I recently received 18 plants from High Country Gardens and cannot find appropriate adjectives to describe my disappointment. unfortunately, I did not know of this site nor the 25 other negative reviews of High Country posted here before ordering from them. Had I known, I would not have purchased from them.
The plants I ordered were delivered almost two weeks after the order and arrived very dry and marginally packaged. The plants were all much smaller than the company's catalog and website represent. Several of the plants were scraggly, dead or dying. For example, three"Purple Prairie Clover" plants were barely a visible seedling and two were dead. Only 6 of the eighteen plants were healthy, most were dry and very small and poorly packed.
I also ordered from Santa Rosa Gardens at the same time to get a comparison for future orders as I am doing a $25,000 back yard landscape project by professional landscapers and I am selecting the trees, shrubs and perennials and assisting in their planting.
The difference in the quality and price between High Country Gardens and Santa Rosa Gardens is nothing short of stunning. Santa Rosa was less expensive, i received a higher quantity and quality from them and didn't pay the $25.00 shipping High Country charged. I have taken side by side comparison photos to show the orders I received from both High Country and Santa Rosa about the same time. Santa Rosa carefully wrapped healthy plants 2-3 times the size of High Country's plants and they arrived within 5 days and were very high quality. It is obvious that High Country has a very professional and expensive catalog and website but they sent mainly sprigs that were clearly almost dead. I can send the photos of both companies' orders placed next to each other if anyone is interested.
From the other negative reviews here it's obvious that the pattern and practice of High Country is to send inferior size and condition plants and then apologize after the fact.They have done this too many times for it to be an unusual occurrence. This is an owner/management policy decision. I will never do business with this company again-stunningly poor customer appreciation. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. You never get a second opportunity to make a first impression and High Country deliberately shipped their worst stock just as they did to the other 25 posters here. No second chance for High Country from me. Santa Rosa Gardens is where I will purchase the remainder of my perennials./shrubs for my project.
On Jun 21, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Jun 21, 2010 1:13 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
High Country Gardens strives to provide the best plants, products and service. We understand your concerns and have shared this with our shipping department for training purposes. If you have not already contacted customer service please do so we may process a claim for you.
On Jun 18, 2010, ginnysue falcon colorado United States wrote:
This is the fourth order I've received from High Country Gardens over a period of 12 years.Only one plant has arrived damaged, and that was an Agastache and is known to be fragile. I am very happy with the product and the service.They sell plants that are very difficult to find, and provide great quality for the price.Thank you very much.
On Jun 18, 2010, psychloman Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
On May 25, 2010 I placed an order with HighCountry Gardens in response to an e mail advertising a big sale.I have ordered from this company in the past and have been very satisfied so I did not hesitate to order from them again. I ordered one Lilium pardalinum, one Lilium philadelphicum, one Nierembergia gracilis and one pelargonium Endlicherianum . I opened the box upon arrival and was surprised and disappointed to see the condition of the plants. Both lilies were broken and the pelargonium was leafless , the nierembergia was okay. As of today all of the plants except for the nierembergia seem to have died. lastly all the labels had fallen out of the pots and I have been unable to tell both lilies apart. All in all horrible packaging.I was not going to bother contacting the company until I saw all the similr negative comments at the garden watch dog. I wonder what has gone wrong with what was always a reputable nursery?
On Jun 18, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Jun 21, 2010 9:43 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. These conditions described are not the norm for HCG. I have passed this on to our shipping supervisors. If you have not yet contacted us please do so that we may process a claim for you.
The 3 Agapanthus white plants arrived in great condition with good roots. I will order again from High Country Gardens. Thanks for having these beautiful white Lily of the Nile plants. Suzegirl1@hotmail.com
I've ordered from High Country Gardens several times in the past few years and have never been disappointed. Their selection is incredible and their prices seem reasonable. Plants are packaged securely for travel and arrive ready to go into the ground. The plants always seem to do well immediately. . Excellent company!
On Jun 10, 2010, LValadez Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I am very disapointed in the plant that was shipped and the way it was packaged. I did not pay a reduced end of season price to suggest a less than healthy plant. Stems were broken and a lot of leafs were dryed / burnt. With the cost of the plant and shipping as much as the plant I would not expect to receive a plant in this poor condition. So they should expect poor feedback. I should not have to call to express my disapointment. When they put that plant in the box they knew. It did not happen during shipping!
On Jun 10, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Jun 11, 2010 10:25 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
On Jun 10, 2010, kczsweetie central, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
Ordered 3 different Agastache and 2 butterfly weed this year, first time. Everything was delivered when I had requested, packaged well, and in good shape. Butterfly weeds were healthy but small, and one ended up dying (but customer service was great about replacing it). All Agastache were 6-7" tall with good branching growth and healthy roots. 'Rosita' took off very quickly and is currently the fullest of the three, and already blooming. Both 'Ava' and 'Orange Flare' are doing well, and catching up in the recent week. Even with all the rain we've had over the last month, I've been pleasantly surprised by how the plants have dealt with the wet soil and their overall health.
Would definately order from them again. Only con is the shipping costs, but it's not outrageous. Of course the only way to avoid it is to buy in person, but then we wouldn't be mail-ordering would we? I highly recommend HCG.
I live in the mid-Atlantic region on the East Coast, and was initially very hesitant to order from a company in New Mexico. This is the 2nd year I've ordered from them, as I have been very pleasantly surprised by the selections, plant durability, and customer service! The information in their catalog is also quite helpful and accurate. Additionally, I recommend their liquid plant starter and seaweed additive to get your plants off to a good start.
While a few of the plants had a very slow or rough start, almost all came through and are flourishing beautifully in their second year (the 1st year is always so limited for most plants). High Country's customer service is super, as for the very few plants that didn't make it (or maybe I had something to do with it?!?!) shortly after planting, they replaced quickly and without hassle. I will definitely order from them again!
On May 31, 2010, sharee1 Salt Lake City, UT wrote:
I have enjoyed pretty much everything I have purchased from High Country Gardens. I am re-doing my front lawn with a grass that needs less water and doesn't grow very long (Bella Blue Grass). I received the plugs at the end of April, but don't even have it all planted yet (and I just ordered another flat as I don't have quite enough). May is the rainiest month of the year here and there have been more days that I couldn't work in the yard than that I could (we even had several days of snow, including last Monday, May 24). By the time I got a lot of these plugs planted, they looked totally dead. However, even the ones that were just planted a few days ago are starting to send up green shoots. My only disappointment is the grass seed I ordered along with wildflower seeds to put a meadow in the back yard around my peach tree. I ordered this by phone as I had some questions and the woman I spoke with encouraged me to heve the seed shipped right away and get the it planted as soon as possible. However, I could not kill the weeds/grass that were already there or get the area tilled until we had enough dry weather to keep the tiller from clogging. You can't till in the snow. So the grass did not get planted until earlier this month and nothing seems to be coming up. I followed the directions that came with the seed, but it is not easy to find a nice day that is not also windy, which is one of the reasons (other than snow and rain) that it took me so long to get the seed planted. I didn't want it to just blow away. If I don't see any sign of the grass growning in the next week or so, I may request a replacement of that seed and maybe replant in the fall. I have also purchased a lot of cacti for two cactus gardens I have--one in my back yard and a new one I am starting in my front yard. Hardy cacti are difficult to find locally. Even a shop near me called Cactus & Tropicals has very few that are hardy to this area, mainly hens & chicks and prickly pear. So I am happy to have been able to order these from High Country Gardens. I bought some last year and recently purchased quite a few more. The plants are small and cacti seem to take a long time to grow, but I'm sure they will eventually. I plan to visit High Country Gardens when I am in Santa Fe at the end of July. I am a satisfied customer.
Posted on May 21, 2010, updated May 28, 2010
Posted on May 21, 2010, updated May 21, 2010
Posted on May 21, 2010, updated May 21, 2010
Ordered Ornamental Grasses Sampler in addition to 3 Little Zebra. Opened the box before UPS transit the driveway.
The Miscanthus Gracillimus came with three (3) stalks in the pot. Three... one of which is DEAD. Dead! So now I have 2 stalks. Just despicable. Why would anyone packing a box throw in the Dead Grass Plug?
This is not the first time I have ordered from High Country Gardens. I got their Blue Grey Garden and the grass does best so I decided to stick with the grass. Takes 3 years for the plugs to start looking good... how many will it take for 2 stalks of grass to fill in.
To my wits end with disappointment.
On May 21st, 2010, YvonneMal added the following:
Victoria (excuse my disappointment which has so clouded my head from I opened that box). , I am not holding your hand to send a replacement so I don't know why I have to call and why you need my allowance to sendd it when I just made the order and you have my address in your system. I will take a photo of the thing tomorrow and send it to you also.
On May 21st, 2010, YvonneMal added the following:
I don't relish having to leave a negative. Nor do I relish the thought of calling when I placed my order with a company that I expected to come through on its plants. I sent the email w/photos of the grass in its pot. Keep in mind that I just got it this afternoon. On May 28th, 2010, YvonneMal changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Replacement received. Clearly as a top 5 company... sliding sickly plants into customers' orders is poor company standard.On May 28, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 21, 2010 2:52 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thank you for the report on the plant shipment. We strive to grow and ship the best plants in the business. Please allow us send a replacement, which of course, is free. Call or e-mail directly so I can personally handle the replacement order.
On May 21, 2010 4:22 PM, High Country Gardens added:
I request that customers contact me so I can obtain the order information since that is not usually included on the comments. I have now searched are system and was able to locate your account by your user name. You do not need to contact me, I have set a replacement to ship to you next week. Feel free to send a photo if you would like.
I have ordered from HCG several years. I have their poppy mallow, plumbago, prairie smoke, and butterfly milkweed. All except the milkweed are doing very well. The plants arrive in great condition and take right off. They winter over great with no help from me. I just ordered more plumbago and wish I could buy everything in the catalog.
Oh, the milkweed? My husband and a line trimmer, need I say more...
By far the best looking, largest and best maintained plants I have received, and they allowed me to choose my shipping date...the other companies I bought plants from (except Bluestone Perennials, my other favorite) shipped in April and many of their plants are not going to make it; Montana's planting date is post-Memorial Day. Their cost is well worth it, even to those of us with limited means.
On May 14, 2010, plantgnome1 nowhere land, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
i have ordered numerous plants from High Country and other than 1 or 2 which did not survive (which were promptly replaced free of charge) I have had great luck with their plants. Their irises bloomed this year-are the most gorgeous immortality irises I have ever seen. They are a bit high on shipping charges, but all the companies seem to have increased their shipping charges recently. No companies have reasonable shipping charges anymore. I purchase from HCG because they carry plants I can't find locally, So I pay the shipping. I will continue to purchase from them. Their customer service is also very good and are prompt with answering email questions as opposed to others which never bother to answer.
On May 10, 2010, mctinsley Woodland Hills, CA wrote:
My plants were very health when they arrived. I questioned wheather I recieved one wrong plant so I took a picture and sent it to customer service. They responded right away with a discription of what the plant I ordered should look like. It matched exactly what I recieved. Great plants, great customer service, will order more plants in the future from this company.
These folks are from New Mexico. They have a beautiful catalog with a large assortment of drought resistant plants which interest me. And they have items that are of interest to us gardeners in other parts of the country. (They're good about noting which are appropriate for what parts).Their delivery was very fast, the plants I received were healthy and robust. And their customer service very promptly answered an e-mail I sent them about the use of the plants I ordered from them. All in all, a VERY satisfactory experience.
High Country Gardens is the best plant supplier I have done business with on the internet. Plants always arrive in good condition and they respond quickly to email questions. I recommend this company without reservation.
On May 1, 2010, DarwinGardener Bismarck, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:
It's been a few years since I have ordered from HCG but I again placed a small order this spring. The plants were carefully packed and arrived with no damage; they were healthy and well-rooted. Packaging is a huge issue for me because our local "brown delivery people" inevitably leave boxes upside down in the sun.....
I purchased quite a few plants this year. I had them shipped the first part of March. The weather would not allow me to plant them outside for awhile, it was to wet and snowy. So I had to grow them in a window. All the plants did really well, but three. I filled out a claim form from High Country Gardens and e-mailed it in. I recieved an immediate response that those plants would be replaced and when to expect them. They followed through! The replacements are beautiful.
On Apr 30, 2010, SwimmingJewel Southold, NY (Zone 7b) wrote:
High Country Gardens is one of the best places to buy rare and unusual plants and natives.
Just received the last part of my order and all plants were big, healthy robust plants.
EVerything was planted right away and growing already!
Customer Service is EXCELLENT too!
Thank you High Country Gardens!
I have just received my first order from HCG. I was pleased with the packing and the plants. I will look forward to the blooming of the Salvias and Agastache "Ava" which I bought. I have 4 more orders to come. This is a new garden plot as I have moved from SE Michigan to SW Michigan.
On Apr 22, 2010, MartBright Centre Hall, PA wrote:
Posted on January 15, 2009, updated April 22, 2010
I bought two preplanned gardens for my new property, which receives full sun and a LOT of wind. Probably a quarter of the plants arrived in poor condition, but I only asked for a few replacements--I guess I didn't feel right about asking for replacements for as many as were in poor shape; I thought I could coax them along as I am a very experienced gardener. All of the lemon thyme plants died, and thyme is not that hard to grow! Many of the other plants remained rather stunted (they were small anyway to begin with, which was rather disappointing) but some of them really took off--the yarrows and the catmints and the roses were doing super-well in the summer and fall (now they're under snow). The roses are tiny plants but they're own root and they take off. Beware of witches brooms though on rosa eglanteria; I've had two I had to destroy in previous years. I did order one again though because I like them, foolish as it sounds.
Overall the customer service was good and the plants middling--I would not order again unless there was something I could not find locally that I really really wanted. It's just too risky--not just with this company but with almost any mail order company, except for Select Seeds Antique Flowers, which is the best company on the planet!!
On April 22nd, 2010, MartBright added the following:
Just want to add that despite claims that many plants are rabbit-proof my experience is NOT. I talked to them about this and they acknowledged that yes, if the bunnies are hungry enough they'll eat a lot of the plants advertised as rabbit-proof. I think they should change the copy in their catalog to reflect this fact. After all, I don't live in the desert where there's literally nothing else to eat. I live on the east coast.On Apr 22, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Apr 22, 2010 2:00 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We are sorry for this misunderstanding. We offer many plants that are rabbit 'Resistant', not rabbit "Proof". All deer or rabbit resistant plants need to become established before they either emit an odor or taste that critters find unappealing. We recommend protecting young plants until they can build up their resistance.
On Apr 22, 2010, mocatmom Driftwood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I order most of my plants online since I'm not interested in many of the varieties available for retail sale locally. Because of this, I expect smaller plants at a higher cost, but I really appreciate the variety and vigor of many of the plants available via mail.
This is my first order from High Country Gardens, but it won't be my last. The small but extremely vigorous-looking plants arrived very quickly and packaged perfectly - not a leaf out of place! They are all plants that should do extremely well in my location, but are not easily found anywhere in the local nurseries.
I was extremely pleased with every aspect of the purchase and delivery of these plants, and I'll be a return customer many times in the future.
Being new to gardening in the West I was relieved to find a company that provided plants that grow in my climate (Zone 5). The plants are beautiful and performed as advertised. Their shipment was packed well and arrived on the day promised. I had a few plants that needed replacement and this was done promptly and without "haggling". Great company!
I really wanted to like this company but I didn't. I think what it really comes down to is by the time you buy the plants and pay shipping it averages to more than you have to pay locally.
If I went to a local nursury and tiny pots were $10.00 each I would pass them by. Also the fact that a cockroach crawled out of the carton when I opened it. Customer service said don't worry. No more for me....
On Apr 17, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Apr 20, 2010 11:52 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We are sorry for the experience you had with your plant shipment. Our plants are nurtured by hand in our greenhouse to be hardy, beautiful and long lasting. In addition we have a plant guarantee so if you are not 100% satisfied, we will do everything we can to make things right. Please call us to discuss how we can assist in both your satisfaction and your spring gardening.
I live in a climate similar to that of the High Country nursery, so the xeric, cold hardy, plants that they sell are perfect for me. I love this company, their selection of suitable plants is great! The customer service is good and the plants arrive healthy, well packaged, and quickly. They are however, small, and they need to be a babied for the first year. However, now that the first spring is arriving after having planted some of their plants last spring and then more in the fall, I'm really pleased. The spring planted ones struggled last summer, but after some time to get established they are now looking great, and the fall planted ones came through the especially cold, snowy winter very well and are now really taking off.
I ordered and planted 7 Penstemon pinifolius 'Nearly Red' along with 7 Aquilegia 'Red Hobbit', and 33 Pulsatilla 'Rote Glocke' last fall. Planted all immediately upon arrival. Two of the Penstemon did not make it through the winter. And one of the Aquilegia was carried away by squirrels. Unfortunately, the little identification tag that came with the Penstemon was gone, (I usually stick one into the ground next to one of the plants), and I did not remember the cultivar. I e-mailed High Country Gardens, and asked if they could check my order last fall. They did better than that. They offered to replace the Penstemon for free. I wrote back that I didn't mean to imply that I wanted "free" plants...nature was a bit cruel to those of us in the Northeast last winter. Carrie Smart at HCG sent me the two plants, (correct cultivar), anyway. The Aquilegia I'll replace myself. After all, there's Mother Nature, and then there's those darned squirrels. Thanks HCG.
Posted on October 6, 2009, updated March 24, 2010
In March '09 I order a couple dozen plants (Agastache, Perovskia, Gaura, Achillea, Gaillardia) from HCG...I received them in a couple of days and they arrived in excellent condition...the packing is very good. Due to health problems it took me about 2 - 3 weeks to get them all planted which is a little longer than they suggest. They have been in the ground for 6 - 7 weeks, survived 15 triple digit days already and excessive wind storms (I live in a rural area out in the desert).....I had 2 agastache plants with blooms within 2 weeks and at this time all the plants are at least a foot high (except the gaillardia!) and 13 are blooming big time.... These plants had the healthiest roots I have ever seen and I could not be happier with their exceptional performance....the prices are a little high but you definitely get what you pay for and I am already making my list for fall planting.
On October 6th, 2009, desertdweller5 added the following:
Received my fall plant order a couple of weeks ago....30 plants carefully packed in four layers in one box and not a broken stem to be found! Took me about six days to plant them all and I have already been rewarded with flowers on 2 of the plants...an unexpected surprise! I can not say enough about their wide selection of plants suitable for my sandy desert soil and the superb quality of all plants I have ordered from them. It is easy to distinguish the HCG plants in my garden as they are the biggest, healthiest and have more blooms than any of my locally purchased plants. Thanks to HCG my garden has new life and I am more excited than ever for the continued success and joy of desert gardening.On March 24th, 2010, desertdweller5 added the following:
I received my Spring planting order last week and as usual all plants were carefully packaged and arrived in excellent condition and they are now happily enjoying the company of the rest of my garden. The plants I ordered and planted last Fall woke up last month and I already have many flowers!!!!
On Mar 2, 2010, jyaroch Fairacres, NM (Zone 8a) wrote:
I've ordered three times; all three times they were prompt in delivering good products. I like ordering from them, because they are familiar with the needs of gardeners in my area (Chihuahuan desert, zone 8, very dry), and seem to offer good advice.
On Mar 1, 2010, TX_gardener Brady, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I've ordered from HCG twice (now waiting for my 2d order to arrive) and feel they are doing a great job. Selection of plants is terrific; love the availability of native species. My previous order arrived in a timely manner, in great condition and packaging. Plan to order as long as planting space (and my aching back) will allow!
On Feb 26, 2010, Miria2 Columbus, NM (Zone 8a) wrote:
The quality of the plants and the packaging are excellent and I have had nothing but a positive, quality experience with customer service. I placed a larger order for fall planting here is southern NM, and, although just February, the earlier plants are already looking wonderful.
Plants are extraordinarily healthy, and High Country Gardens' packing is a genuine marvel. The plants are just the perfect size for transplanting. There are many good plant companies on the Internet, but in my book, this is the best.