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.
On Jun 15, 2009, akitalady Albany, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:
I've ordered from High Country Gardens for a few years. I've placed 3 orders this year alone - the quality of the plants and the prices were just too good to resist.
The plants arrive in great shape, take off immediately after planting, and come back strong the following season.
High Country Gardens has earned its high rating with the Watch Dog!
On Jun 10, 2009, dagovitzm Reardan, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:
I have ordered a number of times from High Country Gardens. Plants always arrive healthy and well packed (despite the carrier's misroutings and rough handling). Although the winter weather is harsh, summers very dry, and I have only hard clay where I live, I have lost only one of their plants - all others have thrived. I'm more than satisfied by the quality of both plants and service.
I ordered two pre-planned gardens as well as several oriental poppies. The plants that came in the premium pots were fine, but those that were in the standard pots are amazingly small. I paid my local nursery and High Country Gardens the same for elfin pink penstemons. Those from the local nursery were in four-inch pots and were blooming. Those from HCG were in standard pots and maybe stand two inches tall. I doubt that any of the plants from HCG (penstemons or any of the others) will bloom this year, and will be surprised if they're old enough to bloom next year.
Because HCG carries species of xeric plants that are difficult to find locally, I'll probably order from them again. But, I will not order any of the pre-planned gardens or anything that comes in a standard pot.
I will also add that shipping was as scheduled and the plants were well packaged.
My first order with High Country Gardens was to be shipped first week of May 2009. 4 Oenothera Macrocarpa (Missouri Evening Primrose) and 1 Philadelphus Microphyllus "June Bride". When shipment did not arrive-I called- they traced and said was in transit back to them and out again. My question was the plants will be dead right? The answer was probably so -just call us when you receive the shipment.
Shipment arrived -all plants dead. I called-they reshipped
all of the order. Apparently this shipment was shipped on
Monday and I received late the following Thursday. 2 of the
Oenothera Macrocarpa survived as did the Philadelphus
Microphyllus. But I am very disappointed in the fact I have paid for 2 dead plants and very expensive shipping. I feel
like faster transit would help prevent this problem. At this
time I have no plans to order again. My credit card was
charged March 16th. They had no problem using my money during this time.
On June 10th, 2009, lou69 changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
Changed to positive rating. Contacted Victoria Peralta as
she requested. She has been a pleasure to work with on my complaint. High Country Gardens has done much more than I expected. In solving my complaint they probably discovered the problem customers seem to have receiving their products and them not in great condition. I will order from them again. And my thanks for making me a very satisfield customer.On Jun 4, 2009, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Jun 4, 2009 4:57 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
High Country Gardens ships plants so they arrive for weekend planting. I am not sure why the orders were delayed for delivery. I would like you to contact me so I can figure out what occurred. I would also like to ship you new plants and ensure timely arrival.
On May 30, 2009, b_schr Wayne, NE (Zone 4b) wrote:
Have bought from HCGardens almost from the beginning when *everything* was one price, $3.95 or some such. Have always been very satisfied with products, price, information and arrival. The increasing availability of rare plants native to the open grasslands of Nebraska has been great. I love it!. Thanks!
On May 19, 2009, Blackbelt_Lizzy La Grange Park, IL wrote:
I purchased several plants that came well packed and undamaged during shipping. The plants were healthy and are doing well in the garden. Although they are smaller than plants from other nuseries, I purchased them because they had unusual cold hardy succulents.
I ordered a dozen of Aster x frikartii 'MŲnch' in the Mid April, 2009. I received a week later, all the plants received are healthy. Like the way they packed the shipping plants very much. I am happy ordered from them. I would order from them again in the future.
On May 9, 2009, jbush Bordentown, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:
I received 2 plants last fall that did not make it through the winter. I emailed the company for a replacement which they promptly sent. Unfortunately one of the plants was barely more than a seedling and was bounced around in the mail pretty badly by the mail carrier. I immediately notified the customer service about my unhappiness at the condition of the plant, and was told to let them know if I wanted a replacement. As I predicted, the plant died within a few days, and when I did request a new plant, they returned my email with a denial as they only replace a plant once. I feel I am paying for damaged material. That plant was in no way going to survive and the fault lies with the nursery both because of the size of the plant and the careless way it was packaged.
On May 9, 2009, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 11, 2009 1:38 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
High Country Gardens strives to offer the best service possible. An email has been sent to jbush to try and resolve this matter."
On May 2, 2009, CherryValleyNY Cherry Valley, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:
I received my order from High Country Gardens two days ago and was highly impressed. Root balls and plant growth were much larger than I expected. Plants were carefully packed and damage-free except for a couple of creased leaves. Everything I ordered was included Ė no back order or out-of-stock messages were necessary. And everything was shipped during the shipping week I requested. I am more than satisfied and wouldnít hesitate to order from High Country again.
Part of my order included three Agastaches and I had a twinge of trepidation to find a disclaimer note on top of the plants warning of possible damage to Agastaches during transit. The note was not necessary as the Agastaches were wonderfully large, full, well grown and pristine. As a wholesale grower and plant breeder with twenty-four years of professional experience (including years of trialing Agastache seedlings, alas in a warmer climate), growing plants that are this robust and healthy does not happen without attention and care over an extended period of time. Iím sorry coco3 did not have the same experience I did.
I stopped ordering from this company after discovering Lazy S nursery. The plants at Lazy S are larger, cheaper and healthier.I am a avid agastache grower and have been unable to nurse several of the extremely small unhealthy plants from High Country back to life.The last straw was when I called to place a extremely large order and the male customer rep was talking so fast that I couldn't comprehend him, attempting to rush through the order "and get it over with".In frustration I asked to speak to another service rep or the manager and he giggled and put me on hold.Every two or three minutes he would pick up the phone and say giggling again "are you still holding". After ten minutes I hung up and started researching and found Lazy S gardens.No more half dead sticks to deal with. My home was on the tour of gardens and I have been gardening for over 20 years. I will never deal with this company again. I consider myself to be an ethical person and would not be writing this in this blog if this rep had put me through to a manager as I requested.
On Apr 30, 2009, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 4, 2009 1:44 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I apologize for the customer service you received during your last call. This is definitely not the customer service High Country Gardens offers. I am looking into this call and would appreciate you contacting me with any additional information which would help me address this with my agents. I encourage anyone who does not feel they have received the best service from High Country Gardens to please contact me. I hope to be of future service to you!