out to be unknown woody shrubs which, to be fair to Bowers, they replaced. (I'm not yet certain that the replacements are Karaka Black!)
But my biggest disappointment was this spring when two named sweet chestnut cultivars turned out to be some unknown (as yet) prunus species (i.e. deep pink flowers) - well, they both have serrated leaves, don't they! And this brings me to my second complaint about this firm: I carefully photographed the prunus and posted them off: I have received no response and I'm not even going to bother complaining about my Cox's Emperor. I've scrubbed Bowers from my list of trusted suppliers.
What gets to me most is that we, as keen gardeners and plants(wo)men (whose time is running out), have to wait three or four years to discover that we've been sold a pup.
I won't bore you with the treatment my wife received over a botched order for strawberries from this company.
DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY (AND THE MANY OTHER NAMES IT TRADES UNDER) - always check the address.
I purchased strawberries from them. They lifted the payment immediately. That was in November 2010. Come late spring 2011 - nothing arrived. Contacted the company by email and received several aggressive, rude and threating emails. The customer service is a disaster. I had to fight to get my money back and begin legal action to recover. I totally agree with the negative comments.
They even told be that another company was putting comments on this site (and other sites) to steal their business away. What total rubbish! I live in Northern Ireland - not - Norwich/Norfolk England. TAKE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM -YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!
PS Today (27th July 2011) a brother (another Bower) has sent me a glossy catalogue - selling flowers - from the same address - what me to buy? - DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on July 7, 2011, updated July 8, 2011
Posted on May 4, 2011, updated July 7, 2011
What a shocking company. I ordered soft fruit plants and paid over the odds, oh yes they have a glossy web site so I assumed that all would be well. The plants arrived yesterday and are all in a shocking condition, dead, very dry or slimy.
Ok mail delays happen so I contacted the company. I have never dealt with such appalling customer service. No apology but also rudeness and an implication that I had the plants and wanted my money back as well. I am so shocked.
I have been told by e mail that a refund has been processed. I hold my breath after reading the other negative comments but I have the e mail and will go through my very helpful credit card co if need be. This customer is like a terrier with a bone
Does anyone have the contact for the MD as I am sure Ihe/she would like to know how their customer service people deal with customersOn July 7th, 2011, snip1 added the following:
8th july now and I am STILL WAITING for strawberries ordered last november. They do not respond and they have my money for this item. They will not get away with this. AVOID this companyOn July 8th, 2011, snip1 added the following:
I have been looking things up and will now go to trading standards via consumer direct. I am sure they will take things up with this company, who advertise under a myriad of different names
MalcyG Kettering United Kingdom (1 review) May 10, 2011
Very, very poor communications, didn't respond to emails, very difficult to contact by phone and when this was achieved couldn't or wouldn't answer questions, all faults were mine not theirs. Spent over £230 with them, eventually got all the plants (after 5 months) money out in 3 days!! Bought lot of soft fruit including Tayberry and 2 blackberry - all priced the same but varying tremendously in size of plant, one in 9cm sq pot, one in 9cm round and one in 2 litre pot - which is what I would have expected them all in. Original delivery of raspberries was 5 short of one variety when I finally got through to them it was my fault because all the rest that I had ordered were in 5's! Finally called at the nursey and what an eye opener that was! I've been in professional horticulture all my working life and have never seen such a run down, disorganised, tatty nursery in my life. DO NOT DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE
Skippingsheep Folkestone United Kingdom (1 review) December 11, 2010
Don't be fooled by the glossy brochure into thinking this company will be helpful and efficient - it most certainly IS NOT! When my plants failed to arrive I telephoned the company a number of times over several weeks to try to resolve the problem. I experienced inefficiency and indifference at best to very unpleasant insults and false accusations at worst. I asked to speak to the person in charge and was told in no uncertain manner that I could not. I was accused a number of times of lying in an attempt to get extra plants free and of not bothering to respond to a courier's card - all totally untrue - and then told to take my business elsewhere and the phone was put down on me. The whole experience was very distressing and totally unbelievable - certainly not the apology that was called for! Surprisingly, my plants did eventually arrive several days later.
Mrandmrsgood Buckinghamshire United Kingdom (1 review) October 19, 2010
Like a number of other customers it seems I have been taken advantage of. I ordered some fruit bushes but they did not arrive. I have rung and rung and emailed Chris Bowers but no response. Judging from other people's experiences this looks like incompetence or plain theft! I live too far away from the company to make driving over there worthwhile even if I had the time. £30 for nothing is easy money! Has anyone out there bothered taking legal action? Otherwise, someone else out there will be sending another £30 on its one-way trip...
Captain2 London United Kingdom (1 review) September 2, 2010
PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY
I have never experienced such a rude and agressive service from any company. John Percy dealt with my simple complaint which was that I had ordered trees but the incorrect variety had been sent. I was accused of lying, of cheating and coning his company. I never asked for a cash refund just that the correct trees be sent as advertised but was accused of demanding money with menace. I only calmed down after reading the negative reviews on this site and realised that this is common practice for this company. Negative does not justify this service. Take this review as DOUBLE NEGATIVE
sussexClaire Haywards Heath United Kingdom (1 review) May 1, 2010
First tree I ordered failed. I rang for a replacement but was curtly told I must have killed it. Being a first time gardener I didn't feel confident to argue. The other tree I ordered from them has grown but has turned out to be not what I asked for. (I ordered a flowering crab, the tree I've got is a cherry). I suppose that I should get on to them about it - but I can't face the aggro.
siddevon90 Leeds United Kingdom (1 review) May 1, 2010
Excellent friendly communication and advise re planting choices. Stock arrived promptly, is all growing well and healthily, even one or two 'extra's'! No problems whatsoever; highly recommended.
zencey Stockport United Kingdom (1 review) March 16, 2010
I ordered two trees from this company. They were very late arriving and when I queried this they were most unhelpful. When the trees eventually arrived one of them turned out to be a different species from that ordered. This was verified by the RHS ( I am a member). I contacted the company about this and received an unhelpful, disbelieving and rude response. I shall certainly not order anything else from them and would not recommend them to anyone.
Jimmydee1111 Manchester United Kingdom (1 review) March 10, 2010
I am so pleased to read some support for this nursery. I feel sure the first few posts must be from the 'vocal minority'.
Ive dealt with them for countless years and have recommended friends who have dealt with them and been just as pleased.
Their range is quite amazing and everything's always arrived on time, grown well and healthily.
Gabbyess Liverpool United Kingdom (1 review) March 10, 2010
Well I just recieved my trees in just 3 days and they were very good.
I ordered some a little earlier from an Essex fruit nursery and they took 6 weeks to arrive - and were smaller.
Chris Bowers did well by me.
cpi Gloucester United Kingdom (1 review) March 2, 2010
Ordered Espalier trees in October 2009. Money taken out of account but no trees. When phoning them they were very rude and abrupt. John Percy was a particulary beligerant contact. After many calls a package finally arrived but there was nothng inside. Contacted Bowers again and was accused of being a liar. Very unsatisfactory experience - when we asked to talk to the managing director to complain we were told the MD did not talk to customers. We are now left being £100 out f pocket and no trees. We would advise anyone to steer well clear of this company as they havent a clue when it comes to customer service.
jollyjapes Weston United Kingdom (1 review) February 26, 2010
Received 5 assorted super columns as a Christmas gift and understood they would be delivered 'as soon as the ground thaws for them to be lifted' and sure enough they arrived early February, very well packed in straw in a stout carboard box by courier. I had a query about 1 variety (at the time of placing the order) it was dealt with promptly in detail and knowledgeably. The gift giver was recommended by a friend who bought several trees in 2008, all are thriving! Of course it is too soon to report on cropping but I have no hesitation in recommending the service and communication.
jmilne67 Bury St Edmunds United Kingdom (1 review) January 4, 2010
I always recieve my order correctly and on time and its always of good quality. I was moved to add my experience to a Nursery that has never let me down. I would certainly recommend them.
AtWaG Fordingbridge United Kingdom (1 review) November 27, 2009
Of three trees purchased in early 2009 two have failed.
On checking the company web site I see they offer no guarantee. These were expensive trees.
I certainly won't buy from Bowers again because if I had bought these at just about any Garden Centre in the UK I would have been able to get free replacements.
So, avoid at all costs - go to a good Garden Centre instead.