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I am new at ordering seed catalogs, etc. Heck, I am fairly new at growing anything from seeds! This year I ordered a bunch of stuff from Henry Field's as well. A special on everbearing strawberry plants (roots) from Henry Field's gave me happy little green leaves in only a few days and even some blossoms that I pinched off. Since I am such a novice, I ordered a few other specials (did not want to invest much in something I would probably kill anyway), and then failed to plant them for an extra month. (They were in the refrigerator as specified.) Well, most of them are fine, but 2 are looking dead. I have to agree with other comments that the shipping packaging could have been improved. But I have no real complaints about the company.
Henry Fields is a very good and reputable company in my personal experience. My parents and I have done business with this company for fifty years or so and I have never had a complaint and cannot remember hearing one from my parents.
Having ordered cheap plants (I mean honestly--$.49 for a perennial that sells other places for $5 to $8?) I expect cheap plants. Several years ago, after the initial shock of bare root pieces of what looked like garden debris, and the realization that I was clueless about mail order plants, I soon found that these little roots take better to my soil than most larger plants I have bought. I am thrilled that I can find such low cost plants now that we are planting over a thousand feet of fenceline. I have had only one order where thanks to a package sitting in a sweltering mail truck all weekend, I found some things a bit slimy. They were replaced immediately. Perhaps some of the trouble is not the company but rather the delivery services where stuff sits in hot trucks for days. I will continue to gratefully order from Fields and Gurney's.
Henry Fields is kind of a bargain basement outfit, and when you get your order you may think it's been growing in a basement: tiny, sickly plants shipped with little regard to planting time. But they did replace most of my duds, no questions asked. Plus, if the plants don't make it, you're not out much money because everything is so cheap.
On the other hand, Gurneys and Fields were great! They were quick to answer the phone, fixed the problem (short on a few items) immediately, and all of the plants were alive when I got them (and still are!). But best of all, they arrived earlier enough to plant. I just love Henry Fields; they are the best. I've been doing business with them for 5 years now and will continue.
I recently purchased some "Field Grade Lilies" from Henry Field's. When I opened the package, the contents were rather steamy and wet. In fact, half of the bulbs were mildewed/molded. I immediately called the company, and to my surprise they were extremely helpful.The gentleman I spoke with apologized several times, and even went so far as to ask ME how many I would like replaced. When I had asked if they wanted me to send back the bulbs that were in question, I was told "No need to trouble yourself". THIS WAS SO REFRESHING! I wasn't very happy at first, but they definitely made up for it, and gave me the impression that although this type of thing did not happen often, they were not about to argue about it. The one thing about all of this that surprised me was that this was my first purchase, and my entire order only came to about $17.00!! I don't know how well they'll grow (I just planted yesterday), but the customer service is some of the best I've seen!
I have ordered from Henry Fields for 2 years and have to say I am pretty satisfied with them. I ordered a lot of the special offers they had, and some of the items (allium bulbs -6 for 0.69) were moldy. However, I called them back and explained. Without any hassles they said they would send out a new batch. So I can't really complain, especially since they are on special sale they are probably older bulbs. Most if the other bulbs I planted didn't look so great either, but I planted them. They came up in about a week.
I recently ordered from Henry Field's and have to say that I think their seeds are wonderful. Actual germination times exceeded the times listed on the packets and nearly every seed came up (I was planting individual flower seeds in flats).I also ordered thornless blackberries and a pink smoke tree. I got six, 1-year old blackberry plants, three each of two varieties for a special price. One variety hasn't done so well (one dead the others struggling), but the other variety is practically exploding out of the ground. Haven't called Field's yet regarding the dead one. The pink smoke tree was a 2-foot twig. It has been in the ground for about a month and a half, but only broke dormancy and started sproutinga week ago. It seems slow moving, but I'm going to give it a chance. Field's prints a guarantee with the order that you can discuss problems with customer service for up to a year following the arrival of any plant order. I thought that was a good deal. One other point, you can't beat their shipping charges by regular mail. $2.50 flat rate. If you are just ordering seeds you might have to order a lot to justify the price, but combined with the large plants I ordered, $2.50 was a bargain for two bulky packages.
I've had excellent luck with Henry Field's. I ordered about 50 perennial plants from them last fall and most of them started thriving right away. The few that didn't were replaced immediately, without any hassles, as soon as I called them on the phone and explained the problem. This Spring I ordered some berry plants and, being a new gardener, asked for some information about how to grow them and support the canes. They sent me a big envelope of growing information about the berries I'd asked about, plus some other stuff that was very informative. I have also had wonderful luck with their seeds, with a germination rate well over 90%. I am absolutely amazed at this, too! In short, I feel their prices are quite good after having compared them to a LOT of other mail-order nurseries, and their order processing turnaround and customer service are excellent.