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!
Yeah, I'm not too impressed with this company be it small or not. We turned in an internet order in mid-February and got a confirmation in a format that we couldn't open but had a copy of the original order so didn't fuss about it. The scheduled ship date for 12 Abutilon savitzii and 2 Solanum ratonetii was mid April. The day before the scheduled ship date we received an e-mail stating that the Abutilons would be delayed until mid May, no mention of the Solanums. We're now in the third week of July and no plants, no e-mails, no explanation. Jaaah! I called the number on their website and got an answering machine telling me to leave a message. I'll e-mail them to cancel the order.
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.
On May 17, 2006, tobee43 groveland, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
i rec'd my order yesterday. it was a rather large order and when it came it was quite clear the shipping company had taken very bad care of the package. most all the plants had been smashed beyond repair. i called avant immediately and left a message, i also sent an email and fax about the situation. since it was after 5 p.m. i knew i would not hear back that day, however, was concerned about when i would hear back.
well, no concern was nessesary, an email explaining that i would get an immediate credit back for the entire order. i was able to reach them this afternoon and explained that some may make it....but it was insisted that i had a total refund.
things happen....i get 30-50 orders yearly because i use them in my business. you get good plants everyday....what you don't get is EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!!!! it just simply doesn't happen........EXCEPT HERE!
i will not hesitate one second to order from avant gardens again. fact is, of course i would rather have the plants than the money back, but it's good to know that you have nothing at all to worry about if something DOES happen. i highly recommend them and you can be assured that i will place just as large an order next season.
On June 9th, 2008, tobee43 added the following:
Another absolutely PERFECT order from this company.
They are by far one of the best mail order companies one can find anywhere today. I have rec'd time after time wonderful plants at reasonable prices.
Buy with Absolute Confidence from Avant Gardens. You will NOT be disppointed!
On May 16, 2006, ladyisle Bohemia, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I just received my order today and I am actually shocked by the size of the plants. They are really big, and potted in the appropriate size pots to accomodate the size. I don't think I've ever gotten such nice mailorder plants, for any price (exception being roses). In my opinion, the plants were inexpensive, especially because they are uncommon and large.
They even sent me a free coleus.
Thank you so much for the great plants and service.
I made an on-line order for the first time from Avant Gardens. My order was relatively small, just 8 plants of Campanula. I was quite impressed with the extent of the variety they had on line. Their on-line store was well arranged and easy to use. The ordered plant came within a week in good shape. Each plant was carefully wrapped, then they were placed in a box in good order with adequate padding. Their shipping and handling charge US$8 plus US$1 per plant was a little more expensive than I had expected but it was still acceptable to me. Overall it was a very good experience to me, while I am dealing with another retail store that is saying "next week shipment" for three weeks and still waiting.
On Oct 21, 2005, Jadwin59 Rochester, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
Very good experience. I ordered six specialty geraniums I couldn't find at my local garden center, and they were reasonably priced, large plants, well rooted, comparable in size to what I would expect from a garden center. In very good condition and well packed.
They also included a free large sized plant. This was an unexpected bonus.
Shipping charges are on the high side, but worth it if you're ordering something you can't find locally and want to be sure that everything arrives promptly and in good condition. I have had so many bad experiences with other nurseries, ordering plants that were DOA or teeny-tiny or not what they were advertised to be, that I am willing to pay more for the expectation of no problems, good service, and well-sized plants. I will be ordering from them again.
On July 4th, 2008, Jadwin59 added the following:
Ordered again from them this year to get six plant varieties I can't find locally. Again, expensive but a good experience; and I respect the fact that it costs a lot of money to pay people to grow, pack, and ship plants in good condition.
You need to know what you're ordering when you order from this company, as the catalog includes only descriptions. But once you've decided on a particular plant, this is a reliable source for NE gardeners.
On Aug 19, 2005, gregr18 Bridgewater, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I visited Avant Gardens today, and I was extremely impressed, both with the kindness and knowledge of the staff and with the selection of very healthy, interesting, and unique plants that they had to offer.
I always ask nursery owners a lot of questions about their plants, and sometimes I feel like my questions aren't particularly appreciated. At this nursery, the staff encouraged questions. The owner took time to talk to me about my selections and volunteered information about them, and answered my amateurish questions about how to protect tender perennials and how to preserve my coleus over the winter. This gave me the confidence I needed to try growing some beautiful plants that I might otherwise have avoided. Also, while I was in one of the outdoor greenhouses, a humming bird came in and visited some flowers. I think that was a pretty good endorsement. Needless to say, this nursery will be high on my list in the future.
On Aug 6, 2005, crannibal Arlington Heights, IL wrote:
I ordered from this company mainly because they had a Tricyrtis cultivar that I hadn't seen, and they had Geranium 'Pearl Boland,' which I was interested in growing. I ordered several other plants as well.
The plants were delivered promptly. 'Pearl Boland' was unavailable due to crop failure. The Tricyrtis was fine, and nice sized. All plants were healthy and are thriving.
The problem I did have was with Chrysanthemum 'Becky.' This is a common plant where I live, but I hadn't seen any at my usual shopping places, so I thought I'd add a few to my order. What I got was rootbound starter plants that had been recently potted up in bigger pots and sold as such. This seems - at the least - mildly deceptive. Furthermore they mentioned in a post on this site, that their shipping is high in part because they do not send bare-root plants. Well, fine - but considering that - what is the point of adding weight to your package other than to make your plants appear to be a bigger size than they are? Despite some additional tinkering needed to open up the bound roots, the plants are doing fine.
I ordered several plants from this company this year, chiefly because it was the only source I found for Dephinium 'Blue Delft'. The delphinium alas, had a broken stem and did not make it but Avant promptly sent a check to me when I emailed them and let them know. This is the kind of company I will shop from again, one that sends very nice plants and stands behind their product. Thanks again!
On Apr 15, 2005, 75751 Fort Mill, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:
My shopping with Avant gardens is a positive one. I
ordered several perennials and a few annuals. They
arrived very well packaged and healthy. The shipping
was rather high, but I would shop with them again beacuse
of the wonderful product and quick service.
On Nov 7, 2004, phylsjournal Fishkill, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
The plants I ordered were quite large, well packed, and sent in a timely manner. I also received a surprise bonus plant that I was very happy with! I agree with what others have written about the postage. I too thought it was high. But, this is a first rate company, and I would not hesitate to order from them again.
On May 7, 2004, floraline Sleepy Hollow, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
Wow! I received my first order from Avant Gardens and I'm thrilled. The plants are large and healthy, and they even included a bonus plant. I've paid higher shipping costs for much less quality products. Terrific!
On May 6, 2004, gumbydammit Ashland, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:
My one and only experience has been pretty good. All things ordered were delivered and well packaged so they were healthy. All seem to be doing very nicely. Shipping prices are rather high but healthy and unbeaten counts for a lot. Thanks guys (girls)!!!
The plants that I have ordered from Avant Gardens have always been healthy, well-packaged, and have perfomed beautifully in the garden. I have absolutely no problem with the company's products or performance.
Why, then only a "neutral" rating?
Shipping charges, shipping charges, shipping charges!
To ship to Michigan, it is $10.00 base PLUS $2.00 per plant. To purchase online requires a $30.00 minimum purchase (about 7 plants).... that would be $24.00 shipping charge__ one of the highest I've found, and almost doubling the cost of the plants!
With shipping charges that high, I will probably be buying from other online sources.
On Feb 23, 2004, Avant Gardens responded with:
"We've been questioned recently about our shipping charges and really would like to take a moment to address this. We do not build shipping into the cost of the plants, as many big nurseries do. Why not? We have many loyal customers who visit the nursery and pick up their plants, and feel it is unfair to hide shipping charges in the plant prices. Also we ship live plants, not bare roots. It is extremely important that we get plants to you healthy and safely. We do not propagate in large quantities and if a plant does not make it to your door safely in transit, we may not have another plant to replace it. We therefore use only a shipping service that guarantees the plants will get to your door in 2-3 days maximum. We are in Mass. and UPS Ground, which is the most economical service, is reliable for us only in the northeast states.
We try to cover our costs by the rates we've structured. Not only do we have to buy boxes and packing material, but we take extra time in packaging our plants for shipment. For a box of 10 plants it takes at least a half hour to package. This doen't include paperwork, or the time to select the healthiest, best plants. Most importantly, UPS rates go up constantly and we get surcharges on our bill whenever the gas prices go up.
Mail order is a service and if we want to continue to offer this service, we can't continue to lose money doing it. The nursery business is risky enough, and we want to be honest with our customers as to where the costs are coming from.