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The scoop on 'Swallowtail Garden Seeds'

  Company Profile  
Swallowtail Garden Seeds

Mailing Address:
122 Calistoga Road #178
Santa Rosa, California 95409 (United States)

Phone: 707-538-3585
Fax: 800-723-1771

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Recent reviews:
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Positive 1 11 13
Neutral 0 0 0
Negative 0 0 0
This company offers a variety of seeds.

  Company Comment, posted on January 31, 2013:  
Our 2013 online catalog features over 1,600 items, including over 400 new varieties, including annual and perennial flowers, vines, herbs, and vegetables. We are also featuring an Organic product line this season.

We offer both retail and wholesale product lines. The quality of the seed in both product lines is high and the prices competitive, so you are sure to find some extraordinary values.

Our 2013 season starts with our new shopping cart that provides online customers with a “My Account” feature that keeps track of your orders for you—no more post-it notes in the garden shed to track what and when you ordered this year!

We thank all of you that have supported us for years, and also those that will choose to give us a try for the first time in 2013. We are especially grateful to the people who cared enough to give their time, to offer honest appraisals of our company's performance.

We at Swallowtail Garden Seeds hope you have a TERRIFIC GROWING SEASON IN 2013. All the best from Sandy, Trina, Don, Mary, Levon, Junior and Ben.

  Feedback History and Summary  
179 positives
12 neutrals
20 negatives


Displaying the 50 most recent comments:

Positive exfed
Germantown, TN
(1 review)
April 7, 2014
Having ordered from this company for 4 years, their website is very helpful and user-friendly. Fast service, good range of seed products and fair prices. Excellent germinations. Always courteous and prompt customer service. A real winner all around.
Positive Shorty_CA
Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
(2 reviews)
March 5, 2014
Last spring I placed an order for several packets of seeds, both annuals and perennials. In spite of a tracking number that stated the order was delivered it never arrived. I contacted Swallowtail and they reshipped the order. Again I did not receive it. I had been having problems with mail delivery such that I had filed a formal complaint with my local postmaster. Swallowtail shipped the order a third time and I received it finally. The re-shipments were at no additional charge.

As a newbie I planted these seeds and none of the, germinated. The customer service rep was extremely helpful in pointing me to resources to determine what my problems might have been.

Three weeks ago, I planted the remainder of the seeds I received during 2013 and I'm extremely pleased that they have all germinated and are well on the way to becoming thriving plants as long as I don't screw something up.

Swallowtail went the extra mile to help me out and I will continue to order from them.
Positive cofieck6
Wichita, KS
(2 reviews)
February 24, 2014
I like growing double Impatients and the 10" Lizianthus as well as other seeds. I get almost 100% germination when I ordered from this company, not so with other online catalogs. I placed my 2014 order and forgot to order one packet of seeds. I called and talked with Mary, (exceptional customer service), and asked if I could add to my order and received a prompt answer 'Yes". Well, I got my order quickly but the other packet of seeds were not included. I let Mary know and she apologized and stated that they would mail the other item with no additional shipping. I got the other item just a few days later. This is the type of company that I will continue to order from and will tell my friends about them. Thank you so much Swallotail seeds for the great seeds and and thank you Mary for such great customer service.
Positive DonnaMack
Elgin, IL (Zone 5a)
(50 reviews)
February 17, 2014
I am shocked to find that I have never submitted any reviews, which would have noted my great satisfaction with this company over the years. I have placed half a dozen orders with this company, and the seed selection, germination rates and packaging are outstanding. I do refrigerate my seeds, but I think that it is superb when 8 year old seed has a 90% germination rate. I highly recommend them.
Positive vinny762
Fresno, CA
(1 review)
February 15, 2014
This is is my third time ordering from this company. Amazing website, fast shipping, and such a huge selection of flowers. I spent hours just looking at the amazing website. I highly recommend this company to anybody looking to by seeds. Thank you folks at Swallowtail for making my gardening experience a delight.
Positive art33
Florissant, MO
(8 reviews)
January 27, 2014
I've ordered several times from Swallowtail Garden. They offer many varieties to choose from and I've never been disappointed with any seeds I've purchased from them; they've always been good viable seeds!
Positive flying_squirrel
Priest River, ID (Zone 5b)
(8 reviews)
January 8, 2014
Posted on February 15, 2012, updated January 8, 2014
This is the first time I ordered from this company. My order arrived very quickly and was complete. I planted some of the seeds and so far have had good germination. I will probably order again in the future.
On January 8th, 2014, flying_squirrel added the following:

This is the second year I have ordered from Swallowtail. I was pleased with the selection available, prices, communication and quickly shipped order. All of the seeds I have planted from my new order have germinated at a good % rate. I also had some leftover seeds from a previous years order that are germinating well. I am sure I will be ordering from them again in the future. I wish all seed orders were as positive all the way around as my experience with this company.
Positive CrankySci
New York City, NY (Zone 6b)
(1 review)
January 2, 2014
Approximately 2 years ago I placed an online order for a variety of climbing flowering vines. Due to the fact that I was then living in an apartment with a tiny balcony, I could only start a few of the seeds at a time. The delivery of the seeds was timely, the packaging insulated the seeds from the harsh cold and I received exactly what I ordered, down to the number of seeds.

Those seeds were fabulous! I experienced high germination success rates with the Thunbergia alata "Spanish Eyes". Gorgeous vines resulted, some sprouting well before the average germination date. Well, those Thunbergias were the right varietal, rigorous and gorgeous. I gave some to my parents, who trained them up a wall in their sunny patch.

This year, I (finally) live in an apartment with a large terrace, so I'm going all out. I've ordered Canary Vine, Cardinal Climber and Empress of India nasturtium seeds. The plan is to transform one of the terrace walls into a riot of reds and yellow. Currently, I am carefully picking over their exquisite heirloom tomato selection (with varietals I'd never heard of before), cucumber and Viola varieties. The icing on the cake here is that the seeds are very affordable. I did some comparison shopping and have found that the same seeds are sometimes twice as much on other sites. This means no Mad Gardening guilt.
Positive rrho
Batavia, NY
(3 reviews)
December 13, 2013
fast shipping. email containing tracking number. wonderful germination rate. have been ordering from this company for many years.
Positive icebird28
Coppell, TX (Zone 8a)
(11 reviews)
November 17, 2013
I loved Swallowtail's selection and decided to try them out for the first time. I was impressed with what they sent, however, I had ordered a jumbo pack of snapdragon seeds but it seemed like only 50 seeds or so. I emailed them and received a polite response and the lady said they would be sent right away. I emailed back to see if they could double-check that they were indeed sending the jumbo pack and the response I got back was the same lady packed it herself. Considering I didn't have to send back the first pack and that the lady packed the replacement herself, this company gets a positive rating from me. Now, its up to me to help the seeds along. I will definitely order my annuals from them again next year.
Positive LanfrancoLeo
Harrisburg, PA
(7 reviews)
November 12, 2013
I ordered 3 times last year from this company, in all the three cases I was very very happy. I had a bit of delay in one of my order...problem promptly solved once I called the company (it was during the busiest period...totally understandable).
I ordered Lisianthus, Morning glory (carnival), peony poppy, Stock , Pansy, Purple bell vine, and many many other items...all the germination rate was excellent (80-95 percent range in my case). The time of germination the same of the one indicated in the instruction. I just ordered some more items for 2014, I am a happy returning customer, and by the three separate experience of last year I have great expectation from this new batch of seeds!!
Positive judyinmound
Mound, MN
(12 reviews)
August 13, 2013
Posted on March 31, 2013, updated August 13, 2013
I ordered a lot of floral seeds and they had such a high germination rate that I over-sowed some pots. I appreciated the instructions on the packets so that I did not have to search if something needed light, no soil covering seeds and so on. Very happy with the quality, shipping time, value, and presence on FB to answer questions. =)
On August 13th, 2013, judyinmound added the following:

All 3 of the Zinnia seeds did not come as described. I ordered Oklahoma series, Scabiosa, and Bernary's. They were around 12" tall, some as big as my thumb, and some looked like dogs (they were crossed and not selectively chosen). The scabiosa looks like any other zinnia but small.

The dozen or so double click cosmos I planted - some turned out to be some seashell type cross and the rest looked like the double clicks they were supposed to be.

I did let them know this and sent pictures. Mary was very nice about offering a refund or the same packets sent out. She said they received no other complaints about the Zinnia's but I did see some customers stating it on their fb page. I asked if it was possible for different seeds (as I did not want to waste my time growing these again if it's the same seed source), or credit. She declined and refunded it to my card, which is fine.

The other floral seeds were a great success. I loved the double wave petunias, portulaca, asters and so on. I am keeping my rating positive as the customer service was good and was handled satisfactory. Thanks.
Positive nomibird
Gassville, AR
(5 reviews)
May 27, 2013
We had a great experience with swallowtail. They emailed the receipt of our order, and when they mailed the seeds. We followed the directions and the germination rate has been excellent and fast. We will be using them again.
Positive bashfulblonde
Santa Anna, TX
(2 reviews)
April 1, 2013
ON March 25,2013 I wrote a email to this company about my seeds that I had ordered Last spring and had not had any luck with them and was emailing back & forth with a very sweet & Kind Lady Named Mary , she did not find my invoice & I no longer had it nor my MO receipt , since I live on SS , I was very disappointed that I had not had any luck with the seeds after doing every thing that it said to do with them , I have been planting seeds for a very long time and have never had this happen to me , well as she told me neither had they with there seeds , as they had to have been exposed to extreme heat or cold during shipping , well our last email was on March 26, 2013 and today, April 1,2013, I received 1 new package of every seed that I had ordered from this company last spring , so now I will be able to start over again with fresh seed and I WILL order from them again , I do believe they went out & beyond the call of there guarantee so Thank you Mary you really Made My day . Roxanna .
Positive BrisbaneAnne
Brisbane, CA (Zone 10b)
(21 reviews)
March 31, 2013
I ordered a bunch of flower seeds from them last fall. They all germinated this spring. I am very happy with the germination rate. Super fast shipping too. Love their large selection of flower seeds. Will definitely order from them again. Recommend it.
Neutral andreaclara
Brooklyn, NY
(1 review)
March 20, 2013
I've ordered from Swallowtail three times and had no trouble with shipping. I garden in a full-sun 2000 square foot lot in Brooklyn with crappy alkaline industrial soil and scant irrigation. I've had tremendous success with their seed planted in these conditions and didn't always follow the detailed and useful instructions to a T. When the lot was severely flooded with saltwater during storm Sandy much of the topsoil was displaced so there will be serious depletion of both self and fall sown seed this season. This garden is large, watered by rain water cistern, and all the plants are donated otherwise it would be too costly to maintain. With the storm the losses may be significant and also a learning. Because of the storm related costs, this year there is no budget even for seeds. As I've ordered from Swallowtail in the past and was so looking forward to seeing those flowers come up again this year, I reached out to them to see if they'd be willing to donate some wildflower seeds. Granted I was asking a favor but the response I got from Ben at Swallowtail was sufficient to keep me from ordering from this company again. I can fully appreciate that a small company cannot afford to donate their product. It was simply that the officiousness of his tone took the joy out of my association to this company. I felt I was speaking to a bank representative who was justifying a policy rather than a human being who sold seeds for growing things. A loss for me as I had had such success with their seed and now I will research other companies and hope that they communicate with more courtesy - it matters.
Company representative comment on March 23, 2013:
On Mar 22, 2013 11:37 PM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:

We can certainly appreciate this customer's desire to make something beautiful after the devastation of Sandy. At the end of the season, what little seed we have left over is donated to our local school gardening programs. We are sorry this customer was offended by her conversation with Ben. He can be formal at times but we have received nothing but positive feedback about his dealings with customers.

Rest assured that here at Swallowtail Garden Seeds customer service is still number one. We proudly provide excellent service to our customers AND support our community. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how we do both.

Positive mrsilverado
East St. Paul
(1 review)
March 1, 2013
Just received my seed order on Feb.28th. I ordered it on the 9th and it was shipped on the 11th. Shipping only took 2 weeks from California to Winnipeg, Canada. Everything that was ordered was there. Looking forward to doing my seeding this weekend. Will post how everything turns out. Great service.
Positive floradora
Astoria, NY (Zone 7b)
(3 reviews)
January 18, 2013
I love this company. I've been ordering from them for at least 5 years-maybe more. They offer such a large variety of plant seeds that I too order way too much like the previous reviewer. They are my go-to source for allysums, lobelias (please bring back "paper moon"), violas and everything in between. The germination rates are very good- I had great success even with perennials such as: shasta daisy, crimson star columbine, origami blue columbine, platycodons fuji blue and white and even delphiniums. I didn't even do the pre-chilling of seeds procedure and they still germinated. Perhaps ordering in winter and their trip cross country in frigid temps was the pre-chill treatment? Once transplanted into the yard they bloomed the whole summer-especially "Bluebird". This year I ordered too many geranium seeds, violas (as usual), pansies, alyssums ( a large flowered type I never even knew existed) and alpine strawberry seeds among others. I haven't started the geranium seeds, so can't review the results, but the violas I've started have all sprouted, including the alpine strawberries which I didn't do anything special with. I also appreciate the careful packaging of seeds (love those little zip lock bags) and occasional free shipping offers on their web site.
Positive carolmo
Olathe, KS (Zone 5a)
(8 reviews)
December 26, 2012
I ordered annuals, perennials, vegetables. Selection was great and prices were reasonable. The order came very fast and even came with an email alert. They have the very best packaging of seeds I have ever seen. They were my primary seed company this year - and will be next year too.
Positive jvw
Clinton Township, MI (Zone 6a)
(6 reviews)
December 12, 2012
Both my mother and I have been ordering from Swallowtail for the past three years. We have never had a problem. This past month both my mother and I have ordered from them twice! On my mother's second order she forgot 4 items. She left a voicemail and emailed them. They were quick to respond that indeed they could add the items on to the order. All of our orders arrived in a timely manner and perfectly. At this time we cannot respond on germination rates but we don't expect any problems as we have not had them before.

I wanted to order some morning glory seeds but saw that they are now prohibited in Michigan. I called the company to find out why and even though the staff member did not know on the spot she took the time to look it up while I was on the phone with her.

We love their selection and must say we find ourselves ordering too much! When I read the negative reviews I cannot believe it could possibly be the same company we deal with!
Positive wildflowerhoney
Naples, FL
(6 reviews)
October 26, 2012
Ordered twice from Swallowtail Seeds. Perfect transaction both times. Super speedy and free shipping; excellent germination; vast and exciting selection of seeds; expertly packaged. The Benary Giant Wine Zinnias are especially stunning. Will buy from again.
Positive arrowleaf
Clearbrook Park, NJ
(1 review)
October 12, 2012
This is the first year I discovered Swallowtail, LOVE the selection, and the prices are so reasonable! The packaging is nicer than most seed companies: plastic or glassine envelope inside paper package, sometimes all three, sometimes a glass tube with a stopper for certain seed-types. It seems like so much care is taken. I ordered most of my vegetable and flower seeds from them last winter:

FLOWERS: 4 varieties of Columbine, Apricot Sweet Pea (color is more like neon coral, but beautiful and they bloomed all summer and are still blooming-in Oct.!), Cosmos-Double-click Snow Puff white, Apricot Sprite Agastache, Polka-dot Pippa Foxglove, Morning Glory-Flying Saucers, Nicotiana Antique Lime, New Dimension Blue Salvia, Buttercream Sunflowers, Prado Red Sunflowers, Tuscany Peach Verbena, Profusion Apricot Zinnia, Profusion White Zinnia, Giant Benary Zinnia (Salmon Rose), Creamy Yellow Giant Flowered Zinnia, Gallery White Lupine, Princess Victoria Louise Poppy, Bronze Fennel
VEGETABLES: D'avignon Radish, Astro Arugula, Mild n' Spicy Greens mixture, Sugar Sprint Snap Peas, New Red Fire Lettuce, Simpson Elite Lettuce, Flashy Trout Back Romaine, Mottistone Summer Crisp Lettuce, Contender Hybrid Zuccinni, and Scarlet Emperor Runner Bean.

There was excellent germination, with everything except the Poppies, and I'm sure I just didn't get them into the ground early enough; the weather was too warm, too quickly, and then my husband accidentally dumped coffee grounds on top of them. So I will try them again next time.

I read the message from the professor with the poor Columbine germination experience and thought I should share my good Columbine germination experience as a contrast. I ordered four types of Columbine seeds from Swallowtail: Alpine Columbine, Black Barlow, Blue Barlow and White Origami. I had read (on the gardener web forum) that they germinate better if put in the freezer in damp soil for a week, covered, before exposing them to light. So I experimented, and sewed some seeds in soil-less cells, kept at about 65-70 degrees, put others in the freezer for a week, before planting them, and I also put some outside in plastic, domed containers, starting March 11th, (zone 6b, freezing weather) kept out till spring. Some germinated in 24 days, and some took over 30 days to germinate, but some from every group sprouted. The Alpine Columbine freezer group was the first to show, but it seemed like the others caught up, so none of the methods seemed superior. I transplanted to larger containers, and eventually had about twenty or so plants I set out into the garden. None of them bloomed the first year, which I think is normal (is it?), but all the plants grew a lot, and seem very healthy, so I think I will have a lot of columbine flowers next spring. Yes, they did take a lot longer than other seeds to germinate, but I think thats the type of seed they are. And I started out with 145 seeds and ended up with about 20-25 plants, but that's about how many I had room for, and I could have been more careful with them, when they were seedlings.

So I think the company is wonderful and I will definitely order from them again. They are now my favorite seed company.
Positive diknownana
Glen Carbon, IL
(2 reviews)
August 30, 2012
I ordered a variety of seeds from this company and I am very pleased at the results. The germination rate was great (except for the seeds that something dug up and made a lunch out of). It's a shame the season was so hot and dry that the plants were suffering even with being watered, but they have survived and still producing. The prices and amount of seeds are really good. I am already looking and making my list for next years flowers & vegetables. Needless to say, I will be ordering again from Swallowtail.
Positive hairyjo
Danville, CA
(18 reviews)
July 25, 2012
Very happy with the seeds I have ordered from this company. I will certainly order again this fall. I like the many different viola seeds they carry and they work well in my garden and germinated reliably.
Negative chlorophyll646
Tanglewilde-Thompson Place, WA
(1 review)
July 1, 2012
Posted on May 17, 2012, updated July 1, 2012
I ordered many types of seeds from Swallowtail Seeds in both 2010 and 2011. My germination rates were inconsistent both years. The first year, I ordered pansy seeds, which grew fine. However, I also ordered many varieties of columbine and had a germination rate of zero for all varieties. I am a botany professor and have a great deal of experience growing plants from seed. I contacted the company in August 2010, and they issued me a refund for the seeds that did not germinate. They told me that the seeds had been professionally tested and shown 90% germination. They also said that they had sold hundreds of packets of the same varieties and had received no other complaints.

In 2011, I decided to try again because I was unable to find these columbine seeds from any other source. Because I had problems in 2010, I kept careful track of the germination rates. 30 days after planting, I sent Swallowtail Seeds the following email:
Subject: germination concerns
To: "Swallowtail Garden Seeds"
Date: Monday, March 7, 2011, 11:11 AM

I placed an order with you a couple months ago. I planted the seeds 30 days ago. Here are the germination rates I have found:

Red Hobbit columbine 26/28
Arizona Red Shades Gaillardia 30/32
Chianti Mix Pansy 17/28
Spring Magic Navy and White Columbie 11/18
Chandelier Lupine 16/16

Origami White Columbine 1/16
Origami Red and White Columbine 1/18
Origami Yellow Columbine 0/16
Illumination Apricot Shades Begonia 0/23
Go Go Mix Begonia 0/40

Obviously, I am very happy with the germination rates of the first set of flowers. However, I am greatly disappointed that I have not gotten the others to grow. I was unable to grow them last year either. I do not want to keep ordering seeds and not getting results. Might you have some suggestions for me?

All seeds were planted in Promix 1 in 4 x 9 cells in flats. Flats were covered with humidity domes until germination. Pots were kept under florescent lights (except for the pansy, which required darkness to germinate) 28W T5 bulbs, 8 per ballast. If bottom heat was recommended (begonia), bottom heat was given. If bottom heat was not recommend3ed (columbine), no bottom heat was used. Soil was kept moist, but not wet. I am a botany professor and have a fair amount of experience growing plants from seeds. We are growing these seeds as a project for my botany course this semester and the students and I are all frustrated. Please help!
I received no response from the company, and so resent my email to them on March 10, 2011.

Again, I received no response, so I sent the following email to them on March 21, 2011:
Subject: Re: germination concerns
To: "Swallowtail Garden Seeds"
Date: Monday, March 21, 2011, 11:40 AM

Dear Swallowtail Gardens, I originally sent this email to you on March 10th, but have not yet received a response. No additional seeds have germinated since I counted them on March 10. I am hoping you can help me. Thank you.
Again, I received no response to my third email.

Now that it is spring again, I would really, really like to try again. However, it is obviously very frustrating to try to grow the same varieties year after year from the same company. I was glad they refunded my money for the ungerminated seeds the first year. However, I didn't want the money, I wanted the plants, which is why I tried a second time. I was disappointed that they did not reply to my three emails the second year (nor obviously, did they refund my money). Does anyone know of another source of seeds for multiple columbine varieties?
On July 1st, 2012, chlorophyll646 added the following:

I could possibly understand missing ONE of my emails, but three? THREE emails over two weeks?! That seems quite disingenuous to me. I have the records of my emails being sent to them, to the same address that they confirmed my order from. It is my understanding that emails are reliable and are even admissible in court. Why would they say on their website that you can contact them by email ["
E-Mail questions and comments are always welcome, but please be aware it may take us up to a week to respond, especially during the peak season. If you have time-sensitive inquiries or comments, please give us a call."] if they do not monitor or take any efforts to receive and respond to them. I waited several weeks to receive their response. In fact, I am still waiting. Thankfully, I have since found another source for columbine seeds and have had more than 90% germination. I will never order from Swallowtail again.
Company representative comment on July 1, 2012:
On Jun 3, 2012 3:08 PM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:

Our email records are not in line with what our customer is reporting. Had we received these emails we would have responded.

We make it as clear as we are able on our web site that using our toll free number (877-489-7333) is the method to use anytime a message to us is time sensitive. We wonder why it might not have occurred to our customer that his/her emails were not getting to us, rather than assuming he/she was being ignored.

Because as much as many of us have grown to accept that email is completely reliable - we know from our own experience contacting customers - that is not. Servers are down, mail boxes are full, typos in addresses can be made.

Our columbine seeds are professionally germination tested; we receive many compliments and very few complaints regarding their performance. Columbine seed must not be covered when planted - and will not germinate when temperatures are too high. Had our customer called us using our toll free number, I feel confident our staff horticulturist would have helped them develop a strategy for success.

If anyone ever has trouble getting an email response from us - please do not assume you are being ignored. It is far more likely your emails are not be getting to us. Our toll free number (877-489-7333) is a no charge, no hassle way to be sure your concerns are addressed quickly and accurately. You will also receive advice that will help you help insure your future success.

Had we had been aware of our customers experience we would have fixed it immediately. When our customer calls us at (877-489-7333) and asks for Lynn or Sandy - we will fully refund the order - which is our standard procedure - it is who we are. To attend to our customer's happiness, to promote their success is our highest calling. It is why we get up in the morning, it is our reason for being Swallowtail Garden Seeds.

On Jul 1, 2012 9:50 PM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds added:

We have not heard from this customer except through Dave’s Garden. We previously invited the customer to contact us using our toll free number in order to receive a quick, no hassle refund. The customer has not done this.

As of now, we don’t know who this customer is and to rectify the situation without knowing which order is involved is not possible. We, too, feel frustrated because we want to help.

We invite the customer to call us at 877-489-7333 to receive a refund.

Alternatively, if this customer would feel more comfortable, they can provide us the invoice number through this Dave’s Garden post and we will provide a full refund.

If the customer does not have the invoice number, their last name would be needed to make sure the refund was properly applied. They can relay this information to us by phone or through this post, whichever they prefer.

If this customer will give us the opportunity we will fix this situation.

Neutral AuntieFlo
Philadelphia, PA
(2 reviews)
June 22, 2012
Posted on June 13, 2012, updated June 22, 2012
Posted on March 6, 2012, updated June 13, 2012
I recently placed a small order for 6 or 7 packages of seeds. The seeds were well packed in a padded envelope and the order was correct. The order came in about 5 days. I'm trying (for the first time) a method of starting perennial seeds outside in plastic milk jugs. I saw instructions in the January issue of Garden Gate. I have planted my seeds and am awaiting signs of growth.
On June 13th, 2012, AuntieFlo changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:

Shortly after I got my first order of seeds, a secord (duplicate) order came. I tried to call but could never get through. I emailed to inquire about sending the duplicate order back. The email response I got stated that I placed 2 orders. It's odd that I only got one email, not 2 emails, thanking me for my order and confirming what I ordered and when I might expect it. My order was $18-$19. It was not worth the hassle of trying to get in touch with them to get this resolved. They didn't respond to my second email. They might have sent me a second order that I really DIDN'T order so they got some extra business from me this one time. However, I will NEVER order from them again. They lost a customer forever.
On June 22nd, 2012, AuntieFlo changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

A representative from Swallowtail called me after changed my review from positive to negative. She apologized and said that they often get intentional duplicate orders. She gave me a credit for both orders. I may try them again but won't order online, I'll try to call, fax or email an order.
Positive lisaaj
Columbus, OH
(15 reviews)
June 9, 2012
This year I received seeds for 2 kinds of impatiens ("Xtreme Sappire Mix" and "Accent Lavender Blue"), 1 geranium "Maverick Light Salmon", and Candytuft. All germinated well and have survived nicely in the garden so far; the impatiens and geranium are blooming away right now. I will order again from Swallowtail.
Negative PlantMomto3
Nevada, MO (Zone 6a)
(24 reviews)
May 14, 2012
I really hate to leave a negative review. I have ordered three times with this company (twice this year). I am not a novice and I follow directions. My problem was with germination rates. Very, very disappointing. I order from several different companies and these were terrible. I have a greenhouse and I spent hours preparing flats just so 11 out of 75 seeds would sprout (one variety). I think about 10 carrots sprouted (planted directly in the garden). 6 zinnias out of 72 planted. I know it's not me because my seeds from other vendors had excellent germination rates. I am just at a loss why this happened.

Now I am off to order seeds from the other company to cover my loss.
Company representative comment on May 15, 2012:
On May 15, 2012 10:44 AM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:

All of our seed is germination tested and 100% guaranteed.

We have no record of this customer contacting us—but if they had, they would have received a refund or replacement, whichever they preferred. We invite this person to call us now at 877-489-SEED (7333).

We are well known for high seed viability. Great care is taken to manage the temperature and humidity levels of our stored seed. All seed lots are professionally germination tested prior to sale.

We guarantee every customer’s seed starting experience will be a positive one.

Positive spswanson
Mashpee, MA (Zone 7b)
(3 reviews)
May 14, 2012
Placed a medium size order of seeds which I received in a timely manner. Germination was excellent, even the grumpier seeds did well.
Positive psychloman
Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7a)
(47 reviews)
May 13, 2012
I am very happy with the germination and subsequent growth rates for the seeds mentioned here:
Positive Ispahan
Chicago, IL (Zone 6a)
(55 reviews)
April 16, 2012
While I think their shipping is a bit on the slow end, I love their seed selection and I have had wonderful germination results with almost everything purchased. I would definitely buy from them again, though well in advance of when I would actually need to plant the seeds.
Positive itaslima
(1 review)
April 12, 2012
I am from Malaysia. I order my seed on 30th march despite not knowing wheather they ship worldwide or not, by 12th April I receive my seeds. I certainly will order from them again since the service is excellent and they have many variety of seeds . Congratulation and keep up the good works.
Positive Madisonwigarden
Middleton, WI
(8 reviews)
March 21, 2012
I've ordered seeds from Swallowtail for several years, ,as I was drawn to their site for the great variety (especially coleus -- look at how many they have!!!) Great seeds, great variety, and I've had incredible success with germination too. This year I ordered seeds in February, most came quickly, but a few packets were backordered. After a month I emailed them to ask the status of the backordered seeds. I immediately received an email AND a phone call with an order update, an explanation, and seeds were here within 3 days. They obviously felt that their customers matter and are important to them. Do not hesitate to order from Swallowtail. They are a great company, they will back their product, and they communicate quickly. Their seeds are also wonderful (did I mention they have lisianthus too? I think I had a 95% germination on these!)
Negative SeniorGardening
Sullivan, IN
(12 reviews)
March 7, 2012
Posted on March 6, 2012, updated March 7, 2012
Posted on February 14, 2012, updated March 6, 2012
Posted on February 14, 2012, updated February 14, 2012
I ordered two small packets of geranium seeds from Swallowtail in December (2011) and started the seed in early January. I did all the right stuff: total darkness, sterilized planting medium; adequate moisture; and bottom heat. The seed only germinated at 32%!

I called Swallowtail in late January and reported the bad seed. They offered replacement or full refund. I took the refund when the customer service agent somewhat snottily informed me the seed was good, as all their seed was tested at 90% germination or above.

A bit incensed, I wrote the owners that day, but have had no response. So...I'm just now posting extremely negative feedback here on Swallowtail.

After three weeks, no refund has been posted to the credit card I used.

Bad seed. Snotty customer service. No refund.

I think I'm done with Swallowtail Garden Seeds.

Steve Wood
Senior Gardening
On February 14th, 2012, SeniorGardening changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

After emailing Swallowtail today, I received a very pleasant call from Lynn, the co-owner of Swallowtail. A refund has been posted, and she apologized for the incident.

We had a very pleasant conversation about seeds, gardens, teaching...

Sometime in the future, I'll give them another try.
On March 6th, 2012, SeniorGardening changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:

The refund Swallowtail promised in February for the bad geranium seed they'd sold me in December still hasn't appeared on my credit March! While the credit card company has 30 days from the request to post the refund, they also advised, "We understand the situation and we would like to inform you that we have not received any refund from the merchant to your account."

Swallowtail says, "I checked with our credit card processing company and the credit has been taken from our account and applied to your card."

There's obviously a problem somewhere, as I still don't have the refund Swallowtail promised for the bad seed. The credit card company has never screwed up like this in the past, so I'm inclined to put the blame on Swallowtail. While they've answered emails and called (but only after I first embarrassed them here with negative feedback), they've not resolved the situation for which they are ultimately responsible.

Swallowtail could have contacted the credit card company to resolve the problem, or pushed their credit card processing company to resolve the issue. They could have even just cut and mailed a refund check to me. But instead, they've chosen to try to put their failure to make a refund on me. So I'm changing the rating back to a richly deserved negative.
On March 7th, 2012, SeniorGardening added the following:

Refund finally received.
Company representative comment on March 7, 2012:
On Mar 7, 2012 2:42 PM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:

As SeniorGardening reports above, “the credit card company has 30 days from the request to post the refund.” We contacted all the proper sources, including the customer’s personal credit card company, to find that the refund of $10.43 was given on 2/14/12 and posted to their account on 2/22/12.

Positive excellentjohn
Binghamton, NY
(3 reviews)
March 1, 2012
THE best selection (and quality!!!) geranium seeds in the world! I've had E X C E L L E N T luck with this company for 2 years now. Almost all seeds come up, quick shipping, easy to understand instructions. Wish I could say the same of Park seed with their crazy gold wrappers and generic instructions. ST is THE best and a great web site! Thank you for great products!!!
Positive Sadie984
Maineville, OH
(2 reviews)
February 20, 2012
This is the second year I have ordered seeds from this company. They send the seeds promptly and they sprouted at least as well as the ones from the "big" companies, if not better. They have lemon cucumbers and annual milkweed that both grew great in Ohio.
Positive OldChurchEggery
Mechanicsville, VA
(8 reviews)
February 10, 2012
I ordered seeds from Swallowtail during summer 2011. I haven't tried all of the varieties yet, but the ones I did plant have done very well thus far. I grew Valerian, Scabiosa House Hybrids, and Apache something Agastache, and Marvelous Marble Coral Bells. What matters more to me than how quickly I get an order confirmation is how well the seeds perform. I'm pleased to say that my seedlings have become nice, small plants in what I call my nursery bed. I lost a few to chicken trespassers, but the survivors are quite vigorous. I'm looking forward to seeing them bloom either this year or next. Since they're perennials, I'm in it for the long haul with these plants. I would definitely order from Swallowtail again.
Negative vitrsna
Mexico (Zone 11)
(13 reviews)
February 10, 2012
Posted on February 9, 2012, updated February 10, 2012
On December 31, 2011 and January 24, 2012 I placed orders with Swallowtail Garden Seeds for USPS international mail delivery to Colima, Mexico. Both times, I received confirmation of my orders and on Jan. 6, 2012 my credit card was debited for my order of December 31. On February 8 I emailed this company requesting information on the status of my orders. On February 9 they responded that they don't ship orders to Mexico (the excuse being that they have trouble with orders to Mexico), although both orders had been confirmed and my credit card charged. So, more than a month after my first order and 2 orders confirmed I learn (only because I requested information from them) that my orders are not able to be processed. I've been ordering seeds from various vendors in the USA for 4 years and have received everything I've ordered via regular mail so I am not convinced of the validity of their excuse. I think this issue goes beyond shipping international orders. I think this speaks to irresponsible business practices. Unless a purchaser is desperate for seeds that SGS has that can't be found anywhere else, I would suggest purchasing from a more responsible vendor.
On February 10th, 2012, vitrsna added the following:

I received a reply from Swallowtail Garden Seeds that said they had "proceeded to send me an email but hadn't received a response from me". In return i sent them copies of an email they sent to me and my response (both dated January 1st). They don't seem to have a clue about what is going on in their own company. I notice in other excuse responses to negative feedback, they have used this same tactic of saying the customer did not respond. It appears the truth is closer to "we don't know if the customer responded or not". This company does seem to make rather elaborate excuses for their irresponsible business practices. There are so many good seeds companies available with which to do business that i would not do business with this company again.
Company representative comment on February 10, 2012:
On Feb 10, 2012 12:24 PM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:

We are sorry that there has been a lot of confusion regarding this customer’s experience. Her situation has been thoroughly researched and below is what transpired:

On 12/31/11 she placed and order online which was acknowledged with an automatic email back to the customer. On 1/1/12 we sent her an email stating our hesitancy in shipping to Mexico. Here is a copy of our email to her:

Dear xxxxxxx,
Thank you for your order and interest in Swallowtail Garden Seeds. We do ship all of our items using the USPS however, we have had some trouble in shipping seeds to Mexico. This shipment will be at your own risk. Thus, we cannot be held responsible for any lost or confiscated merchandise. Prior to shipping your order, it is required that we receive confirmation from you agreeing to these terms. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,
Swallowtail Garden Seeds

On 1/1/12 we received this response from her:

Thank you for the note. Yes certainly, I understand that if the order does not arrive, it is at my loss. This is always the case and has been for 4 years now. I have ordered many seeds from vendors in many parts of the world and the shipments have always arrived in good time via airmail international shipping. Colima especially, has the most excellent mail service. I know the postal carrier here and they know me. I hope this note suits your purposes and if more is required, please let me know. Regards, xxxxxx xxxxxx

Given her acceptance, we processed her payment and shipped her order on 1/17/12, via the USPS. In tracking her order, we see that the last activity the USPS has for her package is that it was scanned in Los Angeles on 1/18/12, the last stop before a package leaves the U.S. and is shipped to Mexico.

Our number one goal is to provide every customer with exceptional service and complete satisfaction. In this case we followed the customer’s wishes and she was not satisfied. We went above and beyond by providing her with the full refund of $11.42-–even though she agreed to the terms of this shipment being at her own risk. We can’t imagine what more we could have done to provide this customer with a positive experience and this disappoints us just as much as it does her. If for any reason our customers are not satisfied with their experience, we are always here with open ears to listen to their thoughts and resolve ANY situation to their satisfaction.

Positive drendel
Yorkville, IL
(4 reviews)
February 5, 2012
I ordered from Swallowtail Seeds in 2011 and 2012. Germination has been excellent so far. The order arrived within 5 days of ordering. I am not happy with their email responses. I contacted them twice with questions, with no response.
Positive lissas
Deer Park, WA
(3 reviews)
January 11, 2012
I have placed two different orders already this year. Both arrived super fast and complete. The best part was the free shipping! I already have some "slow growers" going and germination is good. Thank you Swallowtail for a great web site, loads of choices and easy ordering!

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