This is the kind of gardening business I love: flowers, scented flowers, heirloom flowers. My primary go-to when I start shopping for seeds. Or it was. For the last 2 years, I haven't got a catalog. Last year I had to go to them and request a catalog. My understanding is that when you order from a company, you are added to their mailing list and kept on if you continue to order. If you lapse, they give you at least one season of catalog before they drop you. Anyway, I have ordered from them but couldn't last year because...? Well, if you're starting seeds, you need to get them before March or April. My 2010 catalog which I had to ask for is post marked April 27th. So I couldn't buy seeds from them (in my zone, 4, you need to start early). This year I'm rummaging about looking at all my catalogs and realize that once again, I have no current Select Seeds catalog. I go to their website to request one and see that they've already mailed out their 2011 catalogs. They are now "taking orders" for their 2012 one. Well, sorry, but I'm not about to "order" their catalog every year. I figure it's a courtesy to the customer to send them the catalog, especially if it's a customer who's ordered before!
I love their flowers, I love their catalog, I love how they describe their merchandise but I will no longer order from them. This is just too bothersome. And there are lots of other companies out there who carry nice scented heirloom flowers who don't require a yearly request of their catalog.
On Feb 13, 2011, Select Seeds Antique Flowers responded with:
We are happy to hear from our customers and send out catalogs From December through spring to everyone who loves thumbing through the pages rather than clicking the links. All of our customers are mailed the following year's catalog. More than one thing went wrong here and we will investigate with badjer1's help to correct this.
Thanks for your feedback.
On Mar 3, 2007, prosodygardener Columbus, OH wrote:
Okay. This post may drag but I want to be fair and make sure I include as many details as possible so that when this negative comment hits Select Seeds, they will see I have maintained accurate and thorough notes of this first-time-buyer experience.
On January 10, 2007 I ordered seeds for Bells of Ireland, Cup and Saucer Vine 'Alba', Sweet Scabious 'Snowmaiden', and Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Lime' online. I received my order on January 16, 2007 without the Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Lime' included. There was no explanation on the packing slip and no email or call. So I called and was informed that Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Lime' seeds would not be available until the first week of February. I waited until February 9 to send an email requesting the rest of my order. This time I was informed by voicemail they would arrive in the "middle of the month". On February 21 I called and was told many of the varieties of seeds offered by Select Seeds are sourced from Europe and that they "definitely will be mailed out by the last week of the month" (of February). You guessed it. No seeds. After sending a scathing email on February 28, I received another voicemail apology. This time an unnamed lady told me the seeds had been mailed out and I would receive them via first class mail by the end of the week. Well, I got them today, almost 8 weeks after requesting them.
My reasons for this negative comment is singular: misinformation. There is no indication on the website or in the catalogue that some seeds are on backorder, or "not in-house" as they like to say. And I feel as though I was willfully misinformed by customer service when I called. Why not just tell me there is a possible 2 month delay from the time they take your money and the date you actually receive your product? I ordered so far in advance to circumvent the rush of early-sowers such as myself. Sure, I still have plenty of time to sow early - it's the principle, folks.
In case you're wondering, yes, they sent free seeds with both orders (Thanks!), and yes, the packaging and quality looks superb. Too bad they hadn't been transparent with the problem and the reason behind it.
On Mar 3, 2007, Select Seeds Antique Flowers responded with:
On Mar 7, 2007 5:10 PM, Select Seeds Antique Flowers added:
We appreciate the careful documenting of events by our customer regarding his experience with Select Seeds, however, he is misinformed on one important point. All of our invoices sent with our seeds have the status of each seed indicated in the status column. BO indicates a backordered item as defined at the bottom of the invoice. The expected date given us by our overseas supplier did turnout to be inaccurate. Many reasons can explain this, possibly from late arrival from the field, to a failed germ test which would send it back to be cleaned again, removing additional low germ ( often lighter seed) and going back to retest, (another delay) before sending it out to us. While all this doesn't concern our customer, it is a reality of the seed business. We did expect the seed on our expected date of Feb 6, and when this date passed, we contacted our supplier and we were only able to receive a small portion of what we had ordered. We are sorry for his inconvenience, and we hope this rebuttal sheds a little more light on what happened. Happy Gardening All!
Marilyn Barlow ,Owner, Select Seeds"