The absolute worst mail order experience I've ever had, bar none.
Only repeated calls to Mr. Winn got me some of my plants, as I quite made a deliberate nuisance of myself. Like most other folks, I was horrified by what I had paid over $200 for--a box of sickly, mostly unrooted sticks in mud. Some things were literally dripping. This was only part of the order, the rest followed some weeks later, and were equally deplorable.
I do give them high marks for creative excuse-making: I was told that there had been a stretch of cool, overcast weather, so plants weren't rooting. Hello, if it is their business to root and sell plants, do they not have propagation houses? Some of what I ordered were notoriously easy to root, like Impatiens and sweet potato, yet a "professional" couldn't pull it off.
Ultimately, what is so discouraging about these [expletives] is that they claim they have such rare plants, and treat them so callously that they may very well become lost to cultivation. One would assume that they were better at one time (otherwise how could they have gained such a rep for offering rarities?), but as far as I'm concerned, they are Michigan Bulb Company with considerably higher prices.
They truly deserve total financial ruin as far as I'm concerned.
Ordered 7 plants May 2001 for $41.00. GHW charged our card IMMEDIATELY and BEFORE shipping - that is rarely a good sign in the nursery business. Then they wrote there was a "production delay" beyond their control. (Apparently this is a form letter they use often - just around the time your rights to contest the charge with the card company ends). Still waiting for plants July 2002. All the plants we ordered are easy-to-root vines (ie. 2-4 weeks) so there is no excuse. Letters and emails never answered. 800 number says they only take new orders. We're letting the Ohio Attorney General's Consumer Advocate handle this for us since nothing else has worked.
I had many frustrating experiences with the gentlemen of Glasshouse Works in the late '80's; I sent them choice plants with no expectations of trades and placed orders for many hundreds of dollars. Only a small percentage of the plants were ever shipped, even after the passage of more than 14 months in the case of one order. Many phone calls and legal threats were made before I finally recieved a refund. They don't have any of what I call gardener's honor. It might be a nice greenhouse to visit but don't do business with them by mail.
- Mr. Gray in Portland
As someone who works in the green industry, I was appalled at the service and the quality of plants from this company. Last year the order took six months, some plants were missing when I received the order. This year (2002) I placed an order on January 17th, after many phone calls it arrived July 1st, four plants were missing, some of the plants were tiny plugs stuck into two inch pots, they withered in two days in the ninety degree heat. They owe me a refund of over fifty three dollars, who knows when that will materialize. When you see the price of plants in their catalogue, it appears that your getting a good bargain,not so. Never again will I order from this company. Totally frustrating!
Terrible service, terrible plants. I placed an order for about a dozen Coleus, and what I got were tiny, barely rooted woody cuttings that were infested with mealybugs.
They left one plant out of my order, and finally sent it after 3 phone calls. The plant they sent was a substitution with a catalog value that was less than half of the plant I had ordered. I'll never deal with them again.
On Apr 25, 2002, mystic Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:
I got my plants today and they are very nice, bigger than I expected. I got the order fast there was a glitch with the internet when I placed the order they contacted me and it was taken care of. I was very pleased with my order and they even included a very nice bonus plant.
True, this company does "Catalog" many unusual plants, but they very seldom have them. I have placed 6-8 different orders for hundreds of plants, over 3 years, and have never received everything I ordered. If I call in an order and the owner takes my order, he will occasionally say "I have very nice ones", but when the order arrives (2 to 6 months later) the "nice ones" are "not ready yet"... I believe it is bad business to lie to customers (it has happened many times to me!). Today, 4/19/02, I received 6 out of 11 SUBSTITUTE plants (I placed my order 3/27/01); so I just called and requested my money refunded & we would call it even FOREVER! Never will I order here again. They also deposit checks & CrCards when they receive it, instead of when the order is shipped like most of the other mailorder nurseries that I order from (whose charges are correct).
If you like the unusual, this is the place to go! I have found plants here that I have never seen in another catalog! Most of the plants are sort of small, but I don't feel the prices are bad if you want something no one else has.
I really enjoy getting their catalog in the mail. I will peruse it for hours. I finally ordered a large order (about 40,I believe) plants last summer. And I must say, while I would have preferred more contact from them about my order since it was delayed- I was extremely happy with my order. I had no problem with their packing and I was "fore-warned" about the smallness of the starter plants when I called about a year before I ever placed an order. And we are talking about starter plants here. You don't get specimen size for this price! The plants were very healthy and the catalog does say that some plants are mossed cuttings. I had no trouble getting my few to root. All of my new treasures are flourishing! And I want to give a big thank you to Glasshouse Works for offering rare plants when so many nurseries are giving-over to just garden-variety common house plants!
I have known the Glasshouse gang for over 10 years and must say they have some true treasures at their greenhouses. It is a small company. The two owners handle all aspects of propagation, order fulfillment, greenhouse maintenance, and office management with the help of a small staff. They are stretched. The assortment of plants is amazing. Their niche over the last 25 years has been to offer the more rare and unusual plants--so if you really want more common things, you would probably be better off going to 'mainstream' nursery or garden center. The prices accurately reflect the size/stage of the plants. Larger, more established plants (of the unusual and rare variety) would reflect higher prices. Overall, GHW is a charming, unique, slightly twisted business that has been growing faster than they can keep up. I support them.
I have ordered from them for years. I could echo virtually all the negative comments listed above with things that have happened to me. I guess the reason I am still a customer is because I have a pretty good idea what can go wrong here and accept these terms. Well, I guess you just have to be so in lust with the irresistable and unique treasures offered herethat you accept that the rules for acquisition are a bit different at GW. Rule one is never order anything you absoultely need by a certain time. Rule two is that you need to be a pretty good gardener to nurse some of the plants back to vigor (except the dead ones), and you expect to propagate them yourself anyway once you've got a start. Rule three is have a lot of reference books or be a good web surfer because there is little advice or instruction given in their catalog. You won't even know what much of the stuff is, rare or not. If you have the attitude of a plant hunter willing to face hardships in pursuit of the Holy Grail, you may be a candidate for the GW experience. Sane gardeners will patronize nurseries that specialize in plants that are much more useful and intelligent, like heirloom vegetables, and forget all about GW and stop reading this now. At least they're democratic. You don't have to be wealthy to have fun here. And you see, I LIKE discovering new plants, and maybe have a touch of adventure (or snobbishness) which makes me want to have annual flower and foliage displays which do NOT feature everything all my neighbors have. One final tip, call in your order and discuss it with the owners. They are very nice and will share their hunches about what will or won't be available at some vague time in the future. Glasshouse Works is a trip to the moon. It's not too late to turn back.
I ordered about 60 plants from them in May. Yes, they were smaller than I expected and a few were cuttings that I thought had not really rooted enough to sell as plants, but I was pleased overall. It is October now and most of the plants have at least tripled in size. I only lost one. I didn't like the fact that they did a lot of subbing. I would have really preferred a credit because I ended up with some plants I don't particularly like. On the good side, my catalog is full of drool from constant perusal and even if the plants seem to pushed out of the nest too young, the fact that I can acquire them (and cheaply at that) makes me happy.
I have had their catalog (Glasshouse Works) for a while, was impressed with the selection and I thought going to their greenhouse in Ohio would be the best way to pick out some plants. Bad idea. First of all, I live near Chicago. We, my wife and I, flew to Columbus, Ohio, rented a car and drove to Glasshouse Works in Stewart, Ohio. What a dump. I could not imagine a more disorganized, messy, unprofessionally run greenhouse. There is no rhyme or reason as to where plants are located. Dead plant material (apparently long dead) is everywhere. After a few minutes there, I realized that this wasn't what I had hoped for but I tried to salvage something out of this. I was talking to an employee, asking questions. I asked 'where could I find where they keep the English ivy?' His response was "Look around, does this place look like its organized?" I also talked to the owner and he told me that they had just shipped out their orders for Jan, Feb. and March. This happened to be the end of May, 2001. I asked 'if I would order something now when could I expect it?' Their answer was probably Oct. Plus, the outside of the property was so overgrown with weeds, bushes and trees that my wife refused to get out of the car. From the outside it is impossible to tell there is even a business there. No signs. It looks like an abandoned property. They do know their plants by name but its quite apparent they have some challenges when it comes to running a business. I, for one, would not order anything from them unless they were the only place on the planet that could supply the plant. P.S. - I walked thru the entire property, I never saw one English Ivy. I can find better plant material at K-Mart or Home Depot.
What a freaking nightmare! The fact that they are the most unprofessional company I've ever dealt with, plants or otherwise.
Spring 2000: Placed $80 Order.
August 2000: Received invoice stating they have taken my credit card $.
Nov 2000: Received part of order, Sanseverias look OK; the winter hardy plants are puny. And November is NOT the time of year to expect people to plant perennials in the Northeast. And "Sorry, the rest of your order will not be shipped until Spring 2001."Spring 2001: Yeah! The sedums are coming up! But these are not the kind I ordered.
April 2001: phone them to inquire about the outstanding part of last year's order (which has already been paid for). Call again in May. And three times in June. Do you know they don't even have the nerve to have a voice-mail service/answering machine to reach them, probably because it would get overloaded with complaints. I've even said, forget about the different kinds of plants I ordered. Just give me multiples of the sedum I originally requested. No reply. What is one to do w/ such arrogance?
Yes their catalog is appealing, but their service is poor at best. I ordered toward the end of a season, so they promised quick delivery. Two weeks later they admitted shipping to the wrong address. Secondly, they were out of the variety I wanted and suggested a replacement that 'looked just like the one I wanted.' The statement couldn't have been a more bald faced lie and I was shocked that the order-taker could be so brazen. Nice catalog and all, I'll ship no more money to this Ohio business.
The plants I ordered looked like they had just come off the rooting bench. Poorly established. Honestly the order looked like the stuff I throw away. It is obvious that much of my selection was "propagated to order" They should just admit this, as they sit on your cash for the 6-8 weeks before sending your plants. About half of my order pulled through. 6 months later, the 6 cycads I ordered are now 5, and still just sitting there...As a grower with over 20 years experience growing about 3000 different species of tropical plants I caution you: Order at your own risk. I will NEVER do business with these folks again.
I have to defend this company. I've gotten sizable orders from them for years. Rarely things are not right. The plants are babies, but that's probably why they're inexpensive. I've always loved my orders, and the owner is never too busy to talk to you. I've never gotten dead plants, and yes, the collections are fun.
I had already requested and received a gift certificate to Glasshouse Works before seeing the negative comments on this site, so I was a little worried when I sent in my order. I took the advice given that collections are their strong suit. My order arrived in only 3 weeks (the day after I got a letter from them saying it might take 6-8 weeks). It was very well packed, and all the plants were healthy. I will comment that all the plants (I got a collection of tender bulbs) were jammed into 2" pots, and I did need to repot them - in reality, most were as big as 4" or 6" plants. I really enjoyed opening up my grab bag and being surprised - I even liked the bonus plant! I ordered one regular item, which was a little leggy, but healthy. A friend who ordered from them told me he thought their plants were on the small side, so it may be true that their collections are the best bargain. I'll certainly report back if my plants show signs of disease. I'd like to hear comments from others on this business.
I received an order from Glasshouse Works last week and am very satisfied. They handled my order very well, and the order arrived exactly when they said it would and in excellent condition (no small feat, considering it went from Ohio to northern California). I'm very satisfied.
Yes, their catalogue is quite impressive. It puts me to sleep very easily. I cannot believe somebody who tries to buy things from them. I had an opportunity to visit their greenhouses, and I had never seen such a mess! Plants had diseases (I am a plant pathologist), and many had insects. Their growing conditions speak loudly for the quality of plants you will get.
I hate this company and will never buy from them again. The catalog is enchanting and irresistible, but it goes into the garbage, unread. Their plants on arrival were either small, in poor shape, or drowned and rotten. The packaging appeared to be a big factor in morbidity and mortality. Customer service informed me that "No one else complained. "It may be a minority opinion, but I HATE getting stuff I didn't order, even as a bonus. If a company is thrilled with a new introduction, send a flyer, send a credit slip, but don't send an unasked for plant.
I have ordered from them 3 times because their varieties for the plants I am interested in is unequaled. The first order had most of it's plants dead because the shipper only delivers to physical addresses, not post office boxes. The package stayed in a hot truck for days until I gave a physical address. The person I called to give the order didn't tell me that I had an invalid address for the type of shipper I had chosen. The other 2 orders were consistent, specific ordered plants are often mediocre but plants in collections are often of good quality and can be relatively rare ones. I think they are expanding so quickly due to the Internet that they can't keep up. I would order again but only if I wanted a collection they offered or the plant was unavailable anywhere else.