Posted on April 8, 2014, updated April 28, 2014
I am extremely dissatisfied with the service I have received from Direct Gardening thus far. To be fair, I looked at all of the reviews of the company - both positive and negative - prior to placing an order with them and decided to take a chance. I have placed orders with other online nurseries in the past and have always had a good experience. Unfortunately, at this point I am left to believe that the negative reviews I read are all correct.
I placed my order with Direct Gardening on 3/21/14, which consisted of the following:
I spent $132.59 after adding in $9.99 for shipping. The confirmation email I received stated that I should "allow 1-2 weeks for [my] order to be processed", which was perfectly fine. Although this statement indicates that two weeks should be the maximum amount of time that Direct Gardening should need to process my order, I do understand that this is a busy season and that delays can sometimes happen that are outside of a company's control. With that said, I have become exceedingly dissatisfied with Direct Gardening after attempting to get a status update. At the very least, a customer deserves that much.
After reading many reviews, I was not surprised that I had not received any kind of shipping confirmation. It seems this is normal. I am, however, excited to receive my plants and get them in the ground... so at the two week mark I began my attempts to contact the company to find out the status of my order. Not because I was dissatisfied, but just for planning's sake. Not only would it be helpful for me to be able to estimate the arrival so I know when to begin preparing the ground, but I also want to make sure that the plants will not sit outside for too long in the box after being delivered. Spring in Texas means that today it might be 50 degrees but tomorrow it might be 90. I want my plants to have the best chance of success.
So, I sent a casual email requesting an update. After three days, I received no response. My second attempt was to call all of the multiple phone numbers listed on the company's website, receiving a busy signal for each and every one. Third, I sent another email through the contact form on their website. Finally, I attempted to call again and did get someone on the phone.
The customer service representative was rude and unhelpful. I gave her my order information and requested to know the status. She spoke to me like I was a child, throwing around dates, talking in circles, and making me feel like I was crazy for giving them a call. She indicated that it had not even been two weeks since I placed my order, but once I was able to process through all the words she was throwing around I let her know that it most certainly had been over two weeks since my order was placed. She then informed me that 1-2 weeks was "average".
Okay. I get that. Although that's not what my order confirmation led me to believe, I can accept that 1-2 weeks is average. But, when I asked what the status was on the order, she simply said it was in processing but she didn't have any additional information. She could not give me an approximation for shipping, had no idea what was holding up the order, and had no interest in giving me any additional information. I asked if there was someone else I could speak with and was told that yes, she could give me to someone else but they would tell me the exact same thing. There was no additional information that could be provided. They had received the order and it was in processing. Period.
So, I requested to speak with a Supervisor. The customer service representative actually SIGHED, mumbled under her breath, and then put me on hold for a few minutes. The "Supervisor" came on the line and was no more helpful than his subordinate. I expressed my concern over the poor customer service, requested additional information as to the status of my order, and was shut down from every angle. The "Supervisor" seemed incapable of speech except to make the statement "I'm sorry you feel that way" in a very monotone voice. I actually feel sorry for him, because if they honestly have no access to any order information and cannot give customers any information I am certain that he fields many of my type of phone call every single day. I would be exhausted and disinterested, too.
The bottom line? At this point, my credit card has been charged and I have no assurances whatsoever that my order will be shipped to me any time soon. No one could tell me when to expect my order to ship, except that weather and plant availability affect the shipping time. Duh. From the information provided to me by the customer service rep and her "Supervisor", I could expect my order to ship any time between now and... when I die? Apparently there is no timeline. It will just ship at some point in the future. At the very least, it would be helpful to know whether my order is held up by the weather or a specific plant that they do not currently have in stock. Perhaps then I could make the decision of whether or not to wait for said plant.
The prices of this company are highly desirable; however, I am sorely disappointed at their lack of ability to know anything about what is going on with a customer's order. Lower prices are not an excuse to exhibit poor customer service and in the future I will be taking my money elsewhere. I would rather pay a little more and know that I am going to be taken care of than to pay less and to be treated like receiving my business doesn't matter in the least. Poorly done, Direct Gardening.
On April 28th, 2014, deweyduo changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
After posting my review here on Dave's Garden, I finally received a response from Direct Gardening that was actually close to helpful. I sent my order details and informed the representative that I did receive additional communication via email from an unidentified customer care representative who stated that my order was scheduled for "Spring Shipping". When I attempted to clarify exactly what that meant, I was told it should ship "at any time". These are awfully vague and aggravating terms that feel a lot like brush-off techniques, and I informed this new representative as such.
She responded back that their weather has been unpredictable and that they were awaiting arrival of the Smoke Trees in order to fulfill my order. She also offered the option to ship the Smoke Trees separately when they became available and to ship the rest of my order now. I sent her an email back to confirm, in writing, that I would not be charged extra for shipping if I chose to take that option. I finally received a response a full week later and only after I sent a follow up email threatening to contact my credit card company if I did not receive a tracking number within 24 hours.
The reason I am changing my review to neutral is because, after much grief, I did receive my plants and they all arrived in what I would consider to be decent condition. There were a couple of bulbs missing, but I can deal with that. Whether any of these plants will survive is still yet to be determined and I will not be ordering from this company again nor recommending it to friends and family; however, I did receive my plants as promised so I feel a negative review is no longer warranted. On Apr 28, 2014, Direct Gardening responded with:
"On Apr 13, 2014 3:29 PM, Direct Gardening responded with:
We are sorry to hear of this customer’s experience as we do take pride in our customer care. As many know the weather this year has been very unpredictable which has started our shipping later than usual. While it may be warm in your location we have to take into consideration the transit. We want to make sure the plants reach our customers in the best condition possible.
A customer care representative has contacted this customer for further information. We do hope to hear back from the customer as we would like to help resolve this problem
I made an order on 2/22/14 for 4 rose bushes, 2 blackberry bushes, 3 English lavender, and 2 weeping willows. I received the order today 3/8/14. Most everything I received was dormant, a few of them look to be just coming out of dormancy. I will plant them all tomorrow and update with either a positive or negative depending on how well these plants do.
I've been wanting to leave a comment for a while, but wanted to wait until I wasn't so exasperated with this company, and all the time I've spent on the phone trying to figure out what was happening with my order. I placed an ordered Feb. 22 of this year, and another in the beginning of March. To date, May 3, I don't even have half of my order. The only reason I gave a neutral mark as opposed to negative is that the plants that did arrive are planted and growing well. We've only lost a few.
But now the negative aspect...3 of our shipments were confiscated and destroyed by the California Dept. of Agriculture, because this company sent those orders with EXPIRED CERTIFICATION! Which, of course, when I called customer service to tell them about, was denied and they said that their certification was not expired. Apparently, they had some left over certification tags from the previous year that where not disposed of and made their way onto my packages. I only found this out after, calling the person that was listed as the rep on my Notice of Rejection letters from the Dept. of Ag. a Mr. Bill Lishka. I was getting no real answers from customer service. They told me to send them the Notices of Rejection with a letter stating how I wanted to proceed. After that was done (in late March) I called to find out if they had received my letter and the rep told me it could take 3-4 WEEKS for them to get that in the system! Really?! Then she told me I need to call back in 3 weeks. Now, since this was their big mistake, I really feel that they need to have someone contact me, as opposed to me calling every week and getting a rep that has no idea what's really going on. I am still waiting for 80 plants, that should have been planted weeks ago. And now the name Burgess and Direct Gardening has a negative connotation in my house. I was so excited about the prices, but the back and forth has not been worth it. I was ready to tell all my gardening friends, but now I will tell them to just spend the extra money and get some good customer service. I'm really bummed about this whole fiasco, but they seem not to really care. It's great if you actually get your plants, but, who knows if you ever will.
i wish i had found this website before ordering from direct gardening
i placed an order april 2nd, ihavent received anything yet i sent them an email requesting my order status and all they can tell me is the the order has been processed and that they are currently shipping to my area this was a week ago so why havent i received my order yet?
after reading the reviews on direct gardening i'm wishing i didn't make an order cause after waiting this long possibly even longer i won't be a happy person if my plants come dead or moldy.i will be even more unhappy if i have to send something back and have to wait another month or two.
On Apr 25, 2013, Direct Gardening responded with:
"On Apr 30, 2013 1:15 PM, Direct Gardening responded with:
We want to assure you that we are sending orders out as quickly as possible. We are still getting a lot of nursery stock in from the fields and are shipping as soon as the plants are prepared
A customer care representative has contacted this customer for further information as we would be happy to give an updated status.
On Sep 20, 2012, anglrobinson Spring Mills, PA wrote:
Posted on September 20, 2012, updated September 20, 2012
Posted on September 15, 2012, updated September 20, 2012
Posted on September 15, 2012, updated September 15, 2012
I ordered almost 60 dollars worth of plants on August 14th of 2012. I waited the two weeks and called customer service to ask if they had shipped my merchandise yet, because I was having problems with my local postman. On this same phone call I changed my shipping address, everything went smoothly and the person I talked to was really nice. I was told that I would receive my plants on the first week in September. On the first week in September I called back because still no plants had been delivered. This phone call resulted in that they couldn't ship until they had all my plants in and now it would be October when I would receive my plants. I thought first of all it is illegal to charge someone for items that have not yet shipped. Every other company I deal with only charges when the item or items have shipped not before then. So I decided that something just doesn't seem right about this, the only time I have been contacted by e mail was when I ordered my plants. This e mail contained my order number and a description of the items and my receipt. I started to worry about a week ago and was worried I had been scammed so I found this website and started wishing I had looked at it before ordering. I love gardening and have lots of plants and have even been to college and know how to graph plants and cross pollinate to make new species, so when I seen that they had some different plants I was so excited. Now i'm so disappointed. I have sent them numerous e mails and I haven't had any responses. They said 24 to 48 hours and it has been way over that. I want my items or I want my money back. I think I will contact the Better Business Department and file a formal complaint because it seems alot of people have been treated wrong not just me. The worst part is if you have to pay shipping and handling for that much there should be a way for you to track your package. Every other place I have ordered from has a way to track your package even e bay. They really need to start having better customer service. If they can't get my things to me in a timely fashion after i know they have already spent my money I will tell all my friends on facebook and gardening clubs I belong to all about my whole experience with this company. I do not want anyone to have this experience, to have to worry if they have been scammed in this economy.
On September 15th, 2012, anglrobinson added the following:
I also forgot to mention that I am garden and plant website reviewer for The Garden Association Of America. I find websites that sell garden supplies, seeds, and live plants. I am currently writing a reveiw on Direct Gardening and I appreciate all these complaints and what little positive comments there are, even though I do believe half of the ones written are by the company themselves. I decided to order for myself to see and get a good idea on just how bad this company is. So as it comes down to me releasing my article and review, which I can not do until everything has been received, it looks like it is not going to be a good one. Unless they can show me otherwise than it is almost settled. If anyonenwould like to leave comments to help with this review feel free to do so. I even ordered in someone else's name to see what they would really do.On September 20th, 2012, anglrobinson added the following:
Yeah they contacted me on here and my email account. It changed yet again on when they get there stuff and when they ship it. Then they are now saying they will ship in two seperate orders. That's what most other websites do. They need to have listed on their items in they are unavailable or you have to wait. We will see how this works out if I get the first shipment and if the plants are dead. If they provide my free gifts and if they send me my second shipment. I don't think that I will buy from this company again I'm not sure yet depends on what happens with it all.On September 20th, 2012, anglrobinson changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I am now waititng on my shipment and I want to look at it and see what condition and how fast the response was to get it to me well half of it anyway. Until then I am going to give them a neutral response because they are working on it.On Sep 20, 2012, Direct Gardening responded with:
"On Sep 18, 2012 10:01 AM, Direct Gardening responded with:
It does state the following on our website:
"Please allow 1-2 weeks for your order to be processed. We will then ship based on weather and availability of the plants. We continue to ship through the summer months as much as possible. Most bulbs and perennials are usually available by September. Some deciduous trees and shrubs are not available until October."
A customer care representative has contacted this customer for further information. "
Posted on June 5, 2012, updated August 25, 2012
Be aware that this company will not honor any replacement requests without the ORIGINAL shipping label, so don't throw your shipping container away for at least a year. Why they need a shipping label and can't use a receipt is a mystery to me, but there it is. My experience: I ordered 10 flowering quince bushes from them this spring. They arrived, I potted them right away, set them in semi-shade, watered them well faithfully, and waited. And waited. And waited. Six weeks later, not a single bud had appeared on any of the bushes. The branches were now dry and brittle. I pulled one out of the pot: dead. None of them ever budded, they all died. I contacted the company, who said they needed my shipping address to look into it, and then I got a form letter telling me sorry, they won't honor replacements without the original shipping label.
So, forty bucks down the drain and not a single live bush to show for it. I certainly won't be ordering from this company again. Buyer beware.
On August 25th, 2012, plover12 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I received ten replacement quince bushes from Direct Gardening after my original post. Again, I potted them immediately, watered them well, and placed them in dappled shade. Six weeks later, not a single bud, and again, all are dry and snap right off. When I pulled them up, the roots were dead - no new growth. This time I saved the shipping label. I contacted Direct Gardening and they have agreed to give me a credit voucher if I send in the shipping label. At this point, I'd be happy with that and I'll just try some other plant that might be more successful. We'll see if they honor their offer. The quinces were shipped bare-root in a plastic bag, no packing material of any kind.On Aug 25, 2012, Direct Gardening responded with:
"On Jul 3, 2012 9:16 AM, Direct Gardening responded with:
We are sorry to hear of the problems with this customers plants. We do have a 1 year replacement guarantee on all of our plants which we do stand behind. We have been in contact with this customer and do show that a replacement order is currently in processing.
Posted on May 26, 2012, updated July 14, 2012
So like a few others, I found this website after I placed my order and tried three times in vain to find out when my order was/would be shipped. My stomach sank. I decided to do as much research as possible in the best way to get the most out of the plants I ordered and cross my fingers (after the reviews I wasn't going to even attempt to cancel my order.) I took every step I could find not only from their website, but from other people who posted directions here (THANK YOU!) My package came nearly a month after I ordered (and was charged) for my plants, and I opened them with an understanding of what I might find. I am an admitted novice when it comes to gardening, but everything looked pretty good. I soaked the things that needed to overnight, and planted the next day. Yesterday was one week from planting and all of the lilacs and mock oranges are taking off, all but two of the trees I ordered are blooming like crazy, my hostas are already two inches tall, and the butterfly bushes are starting to show signs of life. My fruit plants aren't looking great, but still are green from the scratch test, so I am going to hope for the best. My groundcover however, both honeysuckle and creeping phlox are dead. I am super pleased with how everything is growing, especially considering the nominal cost, but they certainly have horrible customer service-I wouldn't call them crooks, just an incredibly poorly run business. I doubt I will even attempt to get replacements for the groundcovers and the fruit bushes as it is not worth the stress. Depending on how the rest of the plants fare, I may or may not order with them again-especially knowing the customer service and the delay in shipping. Will update in the upcoming weeks.
On July 14th, 2012, FLmomof3 added the following:
Still holding out neutral, for now. I did receive an e-mail requesting that I take advantage of their 1 year guarantee, so I am going to do that. I wanted to wait a bit before I sent them back, because, as I am sure you are all aware, they do not each come in their own bag. I am glad I waited-because not only my groundcover died, but a significant number of my plants. I know I am sending them out into the unknown and will hear nothing back, so I am posting here in hopes that someone else will avoid this headache. Here is my summary...
The following is the copy of my original order:
The following items were requested on 4/28/2012 4:25:22 PM:
Sales Tax $0.00
Total Charge $155.34
After spending a month cultivating the yard with the recommended compost and making sure they were in the proper lighting/draining, the following is what failed to survive. I also never received my hanging basket which was $17.00. I would like the replacement plants, as well as my original hanging basket.
4 Poplar, Shade Hybrid
20 phlox-disinigrated under the mulch
2 mosquito shoo geranium
12 honeysuckle-disinigrated-could not recover
1 weeping willow
Begonia collection-hanging-never received
2 Darrow Blackberry
8 Butterfly Bush
3 Mock Orange
9 lilac, Old Fashioned
The only “free” bulbs that have lived thus far are the Exotica and the Blue Poppy
Sending the lot back and crossing my fingers. $150+ for three thriving weeping willows and some adequate hosta's is insane. The remaining that I am not sending back are still alive, but only time will tell.On Jul 14, 2012, Direct Gardening responded with:
"On Jul 27, 2012 7:25 AM, Direct Gardening responded with:
We are sorry to hear that some of the plants have died. We have been in contact with this customer through Dmail to assist in receiving replacement."
Posted on August 5, 2011, updated June 12, 2012
Posted on May 29, 2011, updated August 5, 2011
Never ever buy stuffs from them!!!I should have done some research before I placed order.I just looked at the attractive price and didn't think anything else.I placed the order in March when is still winter here ,and till May I still hadn't got my order yet.I called them once a week to check,every time I got the same answer "they are at ship department and will be shipped out any time"But I waited and waited till now.It's summer now and not a good time to plant,so I canceled it last week . By far,I just recieved 10dollars back,the rest $50's still in their account. I feel so shame for this company.Are they really doing business or cheating money?
On August 5th, 2011, tiredmomJ added the following:
2011 July After I post here,I got my order in mid of June after the cancelation.I felt surprised and excited say truely,cause this was my first time buying plants for my new house. The green plastic bag was put in front of our door for whole day in the summer sun. A few very tiny plant didn't survive the heat.The rest bigger ones were fine.But the peach tree is too small,just a skinny branch like other bushes.(I just need pay 10$ more then can get a real tree from Mernards or Lowe's which I didn't know before.) I sent back the label they request and letter together for the dead one replacement 2 weeks ago ,but haven't heard anything yet.
I will call them next week see what they will say.On June 11th, 2012, tiredmomJ changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I was too busy to post here after I got my replacement.Now I came.They looked good and I planted them right after I got them.The blue spruce still couldn't survive,others are ok till now.The peach tree starts to grow bigger and looks like a small tree now.I changed the rating to neutral because the plants are good rooted.If you don't mind the bad service, and like watching those tiny plants to grow,with their low price I'd say you can try.BTW,I watered the those plants every other day last year because I got them and planted in the hot summer. My yard is big.The job is tough for a busy mom.
On May 31, 2011, iykim Hillsborough, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:
Posted on May 18, 2011, updated May 31, 2011
Posted on May 17, 2011, updated May 18, 2011
Posted on May 16, 2011, updated May 17, 2011
I should have read the reviews in Dave's Garden before placing orders with Direct Gardening. I placed an order on April 19, 2011, and today is May 16, 2011. I have called them and even e-mailed them, inquiring about the status of my orders. I was stupid enough to place three orders within a 2-week period. Their phone number is constantly busy (and I think I know why: because everyone is calling to get the order status), and when I finally got through to one of their people, I was told that I need to wait 2-4 weeks and basically, not to contact them until after 4 weeks. Well, it's been 4 weeks since my first order, and I have nothing to show for my over-$100 order. When I e-mailed them with order numbers, they told me to write them again with my name and address. Why do they give you an order number when they don't even use it to track it? The customer service is horrible. I have sent them another email to inquire about where the heck my order is, and also stated that if I don't receive my order soon, I will put these purchases in dispute with my credit card agency. I don't think I will EVER order from them again. I was just fooled by the low price, and you get what you pay for....
On May 17th, 2011, iykim added the following:
Update -- I received the shipment of the first order today. They never send you any shipment notifications with tracking numbers. My plants and bulbs came in three separate packages which were poorly put together. I've ordered from other nurseries, and I must say that Direct Gardening's packaging is the worst I've ever seen. The roses I have ordered look half dead or almost dead. The stems have rotted. I don't see any new growth buds on one of the rose plants. It looks really dead :(, but I will plant it and see if it revives later. Also, I ordered a Clematis Collection which is supposed to contain Josephine and Blue Light Clematis. I received only the Blue Light Clematis. Josephine was missing from the shipment. I sent an e-mail to Direct Gardening to let them know of the error and to send this clematis right away. I will post the results, good or bad, when I receive the missing clematis or when I get tired of waiting for the clematis...On May 18th, 2011, iykim added the following:
Update -- I did not receive any reply e-mail from Direct Gardening about the missing clematis. So I called. I was anticipating a busy signal as I always get, but to my surprise, someone answered right away. I explained the situation to the guy (Matt?), and he said that I need to return the label that was affixed to the package along with a written note as to what happened. I mean, Direct Gardening has all of my order information. Why do they need the shipping label back to them??? Also, I told him that I had already sent an e-mail about the situation, but he said that is not good enough, that they need the shipping label TOGETHER with a written note. I swear, I am never going to do another business with them again. I have put the second and third order charges on my credit card in dispute (I hate myself for placing multiple orders before I found out how bad their sales and customer service departments are). If and when I receive them, I will cancel the disputes, but until then, the dispute stays.On May 31st, 2011, iykim changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I am upgrading my rating of Direct Gardening to Neutral. I finally received all my separate orders, 3 total. They all arrived OK, except for the missing Clematis Josephine, two rotten Caladium tubers, and a completely dead French Red Lavender. I've written to them about getting replacements, but I have not yet heard back as to the process, etc. I sent in the original shipping label for the missing Clematis, but I do not know the status of fulfilling that. I upgraded the rating, solely based on the price. If you don't mind waiting a month, a month and a half to receive your order, flimsy packaging (this is the only place where they will send you plants in plastic bags, not corrugated boxes), a few mishaps (missing items, dead/rotten specimens), and you have a very tight budget, Direct Gardening is an OK choice. The price can't be beat (although the plants are very small), and one flat-rate shipping&handling for about $10 is pretty good.
Posted on May 11, 2011, updated May 19, 2011
I too wish I'd done a review search on DirectGardening before placing my $160 order on April 24th...
While it's still somewhat early and I might get lucky, (as about 20% of those commenting here), I've already had several tastes of their customer service, immediate charging of my CC, and runaround about status of the orders.
I can say that whatever happens, I likely won't do business with DirectGardening again. We'll see if my rating for them goes up or down...
On May 19th, 2011, CaptPatrick added the following:
Well, I finally received the first of my two orders, and while it's been like pulling teeth, I was pleasantly suprised that the packaging was good, all but a couple of the 80 Burning Bush cuttings were healthy, good root sections, nothing dead and all with new green buds, stems, and early leaves. Two cuttings, (out of 80), had some very minor mold, but planted anyway.
I really was expecting a different experience...
Today's email from them says that the second order was shipped yesterday. We'll see how that one comes in, and I'll do a final update then.
At least I'm down to only $50 hanging in limbo and the 80 BB's are in the ground.
On May 18, 2011, jenniluvsroses Kinston, NC wrote:
I placed my order on 5/10/11 and I wish I would have read these reviews first. I have tried calling for days to find out if my order had been shipped. I was going to email, but it seems emailing this company hasn't helped anyone on here when it comes to getting a shipping date.
I'm keeping my rating neutral, until the plants actually arrive. My order looks like this ~
The following items were requested on 5/10/2011 9:52:01 AM:
On May 16, 2011, Bella30127 Powder Springs, GA wrote:
Posted on April 17, 2011, updated May 16, 2011
I placed a first-time order with DirectGardening.com today. Prices and shipping are very reasonable. Ordered $50 worth of Coneflowers and was pleasantly surprised to see on the receipt that I must have qualified for a variety of free plants and bulbs of their choosing (4 Flowering Shamrock, 3 Peacock Orchid Bulbs, 3 Giant Ranunculus, 3 Triplet Lily)... not sure where I'll plant them all, but hey, they're FREE!
I'm keeping my rating Neutral for now and hoping that despite all the bad reviews I've read, that my plants will arrive healthy and within a couple of weeks.
On May 16th, 2011, Bella30127 added the following:
I received my eight coneflower plants today... about 1 month after ordering. They are much smaller than I had hoped. And about half have lost what few leaves they had due to being smashed and dried up in shipping, I'm guessing. But I'll be putting them in the ground tomorrow and we'll see what happens.
I placed an order for 50 Purple Perfection Roses end of Feb. They charged my account in a few days. There was no email or confirmation. Afer a couple of weeks, I called to check on the order. It was very difficult to get any specific answer. Talked with 2 ladies for about 30min. The phone center you call either has no clue about the status of the order or they just refuse to give info and do not care. I had ordered FEDEX shipping and the ladies tried to convince me that there is no tracking number. Pretty much "your oder will be shipped when it is" Cutoff for this year's shipping is in Nov. I was very dissapointed. I wanted to track the shipping to have the ground ready for the plants. Now I was thinking of how I should go about recovering my money.
I received the plants yesterday. Excellent rootballs. They had shipped 52 roots, individually wrapped with a few free bees. (Couple of them had a fungus developing)
Had I had atleast a lukewarm experience from the "phone center" I would be impressed with these people. They pretty much had a great product with bad, almost nasty service. I think they survive because they are a collection of growers with some unique selection of plants. Some other company will catch upto them soon.
Plants are in the ground. Shipping list is locked in the vault. I am keeping tab on how many will grow ( I hope all of them will).
If a DG personnel is reading this ... please give us better service, so we will come back to you. Why waste your good products?
Posted on May 3, 2010, updated May 21, 2010
I wish I had found this site earlier. I just placed an order with directgardening.com. It's just a bulk for 3" round Jiffy pots ($31 including $9 shipping). I am growing several types perennials from seeds for friends. I thought it would be easier for them to plant the perennials if the entire pot could be planted instead of having to remove the plant first. We will see how the experience goes.
On May 21st, 2010, mac1319 added the following:
I received my order on Wednesday 5/18. So directgardening did meet the it will take one to weeks to process your order but I have to wonder why would it take so long to process an order for something like peat pots you have on your stock shelves or you don't. Just in the offchance directgardening.com took even longer, I placed an amazon.com order for peat pots (very close on pricing with directgardening.com) on 5/10 and received the order on 5/18 (both boxes were waiting for me when I got home). I even selected the standard shipping option for the amazon.com order. I'll leave rating as neutral but I can't say I am at all impressed.
If you know what you are getting into , with bare root trees, and longer ship times are fine by you then they are all-right. They surprisingly seem to have longer ship times than other Plantron companies...
1. Their prices are very low
2. Their website is easy to navigate and find plants on
3. Unlike a few of their competitors, they typically clearly label what they are sending you and it is typically what they say they are sending you (Had a problem with one of their competitors mis-labeling pecan trees as Dwarf asian pears)
4. Everything I have gotten from them has leafed and is growing
5. They respond to email inquires typically within one day
6. They have a very wide selection of plants
The not so good (Annoyances- not deal breakers):
1. Their packaging stinks. It's a green plastic bag. They spray it down before they ship it and it kinda smells a little of mildew. The trees labels are affixed by wrapping them onto the plants with packaging tape several times. It is difficult at times to remove the packaging tape without damaging the plant
2. The plants I received had just come out of dormancy when I received them.... This could be very very bad with bare-root plants. They took 6 weeks to ship me the plants I ordered, and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and will assume that this is not normal, and will give them another shot
3. They bill you first (almost the day of the order) and then ship later. This has been my experience with all online nurseries though
4. Their free gifts, especially the shamrocks, are hardy zones 8-10 (I'm in zone 5- I could grow them in a container I suppose- but couldn't they offer a choice appropriate to your zone??)
The bad (Deal breakers for some):
1. No way to see the status of your order online. They don't notify you when your plants ship
2. I am going to assume that this is not normal, but I ordered my plants in March and did not receive them until May. I am going to give them another shot. I have ordered through other Plantron companies- 4Seasons in particular, and they did not take that long to ship
3. Their phone is always busy. Every time I called it was busy. I was never ever to reach a live person despite attempting to call them on 3 different days. I made at least 5 attempts on each of these days. After 15 attempts I emailed them. I finally called 4Seasons, whom I could contact by phone, and got them to check on my order
4. Although this isn't a problem for myself, it is probably for many people, they need to do a better job describing what exactly bare-root trees are (They look like pathetic dead sticks- you plant them in the late fall or early spring and water them regularly and will leaf out into a tree with a certain assumed degree of failure in the spring) and the advantages they have in terms of being both more economical to ship, as they weigh less and require less packaging, and a higher chance that they will survive the shipping process through standard shipping. The trade off is they require a bit more care and don't always survive. Their planting guide that claims you can plant bare-root in the middle of the heat of summer is questionable... I have planted many bare-rooted shrubs and trees and it's been my experience that bare-root plants planted after the end of April in my area tend to struggle, even with a lot of TLC, and any planted after mid-May in my area tend to die- I have only gotten one tree planted after the end of May to ever survive more than 1 year
The Ugly (Deal breakers for almost everyone):
1. The lack of empathy and caring from the customer service person. I spent 30 minutes each on 3 days trying to call these guys, and finally sent an email. I started calling and emailing at about 4 weeks and I still didn't have my plants. The first email gave me some story about how they were shipping to my area but something about trees in the fields delaying the shipment. The second email said they would be shipping soon. Keep in mind at this point it was getting into the end of April (At the end of, in my experience, when a bare-rooted tree is likely to thrive when planted in my area-- and I had already had a clear demonstration that contacting them by phone was not likely, if the plants were to die).... I am going to assume that the time it took to ship my plants is not normal.... The customer service rep never once apologized nor gave me a clear answer of when the plants shipped nor did they follow up. Worse yet when I gave them my order number they required that I send them my name, address, and email address (which was odd as I was contacting them by email). I finally called their sister company in the first week of May and got a straight answer that the plants left their facility on the last day of April and to expect 1-2 weeks for shipping. I would have felt better if they at least followed up, apologized that they had larger than expected shipments or some other reason for the issue, and/or at least offered one of their cheap 40 cent Ditch Lillies, Extra Shamrocks (That don't grow in my zone anyhow) that they sell/give away, 10% off your next order, or something to make it right....
I was not entirely pleased with Direct Gardening, but after reading all the other comments here, I guess I should feel lucky that my experience was not nearly as bad as these poor folks.
I placed my order in early Feb., hoping that I get an early start in temperate California. The order consisted of lots of hybrid willows, forsythia, mock orange, Hall's honeysuckle, hydrangea trees, firethorn, wintercreeper, and candy tuft. I got an email confirmation of my order, and that was that. Nothing was said about shipping date. When I inquired a couple of weeks later, I was told it would take several more weeks. I finally received the green bag in mid March.
My experience is that most of the bigger plants survived the tortuous shipping and some are doing reasonably well and some are alive but not really growing, while most of the tiny ones like the candy tufts were DOA and the ones that survived are still looking puny bad after 4 months. I requested for replacements for the dead ones, and after 4 weeks, I again had to inquire about shipping for the replacement plants. I got the replacement plants 3 weeks later, and they too were DOA. I doubt I will request for more dead plants. My inquiries were always answered promptly by email, but I was bothered by the fact that I have to make inquiries at all.
Last week, I bought quite a few of gallon potted plants at Walmart for $1 each on clearance!! These are beautifully lush good sized plants that are making an immediate visual impact in my yard already, unlike the sticks that I got from Direct Gardening. I doubt I will ever buy plants through mail order again. What I will do is to keep an eye out for sales at the local nurseries. In summary, I may pay a little more, but I get so much more back in return. As for the plants I bought at Walmart. they turned out to be cheaper than the ones I got from DG.
On Jun 2, 2009, StellysPapa Dothan, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have bought from them in the past without any problems. But, I just recently bought 8 Pardon Me daylilies and received them today. They were each in a separate plastic bag, with no soil. Each one had mold and mildew on them. Most of them do have some sign of life but a few do not. I will plant them and see what happens, and report back with an update.
The prices were really low, so I gave them a try before reading their reviews. My merchandise arrived promptly but was not in great shape. A couple asparagus roots were rotten, but the others were fine. The douglas fir trees were brown and dry, but, after a week, it appears they will recover. The strawberry plants were small, but seem to be doing ok. I've received better quality plants from other companies, so I'm not planning on being a return customer to Direct Gardening.
On Apr 28, 2009, mom24cuties Silverdale, WA wrote:
I placed my order in Dec. and received the first of 2 shipments in March. I ordered 3 dwarf trees ( Apple, Plum, Peach ) , 25 Strawberry plants and 2 Butterfly bushes. The strawberry plants were a somewhat rotten, the butterfly bushes were completely dried out and the trees, err sticks looked pretty dead too. Did the scratch test and they were still green. Bagged them in 50% compost 50% topsoil and set them out in the sun. After about 2 weeks the apple tree started leaving. I decided to plant them and now the apple tree has plenty of leaves. It is only about 2 feet, nothing more than a stick with leaves but it is alive and a dwarf so hopefully it will become a tree one day. The plum is a little bigger with a few branches ( all dried out ) but is showing new buds, here's hoping. The peach stick is just that , a dried stick with no sign of life.
Of the 25 strawberry plants 15 have survived and started growing.
I will try to return the peach and butterfly and see what happens.
I guess for the price I can't complain too much.
Second package contained 1 Lemon and 1 Orange dwarf tree. Came about 10" tall with bright green leaves. The soil had spilled out of the little container but the roots were undamaged. Pot planted them the next day ( about 2 weeks ago) and they are doing good. The orange tree has several new leaves and the Lemon is starting a few.
OTOH my neighbor ordered several plants just about a month ago and received them last week. Much better looking stuff than what I got. Perhaps the time of year when you place your order has something to do with it?
Since I only need a few items I would again order from them knowing that it is a 50/50 thing and for the price I'm willing to take that chance. However the customer service is not very good and can be frustrating.
I hadn't heard about this company before I placed my order, but the price on the red maples, blueberries and aspargus inticed me to give them a try.
My first discomfort with them was when I sent an e-mail asking when the order would ship. They responded that they needed the address and my name along with the order number I had already provided. I also asked if there was a better way to check shipping.
I recieved a canned response stating they had received my order, but did not address my questions. So, I tried again. Within two weeks I had a date narrowed down to a six week time frame and some of my other questions answered, but not all.
I recieved the large green bag with my bare root stick trees, asparagus roots inside an additional bag and two potted blueberry bushes with no packing materials, two weeks before the begining of the shipping window.
Asparagus roots were starting to rot, but called customer service and agreed to plant them anyway. I ended up trimming the roots and planting. Believe it or not some are coming up. I doubt that more than half will make it.
I planted the Maple sticks - no current sign of life, but I do not think they are dead.
Blueberries - one is dead and the other was already sprouting a great deal of new growth when recieved. It is planted and I hope it will continue to tolerate the strange weather.
Not a terrible experience, but I do urge the company to work on their customer service skills, packaging practices and electronic systems for tracking. There are other much better internet companies, but few can meet the price. But again if the stock is consistently a problem, is it truly the cheaper alternative? . I doubt I will do business with this company again, but then again the price is a great inticer. I know that I can't trust the stock to be delivered in great shape so if I do get inticed to try them again it will be on a very limited basis.
Recently I received a promotional e-mail ad to buy a Direct Gardening gift card. The card was promoted as a bargain gift: $20 for a $25 card. The ad suggested buying a card for oneself, which is precisely what I intended to do. Not in the ad, and not disclosed until online checkout, is a $9.49 shipping/handling fee, bringing the cost of a $25 gift cost to $29.49. During this holiday season, I have purchased a number of gift cards. Most retailers are pleased to process online purchases of gift cards and waive shipping and handling fees. (Gift cards tend to be favorable to retailers, since they receive payment upfront, and a proportion of the cards are never redeemed.) Be aware that Direct Gardening has chosen not to waive these fees, and customers who purchase a small number of cards will not enjoy the bargain savings promoted in the ad.
On Jun 1, 2008, HeritageFarm B, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:
So June has arrived & my plants have all had 4 to 6 weeks to get settled & growing. Here's the break down of successful per quantity ordered....
I have mixed feelings with this company right now. They have assured me via telephone that per their gaurentee, all I have to do is request replacements & they'll send them out free & keep sending them out until I have a living plant for every plant paid for ...... I really wonder about that, though I guess it's worth a try.
I'll give everything the course of the summer before I request replacements - every opportunity.
50/80 Asparagus Roots have sent up shoots
13/50 Blazing Stars poking thru the dirt
1/10 Eye Of Tiger Dutch iris
5/90 Mixed Dutch Iris
3/6 Perenial Sweet Pea
0/2 Red Gooseberry
1/2 Pink Weigelia
2/4 Mancharin Apricots
About half of the 2 lbs of Jerusalem Artichokes
3/10 Pussy Willows (most appeared to have dried wilted root systems on receipt)
2/6 Red Lake Currant (all were sealed in plastic bags & moldy!)
0/4 Gooseberry (again, sealed in plastic bacgs & moldy!)
0/3 Mtn Ash
4/12 Lombardy Poplar (all had sent out growing tips long before I received them - those growing tips long ago died off & molded)
0/2 White Spirea
0/4 Hardy Roses (all 4 had lots of dead sticks on them like they had been pulled from the ground last fall beforer the new growth had a chance to harden into solid wood. Less then 3 inches of good solid woody portions existed on each bush)
5/10 Hybrid Willows (these were in bundles of 5. Ironically the 5 that are growing were all in 1 bundle & the 5 that appear dead & are dried twigs were all bundled together)
2/4 Weeping Willow (2 bundles of 2. 1 large well rooted tree & 1 small poorly rooted tree in each bundle. The 2 small poorly rooted trees have done nothing!)
SEEDS: About 60% germination in the soil. Tested like we do native grass & forbes seeds, & the seeds from Direct Gardening ran about 65% germination .... bit disappointed.
I'm not some novice gardener. My degree is in Botany & Forestry & have many years working with the parks department rooting tree cuttings for reforestation projects. I'd think if there was the possibility of life in these plants, I likely would have gotten them to live!
They claim they send out the plants at the correct planting time for your area. My experience in my area is that the best success requires having them in the ground before daily temps routinely reach above 60 degrees. The heat & the wind & the dry air of late spring all the way thru to September can not be overcome in my neck of the woods regardless of how well you water the dormat dry root plants!!
We'll make our requets for replacements in the fall after temps have cooled a bt & after giving everything lots of water all summer long & ample opportunity to grow.
We'll see how the replacement thing goes & if they really do as they stated via telephone - keep replacing until I have the number originally ordered in live plants.
On May 22, 2008, pixiesadelle San Diego, CA wrote:
Strangely, I ordered from this company again this year. Here's the trick: treat an order like a slot pull at a casino; you don't know what you're going to get, so don't put more money in than you can easily lose.
Last year I ordered about thirty bucks worth of all kinds of ultra-cheap stuff. Right now, my Shell Vine and Silver Lace Vine from last spring's order are covering my front fence, looking beautiful. Yes, they arrived about two inches tall, but they took off, and I can't get either from local nurseries. My Angel's Trumpet from last year is now about six feet tall--but it's yellow-orange, and I ordered white. Some Arum Italicum came up nicely, but no blooms. Everything else was either DOA or died sometime after.
This year I ordered in January, was promptly charged on my credit card, and then I forgot about it. I got my order yesterday (the third week in May!). Here in San Diego, it was 89 degrees out when I got home from work, to a plastic bag of more plastic bags inside. You can figure out that everything inside was cooked.
But, the Butterfly Bush looks alive (yes, it's two inches tall in a one inch pot, but hey), and the Blazing Star bulbs look fine. A few things in my order were replaced, with a little notation of "crop failure." Amusingly, they sent stuff like Trillium, which couldn't survive zone 10 under the best of circumstances, never mind being planted in a heat wave.
Anyways, recently half of my spring seedlings were struck down by a mob of marauding caterpillars and a hellishly dry and hot weekend--and isn't that what gardening's about? The surprise? OK, maybe I'm just trying to justify my cheapskate ways. :)
I would have to rate this company both negative and positive. If you are expecting to get large perfect plants, Don’t shop here. I made a few purchases of a variety of plants and will rate them below:
100 Privet Hedges….they arrived small to medium size and the shipment was short by 5 pieces. I notified them of the shortage and they sent me 10 new ones. We planted them and all but about 5 are fine.
15 Jumbo Hemlock hedges $23.00….Mostly junk…received plants from 6 inches to 18 inches (and these are JUMBOS LOL. After 2 weeks most of them are dead
100 Hybrid Willows…they arrived small to medium in size. After about a week they started showing life and are growing very fast
Various ground cover…..Periwinkles, Walk on Me, Phlox, and Wintercreeper They are very cheap, but so small you can hardly see them in the bags…definitely not worth the bother.
Various vines….Arrived very small and didn’t think they would grow but planted them anyway. Silver Lace, Trumpet Hummingbird are growing very fast Hall's Honeysuckle, Passion Flower and sweet pea barely alive. Kiwi ….ordered 8 (6 f and 2 M) one female was received dead. The others are growing, but much slower than expected
2 Magnolia…receiver 2 mini pots with 3 inch trees….After about 2 weeks they started growing but very slow @ $3.00 each, they could hva e been better but are ok.
10 Weeping Willow Trees… We received 10 sticks. We planted them and they are growing fine. Considering they were $1.00 each we are satisfied.
2 Fig Trees…@ $7.50 each JUNK..received 2 tree’s approximately 3 inches each. After 1 ½ months, still alive, but still 3 inches .
2 Red maple…only $1.43 ea. Received 2 sticks, but they are growing fine
2 Rose of Sharon @ $1.25 ea….received 2 …about 2 foot high well branched.. After 2 weeks growing very nice
10 Red Twig Dogwood total $7.50….received 10 small sticks. After 1 month they are growing ok
4 Hansen Cherry bushes. total $5.80….. Received 4 sticks about 2 foot. They bloomed after a few days and even got a handful of cherries on them.
2 Firethorn…total $4.75 ..received 2 approx 2 inches. After 1 month, growing very slowly, but alive.
2 Mock Orange…only $1.50 for both. Received 2 about 3 ½ ft high well branched. After 1 month, I stone dead, one is just barely showing some sign of life.
9 Hibiscus total $5.75 received 9 about 1 inch. After a month 2 are about an 1 ½ but alive, the remainder show no life at all
3 Arkansas Ansonia total $10.95 Received 3 about 1 inch. After a month, there is nothing left but dirt.
2 Huron Sunrise Grass…..total $9.50 received 2 about 1inch…. After 1 month, growing about 3 inches now so very slow.
Various Roses…. Good price…received nice bushes but was short one. Notified them and they replaced the one missing. After a month growing very nice.
The purchases were made from Burgess Seed, Honeycreek Nurseries, and Direct Gardening. I contacted them by email and got quick response to the e mail; however; it took over a month for me to receive the missing items. It only takes 1 to 2 days to charge your credit card, but well over a month to process your order. I have not contacted them yet about the dead items that I received, so I can’t comment on how they will respond.
To sum it up, There are a lot of better nurseries out there, but not at these bargain prices. If you have the time to wait for these plants to grow, then you are getting a bargain. If they honor there guarantee to replace the dead plants, I will definitely shop there again.
Their website indicates they ship using multiple shippers, including US Mail.
Living in a very rural area, US Mail is delivered ONLY to a PO Box & is frequently delayed by 3 to 7 days if both the PO Box 3 & the street address are not on the package.
AFTER we placed our order & stated "prefer no shpping via US Mail", Direct Gardening contacted us saying they ONLY ship via US Mail though if we wish to pay an extra $10 they would ship via DHL.
REALITY: They gaurentee the plants live for 1 year from purchase or they replace them ...... they can ship to the PO Box as long as they understand their risks.
Seems deceptive though to claim the use multiple shippers & then AFTER THE FACT state they us only US Mail & charge extra from alternatives......
Will weigh this information heavily before we order from them or any member nursery again!
On April 18th, 2008, FarmBoyzWorld added the following:
We did have GREAT experiences with Burgess Seed & another affiliated nursery a few years back, but then, a few years back we lived in a more populated area then we do now.
Guess we'll see how this new order goes with a very rural address & then post an update. I'm just peeved that they claim they use multiple shippers & then AFTER THE FACT advise they us only US MAIL & that they will use DHL for an additional $10. That seems very deceptive to me & as a business operator, I don't routinely do repeat business with anyone who seems deceptive or shady!!On April 22nd, 2008, FarmBoyzWorld added the following:
1st of 3 packages was picked up at the post office today. Didn't even know they had shipped it, I just happened to have to run into town to get some Nitrofurazone Salve & livestock pennicillian & stopped at the PO while in town .... otherwise would have been 6 days before I picked up the package.
ANYHOW: the package was the seed portion of my order. 3 of 4 packages of seeds had split open down the sides of their envelopes. Spent my evening sorting thru 3 pounds of seeds seperating them by kind.
JUST WHAT I WANTED TO SPEND MY EVENING DOING - SORTING SEEDS!
They have now advised me that if they choose the carrier there is no extra charge but if I specify the carrier they charge an additional fee; however, they do not disclose that on their website.
I have simply advised them the reasons why I prefer they not ship US Mail & that packages may sit at the Post Office a week or more unless I am provided tracking numbers & can see on the web that the parcels are at the post office.
They now know that I will hold them to their gaurentee & that if they wish to save themselves money & please the customer they will provide me with tracking numers for each shipment. On April 22nd, 2008, FarmBoyzWorld changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Package #2 of 3 arrived today. Figured if 3 of 3 arrived yesterday I'd make the 30-mile trip to the post office today to see if 1 & 2 were there. Just #2 was there though.
Wonder where #1 is?
Feeling very positive & hopeful in view of the conditions of this package.
5 bags of asparagus roots look good. 2 other bags have good growth already forming which might be a downfal when planting. the final bag was dried out & had no soil, the root appear withered.
The 2 red gooseberries appear to be alive & dormant with good root formations.
The 2 Jostaberries appear to have started growing some weeks ago with the new growth having since died. The stems & roots are still flexible, indicating they are still alive - hopefully they will start growing again once they are planted out.
The Rhubarb roots are a disappontment. They appear to be alive though are about 1/4 of the size I'd get at HomeDeopt for only $0.50 more each.
Blazing Star bulbs are larger then I expected, very surprising. They are already forming good roots which is good, a couple have started sending out stems which may be a pitfal when planted out - we'll give it a try though.
The Perenial Sweet Peas are growing & green already, hey appear to have good root balls.
All in all we are impressed based on the experiences of others & our first interactions with DG. We will plant everything & give everything a try & of course seek replacements for any failures.
One Question: Since they ship DHL Express & have a tracking # & also have a US Mail Delivery Confirmation # ...... Couldn't they provide those #s to the customer so that we can look them up on the net & see if the packages are at the Post Office.
Couldn't DG at least advise when the packages ship so the resipients has an idea of when to expect delivery?
It currently costs me $10/trip in gas to drive to the post office. I can't do that everyday & hate doing it as a jab in the dark just to see if there is a package.On May 13th, 2008, FarmBoyzWorld added the following:
Finally package 1 of 3 of this order arrived last week!
6 Red Currants & 4 Gooseberries: All we sealed tightly in plastic bags & all had portions of their roots & stems mushy rotton. 2 of the currants looked okay but the rest were likely a futile effort in planting. The gooseberries were likely too a futile effort.
4 Weeping Willows: these were in bunddles of 2. 1 of each bundle was good & healthy. The 2nd in each bundle had little to no root development & were little more then twigs. Willows are remarkable so we planted them & will try.
10 Hybrid Willows: Mixed results here. Some were dried out the others were looking okay. Planted them all & will try them all though I don't suspect anything of the 5 that were dried out.
Hardy Roses: Again rotton! Roots & apperant new growth all had rotting materials. The plants were barerooted last afll before the new growth had hardened, leaving a bunch of blackened shriveled dead twigs on each one.
Lobardy Poplars: Again, miraculous plants that can recover from most anything though some have few roots on them & the trees wood have dried. Planted them anyway - can always get free replacements & to get a refund will require I pay the postage to send these items back.
Forsythia Bushes were small sticks with very little root development. Once again, many of the roots & the twig ends were dried out.
Pussy Willows: They look remarkably good as compaired to the other items in the order.
Over all, I am neutral in my assessment of this order.
I would like more communication regarding when the order actually ships as the Post Office does not deliver to my home so a package can sit at the PO for a week before I retrieve it unless I know it's on the way.
I've made large purchases from wholesalers, got decent plants with fair to good success - they cost more then does Direct Gardening & Direct Gardening does honor (repeatedly if you keep at it) their garuentee of replacements until you get every item to live.
The secret is, DON'T order or request replacements after it warms up or you'll get a lot of rotton stuff as they pack & seal the order tightly in plastic .... which holds the moisture & doesn't breath & when it's hot, well, you get the idea.
This order was placed on-line at DirectGardening.com The seeds were shipped from Burgess all of the plants were from House Of Wesley.
This company is by far the worst i have dealt with in any form in my life. I tried to be open minded when ordering from them (prior to reading all of the negative reviews about them). They have some of the rudest customer service reps I have dealt with ( with the exception of yhe DMV.) I would like to go into detail my story but it seems useless. This company has several complaints with the BBB and they have not fixed their practices yet. I would just like to let everyone know that the possibility of your experience with direct gardening being any better than the others who have sent negative feedback are highly unlikely. I am stilll just trying to get a tracking # for my order.
On May 14th, 2007, Jagdan changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I would like to add that after several calls to "customer NO service" and after posting my original comment on 05/08/07 I received my order and have planted it. I would like to say that my purple leaf plum hedges and plants did look dead to me and my wife. Days after planting the majority of my order is looking very good. My hedges are budding and most of my plants are growing also. I am pretty happy with the order. If only their customer service was willing to help and didn't have such bad attitudes I would give Direct gardening a more positive review.
I originally ordered a 'bunch' of plants from this company. Among them were cushion mums, weigelas, creeping phlox and a tree peony. The plants were ridiculously small, primarily pieces of roots in some cases, and had virtually no chance for survival. I'm currently awaiting a second round of replacements for the mums, weigelas and tree peony. Not all of the phlox seem to have made it, but they're pretty hardy so I'm holding out some hope for regrowth after the winter months. Even though the company didn't give me any problem with the initial replacements, the plants are of such poor quality that I can't imagine ever getting them to grow. 20 mums and NONE made it? 3 weigelas and only 1 is hanging on by a wing and a prayer? Tree peonies that are no more than a decorative stick in my garden? I'm not holding out much hope.... Of course, no refunds are possible due to the timeframe (who can tell in 30 days if something is going to grow or not?!), but I wonder how many times is too many to request replacements.
On Jun 10, 2006, carolrees Arlington, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
This was my first time using this company.
On 4/21/06 I ordered
2 Astrantia Moulin Rouge
1 Shell Plant
2 Trillium, mixed
6 Virginia Blue Bells
They sent as free gifts:
10 blue anemone
The anemones were bulbs that I planted in containers and so far haven't sprouted. The others that I purchased earlier from Spring Hill Nurseries as bulbs sprouted and are doing great but these seem to be duds.
The free Oxalis bulbs did sprout and I planted them outside and they are doing well.
The shell plant was very small and is still the same height - like 2 inches. I consider this a complete failure since this is an annual in my zone which is 7.
All others were shipped bare root. The Symphytum sprouted and are doing great and have even bloomed. The Viriginia Blue Bells also sprouted and appear to be doing OK. However, the Astrantia and Trillium have not sprouted and appear to be total loses.
Overall I would consider their packaging pretty bad and the Astrania was expensive.
I did get some unusual items that I hadn't been able to find elsewhere. However, that was before I found this site and the hundreds of other more reliable mail order nurseries that using the plant search I could have obtained from other sources.
I will not be ordering from them again.
On June 16th, 2006, carolrees added the following:
My response to DG Customer Support who contacted me saying that I needed to mail them the shipping label in order to get any refund.
"I didn't keep the shipping label as I'm sure that most people don't. In my opinion that is a terrible policy and is made solely to discourage people from trying to get a refund. You've got my order on file and I've got my receipt in PDF format. There should be no need for a customer to keep a shipping label off of a package/plastic bag."On June 16th, 2006, carolrees changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
It appears that the 2 Astrantia are finally coming up and are 1/2" above the ground and since they were expensive I'm pleased with that but I don't know if they'll live. However, the 2 cheaper Astrania that I later got from Forest Farm came with lots of follage about 8" tall. Also a couple of the anemone bulbs are finally coming up. Considering the Shell Plant and Trillium were cheap - well I guess you get what you pay for.
On May 26, 2006, Soylent_Green Pittsburgh, PA wrote:
Over the years I have ordered several times. Directgardening and related companies are a mixed bag.
I have 2 fast growing hybrid poplars that are now 50 feet tall which started out as 2 sticks with roots 7 years ago. 2 other trees (forget what they are!) are doing well. Rose of Sharon hedges that are 6 feet tall and a few Burning Bushes were good buys. Various Daylillies are also doing well. Basics like seeds and green onions do well. Basic seeds, trees, shrubs and items that can take a beating during shipping are probably worth the risk due to the low prices (assume that 1/2 the order will fail to grow - its usually closer to 3/4)
Bulbs are a mixed bag. I ordered 2 Holly plants last fall - while they are still alive they arent any taller. Maybe the heat of summer will get them growing.
Customer service is definitely a problem as is the way the items are shipped in flimsy plastic bags. On a recent order it took complaints and threats of a credit card chargeback to get action. I think they lost or misplaced my order and then rushed it out - it arrived a week later. Half the order was Burgess seed packs which should have been shipped immediately but werent; which is why I suspect they misplaced the order. They charge credit cards lightning fast but shipping is very slow. I can understand some live plant orders taking a few weeks to ship, but seeds and bulbs should fly out the door the moment the credit card is charged. Rather than require people to send back dead sticks and rotting plants at the customers expense they should just send replacements. If people abuse the replacement policy by doing it way too often then the company could refuse to sell them anything else. Its clear this company has generated alot of ill will by their guarantee that requires dead crap to be sent back.
Things to NEVER order from them? Fragile plants like live tomato and pepper plants, groundcover (usually arrives waterlogged and rotting with the stink of death about them) They really shouldnt sell items that cant take a beating when shipped. I planted some rotting Creeping Red Sedum 3 weeks ago and none of it grew. There were supposed to be 12 plants but there maybe 6-8 tiny plants and several small bits. I might take the remains then stick it in an envelope and mail it back for 39 cents just for kicks to see what happens; provided they dont rot completely out of existence.
Overall I give them a neutral rating since they have major problems as many here can testify, but they are cheap. Its probably better to order twice as much as you need when ordering live plants, figuring 1/2 the order will die or be DOA. Its best to order the smallest quantity you can of a particular item until you see what kind of shape it arrives in.
They should concentrate more on improving quality control and customer service.
Again I seem to be lucky. Had I read this site before, I would have never ordered from them. But being new tot he country, I had no idea. I bought via internet a Sweet Cherrie which costed me about 12 dollars including shipping. The tree is nothing more but a stick of which the top few inches had broken, bare root with some small roots. But I had not expected anything more than that that would be ok, which indeed seems to be the case. I planted it according to intstructions and it is getting green on the sides. I expect it to take quite a few years to be a nice tree, but so far, so good.
I am giving it a 'neutral', as my inquiery about the shipping remained unanswered. But one day after the order arrived. Also, packing could have been better, as the tree was shipped in a plastic bag and could have been easily more damaged. But I'm happy. Let's see if I get cherries after all, and not pears or anything , like the one with the pinky roses! LOL
I recently bought 10 hybrid willows from them and they arrived looking fresh and so far they have taken. They are growing pretty well, but last year I bought 10 others that arrived dead looking or "dormant" as they say and I planted them anyways and they never took. The jury is out.
On May 12, 2006, Direct Gardening responded with:
On May 12, 2006 4:35 PM, Direct Gardening added:
We are glad to hear that this customer's willows are doing well from this year's order and sent a d-mail reminding him of our one year replacement guarantee that he may wish to utilize on last year's order."
As a buyer of mail order plants one must always beware. As the saying goes, "You get what you pay for". To ship live plants packaged in a manner that insures they get to you in premium quality costs more. The truth is that when you order from Direct Gardening, whatever name the company uses, you are going to get small bare root plants in bags. It is unfortunate that most of us trying to save a buck have found this out only after receiving our orders. I have had great success with the shrubs, roses, and blubs that I have ordered. The bulbs are much smaller than those you would receive from Brecks or other mail order companies and the shrubs are generally 1-3 foot sent bare root in a bag. I have not always had time to plant them right away when they have arrived but have been able to but them in a bucket with a mixture or root starter and water for several weeks until I got around to planting them. I think this has actually been a benefit to the plants and me, being that the plants they send are often dried out, it gives the plants the much needed moisture they need and allows me to see which ones show signs of life as they start budding out so that I don't waste time planting something that is already dead. I WOULD STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING OTHER THAN SHRUBS, TREES, OR BLUBS FROM THIS COMPANY. It has been my experience that the other plants cannot survive the manner in which they are shipped. I have ordered three or four times and only had trouble once getting a refund in which case they gave me a gift certificate instead that I didn't want or could use at the time but didn't feel it was worth disputing.
On Apr 17, 2006, Direct Gardening responded with:
On Apr 18, 2006 2:57 PM, Direct Gardening added:
We encourage customers to try our full product line. This would also include our seeds, hard goods and perennials. All of our plant material and seeds are covered by our one year replacement guarantee."
I have read many comments, but decided to move foward with my purchase, with the belief that most of the negative comments had to do with high expectations of people getting full grown trees in bloom shipped to them via mail.
So - to help everyone out - I am creating a section on my webshots picture storage site to show what arrived, how it was shipped, and how well it is growing. I will do my best to keep up with this.
Please - sign the guesbook to let me know you are actually looking at these pictures for help. If I do not get any entries in the guestbook, I will probably not keep up with the pictures.
On June 16th, 2005, tnrsxs changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
So far all but one of my 35 poplars are beginning to grow. Some actually have full branches forming, and complete leaves out. They have only been in the gound just under one week! The 4 Red Maples,that I planted have not shown any changes since planting. They are not dead, and they do have buds, but still no sign of extra growth.
I also received some free small bulbs with my shippment. I just planted them 2 days ago, so I do not expect anything from them yet. I will update my Webshots page today with the progress.
Also - Although, I have had over 200 poeple view the pictures, Ihave not seen anyone put anything in the Guestbook yet, so I may not keep up with this much longer.
On July 7th, 2005, tnrsxs changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Updated Webshots with new pictures.
Ok - The Poplar trees are doing great. I am amazed how far they have come along in only 1 month. All of them are doing great except for 2 of them, and that is my fault. I planted one out of reach of the hose, and I ran the other over with my lawn tractor! If you are going to order poplar trees, do not be scared.
I moved my rating back to Neutral due to the other Non-Poplar items. None of the 4 red Maples have any sign of life. I have given them the same attention as the Poplars, so I do not think that I am the issue. Also, I recieved the Free Gifts of 5 different items. Only one of them are growing. This forces me to send the rating back down to Neutral. I will give them the additional time, as asked in the instructions, and then see how the resolve the issues.
So far one e-mail to me has kept me posting my results. I would like to keep hearing if I am helping anyone else out.
On Apr 6, 2005, Liila Lantana, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I ordered from this company back in January. What a tragic mistake! Like a fool I've spent almost $100 and received nothing but a padded envelope with the "free gift with purchase"....Dessicated bulbs which I've planted but don't expect much from. The live plants haven't arrived though it's now April, and attempts to contact *anyone* at the company are fruitless. Endless busy signals, emails ignored. I'm so angry I could spit nails! Don't waste your money, don't waste your time, and for heaven's sake avoid the offshoot companies they hide behind! I'm sorry to lose all my money, but on the upside now that I've found Garden Watchdog it will never happen again.
On April 7th, 2005, Liila changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Boy was I surprised! I received a package from them today with most of my order in it! The box said 2nd package out of 3, so I assume the rest of it's on the way sometime. Everything is in 2" pots, wrapped in plastic and clearly marked. One or two of them are very good looking, relatively large for the pot size. About one third, however, looked barely viable and a couple of them had mold growing on them, leaves were rotted and slimy. 2 of them had barely any root structure upon turning them over and removing from the pots. Good thing I'm great with rooting cuttings or they'd be goners for sure, if they even survive now, with my skills.
One or two had great, healthy root systems poking out through the bottoms of the pots. I pulled off the rotting leaves and repotted everything into 4" pots. The shipping label states that most of these plants are grown in different states, so I reckon Direct Gardening is a middle man of sorts. They don't grow their own plants (and it shows in the extreme inconsistency) and basically receive them from all over the country before boxing up and shipping order. Obviously the guys at the "warehouse" know nothing about live plants and get paid minimum wage for stuffing boxes.
I'm changing my rating to neutral because they *did* ship, and this isn't the first time I've been left in limbo for weeks/months. I don't expect all of them to pull through, and if you order from this company you had *better* have a green thumb because most of the plants you receive (if you get them) will need desperate help upon arrival. I would never buy from them again, and would not recommend them to even my worst enemy. Go to Ecolage, go to Yuccado, go to Logee's if you want beautiful mail-order plants.
On Mar 27, 2005, JenniferSabatie Lawrenceville, GA wrote:
I've ordered probably 1000s of dollars worth of stuff from the various companies associated with Direct Gardening. I've developed a system to increase my chances of success that seems to work. In the beginning, when I was very new to gardening and I would recieve an order from Direct it was usually on a week day when I was very busy so I would put the plants in a bucket in my garage and leave them until the weekend. I might have sprinkled them with water, worried they would dry out. More often than not, much of the order would die. Same with Michigan Bulb...
But now, when I get an order in I deal with it immediately. I don't have a greenhouse (I need one!) so I pull out a bunch of tupperware, throw some really good potting soil in it, and plant everything. Then I give it a real good water and set them out in front of the windows in my kitching and dining room, all over the table and counters. And I leave them there, usually for about a month. I keep a good eye on them, watering them somewhat frequently (not too much because the containers they're in don't have holes in them). I don't leave them in there much longer than a month because the potting soil will start to get moldy.
So, usually, after a month or so of this sort of nursery care, they're ready to go outside. And they usually do very well.
I used this method for everything from bushes, to bulbs, to perrenials, to trees. They don't get planted until they start growing inside. And a month is about all they usually need.
Things like bushes or trees get an overnight root soak in a bucket before I plant them in potting soil, that's the only difference.
I know this is a bit of work, but I can't afford the better nurseries and I can do this and end up with a nice end product.
On Jan 25, 2005, margcail New Boston, NH (Zone 5a) wrote:
I found GardenWatchDog shortly after placing my order from DirectGardening, and in the interest of avoiding future problems, quickly called the company to cancel my order. Just canceling it months before it is scheduled to ship is a hassle. They told me I could try cancelling online, but that it "probably wouldn't work" and that I should write a letter. I wrote a letter, faxed a letter and emailed in addition to phoning in a cancellation request. I called after two weeks and they can't even confirm that they've received my cancellation request. Not at all the excellent and personal customer service I've become used to from other online vendors.
On Jun 15, 2004, Heatherweh Fredericksburg, VA wrote:
My trees and flowers arrived promptly and of course the prices were unbeatable. One packet of the four bulb packets I had ordered did appear moldy, so I'll plant it right away and hope for the best. The trees and bushes are dormant, but look better than those I received from the Arbor Day Foundation. The roots do appear to be in good shape on them. I am unsure of the trillium as they look like large bulbs, I will have to look that one up for instructions. The flowers are in pretty bad shape though, they were either dried up and brown or yellow approaching brown. My experience was not as bad as many had listed here. Overall, everything was OK, but I will definitely choose other companies before this one.