I ordered a lilac, three rhododendrons, and two dogwoods from them. The plants arrived promptly. They were in great shape and looked very happy. The roots were packaged in plastic baggies, were moist and white. I couldn't be happier with this order. I will definitely buy from them again, as a matter of fact as soon as I finish this review.
On Jul 28, 2009, carrielamont Milton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
I bought 3 'Knock-Out' roses from Big Dipper Farm, as they were the only ones who had them in stock and still shipping in late June. (Given our unusually cold, wet weather, I thought it would still be OK to plant them then.) I had to buy a 4th plant to make their shipping minimum. The 4 plants arrived right on time (July 15th), my husband went out and planted the 3 roses in their prepared holes, came in, and found out his brother had died suddenly. The 4th plant, a campanula, lay forgotten in the shipping box in the bedroom for over a week. When we finally discovered it, it peeked its head out, full of life, and we planted it right away. (It had even flowered inside the box.)
No plant should have to live for nearly 2 weeks inside a box in someone's house!! It remains to be seen how any of these plants perform next year, but Big Dipper Farm did a fine job of getting them to us in excellent condition. Bravo!
I have ordered twice from BD this year. Once early (march) in the season and later in the season (June). In both cases my order was recieved in the promised delivery dated. My June order did take about 3-4 weeks, but that delay was noted on the website and confirmatory emails I recieved, which I suppose was based upon GW Dog feedback from other posters.
The plant material was of a typical size for a mail order nursery (i.e quart size). Everything was green and healthy, and they arrived with a healthy glow and vigor.
On Jun 15, 2009, CountryRefuge Grinnell, IA wrote:
I placed my first order with Big Dipper Farm in late April. Every step of my order was satisfactory until I received my order. The size of the plants I received were surprisingly large and healthy. This company is a winner to me!
On May 28, 2009, JeanBHall Norwood, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
Some of the nicest plants I have ever received from any nursery! Big and healthy -- and very well packed. The soil was still damp when I received them. Lovely people who sent me a thank-you note for my thank-you note. I will certainly use them again and highly recommend them to others.
Took 3 weeks, and the plants were tiny. If they were any smaller, they would have been seeds. Not kidding. Ordered Japanese grass and a Salvia. the Lysimachia was unavailable. i wish they would have told me sooner, so i could have got it somewhere else.
On May 5, 2009, StellysPapa Dothan, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have placed 3 separate orders with this nursery this year 2009, and am completely satisfied with them. The orders arrived within a reasonable length of time and were in very good condition. Customer service is, in my opinion, one of the best I've ever dealt with. I would recommend Big Dipper to any and all of my friends.
On Apr 23, 2009, ge1836 Pittsford, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
Its my first time ordering rom BD
Wow I am impressed with the speed of delivery and the packing is steller.
Only one neutrel in that the order was placed early in the year and I guess they dont reserve plants and were sold out of two plants ordered in January (i think).
I'm OK with this. Just made a substitution.
I was really impressed by the variety of plants available on their website, and submitted an order at the beginning of March. According to the information on their website, they are able to ship to my zone year-round, and the four plants that I chose for purchase were all (and still are) listed as "available: ready".
The information also said that most orders would ship within 7-10 days. I let several weeks pass, and finally sent an email last Wednesday asking when I could reasonably expect for my order to ship, and if it would not be any time soon could I please have a refund so I could buy elsewhere. I still have not received a response.
I submitted payment through PayPal, so I will be opening a claim to get my money back. I am quite disappointed, as I was very much looking forward to adding these plants to my garden. :(
On April 15th, 2009, Grey_Sterling added the following:
I got a call from Big Dipper Farms the day after I posted this negative comment. I ordered four different plants, and was told that the fucshia holding up the order because they were late to break dormancy. Which I would have been okay with, but they didn't communicate this information to me.
I was told that my order was ready, would ship that day (last Wednesday), and I would probably receive it within two days.
Then I got a call yesterday morning (Monday) from another employee saying that they were sold out of the tradescantia I ordered, and would I like to order something else. I told him about the call I received last Wednesday, and could we please cancel the order and refund my money. He agreed readily and was very polite about the whole situation.
I haven't received my refund yet, but I'm hopeful it'll appear in my bank account soon.
The excuse I was given for the lack of communication was that they are too busy during April to email people. I really believe that if you are going to have an internet business, you need to make the commitment to communicate with your customers. It also says very specifically on the website that you should EMAIL any questions, because they are probably going to be too busy to answer your phone call.
Also, the 'sold out' plant is still listed as being "available: ready" on the website. If anyone is interested in getting a tradescantia 'satin doll' at the moment... apparently they're out. -_-
On Apr 3, 2009, elizabethperk Azle, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Ordered several items back in January and received my plants -2 plants. I was charged for the full shipment so I e-mailed them to ask when I could expect the rest of my shipment. Deidre called me personally to resolve the issue. She told me that it would probably be about two months and I live in North Texas where it gets to be 100 degrees or so in June. I told her that I would wait until fall to receive the shipment. She promptly reimbursed me for the two plants I did not receive. That is what you call excellent customer service. Kudos to Big Dipper Farm for caring about their customers and their reputation.
Ordered first time from Big Dipper a couple weeks ago. I ordered three daylily cultivars. 5 fans, 4 fans, and 2 large fans. These were in excellent condition and packed in potting materials with plastic bags; packing was also excellent. Shipping was very fast. All enclosed paperwork was in a protective plastic bag. They all had excellent feeder roots on the main roots. I am accustomed to ordering dls from Oaks and the order was, I felt overall, slightly better than Oaks, but it was close. I was thrilled with the order and wrote them so. As for others posting about 'guarantees', if you want a 100%, 1 year guarantee against everything then you should be buying your plants from Home Depot or Lowes.
Last year I ordered several plants from this company. They packaged them in a box that was too small. All the plants were bent/broken at the base of the stem where than had been forcibly bent over to fit into the undersized box. They all had to be cut back to the base of the stem. I contacted the company and explained the situation and sent pictures of the broken plants next to the undersized box they were packaged in. They said to go ahead and plant them and wait to see what happens, that she should still grow. Well, I planted them, only one had a chance to show signs of any growth. The others had not before the fall weather came and they all went dormant. I still have hopes they all will show signs of life this spring. Still thought it was unprofessional of them to ship the plants in this manner, but decided to give the benefit of the doubt.
A few weeks ago I placed another order. Web site stated items were available and should ship in about 2 weeks. After waiting for 4 weeks and receiving no word about shipping status, I attempted to contact them. Reaching this company via phone has been very difficult, if not impossible. As with my prior attempts with last year issues, they do not respond to email (never responded to my emails with last year issues and no response to my emails with my current concerns).
I have ordered plants online from dozens of different companies and from ebay. My dealings with this company has been one of the less positive experiences.
On February 6th, 2009, Got_Lost changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Spoke with Deidre at Big Dipper. She called, and wrote (via email), extremely quickly after reading my comments on this website. She explained the situation, and cleared up all current concerns. She sounded extremely sincere in her explanations and desire to be fair in resolving my outstanding concerns. I would say she went above and beyond what I would generally expect from an online merchant. I changed my rating from negative to neutral based on most recent conversations with this company. I hope that once my plants arrive I will be able to once again change my rating from neutral to positive.
I ordered several dwarf type Joe Pye weed in the heat of summer. Joe Pye weed is sometimes hard to find. I read their warning about receiving plants at this time. I received my order in a timely fashion. The plants were small, but the roots looked very healthy. They are very fast growing summer periennials. The roots were packed in brown paper bags with no problems. They still had some green leaves. I planted them as instructed. I watered them daily and they are growing beautifully. They did not flower this year, but again I wanted to receive them in August when we were having drought conditions because I just couldn't wait to start my landscaping, and I didn't expect to see them flower. They are now about 1 foot high with beautiful healthy green leaves. I expect they will be beautiful next summer. I would order from them again.
On Oct 17, 2008, BlissfulGarden Baton Rouge, LA wrote:
Excellent experience with this company! I was very pleased to find among their offerings an amaryllis that was once a pass-along plant in New Orleans. My husband's grandmother had grown it for years, but now we couldn't find it anywhere. However... there it was among Big Dipper's offerings. While their prices seemed a bit high compared to others, the plants were healthy and the choices were superb. When a company is willing to maintain cultivars that are rare, it's worth the extra money just to keep those cultivars in commerce. A purchase from Big Dipper is money well-spent. A+++ Ev =)
On Sep 26, 2008, wyldeflwr Laurel, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered four shrubs from this company on Sunday afternoon and they arrived on Thursday. They were larger than I had expected, well packaged and had excellent root systems. The prices were really reasonable as well. I will order from them again.
I have ordered twice from this company. In both cases the plants have been healthy and in excellent shape. Most recently, I needed my order to arrive in a very tight time frame, and they were very accommodating in fulfilling my needs. Their prices are also exceptionally reasonable.
On Aug 7, 2008, perenniallyme Jamaica Plain, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
I bought about 10 or 12 different perennials from Big Dipper earlier this summer, and the whole lot fit in a very small box. Not only were almost all very puny specimens, they arrived in a very unhappy state (during a heatwave). They've all survived so far, but some haven't grown at all and most have barely grown in over a month since being planted. I did not complain about the size as they did not specify a plant size, but stated as varied (though almost all puny is not too varied). Also figured at least part of their condition was due to an early heat wave. Nonetheless, I will not order from them again.
On August 8th, 2008, perenniallyme changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Addendum: Almost as soon as I finished posting this review, I had a phone call from Diedre at Big Dipper, asking why I hadn't been in touch with them about my order, and wanting to send me some new plants to correct the situation. Well I guess I should have gotten in touch with them, but I guess I figured that I could get most if not all of the plants to survive and eventually grow, and the heat wave which put the plants in bad shape in transit wasn't their fault. Also, she said something to the effect that it could be that I picked a bunch of very popular plants so only small ones were left, and that they often send very large plants. It just depends what and when you order and what sizes are available. She was very nice about it, and though no final resolution has yet occurred, I'm changing my rating to neutral for the time being, pending the outcome. And when I went back to the website to look for some replacements, it reminded me of why I ordered from them in the 1st place (aside from good reviews). They do have a really good and very large selection of plants for shady areas - lots of varieties.On August 18th, 2008, perenniallyme changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Addendum #2: I picked out 3 astilbes as replacements, with 2 others listed as substitutes. (I hadn't ordered astilbes to begin with, but was looking for them when she called).Diedre sent me 4 astilbes, saying (one of my substitutes) was one of her favorites. They arrived exactly when she said they would, and were beautiful healthy plants with no sign at all of having traveled across the country. I'm going to assume that my first experience was just bad luck. Diedre definitely wants her customers to be happy, and went all out to correct the situation, so I'm changing my rating to positive. I would now consider ordering from her again.
On Aug 7, 2008, PrimroseSue Medway, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:
So far, all my orders with Big Dipper have been healthy Their selections are much more than just run-of-the-mill plants, they offer quite a variety of unusual specimens.
I like that they don't use fancy pre-printed boxes or packaging materials - the plants are wrapped securely in newspaper and plastic bags - very economical and "green".
It's also handy that they offer the payment choice of PayPal.
I don't think people take the time to read the information on this site.It clearly states that during peak season it will be 2 to 3 weeks before shipped. Also their plants are shipped bare root, which is explained. I ordered on May 16 and plants where shipped June 2 and rcv'd June 5. There are
explicit instructions on how to plant what I ordered (Hakone Grass). So far so good since it's been 90 here. I'll order from them again.
I have been a customer at Big Dipper farms for a long time. They give excellent customer service. There has never been a problem with returns on items that I have purchased. They have always been more than willing to refund me and replace plants that I return to them for various reasons. I have purchased plants as gifts to friends in other parts of the U.S. and I can't tell you how pleased my friends are with the plants that Big Dipper has supplied. They are such wonderful people I can't say enough about them...Thank You Big Dipper Farms for your service we don't see much of this kind of service in this country anymore,Your top notch!
Received plants last year from Big Dipper Farm, the plants were small. Deidre had called and substituted some plants. This spring none of the plants made it, I had first emailed the company received no response, emailed again and was given the number 3608868253 directly to Deidre, I phoned and left a message due to time difference, no call back, called again next day, left message. Finally called back a day later indicating the guarantee is posted on the website and also before you complete the order, you must agree to the guarantee. If I had gotten that information, a red flag would have been raised. I called her back again, she was in a meeting, I called again this morning, questioned the guarantee coming up at the end of the order, she indicated the guarantee was on the website and also paperwork in box. I keep all my paperwork and did not receive. She also indicated that the plants are genetic DNA and the columbine I received were biennals not perennials, they reseed themselves. In Ohio the Columbines come back every year bigger. She indicated before closing the guarantee is on the website. Therefore I will not order again.
Big Dipper's site reads orders will be shipped 2 to 3 weeks. Don't make any plans on leaving after you place the order for 3 weeks because you do not know when the plants are going to show up. Turns out this was a mistake on my part for ordering, I figured I'd luck out they would show up earlier, nope its been 3 full weeks, now I am wondering if the order has been lost......not worth ordering online if this is the case.
It has been a couple of years ago since I ordered from them. I live within the state so picked up the order in person. From the start, they labeled me as trouble. . All I asked was about the guarantee on their plants. I received some ferns that were no bigger than a fifty cent piece and hydrangas that were not much bigger. Have been gardening for over 18 years - realize that some things take their sweet time to grow, some do well from the start, and some don't like living here regardless..The size did not alarm me. I was treated like bad dirt and told NEVER to order from them again. Good thing I have done most of my plant shopping by mail. There are companies I have dealt with for years and will continue. They like having me for a customer. Never have been treated like this before or since. My spouse was with me and confirmed that my feeling were correct. A very HORRIBLE experience!
This was my first time purchasing plants online, so I was a little nervous. But oh my, what a wonderful experience I have had with Big Dipper Farm!! I ordered 4 Phlox "Purple Flame", 4 Russian Sages, "Little Spire", and 2 Echinacea "Pixie Meadowbrite." They all arrived wonderfully healthy, and still very moist. The Phlox and the Echinacea all had nice large roots and lots of green leaves. And the Russian Sages, though smaller and dormant, 3 have leafed out allready.
And when I emailed the company to ask about the 4th one not leafing out, they emailed right back saying to let me know how many didn't leaf out and they would send me out replacements right away!!! NOW THAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE!! WOW!! I am so impressed, and any time I need a plant, I will go to them right away!! And their prices are fantastic too.
Oh and I was so excited to find old stalks on the phlox, so these have allready bloomed, so I know they are mature plants and will bloom for me too. The packing was fantastic, the plants looked like they were fresh packed that day, and hadn't travelled at all! So I highly recommend them to everyone!! It's a wonderful company with excellent customer service!!
On May 12th, 2008, cargotaz added the following:
Oh, forgot to add that they also sent me a free packet of Love in a Mist seeds, which I have been dying to try, and they shipped my order right when I specified too. Very top notch company!!
A very disappointing experience with Big Dipper. The four double primrose I ordered were all taken out of the pot with the bare roots wrapped with plastic bags...they are surviving but certainly not thriving in the garden as they attempt to rebound. The four Ajuga Pink Surprise all came in large pots, but when I pulled them out to plant they came out root bound with six pack one inch pot roots and dirt. They were placed in a larger pot just before shipment to make them look more mature. The Salvia microphylla was shipped bare root and dormant, and has shown no sign of life yet since I potted it one month ago. The Orchid Primrose was also shipped dormant, but it atleast is showing some sign of life as new shoots are beginning to appear. The final two items from my order were marked as "not ready" on the invoice I received with the plants. I waited three weeks and e-mailed asking for an estimated delivery date. After no response one week later, I sent another e-mail and they did contact me to say the items would not be available this season and a refund would be sent. Not a very pleasant experience all around, with high shipping charges, questionable or deceiving packing and potting practices, and a three month wait after order and payment to be told items would not be available (and I only received this response after some prodding on my part). Hopefully my experience is not typical for this company, but unfortunatley there was not a single item in my order that I felt was worth the money spent.
I placed a large ($700), varied order in the fall of 2006, at the same time that I placed large orders from several other companies, in order to compare product. I agree with other negative/neutral comments that, while selection is good, plants arrived in poor condition and were small and not as vigorous, so best buy from elsewhere if you can. Daylilies are "dinky" (I will use that word, if another commenter hesitates) and nowhere nearly as vigorous as from Oakes (or even Gardensoyvey or Touch of Nature); hydrangeas ditto, better to buy from Gardensoyvey; ferns ditto, better to buy from Gardensoyvey or Niche.
Much of what I bought did not make it to next spring, and this was in a prepared nursery bed with appropriate winter mulch applied, and obviously the several thousand dollars of similar or the same plant from other vendors was a good control, so, like another said, "it's the plant, not the planter". I explained my loss and my better experience with other vendors, and I was told by customer service that the problem was the long shipping time to the east coast. Quoi? They gave me a $50 credit on this order (much more in plants was lost, but at least this was a gesture I appreciated), with which I bought the daylilies I above referenced.
I placed them in the same bed as daylilies from Oakes, Gardensoyvey, Touch of Nature and a wholesale place that sells 2 fan divisions, all bought and planted last summer. Oakes sells huge plants, 4+ fans generally, but for some, not all, cultivars you will pay more, so the wholesale place may be a fairer comparison. I had some of the same cultivars from Big Dipper and the wholesale place. Now walking through the garden, all is lush and big and beautiful, with the exception of Big Dipper's, the dinkiness of which prompted me to write this review now. There are so many amazing companies out there in the Watchdog 30, I really wouldn't waste my time with this company unless I absolutely had have a particular plant I couldn't find elsewhere.
On Apr 26, 2008, LinkM Williamsville, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
This was my first time ordering from Big Dipper, and I was completely satisfied. I was able to find several plants that I tried unsuccessfully to find locally last year. Plants were shipped when I requested and arrived in fine shape. Packaging was excellent, with plants well protected and moistened for the trip across the country (Washington State to New York State) . Plants all included the info marker so I didn't have to try to remember where I was going to put them. I will definitely order from them again.
On May 13th, 2009, LinkM added the following:
Another successful order in 2009. THey have a great selection and send the entire information sheet along with the order so you don't have to look it up to remember where it should go. Big Dipper is a favorite of mine, and I order form them almost every year.
On Apr 24, 2008, RubyVox Boston, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
I took a chance with ordering from Big Dipper Farm after I could not find a specific plant I was looking for at other nurseries I trust. I was so impressed! Now I order from them regularly. (Mostly cimicifuga/actaea, heuchera and ligularia, but others as well.) With both orders Iíve received small, but healthy and well-priced* plants that grow quickly and are trouble-free. My orders have always been packed well and the plants have arrived in good shape. They also send free plants as samples with large orders! Anyone who gives me a free plant, especially a sought-after plant, is fine by me!
(*for on-line nurseries)
On Apr 23, 2008, robcorreia San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:
I received my order from Big Dipper this week. All items were very poorly packed, with all the leaf tips broken due to lack of protection. One of the items was simply in unacceptable condition - almost dead!
I emailed them yesterday and haven't heard back yet. I am giving them a Neutral until I hear from them....(or not!)
On May 2nd, 2008, robcorreia changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
BD's customer service person called me regarding my email and they were very polite and wanted to make everything right for me.
They re-shipped a couple of the items that I had received in poor condition, and this time, they were packed nicely and the plants were in good shape.
This was my first order from this company and the entire experience was very positive. I was very pleased to find they had Korean Violets, a beautiful little variegated violet that has proven difficult to locate, some hard-to-find Primula, Saxifrage fortuneii and Spiranthes (Nodding Lady Tresses, a terrestrial orchid). The plants arrived at the appropropriate time for my climate, were of very nice size, well-packaged and arrived in great shape. I look forward to doing business with this company again in the future. Thanks for the great job!
Ordered some foliage Iris and received great plants they were packed with extra care.. I am very impressed with the size of them. I just want to say Thank you to Big Dipper Farm for sending such nice size Rhizomes/Plants.
I am a first time customer and ordered one Paeonia l. "Festiva maxima', 1 Philadelphus x 'Snow Dwarf', and three Phygelius 'Croftway Snow Queen'. Everything arrived looking great with the exception of the Peony.The tuber had become broken during shipping. I called and spoke with the owner and she immediately said that they would ship a replacement. A few days later, I received a replacement which was not what I had ordered, but a tree peony of similar colors which was infinitely nicer and three times the cost of my original purchase. So, in conclusion, I have to say that the customer service is SUPERB and the plants are nice and healthy. I highly recommend this nursery! I'll be sure to order from them again.
Lori, North Carolina