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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.
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.
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.....
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.
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.