Did you know that many review websites such as Dave's Garden and The Garden Watchdog are Pay to Play websites and allow anonymous individuals to post reviews without ever checking up on them? We did a little digging and found out that some websites such as Dave's Garden and The Garden Watchdog protect paying member companies by not showing negative reviews and offering paid members the opportunity to negate a review before it becomes public.
Dave's Garden is owned by Internet Brands, a company whose sole mission is to make money from customer reviews, Google Ads, and by charging companies that they review membership fees. The founder of Dave's garden, Dave Whittenger, currently has a defamation lawsuit against Internet Brands. Google Internet Brands lawsuits. Very interesting.
Why would someone post a negative review that is false? Some companies, especially highly rated ones on Garden Watchdog encourage their employees, friends or family members to post negative reviews about competitors to increase their market share, and to harm other companies in their industry.
The "Marshall's Delight" did not look particularly healthy or well developed, but I didn't care too much because monarda can grow very quickly.
On August 4th I emailed them stating that the first monarda was definitely not "Jacob Kline" because the blooms were unmistakeably wine-purple instead of red. I sent them a picture, too. I never even received a response. I emailed again, but again no response. I tried their website's contact form, too -- all to no avail.
I e-mailed Stargazer with a problem that I had. I waited two weeks, with no reply, and then tried again. It is now two months later and still no reply! They clearly demonstrate that they don't care about customer relations or even in common curtesy.
Posted on January 9, 2013, updated January 9, 2013
Posted on January 8, 2013, updated January 9, 2013
I placed two orders with Stargazer beginning last August. Nothing was sent, plantwise or followup-confirmationwise, and no subsequent emails of mine have been answered. In fact, my email account doesn't even register that anything I sent them has gone out, even though their website says (pretends?) they were successfully submitted. I wish I had known about Dave's Garden before I placed these orders, where I would have seen all the horrible reviews for this company. Up until this year, I have never had a problem with mail-order nurseries in all my 25 years of dealing with them. This past year, though, Stargazer is only one of several nurseries offering poor plants and/or service, and, as in this case, I'm beginning to fear, are out-and-out scams.On January 9th, 2013, Owliphant added the following:
After bringing up Dave's Garden in my last email to this company, they finally responded, insisting I already received my first order (I did not), and telling me I would be getting the second one the following Spring (they sent me no confirmation about this when I ordered that I can see). I printed out a copy of my account info yesterday, as it existed on their website, and it's a good thing, too, because as of this morning they refuse to acknowledge my account. I had no problem logging in last night, but, suddenly, this morning the site explains there is no account with that email or password! Could this be because I just contacted the Better Business Bureau? Oh, and did I mention......THEY CHARGED MY CREDIT CARD AS SOON AS I PLACED MY ORDERS, not waiting until the time of shipping, as all respectable nurseries do in my long experience. On January 9th, 2013, Owliphant added the following:
I want to apologize to Stargazer for one thing: after ransacking my inbox I came across confirmations to the orders, so they did nothing wrong on that score, only I did in not having seen them properly. However, they still never answered email until today, after all this time, and I still haven't received my first order. Also, in their reply to me, they slammed the reviews on Dave's Garden as being fake.. I can assure you my rating at least is NOT fake. Still, I am very sorry for missing the confirmation email that I was sent and unintentionally misleading the public with that misinformation. Everything else I said is true, though.
I ordered two roses on April 22, 2012, via PayPal and paid $56.35.
Immediately after ordering I sent them an email via their website explaining that I would be leaving for Europe on May 18 and I needed the roses before that to get them in the ground.
They responded the next day and told me that their roses were still leafing out and that they would send them in 1-2 weeks and would send an email confirmation before they were shipped FedEx.
I had not received them by May 12, so sent another email asking where the roses were––no response. I also found their number and called, leaving a voicemail message––no reply.
When we returned from Europe on June 12, I sent another, very detailed message, explaining all the problems and that I still had not received anything. I received a reply right away saying it was a misunderstanding on their part regarding when I would be leaving for Europe and they would ship the next day.
The roses shipped two days later and I received them two days after that.
This company seems to be having problems. At the same time I was experiencing problems with them others have posted similar reviews. These are tough times and I 'm willing to cut them a little slack, but probably won't order from them again. The size and quality of plants I received wasn't very good considering the $20.00 price I paid for each. $16.45 shipping is a little steep, also.
On May 15, 2012 I placed an order online and my credit card was charged immediately for $150. They say on their website that it could take up to 2 weeks for orders to ship, however it has now been 4 weeks and I have received no products, no correspondance, no refund, nothing! I have made numerous attempts to contact them through their website, email, and voicemail for over a week now and although they say they will "respond within 24-48 hours", I haven't received any response. As of today I have filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau. This company is a bunch of frauds and are giving a bad reputation to small businesses trying to expand their company online. I will never order from another online "family run" farm again for fear of having more money stolen from me. BUYER BEWARE: DO NOT ORDER FROM THIS COMPANY!!!
I ordered 3 Achillea plants in December of 2011 so that I could get them by spring. They were never sent and because it is past 60 days, I cannot get my money back. This is an absolutely horrible company. They did not answer my e-mails or telephone calls. I do not recommend that anyone use this company.
I ordered 2 roses in two separate orders from Stargazers Perennials the first on may 13. fedex showed shipped on may 21 eight days later. today is may 29. i do not have my rose. no idea where it is.
my second order was ordered on may 15. as of may 29 it has not been shipped.
You can not talk to anyone at this company. as a 'family owned' company i guess the whole family is out in the fields searching for my missing order.
Do NOT buy from this company. there are many other quality online companies to purchase from.
Last year I ordered a Jacob's Coat to go along with another of the same kind ordered from a different highly reputable company. This year the JC from Stargazer is blooming so GORGEOUS, I mean large beautiful flowers and the bush is lush, really exceptional. The other JC is thinner and has buds that make no attempt to open. In short I would most definitely buy from Stargazer again. Their products are older and well established by the time you get them and they settle in very nicely and show healthy growth and wonderful blooms. I just wished I had ordered all of my roses from this company. Will definitely keep them at the top of my list next time.
I ordered a clematis 'Omoshiro" which was shipped right on schedule with excellent packing. Not a smidgen of soil was spilled...no damage at all to the plant. As a matter of fact, it had one flower opening when it arrived and several buds which will probably open soon.
It appears to be a healthy and beautiful plant which will grace my garden for years to come, I hope.
I recommend this company as I was very pleased with the plant quality and quick and careful shipping.
Thanks so much!
Colleen Paris in Polson, MT
I recently ordered 10+ hardy roses from Stargazer Perennials and their other nursery Farm Fresh Living in August. This is my first online ordering experience for live plants and I was very impressed that despite the heat we are experiencing in Austin, TX right now (100F+ for over two months) the roses shipped just fine and had grown new growth within a couple of days of arrival. I planted some of the roses when the temperature dropped into the 90Fs and they are doing great, though I'm still waiting for another break in the heat to plant the rest.
I ordered 5 plants on 3/10/11 expecting delivery at the end of April (per their web site). I did receive an order confirmation/credit card charge immediately. By the middle of May I became concerned because I did not hear from them or receive my order. I phoned them (they NEVER answer - just voice mail), I repeatedly used their web form asking for an order update ... no response ... then I resorted to using their info@ email address expecting some sort of reply ... NOTHING ... I did look up their rating with the BBB .. and naturally they are rated F. I wasn't surprised. I finally called my credit card company and they gave me a full refund. I initially hesitated canceling my order because they charge a 15% restocking fee and I did not want to give them anything they didn't deserve! I don't understand how they stay in business ... To date they still have not responded!!!
I asked a question about shipping time, and was promptly told they ship when dornmancy is broken. Specified on their website is the information about them being a small family company and busy at shipping times. I think some criticism is simply lack of paying attention.
omasuziq Greensboro, NC (Zone 7a) (8 reviews) October 2, 2010
Posted on May 7, 2010, updated October 2, 2010
Posted on May 5, 2010, updated May 7, 2010
I placed an order with Star Gazer on March 2nd and had a very nice chat on the phone about estimated delivery date with someone there in early April. Supposedly, delivery was to be mid-to late-April since they are in the Northwest and the growing season is a bit delayed versus the East. OK. But this timeframe has come and gone and I can no longer rouse anyone there on the phone. You are instructed to e-mail your questions, which I have twice. No response to either e-mail inquiry. Wouldn't use them again.On May 7th, 2010, omasuziq changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
After my 3rd request for order status yesterday, I received the following response:
"As I replied to your earlier email our Caryopteris have not yet broken dormancy due to an unexpected series of very cold 20 degree nights and 5 inches of snowfall in the past two weeks that we have had at our farm. We do not ship dormant plants and as noted on our website we grow our plants sustainably, outside which produces healthier plants but sometimes delays shipping in the spring."
I don't have a record of an earlier response but things can get lost in e-space so I am willing to suspend disbelief on this. I can also appreciate that field-grown plants in certain areas of the country can take longer to "wake up" and be shippable than Eastern gardeners are used to. I learned a lesson here and that is to consider where the plant stock I order is coming from and whether their timing for delivery matches my optimal planting time. No fault on either party if they don't match. On October 2nd, 2010, omasuziq changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I felt my last transaction with Star Gazer might not have fairly reflected that operation. (I needed plants delivered to NC in late April/early May and Star Gazer is situated in a region where dormancy had not been broken by then.) So I ordered from them again in late September, hoping our fall planting seasons would overlap. And they did. Both the Weigela 'Wine and Roses' and the Sambucus 'Black Lace' arrived today, exactly on schedule. Both had "nice" top growth (at this time of the year I realize for both species that's relative and that the plants had been pruned by necessity for shipping) and both had healthy root systems. Both were certainly light years ahead of the specimens I encountered in local "high end" nurseries. Based on this encounter, I would certainly recommend Star Gazer.
lissabird New Hyde Park, NY (Zone 7a) (6 reviews) August 8, 2010
In my experience there was a somewhat long order-to-door time as compared with other nurseries we have ordered from. However, what made up for it was the sheer gorgeousness of the rose that arrived in its two gallon pot -- healthy, thriving, blooming and with well established roots. I really couldn't be more pleased! A++++
My order for 8 Blue Moon Wisteria arrived yesterday and I am thrilled with them. Before I placed the order, I posted a query on the their site. I received a call from them a few minutes later, with answers to all my questions. Shortly afterward, I received an emailed photo of a Blue Moon Wisteria ready for shipment so I would know what the plants I would receive looked like. Throughout the order and shipment process, I received timely updates alerting me to the status of my order. The plants arrived at my home in Texas a few days after I placed the order. They were perfectly packed and all 8 arrived in excellent condition.
mccall8517 Flossmoor, IL (3 reviews) July 21, 2010
First time that I ordered from this company. I ordered four reblooming lilacs for my mom as a birthday gift. A very friendly, easy to deal with company, with fast, professional service. I requested a photo first of the plants to be sent and they emailed me the same day. My mom received her plants one week later and was thrilled at how large and healthy the plants were. They also enclosed a personalized gift card. I will be ordering again and will recommend them to my other friends.
ziggler15 Blairsville, PA (1 review) June 16, 2010
I ordered a rosebush on May 20th. Almost immediately after the purchase I received a comfirmation email that they charged my credit card and that I would receive another email once my item had shipped. After a week with no such email, I checked, and found on their website that it could take up to two weeks to ship. No problem, I thought. Well, the two week mark came and went. I got back on their website, and now saw that the rose I ordered was out of stock. I started getting worried, as I was leaving on a three week vacation on June 14th. I emailed them several times, letting them know that if there was a problem with my order, I understood, and would be happy to choose a different rose, and explained that no one would be home between June 14th and May 5th. I never received any communication from them. I tried calling, and left voicemail, and had no responses. It is now June 16th. I just checked my email, and found that my rose was shipped yesterday, and is scheduled to arrive at my house tomorrow. I'm not in my home state, and this rose will now be sitting, unattended, on my porch for two and a half weeks. I've been in this house for less than a year, and do not know my neighbors well. So my options are now, let it sit and hope for the best, call my 82 year old grandmother and have her travel 45 minutes to pick up the package, or call the post office, who is holding my mail, and see if my mailman would mind picking up the fedex box, and take care of it until I return. I'm quite honestly at a loss as to how a business could be run so poorly, with no concern for customers at all.
JoaninNC Barnardsville, NC (1 review) June 9, 2010
Posted on May 22, 2010, updated June 9, 2010
Ordered two hydrangeas in December, 2009. Hydrangeas had not been delivered by mid-April so I sent a very friendly e-mail inquiry about estimated date of delivery. Stargazer Perennials responded that the hydrangeas would be ready for shipment in 2-3 weeks. It is now May 22nd and I have not received the plants nor have I received a reply to my second e-mail inquiry of May 18th.
At this point, I am not at all pleased with the company. If something makes me change my opinion, I will do a new post.
Joan in Western N.C.On June 9th, 2010, JoaninNC added the following:
I sent five (5) emails before I received a response concerning when the hydrangeas would be shipped. The reply email was very courteous.
The hydrangeas arrived today (6/9) and they are the worst plants I have ever seen. I do not expect they will live. They are small, more-or-less dead and have only a few spindly and mostly dead leaves on them. These plants look far worse than end of the season stuff that your discount store sells for $3.00!!! I order online quite a bit even sometimes ordering from the nurseries with less than stellar reputations such as Gurney's, Interstate Nurseries, and Michigan Bulb, and I have NEVER received plants so spindly and near death! I've had superb luck with Parks, Wayside, and American Meadows.
I will never order from Stargazer Perennials again. The shipping charges alone are more than these plants are worth.
I understand that some of you got good value for your money from this nursery but be warned that when they don't do a good job they fail in a really big way.
This was my first order with Stargazer Perennials and I will be back again. I placed my order in January for 6 blueberry plants, 12 Alpine Strawberry plants and 6 Raspberry plants. I was a little worried spending so much online but I have an organic garden and wanted plants that were grown without chemicals. My plants arrived last week in perfect shape - there were even strawberries on the plants ready to eat. The blueberry and raspberry plants were much larger and more mature than what I am used to getting and the packing was stellar! I admit I was impatient to get my plants and wanted them in early April, but Nick informed me that they did not ship plants until they showed good growth and boy was I glad that I waited!! If you want organically grown plants that are beautiful out of the box, this is the place and definitely worth the wait!!!
Posted on June 21, 2008, updated June 8, 2010
Bravo !! GREAT website.... easy to use ordering and the plants are very healthy , which I appreciate .
I've been searching for a long time to find an nursery that grows roses without chemicals and pesticides since I do not use them on my fruit trees. Although we have very hot summers, roses grow beautifully in southern Arizona.
I was so happy when I opened my order of mini roses and saw they were large, healthy and already blooming. I also received a Joseph's Coat (climbing rose) which has spectacular blooms and took off right away.
I appreciated the way they packaged my plants in recyclable material, no styrofoam or any of those annoying "peanuts" that go everywhere.
A really friendly and knowledgable company. I emailed Nick several times with gardening questions and he got right back to me with helpful suggestions.
I will definitely order again from this company and have recommended them to friends here and in other states. I give them a 12 out of 10 for "going the extra mile".On June 8th, 2010, arizonabarbara added the following:
Karyn, I received the Alpine Strawberries (8 plants) 2 weeks ago and they were packed beautifully..no damage. they came out of the box already with blossoms and fruit. The strawberries are tiny, but oh-so-sweet. Several friends saw you mentioned in Sunset magazine about the Alpine strawberries and also ordered them. When our southern Arizona summer heat arrives I shall hang them inside in an
atrium & I should have strawberries for many months. Thanks again. I have never received plants in better condition than the ones I have bought from you & Nick over the years. (I enjoy your other website also)
Apparently a once functional family-owned business has become dysfunctional. We had to give up on our order of blueberry plants after waiting six weeks for something that was supposed to ship in two weeks. If we had gotten any response to our numerous telephone messages (they don't ever answer) or emails, we would have been flexible and patient. Had to put in a dispute with our bank to get a refund on our credit card. They certainly don't seem interested in pleasing their customers or even communicating with them.
Extremely disappointed. Takes them days to respond to an email and I recently inquired about my order since it was suppose to ship on the last week of April and it's been 4 days now and no response. Will not order from them again.
Was a little perturb about the long FedEx turnaround time, only, to be pleasantly surprise about the maturity of Stargazer Perennials' two-gallon shrubs. Very "established root system" with the roots extending from the pots' holes.
One berry plant experienced a little rot of its leaf stems from the soil being so wet... I removed those... and all seems to be doing fine.
Overall, I don't feel that I was cheated one bit on this purchase. Beautiful root system. Will order from Stargazer again. Thank you!
dlefferts Agawam, MA (Zone 6a) (26 reviews) June 30, 2009
Recommend this company. Delivery was very timely, packaging was great, blubs were excellent, and everything grew and flowered. I don't think you can ask for more then that. I would purchase from them again. Great personal communication!
ordered a couple of roses at the end of april for a may 15th shipping, as stated on their website. the end of may is drawing near and i'm getting worried 'cause i haven't heard anything and i'm leaving town soon. after several emails and a phone call, they finally emailed me with the disappointing news that 2 of the 3 roses were too small to send. had they told me sooner, i could have still received one of them and they wouldn't have lost the total sale. so now it's too late for this planting season and the sale is a no-sale and i requested a refund.
the refund has been sitting in a pending account in paypal for two days, waiting, i suppose, on available funds.
i'm not too thrilled at this point but i will update when/if i get my money back.
i really hate leaving bad reviews. on a website like dg it can possibly make or break a small company. nick was very nice on the return email and did refund immediately. just wish there was money to cover it! On June 4th, 2009, trackinsand changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
my refund appeared on my cc statement this morning, slow process between paypal and discover card but i'm satisfied now. this company doesn't use paypal anymore. all in all, a tedious experience but i will try them again in the fall because i really want one of the plants they carry.
This is my first experience with this company and I was happy they shipped my plants when I requested. However, the tomato plants came very limp and dehydrated, and if they had one more day in shipment, they probably would have died. The problem? Big plants in small pots. The soil in the 3.5 inch pot was bone dry, despite the wood shaving packing and the damp paper that was sealed within each pot. Happily, with an immediate watering, they perked up and are fine now.
This is my first experience with Stargazer and was a small order, though by their wonderful website, it's difficult to practice restraint!
I ordered just a pound each of Russian and American Fingerling Potato sets. They arrived within a short time and look to be in perfect condition. The packaging goes the extra miles as it was not popcorn but rather the more effective wood shavings to protect the moisture content of the sets.
Easy web site, easy ordering, great shipping! Excellent experience thus far!
This is such a well-organized company with which to do business! Their selection is good, their ordering process is quick and easy, their plants are second to none, and they even follow up AFTER their plants are delivered to make sure you have received them! I have been very impressed with both the product and the service by this company, and I will definitely be ordering again from them in the future. A+++ =)
tkmkam Jacksonville, FL (7 reviews) October 8, 2008
My husband and I found an unusual plant on the internet called Snow in Summer. After searching several mail order companies, we found Stargazer had them by searching "plant scout" on Dave's Website . This was our first purchase from this company but the comments we read made us take a chance. We are so glad we did. We ordered 16 plants, each one gallon size. The plants were mature, large, and healthy. Each pot looked like a clone of the other. They were all identical in size and in quality. Thanks Karyn and Nick for speedy service and the highest quality plants. We will be returning soon for more purchases.
Wow! These guys are great! It's obvious that they have a passion for what they do. The plants are healthy and beautiful and were packed so they arrived in great condition. Stargazer's customer service is as high quality as their product!
This is my first experience with this company and I must say that it was among the best experiences ever with an online nursery. The plants I received were extremely healthy and beyond my expectations. Most of the plants were sold in 3.5-inch pots, but the plants that arrived in those pots were of the size that a local nursery would sell in quart size or larger. Some of the plants that were supposed to come in the 3.5-inch pots were actually in quart size pots. Most plants that are shipped across country usually show a little stress, but you would never know that these plants had been shipped anywhere. Not one plant showed the slightest sign of stress.
Also, I appreciated their attention to packing them in reuseable shipping materials, i.e., placing pots over the plants and taping them. I now have some more much-needed pots to use in the greenhouse, and if a customer doesn't need the extra pots, it sure is a lot easier to stack up the pots for recycling than it is to get rid of those peanuts!
I planted my plants in the garden, about a week ago and they look as large and healthy as plants that I planted from other nurseries 3 weeks ago. I think that is due to their organic growing methods. It sure seems that it really makes a big difference in plant hardiness.
Outstanding plants, arrived in beautiful shape and carefully packed, excellent communication and helpful assistance from the owners. I've been buying plants mail-order for over a decade, and this is the best experience I've had.
Wow. I ordered about 200 bulbs and perennials from Stargazer. Nick is incredible and so accomodating. The first batch of plants arrived safe and happy. They were all covered with a second pot and taped, with paper inside around the stem to prevent any movement. Every plant was big and healthy, and easy to open. They even planted some of the bulbs and bareroots for me to give them a head start because I was away until may 18. I will definitely be back next year!
I ordered peonies, bleeding hearts, shasta daisies from this nursery this year and I was impressed with the packaging. They gave a lot of care for the plants and carefully taped them so the soil stay in pots.
Also they sent the bleeding hearts in bigger pots. It was beyond my expectation, I'm so happy.
They answer every email fast too and very friendly.
They deserve a positive rating here.
billbeamer Athens, OH (1 review) December 29, 2006
I placed two orders with Stargazer over the last few months, one for fall bulbs which were large and plump-excellent price and service, but my best experience with them was in July when I wanted to order some of the new Big Sky Echinaceas. I placed the order, and they called me in a few minutes and told me that they would rather not ship the plants due to the heatwave across the country. I told them I'd been trying to buy the new orange coneflowers for months (actually begged a little). They not only shipped the plants(very healthy), but they enclosed some ice packs-no extra charges. Really friendly and knowledgable people.