I ordered and received a little (key word) Arnolds Pride Fringe tree (sorry I'm not spelling it's "real name")... Almost a month ago. I'm used to getting some gallon sized plants via mail order, I know they can be quite small and... toothpick looking... this was one such.
It had about 6 branches, 4 were broken during shipping. There are some strange peelings or holes in the bark. I'm praying it's the "exfoliating bark" it's known for, and telling myself it's not too young for that. It was hardened off and is in ground...
I know they are late to break dormancy, but everyone who comes to see it asks why I'm growing a dead stick. There's only 2 potential buds (I guess due to breakage in transit) but they aren't breaking dormancy... It's been very unusually warm, but.. I'm in denial and telling myself I didn't spend... a lot of money for what I got, new plant or not, for a dead tree. No, I was irresponsible and didn't notify them immediately when I got plant about questions/concerns... I was ill. I guess the plant height is about described, maybe 12", maybe...
I don't know if it's dead, I don't know what's up with the bark, I think I may have lost more money in mail order and I now swear to use only one company (if any) for the rest of my life. Just my experience, mail order can be a huge risk....
On May 5, 2012, Avant Gardens responded with:
"On May 5, 2012 10:38 AM, Avant Gardens responded with:
I'm not sure who you are, but I'm not aware that you even contacted us about the damage or the state of the plant's condition. Perhaps if you contact us about your issue we can address your problem.
The Chionanthus 'Arnold's Pride' is a slow growing, at first, small tree. It does have exfoliating bark. As for size, a starter plant from mail order is not the same as purchasing a common tree at a local home depot.
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.
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."