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.
I have been a regular HGC's customer for several years and have found there catalog, selection of plants, packing and service to be excellent. I have never been disappointed in the plants I've received and have found their Yum Yum mix to be perfect for my Colorado garden. I especially appreciate the new additions to their catalog and eagerly await each new addition.
In June I ordered 3 different sets of agastache. They were a nice size when they arrived. The last set I ordered were planted in the sunniest spot and grew to 3 feet this first year. A week ago, which was late November, in Yorkville, IL, they still had fragrant blooms which I picked to dry in the house. High Country Gardens is my new favorite mail order company.
On Nov 20, 2009, Badgertalk Nashville, TN (Zone 6a) wrote:
Excellent source of penstemons and agastaches. Plants are packed well. Only issue is that their shipping seems high. I would STRONGLY suggest that people order online - not through the catalog. The reason for this is that it is much easier to make sure that you get plants that will work in your area. Many of their plants are specific to desert and dry areas. At the bottom of each page - online- you will see a guide that specifies the conditions that the plant will thrive in. I have planted several plants that were borderline for my area and the key is to plant them in fast draining soil - a raised bed with sand mixed into the soil.
Posted on October 10, 2009, updated November 09, 2009
I ordered 3 plants from this company at the end of the spring shipping period. They had not been secured in the box, and arrived with many of the branches broken off. They offered to replace them in the fall, but I said Iíd see what I could do. The roots were in good shape, and the plants recovered (one later died but it was while I was on vacation so I count that as my fault).
I decided to give them another try. I ordered 11 plants and some bulbs for fall shipping. The bulbs look good (shipped separately at appropriate planting times with no extra shipping charges). The plants were well-secured in the box. Of the plants, 6 look good, 2 look healthy but poor form (long branches with foliage just near the ends), 1 looks wilted and hasnít recovered in 48 hours, and 2 look terrible (pale, wilted, tips of leaves dried out, no roots seen at the edges when carefully taken out of the pot) Ė Iím not hopeful that the last 3 will survive, but Iíll do what I can for them.
When I buy plants I want healthy plants. I donít want 3 out of 11 to look like they'll probably require replacement/refund - even if that process is easy, and I donít want plants that will probably recover if I give them extra care, (or that Iím embarrassed to have in my garden because they look so unhealthy). Their selection is wonderful, but I don't think I'll order plants from High Country Gardens again.
On November 9th, 2009, socal24 added the following:
Of the three plants that I thought might not survive, only one died. One put out nice new growth, and one is just sitting - hopefully it will put out new growth in the spring.
I ORDERED 1 BUDDLEIA DAVIDII ROYAL RED. THEY KEPT ME UP TO DATE, AS TO WHEN THE PLANT WOULD BE SHIPPED, IT ARRIVED FRESH AND GREEN, I'M VERY WELL PLEASED WITH THIS COMPANY. I WILL ORDER FROM THEM AGAIN.
I have had occasions to purchase plants from this vendor for my own home and have had other occasions to recommend them to friends. Plants that my friends and I have received have proven to be sturdy and visually delightful. I am especially pleased with the premium pot that provides greater root depth. I greatly appreciate having a ready source of xeric plants, especially plants cultivated from the wild. I live on the boundary of two zones in OK and deal with extremes of temperature, moisture, and wind, so I need plants that can withstand such variation in conditions. I also enjoy getting emails announcing seasonal sales since my dollars are in short supply these days.
I moved from NY to CO and found myself in a zone with different planting times and a whole new world of plants. After a few years of struggling with flowers and lawn I found the HCG site and a world of info about what to plant, when to plant it and what complimented what. In the middle of a drought, with water restrictions and ugly yard contests I had this great looking lawn thanks to HCG.
Now we have moved to TX and here I am looking for plants and grasses at my favorite site! I agree that the prices are a tad high but the quality is also high, and the service is exceptional-even if you need a plant replaced. Watch for those coupons and you won't find a better place or a better value then HCG Denise Herring
On Sep 24, 2009, floating_stump Grafton, WI wrote:
High Country Gardens has a great website. It's very informative, both about the specific plants, and tips in general. They're very clear about when and how they ship, and they plan their shipments to arrive at their destinations on fridays, so you can plant on the weekend (and they don't sit in a warehouse over the weekend).
I ordered eight plants. Two of them were coming out of their pots in the package. I wasn't thrilled about this, but those plants seem to be in good shape. One plant was in sorry shape when I opened the box, and the next day it was clear that it was dead. I have about nine months to order a replacement. Two more of the plants seem to be dying, but that's my fault. I mentioned this, when I e-mailed to discuss what I did wrong, and they offered to replace those as well. I'm not sure I'll take them up on it, since I'm sure it was my fault, but I appreciate the generous offer. It would have been nice to have gotten a planting guide, since these plants were all "xeric" (kinda special cases). Everyone else I order from includes little booklets on how to plant, no matter how mundane the plants.
Not a perfect experience, but I would definitely recommend this company.
On Aug 31, 2009, gardeningjen Tollhouse, CA wrote:
I have been purchasing plant material from HCG for several years. The plants arrive in good shape. For the most part, I have had success with material purchased. On the rarre occassion that I have had failures, they have stood by their products with a refund or replacement. I continue to do business with them because of these factors.
I live in Michigan and have a sunny, dry beach garden. High Country Gardens has been very responsive to any problems. Last year all of the stock I bought was wonderful, but one variety did not make it through the winter. They promptly and cheerfully responded by sending replacements this past spring. I have nothing but positive things to say about their stock, service and attitude. My garden could not be more beautiful.
On Aug 27, 2009, 3rivershome Three Rivers, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:
I discovered High Country Gardens while living in New Mexico and continue to order from them now that I'm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in California. I've found their plants to be wonderful and their service superb. The one time a plant didn't make it, they replaced w/o question. I recently emailed a suggestion and got a very prompt and courteous response. These guys are great!
On Aug 21, 2009, BirdieGirl7 Upper Lake, CA wrote:
This is an extraordinary company! I discovered HCG shortly after buying a new house in the country. Their catalog and book, Waterwise Garden Care, have been my guides to a beautiful water efficient garden. With the exception of one plant (which is being replaced) all my transactions with them have been extremely satisfactory. Shipping is on time, plants are carefully packed, instructions are easy to follow. I have both called and emailed for information. Employees are pleasant, informative, and readily available.
I have ordered from this company several times. Every time the service has been exceptional. The plants arrived as stated and in excellent condition. I like that they warn you not to plant certain plants in the fall if you live in zone 5 or lower. This is honesty before profit.
On Aug 5, 2009, Sharkey Marianna, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
I just received an order for Gro Power fertilizer from High Country which I ordered last week from their website. This was the only place I could locate this product which has been recommended by a friend. The service was great, the staff was friendly, and I will order from them again in the future.
On Aug 2, 2009, ridgebax1 Pittsburgh, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
The plants I have ordered have been of high quality and they stand behind what they sell. One of the plants I ordered did not die but never took off and had no new growth after several weeks. They replaced it without question. The sad plant that did not thrive was replaced with a new plant that is doing very well. I replanted the sad plant in another area and though it still is not thriving it is not dying either so maybe it will hang in there.
On Jul 15, 2009, ic_conifers Iowa City, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:
I was happy with the communications from the company and the plants that arrived. I ordered a cold hardy agave sampler and a conifer, all have been in my garden about two months now and are doing well. I also ordered a birdbath, which was a bit pricey for what arrived (it does look nicer in the catalog), but it is much adored by the local songbirds (cardinals in particular seem to love it).
I've purchased three items from High Country gardens. I always bulk at the price of their items, but they have drought tolerant plants that I can't find elsewhere. The plants I've received haven't done that great, but they haven't died yet either. They only big complaint I have is the purchase of a water sprinkler. I ordered it from High Country Gardens because I thought they probably had high quality products due to the price they charge. It cost me about $50.00 with the shipping and turned out to be rather worthless. A month later I saw the exact same sprinkler at Home Depot for $12.00. I'd buy from them again if they had something I really wanted and couldn't find it anywhere else, but if given the opportunity to purchase it elsewhere, I would shy away from this company.
Yes, I have lost a few plants, but I realize it was my fault. It takes some know-how to garden successfully. I read a lot of garden books and pay attention to the how-to's and warnings too. I live in the Albuquerque, NM area and have had much success with the plants I have ordered. But, here is what I had to do. Put them in nice well-worked soil. Even sand needs some compost and loosening to accomodate the small plants we are talking about. They need space to spread their little roots comfortably. I planted a planned garden, the "Jumbo Waterwise" at my front door in the fall. I threw sheets over it in the winter when frost or snow was predicted and then pulled them off in the morning when the sun came up. I was worried that they wouldn't make it. Come spring, here they came. They look very established now and happy and growing into large plants. The bed is gorgeous. I love the catalogs and have learned so much about what will make it here in the high desert. Love High Country Gardens.
On Jul 6, 2009, flowerdervish Walnut Creek, CA wrote:
I love their catalog and their whole emphasis on xeriscaping and drought-tolerant products -- but in reality, the plants from this supplier have not performed well for me.
Most of them have quickly turned spindly, and just this weekend, I ripped out several dying or dead plants, all of which I'd received from this supplier.
Granted, this could be due to something I did wrong and/or to me still getting the feel for the microclimate I'm in now (moved from San Francisco to Contra Costa County, in the eastern inland Bay Area) -- but meanwhile, most of my plants from other sources have done well in my two-plus years in my new home, whether they were plants that I bought after moving or ones I brought with me from my old residence.
I live in zone 3 in the mountains outside of Las Vegas. I ordered about 20 perreniel flowering plants which arrived in excellent condition. They were supposed to be cold tolerant and bunny and deer resistant. They started out well and seemed to be taking to their new home until the bunnies discovered them, and bunny resistant or not, they are now twigs or eaten to the ground!! Yikes!! Anybody have any suggestions?
On Jun 28, 2009, s_jones Aurora, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:
I have ordered from HCG on 5 occasions, starting in 2007.
Shipping time, and timing, is excellent (always on a Friday). Plants arrive healthy and ready for planting. Special mention must be made of how the plants are packaged... all pots are strapped to folded cardboard, which fit snugly inside the box, and properly padded. Making sure contents do not shift even when the box is rolled 360 degrees in all directions is the best way to guarantee safe transit. HCG understand this, and their implementation is superior to anyone else I've purchased live plants from.
Since all of my orders made their journeys in great shape, I can't speak to post-purchase customer service. I have had isolated, minor issues with slugs and a few root-bound plants, which were not unusual since most of my purchases were made late in the growing season, and they were easily remedied anyway. All survived their first year, and the vast majority are thriving. As a gardener of only moderate knowledge and below average experience, that's ultimately the best endorsement I could give.
Have ordered 3 sets of plants from High Country Gardens. All came exceptionally well packed, with ample and healthy roots. In comparison with similar plants from four other companies (say, coneflowers to coneflowers), the HCG transplants leafed out far more vigorously and already look like something!
My HCG shipments have arrived right on time-but I live in nearby Arizona. Shipments from companies in the Midwest or East, despite time guarantees, have taken as long as 10 days to arrive, sometimes presenting me with a box full of half dead plants, and/or half a box of DEAD plants. HCG will also let you specify what week you want your plants shipped, which is a great help if your microclimate is unusual for your zone, or if you have other timing issues.
HCG's terrific selection of xeric and high desert plants includes some varieties that I cannot obtain at the best nurseries in Tucson-I'd normally have to wait until one of the botanical gardens there had a plant sale, and hope. HCG also has available online detailed info about the plants' traits and growing preferences, which has greatly helped me in choosing the right plant for my needs.
Ordered from HCG years ago but thought I'd give them a shout out for offering such a wide variety of tough plants that look good when nearly everything else is struggling through the heat. Two favorite plants that I remember from HCG are Swallowtail Aquillea and an ornamental oregano. I noticed a new, even prettier oregano offered in catalogue and may just have to put together another order with it in it.