The pruning workshop was informative and relaxed. It would have been useful to have specific pruning stations set up where we could practice sharpening our own tools and pruning nursery stock (topiary anyone?!). Lots of good questions asked/answered.
Posted on August 31, 2010, updated September 24, 2010
I ordered three Kirengeshoma palmata after admiring this unfamilar plant in a friend's shade garden. After visiting Davesgarden.com I found that Avant Gardens had them available and quickly placed my order. Three days later they were in my posession, beautifully packed and green and healthy. As an added surprise a Carix Blue Bunny was included.
I wish I could visit in person but see it's a 3 1/2 hour drive but will surely be a happy customer again and will pass along their name to garden club friends.
On September 24th, 2010, jweibel added the following:
I just ordered again and two days later received a perfectly packed box of plant material. They were all bushy, green, healthy plants and the bonus eupatorium was a nice surprise. My experience could not have been better!
One of the great benefits of the internet is that a world of plants that are usually not available locally becomes available to anyone with access to a computer. One of the bad things is that your first order requires a certain amount of trust on the part of the buyer in the integrity of the seller. Avant Gardens repays that trust many times over. They ship beautiful, well-packed plants quickly. They are an excellent source of quality plant materials. I ordered some asters and hardy begonias and they were in my hands within a week of the order. My thanks for a job well done.
I found out about this vendor thru the internet and telephoned Kathy to inquire about purchasing rudbeckia Herbstonne. She knew exactly what I was talking about and proceeded to tell me all the necessary information. I subsequently drove about 75 miles to her place of business and purchased the plants. Had I not been in a bit of a hurry, I would have liked to look around some more. I will definitely go back....It's worth the trip. Thanks Kathy
Posted on July 31, 2010, updated July 31, 2010
Posted on August 27, 2005, updated July 31, 2010
Since I am only 2 hours away from Avant Gardens, I decided to drive there instead of ordering through the mail. I figured they probably had many more items than just what was in the paper catalogue.
What a treasure trove! A tremendous selection of rock garden plants including the rare Lewisia tweedyi, endless coleus, a whole greenhouse of hostas and shade perennials, etc. Everything looked quite healthy despite the cruel drought. I found "Trish" to be extremely knowlegable and very helpful...a true gift from God. She was also willing to state when she didn't know the answer to a question, but when the owner, Kathy Tracy arrived I was able to get some identifications on rex begonias that weren't in the catalogue. Some plants that looked especially good this time of year in case you happen to be lucky enough to live nearby:
Caryopteris divaricata Snow Fairy- variegated white and green, lovely
Leonotis menthoides - beautiful Agastache like orange flower
Orostachys spinosus- weird succulent
Pedilanthus tithymaloides variegata- Zic Zac, attractive yellow, red and green mix
Begonia "Sinbad" - pretty white veined green leaves, reddish underneath
And many more, too numerous to list. I would feel confident ordering from them through the mail...there wasn't a "dog" plant in sight! Extremely, extremely strongly recommended!!
On July 31st, 2010, dave12122 added the following:
Yesterday I went back to visit Avant Gardens again. I am happy to report it is better than ever! Someone wrote that Kathy is "never particularly friendly". Frankly, I find the opposite to be true. She goes out of her way to provide a pleasant shopping experience for her customers. Some of the exciting plants (out of hundreds!) this time of year are:
Cynara cardunculus- The Cardoon. A thistle relative with beautiful gray foliage and a striking blue-purple flower. Kathy has it for a very reasonable price.
Boemeria nipponica- A new shade perennial grown for its shocking green foliage with pale yellow sections. Very hard to get and often twice the Avant Gardens price.
Salvia "Cambridge Blue"- A tender perennial Salvia (zone 8) with a magnificent flower that is pale sky blue. A must-have!
"Adopt--A-Plant" A LARGE selection of plants for $1.00. Annuals, perennials, and some woodies. I found a Ligularia Brett-Marie Crawford in this section, a plant which often sells for $13.95 or more!
Avant Gardens is absolutely worth a look if you are within driving distance, and if not, they do ship. The offerings are more extensive than ever, and Kathy generously gave me a gift variegated Agave. (their succulent selection, hardy and tender, is extensive!) Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!!!On July 31st, 2010, dave12122 added the following:
I just realized I misspelled one of the plants mentioned here. That plant is Boehmeria nipononivea, it is not Boemeria nipponica. Sorry if I caused anyone confusion in their search for this plant.
Received my order on Wednesday after placing an order on Sunday night around 10 pm. Plants were very good and even got a bonus!! Packaged well and very healthy looking. Good selection and price. Would do business with them again.
I live an hour away from Avant so every year for the last 10 yrs I make the trip and make my purchases there. Kathy has never been the friendliest person but this time she was just plain miserable, snappy, and rude. I understand everyone has a bad day but I also work in retail and don't think that is an excuse to treat loyal paying customers so poorly. I would recommend shopping with them only online and to not go to the nursery in person unless you enjoy abuse. I will not be going back again.
On May 14, 2010, mad4roses Georgetown, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Two kolwitzia and three durantas were delivered yesterday. The kolwitzia were quite nice and full. One was a little stressed from shipping but has already perked up. The duranta were smaller specimens than the kolwitzia, but that was expected and they are very healthy and even showing some buds. Communication was excellent. They let me know immediately that there would be a delay in shipping out the duranta and asked if that would still be an acceptable timeframe for delivery in my area. Iím very pleased with the products and service I received from Avant Gardens and will likely order again, especially as I just moved into this home and have a huge yard to play with here.
Purchased a plant. Was told 9 days later that they only had one in stock and it wasn't in good shape. Appreciate that they didn't send me a plant in good shape, but wish it wouldn't have taken over a week for them to let me know.
I have ordered plants from Avant Gardens several times and have always been pleased with the items sent. Everything is very carefully packed. I appreciate the good service and large variety of plants they carry!
On Jun 20, 2009, PadreWayne Mount Pleasant, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:
Ordered one hellebore and five moonflowers (the morning-glory type vine, not the Datura) -- all arrived in the time specified; plants are healthy, good size, and were packed with precision! High marks for great service. And I think they sent me an extra moonflower -- a gift to a new customer?
On Jun 17, 2009, kristinmaria Pittsburgh, PA wrote:
This could have been a negative, but Avant Gardens couldn't have been nicer. I ordered a bunch of plants from them, and I'm 99% certain I specified a different shipping address than my billing address. You guessed it, the plants went to the wrong address, where they languished in a box for several days.
Worse, when I checked my emails, I realized that they had informed me of their intention to mail the plants to that address and asked for confirmation. I never responded, so they went ahead and sent to the wrong address. I thought for sure they were going to rub my nose in that and tell me it was my own tough luck for not answering their order confirmation and would refuse to replace any of the plants.
Instead, to my delight and amazement, they agreed to a total replacement of the order--with no arm twisting necessary. I had carefully told them which plants were probably going to make it, and which were not, but they went ahead and replaced the entire order, no questions asked. I really appreciated that. I do think it was their mistake in sending it to the wrong address, but it was definitely my mistake not to have responded to their confirmation email.
On top of all that, the plants look great. Nice size, very healthy, and all are thriving. Thanks so much!
I ordered several plants, including some tender vines. These arrived in excellent condition, moist and nicely wrapped so that the foliage was also protected. Since I planned to put these in my river garden, it was 2 days from arrival to planting, and they have acclimated beautifully to the garden. One of my picks was not available but they had notified me beforehand.
I first ordered from Avant Gardens when I was seeking Hellebores and trailing Coleus which were not available at my garden centers. Their plants are carefully packaged for shipment and mine always arrive when promised. Perennials in my garden from their nursery are thriving.
I ordered a Witchhazel "Diane" about two months ago and it arrived today. The plant was much larger than expected and well branched. This was a wonderful value for a hard-to-find shrub in my area. The packaging was well done and the shipping was prompt. Communication about the shipping date was excellent. I would order from this company again without hesitation.
On Aug 9, 2008, debi_k S of Lake Ontario, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
I just placed an order on Wed, and received it today, very surprised with such quick delivery. There was a note on the outside of the box stating to place it out of direct sun, which my husband did - I was not at home when it was delivered. The plants are nice and large, healthy, and well packed. I'm very pleased.
On Jul 18, 2008, fluffysquirrel Sicklerville, NJ wrote:
What a nice company to deal with. I bought several Caramel Heuchera and not only was the customer service impeccable, the plants were packed with great care and arrived swiftly. They were in wonderful condition despite the heat wave we have been experiencing. I will definitely do business with Avant Garden again and I highly recommend them!
I never got my order. Upon research it seems someone came in and bought ALL the plant I was getting. They "thought" they e-mailed me but had no record. And the other plant I ordered had a failure. I was not happy. I am not giving them a negative since I understand these things happen. I am disappointed I didn't have the great experience others had and I was so looking forward to my shipment.
On August 9th, 2008, kimalexis changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
I am now changing my review from neutral to negative.
Here's what happens when you have a bad experience with this company, they post your personal information e-mail, name and address on websites.
I got a plant with the leaves chewed up. If I you can post pictures on here I certainly will. Avant Gardens didn't wait to see my pictures before replying that my plant was in perfect condition.
Save yourself the aggravation and steer clear of Avant Gardens. I have asked them to remove my personal information via a phone call. You can all see if they have the decency to do that.On Jun 2, 2008, Avant Gardens responded with:
On Aug 8, 2008 12:04 PM, Avant Gardens added:
The customer contacted us after she posted this comment. We explained that a crop we had coming along wasn't quite ready of Ilex verticllata 'Berry Heavy', but would have some for late summer shipping. She agreed she would like us to send her the plant when it was ready. Our crop matured in July, and we contacted the customer to be sure she still wanted the plant. After 2 emails she replied that she did.
We sent out a healthy plant on Aug 8th, and did not charge for boxing and shipping. We received the following email this am.
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 7:36 AM
I got my berry heavy holly. Almost half the leaves are chewed on and
there are black spots on a lot more. I could take some pictures to
show you but right now I am off to work . I am novice at gardening
but I know that's not a healthy plant.
I personally selected a very healthy plant that was shipped to you, and unless it was exposed to extreme heat in the box before you opened it, there should be nothing wrong with your plant.
I just looked at all of our hollies to see if any are experiencing a problem with insect activity or black spots on leaves. There is nothing remarkable on any of them. We have had some grass hoppers nibbling on some of the foliage. A few spots on the leavers towards the end of the season is usually not anything to worry about. We are very careful in our use of pesticides and fungicides and limit our use of them.
I am going to refund your money for the Ilex, so you will not feel that you have been ill served by us. We did not charge for shipping the plant to you. I'm going to address the Dave's garden comment you made in the forum. I'd prefer you didn't order from us again until you do get more gardening experience.
On Aug 19, 2008 9:44 AM, Avant Gardens added:
It's not often but occasionally an unreasonable customer gets the best of me. Some people are difficult to please, and I should just accept this as part of being in business.
Because we had sold out of our spring supply of the Ilex, and was unable to supply the plant to her at the time, (which I might add that she had not been charged for) we wanted to give her a positive experience with us by shipping a very healthy plant and did ot charge her to box and ship the plant when it was ready. Why would we go to the trouble of sending her something that she would not be pleased with? It is also very hard to imagine that an extremely healthy unblemished plant shipped out and received by the customer the following day in northern New England could have suddenly succumbed to insect damage and disease.
Also, it took 2 days after the customer received her order to notice the "unhealthy" plant's symptons. Is it possible that the box wasn't opened for several days but left out in the hot sun? I'll never know.
I might add that a photo was never supplied to us. Our intent in posting this customer's email correspondence was to show we were not editing any of the wording. We have been "decent" enough to request Dave's Garden's editing staff to omit her signed name."
On May 23, 2008, Cynthiascat Catonsville, MD wrote:
I've known about Avant Gardens for years, but this was my first order by mail. I ordered two C.'Golden Spirit' and didn't expect them to be so good sized for the price. Needless to say, I'm very pleased. At such a busy time of the year for nurseries, I found the time from order to receipt to be quite fast, and quality of the plants and packing were excellent.
A catalogue was included with the order, and unlike the (perhaps new?) gardener below who commented on lack of pictures on the website, the catalogue is full of pictures. No, not glossy photos that may have nothing to do with quality of stock or the knowledge and integrity of the proprietors, (heck spring hill has pictures if that's what ya want ) but WORD pictures :-) . That's the best kind of catalogue and a sign of a nursery not catering to just the impulse buyers. Real depth of selection, as if they are selling their own favorite plants and know what they're selling and how each plant performs. I feel another order coming on....
My first order with this company will certainly not be my last. I purchased annuals, houseplants and a few perennials. The annuals where in quart pots for the same price other websites charge for a 3" pot or dinky plug. The coleus Sedona I ordered are gorgeous and all at least 12" tall.
I also got miscanthus Gold Bar in a quart pot for half the price I paided Wayside last year for a 3" pot, and the root system is very well developed. They are already larger and fuller than the ones that have been in the ground for a year.
The packing was suberb, and all of the packing material went directly into the compost bin. A+++ on that. A delicate jointed euphorbia I ordered didn't have one bent or bruised stem and it is quite a large plant.
I couldn't be more pleased with my experience.
On Feb 25, 2008, fernman23 HENDERSON, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:
I would not order frtom them. Their site is sorely lacking in images which IS an important part, if not necessary, part of ordering online for the garden.
In most cases where all sites do not get their info all from one true site (read:natural habitat) It could be they are too new to have populated their site with shots/drawings, but, if their catalog at $3 has as few photos as their on-line site, I would again, be disappointed.
On Feb 25, 2008, Avant Gardens responded with:
On Feb 25, 2008 8:40 AM, Avant Gardens added:
We were a bit surprised to see your comment this morning in Garden Watchdog. A neutral rating is neither good or bad, but since you've never ordered from us, or corresponded with us for that matter, we wonder why you made it a point to make a comment.
We have spent a lot of time and money to make our website user friendly and attractive. We do have a large number of plant images on our site, and are in the process of adding new and better pictures all the time. We've also learned that not all plants are photogenic and putting a poor image next to a plant actually might dissuade a customer from buying an otherwise garden worthy subject.
We are a small operation, and do not grow large quantities but do grow a wide variety of plants. Yes, we understand that you would love to see a good picture of a plant you are not familiar with before you purchase it , and as previously stated we hope to keep the pictures coming.
But to go to the trouble of putting in a neutral rating and a comment about never ordering from us.....
Ordered plants on Sunday. On Monday morning, the company informed me there was a glitch with my credit card, which we resolved easily, and the plants were shipped same day. They arrived on Tuesday, well packed and very healthy. My best mail order plant expereince.
Ordered plants in the middle of the summer heat and my zeal was luckily curbed. They held off on shipping until it was cooler and everything arrived (large!) in healthy shape with buds etc. Annuals were huge and recovered well, cool bonus plant. Can't wait to order again!
On Sep 11, 2007, DonShirer Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:
I ordered from Avant this fall largely because of the comments on this thread. It may sound like an echo, but the plants not only arrived sooner than I expected, but they were well packed, larger than I expected from other nursery mail orders, and evidently in good health. If they do well in my garden (as I have every reason to expect) I will definitely order from Avant again.
Research on DavesGarden website prompted me to select this company for a purchase.
I just received my first order from this company and found it to be a fabulous experience from start to finish. I ordered three pineapple lilies and a variegated cattail at the end of June. I was informed by email that they would hold the order until July 2, due to some very hot weather were having here. The order arrived on July 5 after 3 day shipping and was perfect in every way. The plants were much larger than I had expected (about 12 inches tall) and they included a free bonus plant I have never hard of before, but am very pleased to try out. I would definately order from this company again, and look forward to perusing their website for rare plants next spring. Just one of the best I have ordered from!
On Jun 17, 2007, lillyo Marlborough, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:
I just received my first order from this nursery of some unusual annuals that I could not get locally. The plants were beautifully wrapped in newspaper, much easier to deal with and better for the environment than packing peanuts. All the plants were healthy, despite the box having been left in full sun by the UPS delivery person, who must have been blind to miss the handwritten messages on the box's top about not leaving the box in the sun. They had been out of one of the plants that I ordered and had taken the time to contact me and ask if I wanted to substitute another plant and followed that with some suggestions. The plants were a good size and not at all root bound even though the order was a late one. They were kind enough to include an exceptionally lovely bonus plant. I look forward to doing business with them again.
I discovered Avant Gardens in an Internet search for a particular plant I was looking for, requested their catalog, and ordered about half a dozen plants.
l couldn't be more pleased. Everything came in excellent condition. This is small family run nursery that propagates what they sell and is a terrific resource for plants that are not commonly available.
An excellent company...A+ excellent from hard to find plant selections to correspondence to delivery! They even located an item previously noted as sold out for which I am grateful. Plants received in excellent condition!
First order from Avant arrived yesterday, and I've already placed a second. Carefully edited plant selection, quality material at reasonable prices, excellent communication, exemplary packaging, and a bonus plant, too.
On Apr 26, 2007, CoreHHI Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:
First order from Avant Gardens and it went well. Just received the plants, they were starting to coming out of dormancy. Prefect for planting. Packaging was great. For sure a small company by the way it was packed. Well packed in newspapers and some other organic stuff that I'm not sure what it was. Looks like everything is healthy and what I ordered.
I would order from them again. They have some hard to find plants.
The order I placed this summer arrived in great shape, this company
knows how to pack plantings, very satisfied and will
do business in the future. plants were exceptional in
size and boy did they grow once planted. First class
company to do business with.
On Aug 17, 2006, dirtyharry Aurora, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:
This was my first order from Avant Gardens and I'm sure it won't be the last. My plants were shipped in a timely manner and great care was taken in packing them. They were good size plants and a free plant was included.
On Jun 25, 2006, warrendavisx Haddonfield, NJ wrote:
My first order was based on reviews found here...This is an excellent, professional operation. Their plants are first rate. The customer service and communication is outstanding. Everything you need to know about costs, condition of plants, shipping, etc., is covered explicitly and comprehensively. Not only would I never hesitate to buy here again, this would be a first choice. A+
On Jun 8, 2006, manofroses West Yarmouth, MA wrote:
Excellent service!!! I have ordered by mail twice in 3 years--both times for me to pickup at the nursery. Order was accurately assembled and waiting for me on day I had specified. Plants were healthy and well rooted. A well laid out nursery with clean, attractive plants and knowledgeable staff. Plants from first order have all thrived--tags were accurate and very helpful as to siting and care. Expect second order to be a repeat. This is an excellent operation--small enough to have direct contact with owner, but offering a relatively wide variety of plants, including some not found elsewhere by mail. Website is well organized, attractively designed, informative and complete.