Calling all writers, especially those who wax poetic! If you have a way with words, here's your chance to put pen to paper and try your hand at writing an award-winning piece for us. Find all the details on our contest page.
Dawn0001 Torrington, CT (1 review) December 29, 2006
I worked for Sheperd's/White Flower Farm for several seasons. Renee is a lovely lady who truly cares about the product she puts out. She began her company in her basement in CA and it grew very quickly. So much so that she eventually sold to White Flower Farm who took over controlling interest and left her out in the cold. She always lived in CA and came to the East Coast for business. I had the pleasure of meeting her and being part of the group who worked at the Boston Flower Show one year.
Once White Flower took over her company and she had no real say in how anything was run Renee stayed for a time as she had signed a contract saying she would not open another company on her own for a certain period of time. Once that time period was over she started Renee's Garden.
I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Renee. She is a wonderful lady and truly cares about her company, customers and the product she carries. She travels extensively looking for her seed and she does tireless trials on them before offering them to the public.
As to the customer service offered by White Flower/Sheperd's nothing surprises me after I had worked there as a CSR in both the retail and wholesale divisions.
wrena Vancouver, Canada (1 review) October 11, 2005
Whiteflower Farm purchased Shepherd's Seeds not long after its inception. The original owner stayed on for many years, then left to start over with her own company.
Shepherd's Seeds as a division of Whiteflower Farm has since gone out of business.
Renee Shepherd owns and operates Renee's Garden (www.reneesgarden.com) and sells several Shepherd's Seeds equivalents. Quality is phenomenal, germ rates quite excellent, all plants extensively trialled.
You can also buy Renee's Garden seeds at various US independent retailers, and now also in Canada (this year marks her launch into the Canadian market).
It seems to me that seeds which I used to be able to buy in individual packs are now bundled. I wanted to buy only glorious gleam and empress of India. Now I have to buy the whole collection (Whirlybird, Empress, Alaska dn Glorious Gleam). And I used to be able to buy Whirlybird in individual colors. What happened? And do they have fewer seed types? It seems like it. AW
Renee's Garden Seeds only acquired back Shepherd's Garden Seeds packet business for retailers and is going to absorb the line into the Renee's Garden Brand. It sounds like Shepherds will still own the retail mail order business.
hopflower Santa Rosa, CA (Zone 9a) (27 reviews) December 6, 2002
It does seem as though being merged with White Flower Farm has changed Shepherd's Garden Seeds a lot. They have gone up in price, the catalogue is indeed flowery in seed description, and they are slow to respond now. If one only has one shaky experience with a company, I would give them another chance; and sometimes seed, being a viable product, is not quite the same from year to year. I have bought many times from Shepherd's and never had a problem with quality of goods, but I am uncomfortable somehow with their new catalogue and business arrangement.
Sorry to say, they have lost a customer. I've never bought very much from them but it ran to $20 or $30 a year and I think I deserved better treatment for that.
First of all, I agree with dianthusman and tomatodon. Their comments are accurate and I have experienced the same myself with the difference that I have had a bad experience.
GardenGuy and paulgrow are correct too.
That said, I would prefer to be voicing my complaints directly to the company. However, on attempting to phone their customer service I find that "their representatives are too busy" to answer the phone. This is in early December. What do they do, fire everybody for the holidays?
Early last spring I ordered 4 packets of Norli snow pea seeds. Planted some in early August for a fall crop. Now, I don't know what these seeds were but they were absolutely not snow peas. Shepherd's claims they should be fast growing. Slow. Claims 4-5 ft. tall. 2-1/2 ft. Claims they bear sweet, juicy, 2-1/2 in pods. About 1-1/2 to 2 in. Not good for fresh eating, they were something like a teeny-weeny shelling pea and very few in number.
I know what Norli should look like. I've bought them from Shepherd's before. But not again. This product was deficient and they have no one in the office to deal with the situation. I've had the same experience before too though I don't remember the variety.
Sorry but I don't need this company. It takes a little effort to find a good seedsman but it's worth it when you find someone who can deliver good quality and a good attitude. Shepherd's doesn't make it.
dianthusman Pecos, NM (Zone 5b) (29 reviews) December 3, 2002
Since Renée Shepherd, the heart and soul of this business, left and started Renée's Seeds, I don't bother with Shepherd's any more.
This company has slipped badly since being acquired by White Flower Farms. The prices have gone up to the point where they are now, in my experience, the most expensive seed company in existence, and on top of that, the shipping charges are exorbitent. In the catalog, flowery language has replaced substantial information, and the variety list has gone down. I haven't had a bad experience with them, which is why I'm rating them neutral rather than negative, but there's no reason to buy here when you can do better elsewhere in every way.
Very good selection, OK price,I order from them every year,but not for everything!You can always find the fashionable at Sheperd's!
frstbrn24 Warwick, RI (12 reviews) September 18, 2002
I love Shepherd's Garden Seeds. I buy my seeds from them every year~ up until this past year, I have always started my own seeds... but this year I invested (quite pricey) in sending for tomato plants and they were perfect!
I ordered my favorites and they were both available as plants; Carmellas and Sungolds... I highly recommend this despite the price, the plants were far superior to plants I had purchased locally.
I have been using Shepherd's seeds for almost ten years. I find their seeds to be of superior quality. I have not ordered from them for a while since we have a food co-op that carries their seeds. I really like their cut-and-come again lettuce seed mixes.
Shepherd's relies on flowery language, no real "meat" to culture descriptions, to sell their seed. Seed is supplied in nicely-packaged envelopes, but in small quantity for a high price. Look elsewhere for the same seed at a better cost.
paulgrow Allen Park, MI (Zone 6a) (28 reviews) February 8, 2002
I wanted to order just one package of tomato seeds for $2.50. They insisted that I pay the minum shipping charge of $6.50. I don't mind paying a small service charge but that is highway robbery.
My husband and I ordered from Sheppard's on two different occasions. We too had trouble getting them to ship when we wanted them too. In fact, by the time we received the seeds it was too late to plant them. The order was short several items we'd ordered and customer service was not helpful. We found that there are better seeds to be had at much better prices without all of the hassle and high shipping costs. Cannot recommend based on past experience.
melody Benton, KY (Zone 7a) (41 reviews) November 29, 2001
I have used Shepherd's for several years now and have always had great service. The selection is great for open pollinated seeds and they value organic practices.
jody MD &, VA (Zone 7b) (11 reviews) November 29, 2001
Received good quality products at reasonable price.
I ordered a miniature Meyer lemon tree from them (by phone) in February, and tried to convince them to send me the plant right away, as it is more of a houseplant in my climate than outside. They would not do this, and insisted on sending it at 'appropriate planting time' for my zone 5, which is May. This was fine, however, they charged my credit card immediately, which I don't believe is standard procedure for most of catalogues I've ordered from. Usually they charge me when they ship the product. Also, there was a delay in shipping and I finally got my little lemon tree last week of May. Quality of the plant seems ok so far, it is very small, but leaves have unfurled and look healthy.
Rene sold to White Flower Farms a few years back and has moved to California. Her cookbooks are fantastic for fresh produce and herbs. Recipes from a Kitchen Garden and More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden. I think they are still in Shepherd's catalog - were last year. The zuchetta rampicante makes an order a must on my part. Lime green, firm, tasty summer squash that outgrows the squash bugs. Had bad lucklast year on Outer Banks, but I think it was lack of pollinators - am planting with anise hyssop this year. I use it like zucchini or yellow squash, but don't even plant these two anymore. Concho de Toro peppers are great.
I was amused to discover that Shepherd's Seeds is owned by White Flower Farm. How fitting, as I find the tone of both catalogs to be decidedly arrogant. I have stopped ordering from Shepherd's because I have found some packets short on seeds. The narratives in both catalogs make me fearful - am I worthy of their products?
I've purchased many herbs from Shepherd's in the past and been very pleased. Last year, I grew garlic for the first time and was surprised at how huge the bulbs became, far nicer than the ones I buy at the grocery store. This year in preparation to plant garlic again, I was separating the cloves and noticed they weren't up to standard. I called Shepherd's and described how they looked. The representative is immediately sending new ones out. This is one of the best garden companies I've yet to come across and I order from many since we have a green house.
I have ordered from them for several years. The seed quality is unmatchable along with their customer service. I received my order recently within five days. Their catalogue is very interesting with good recipes, and gardening items one can order. I will order from Shepherd anytime I need seeds. Anyone that complains about their prices must realize that seeds are cheap at any price if you want them and the cost of their catalogue absorbs a portion of the cost of the seeds along with the great customer service.
I've ordered Charmel Melons and Zuchetta Rampicante from them for 3 years, and they're always wonderful, but last year I ordered a great sounding golden tomato, and got another variety. When I emailed Shepard's to see what was up I got less than a satisfactory response. They said they had several similar complaints, and were growing some in their trial garden. I was never contacted again!
I highly recommend Shepherd Garden seeds. I ordered all flower seeds from them. I have big, healthy mallow plants in my back yard and they are blooming beautifully. Their seed quantities were generous and germination was great. They may be a little more expensive than others but you get more seeds and better germination, in my opinion.
My phone order was taken with professionalism, and it came within days, well-packed and perfect. I have tired of planting the same old-same old, so this year I ordered some completely different types of the "same old" veggies. We now have some really weird cucumbers coming up, Mid Eastern "Tamra" and curly "Painted Serpent". They are growing well. I also got a wonderful basket that is made like they used to be, with a handle that can handle some weight from ripe produce! I would definitely order from them again!
Unfortunately, my experience with online Shepherd Seeds is dismal. I placed my order, then an hour later I received a note from some wonderful people in Portland saying that they received my order confirmation which included my credit card number. I thanked them profusely for contacting me, I proceeded to cancel my credit card then called the company who blamed their server, and promised to call me, which they did not. I would be very cautious.
One year I was a test gardener for Sheppard's. At the end of the season I was to submit a form concerning the two new seeds I had nurtured. For one I was all praises. For the other I had problems all along the way and wasn't sold. Their response? For the one that I didn't like, they said I must have done it wrong! They sent me a brochure on Hollyhock culture to show me the error of my ways. Nothing in there that I hadn't tried. They had no comments on the other, praised seed.
I have ordered from Shepherd's Seeds for several years. Although the prices are a bit high, the quality of the seeds is excellent, as is Shepherd's service. I save packets for several years and have a good germination rate for two to three years (at least) on most of their seeds. I appreciate the interesting selection of vegetables they offer. Shepherd's is my #1 choice for seeds.
I love the catalog, of course, but do agree that the pricing is steep. Still, every spring, I order, because the selection is unmatched. I do not pay their prices for the more ordinary selections, but do indulge for some items year after year. I do wish they would put the sun requirements on all entries and include a larger selection of shade tolerant items.
I like the cultivars offered by Shephard's, but never order by mail because Portland Nursery (Oregon) has a large selection of their seeds. I wonder why their packets are priced 10 cents cheaper off the rack than in the catalog.
This is one of my all-time favorite companies. Incredible catalog, excellent selection, ok prices, superior germination and they provide lots of extras- recipes, and information sheets. Nice selection of tomatoes, peppers, nasturtiums, morning glories and sweet peas.
I ordered from Shepard's last year for some of the more exotic types of vegetables that were unavailable from the other catalogs I ordered from. Although the seeds were of very good quality, I have to say I winced at the prices and at the high SH cost for only three packets of seeds. I'm searching for a cheaper alternative.
I too found the prices to be a little high, but the selection of out of the ordinary seeds compensates. The inclusion of no less than *6* pages of recipes for the chilies and tomatoes I ordered will ensure my order next year. I can't speak on the quality of the produce of my seeds because my garden was flooded twice this year and all of my plants were heinously drowned. However, following established seed starting methods, my seeds grew to young transplants very well.
I ordered mixed Kale from this company and it's completely taking over my greens bed! It's absolutely gorgeous and very delicious. I'm having a hard time getting the sunflowers to germinate, but it's been a very wet spring here.
I was disappointed in the actual horticultural information in this catalog. Very little information about germination, days to maturity, and inconsistencies in ensuring I know how many seeds are in each packet. The number of seeds for the price is not a value; regardless of 'heirloom' status. 20 seeds @ 2.95? S&H NOT included. No thank you.