Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
Posted on September 9, 2014, updated September 16, 2014
6 years ago I ordered 2 plants of Sweet Autumn Clematis. I had grown up in KY with this plant surrounding our home in the fall and fell in love with the wonderful sweet fragrance. I received the plants in good order, planted them, in the fall each year they bloomed - every year blooming more and more - but never ever a single hint of fragrance. I called once after couple of years past and inquired and was given no answer. I thought after several years the flowers would spill out their wonderful fragrance - nothing. So I called the owner last month and told her the above - she was smug to say the least and laughed at me for 6 yrs passing - I told her the above that I kept waiting. She said she would investigate. 3 weeks later no answer. I called/emailed several times she was mulling it over with her Canadian buyer and their decision was \"my soil\" as the problem. I told her my neighbor has it growing beautifully and full of fragrance. No reply to that. I asked for my money back, she said no too much time had passed. I said I have two vines that I have spent a lot of time on to establish them properly and they are not what I ordered...so if I don\'t get my money back I will write an honest review about your horrible service and lack of knowledge about this particular situation. To this date - over 2 weeks later I have not received my $27.00. The money wasn\'t the point so much as her smugness and my having to stay on it. When I planted this vine it was planted with great care - with soil amendments added - watered and fertilized diligently. My sweet jasmine smells wonderful as does my Joseph Coat climbing rose - neither of which came from that nursery. So last month I ordered two Sweet Autumn Clematis - arrived beautifully - from Garden Harvest Supply in Indiana. Will keep you posted next fall.
On September 16th, 2014, clematis911 added the following:
If this nursery is so reputable why is their comment so long - their comment is indicative of poor customer service trying to cover their tracks. The refund check that supposedly was mailed on August 27, 2014 - date the owner stated it was mailed - has never been received - several emails have been sent to me apologizing for this delay - it is September 16th and still no refund. I have been very persistent about this situation as my husband and I both believe they don't know clematis terniflora - sweet autumn clematis - it is called sweet autumn clematis because it has a sweet fragrance.
Their plant has no fragrance after 6 years of being patient for a fragrance. Any gardener familiar with this plant is familiar with the lovely fragrance. I would never recommend this company and will tell everyone I know that gardens to never order from them. It has been a long drawn out ridiculous experience from a company that does not tell the truth.On Sep 16, 2014, Digging Dog Nursery responded with:
Our records indicate that Cathy first contacted us around the second week of August 2014. At that time, she told us about her Clematis terniflora, which she stated was thriving, but not fragrant. We listened attentively to her concerns and said that a picture would be helpful. Upon checking our records, we learned that she purchased these plants on 8/26/2008. We received the photo on August 11. We identified the photo as Clematis terniflora and were so puzzled by her situation that we forwarded it on to a man that operates one of the most respected and largest Clematis nurseries in North America for his opinion. He is a very busy person and it took awhile to hear back from him. He confirmed that it was a robust specimen of Clematis terniflora. He also had never heard of a non-fragrant Clematis terniflora. His nursery, which has been in business for over 40 years, has always supplied us with this particular Clematis. So after receiving the photo, four days later on August 14, we sent the following email to Cathy:
We are so sorry that we did not get back with you sooner, but we were waiting to hear from the supplier. Neither the supplier, nor myself, have received any other complaints about the crop your plant came from, or any complaints about this particular clematis lacking a fragrance in the 20 plus years we\'ve been selling it. Our supplier, who is a renowned Clematis authority, suspects that this may have been environmentally caused due to your particular micro climate, which would be a combination of exposure, humidity, and soil type.
By the photo you sent, we can see that we correctly filled your order, and that your plant flourished and bloomed. Our policy states that we will provide a healthy plant that is true to it\'s name. As your order was placed six years ago, we are unclear what you would like us to do for you at this late date. If you would like to order a replacement plant, we will waive our handling fee. However, we cannot guarantee that it would be fragrant due to the unusual elements in your garden.
By the time we spoke again, Cathy had become quite upset. She continued to claim that we had sent her the wrong plant. We are very sorry that our attitude was misinterpreted when we attempted to explain to her that we had truly sent her two Clematis terniflora, a fact that had also been confirmed by a renown Clematis authority. In light of the unusual circumstances, we offered to refund half the cost of the plants. At that point, she became irate, threatening to do everything in her power to destroy our nursery\'s reputation if we did not refund her the full amount. We conceded to refunding her the full price of the plants, even though, we felt that we had upheld our nursery\'s guarantee and delivered her healthy botanically correct plants. We issued a refund check for $27.00, the total cost of the plants, on August 27 and mailed it to her via USPS standard mail. Since then, she has both emailed and called several times, threatening to take further action, in addition to posting this negative review even though we did confirm on September 4 that her refund check had been mailed. Each email we received from her has been promptly responded to, sometimes within an hour, assuring her that the check was on its way and to give it some additional time. We feel badly that she is so upset, but are not certain what more we could have done to ensure her satisfaction with our service.
On Sep 19, 2014 12:21 PM, Digging Dog Nursery added:
We are so sorry that the original check did not reach it's destination. However, after placing a stop payment on the first check, we have sent a new check via USPS Certified Mail, with signature requested and tracking on 9/16/2014. "
On Oct 6, 2013, sadiewhitecoat Bay Head, NJ wrote:
I am a garden designer whos intention it was to install a small rock garden for a client. One of the plants I wanted in the garden is difficult to find in my area. Happily, I found the plant online at Digging Dog Nursery, but (sadly) was told that since they would not ship only one plant to NJ, I needed to spend a minimum amount. I chose 3 more [difficult to find here as well] plants to meet their requirement. The plants I ordered came to me *shockingly* small- even for the price ($7, average per plant), considering the whopping S & H ($15 plus $5, grand total $47). Though small, only one of the plants was barely acceptable in spite of all that $$.
When I called to express my
disappointment, the reply (from the proprietor) was an invite to mail everything back. An inconvenient solution was to be my only solace in this already extremely disappointing experience. Her attitude was at once defensive and unyielding. I also noticed a bit of hoitiness in her affect, as if she was doing me a favor by allowing me to place an order.
I have ordered plants mail order in the past and have had disappointments as well- but was always satisfied in the end and inspired to tell others of a great experience, wanting to 'spread the good word'.
I cannot find one good word to spread about Digging Dog Nursery.
Summary: expensive, scrawny sickly plants, terrible customer service.
On Oct 6, 2013, Digging Dog Nursery responded with:
"On Oct 7, 2013 2:21 PM, Digging Dog Nursery responded with:
This customer called on a busy day for us (our mail order ship date) and we gladly spent a significant amount of time on the phone helping her select unusual rock garden plants, advising her on specific soil recommendations and discussing which plants would be hardy for her area. We rushed the order through on that day to make sure she received her plants as quickly as possible. During one of our phone conversations, she expressed appreciation for all the advice and time we spent helping her.
Rock garden plants tend to grow slowly and are diminutive. Perhaps this is way she felt that the plants were small or unhealthy. For instance, one of the plantís foliar growth is a mere 1 or 2-inches tall. She had me count the number of leaves and stems on another plant. I told her the plant was not in bloom, that it had just been trimmed for the season and was beginning to go dormant so she would not be disappointed when she unpacked it.
We sent the plants as inexpensively as possible, via USPS Priority flat rate shipping ($14) so they would reach her quickly and at a lower cost than UPS. With the rising prices of gasoline it is costly to send a plant via air across the country. We have never made a profit on our shipping.
Upon hearing of this customerís overall disappointment, we assured her that each of the plants was healthy and would thrive in the rock garden environment. Perhaps this customer thought I was being unyielding because I stood behind the health of our plants. We grow our plants in open air cold frames using real sterilized garden loam and allow them to go through their natural life cycle, which includes going dormant for the winter. We believe growing our plants in this fashion ensures healthy and long-lived plants, as attested by overwhelmingly positive customer feedback during our 21+ years of growing our plants and running this mail order business.
Since she still seemed upset after we reassured her and answered additional questions, I thought offering a full refund for the plants once they arrived back at the nursery, at our expense would resolve her disappointment. We are truly sorry that it hasnít. Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to us, and as a small family-run business weíve been able to provide personal attention to each and every valued customer. We will still strive to find a way to resolve this situation in an amiable fashion.
On Apr 6, 2009, dthomas979 Saint Charles, MO wrote:
Wow are the people here crazy or what, they get taken on shipping and rate this company as positive, I saw all the positive ratings and thought I would give them a try, my 32 dollar order had a 29.90 shipping charge with handling to Mo. That is a complete ripoff, it's insulting. There are many good companys that aren't on the top 30 that don't rip you off on shipping. Stay way unless you like the people your ordering from laughing all the way to the bank.
On Apr 6, 2009, Digging Dog Nursery responded with:
"On Jun 26, 2009 10:01 AM, Digging Dog Nursery responded with:
We are sorry that the person from Saint Charles, MO expressed concern about our shipping costs. We wholeheartedly assure this person and all who are reading this rebuttal that we are not 'laughing all the way to the bank'.
Since we are a small family run business, we are not eligible for the
substantial discounts that larger mail-order businesses receive from UPS.
As we are all aware, fuel costs have both fluctuated and risen dramatically
over the past few years. These events and recent trends have led freight
carriers to impose increasing fuel related surcharges on their customers.
Digging Dog Nursery has been absorbing these incremental costs for some time now. In fact, Digging Dog Nursery has barely raised their shipping costs
After careful research, we found that a $50.00 order sent UPS
AIR does average around $25.00. To offset, the UPS air charges for small
orders, we are now offering PRIORITY AIRMAIL VIA THE POST OFFICE.
Attentive personal service, eco-friendly nursery practices and choice hard-to-find plants that are not only well grown, but grown with a lot of love is what
kept loyal customers ordering for nearly twenty years."
On Apr 6, 2009, Vicky_D Pompano Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I read some positive reviews about Digging Dog so I wanted to give them a try. When I was ready to order, I saw a notice that read "At present, we are unable to ship to Florida, Hawaii or anywhere outside USA." It should read "unwilling". I emailed the company to ask when they will be ABLE to ship to FL and the reply I received was "Sorry, the state's agricultural regulations are so strict, it simply is not worth it." I for one would not feel comfortable purchasing from a company unwilling to meet the strict agricultural regulations of any state. What does this imply about their quality standards? High Country Gardens is willing to meet Florida's strict standards ( I've made over $500 worth of purchases from them so far) so my confidence and customer loyalty stays with them!
On a side note: some of the zone information included with each plant is incorrect. Lavenders are hardy to zone 10/11.
On June 24, 2006, I sent an email to the company (firstname.lastname@example.org) inquiring about a hard to find shrub that I was very interested in ordering. The website showed it as being "Sold Out" and I asked when it may be in stock again and the price. Since I never received a response from Digging Dog Nursery, I found the shrub on another website and was able to order it there with no problems.
I ordered two clematis and three acer griseum from digging dog online. The clematis came well packed and heathly, however the acer griseum were sold out. I was not notified of this until I received an invoice with the shipped clematis, about six weeks after my order. As these tree's are only carried by a small handful of nurseries, by the time I knew about this I was not able to order them from another source. While I received an e-mail confirmation of my order, again they did not indicate that the acer griseum were unavailable.
On May 4, 2005, Digging Dog Nursery responded with:
On May 12, 2005 4:45 PM, Digging Dog Nursery added:
Due to a cool spring, our new crop of Acer griseum has taken longer to root
out than usual. Sometimes root development is beyond our control and we refuse to send plants that are not well-established. Please note that in our comments to mathewpok we wrote "We are sorry but the Acer griseum won't be ready to ship until the end of May. Please re-order at that time. We will waive some of the shipping and handling charges if you re-order.