Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
On Apr 30, 2009, 505badgolfer Albuquerque, NM wrote:
I've been shopping from HCG - both retail and mail order - for about 3 years. Experiences have always been favorable. Plant prices are generally higher than other local nurseries in NM, but you can find rare xeric plants here that cannot be found elsewhere in NM.
On Apr 28, 2009, theherbgardener Stone Mountain, GA wrote:
I've purchased from High Country Gardens before and I have always been pleased with my purchases. Their catalogs provide me a lot some wonderful idea for container gardens and they've so many, many great plants that are drought tolerant.
This year I purchased Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low'. It arrived in excellent health, with buds already forming. I know it's invasive, but I've a very large backyard as well as a slope that is beyond my abilities to weed and I've read Rhus 'Gro-Low' is an excellent choice for crowding out weeds. Let the invasion begin! Death to the weeds! Thanks High Country for making this plant available.
On Apr 24, 2009, Tigernach Charlottesville, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered a South African collection and a hardy cactus collection. Both were packaged very well, and the plants looked healthy upon arrival. Prices for the collections and other plants were a pretty good deal, especially considering the rarity of some of the plants.
I also found their planting instructions very helpful, which included what soil amendments to add for clay soils.
On Apr 22, 2009, landscaper84 Rock Springs, WY wrote:
I have ordered from High Country Gardens for 11 years now.
The plants I ordered are beautiful. I planted a Xeriscape garden to prove to the doubter in town that Xerisxape did not mean just rock. I called and received information on how to begin. I received a detailed e-mail with a complete list of plants and a design to get started, every year I have added a few new plants. I have people from all over town looking at my flowering Xeriscape. I water it 1 time each month with a drip system that they also helped me plan. I will continue to order from them. I have recieved 100% satifaction from them . It does not matter what the problem is High Country garden fixed or replaced any plant I was not happy with.
I received a gift certificate for Christmas in 07, I ordered in the spring 08 some salvia and sage. When I received the plants they were all a little off. Some had obvious root rot and others were just awful looking but being a gardener I know that if you plant them they often bounce back. I called and got replacements for the ones that were rotted the replacements were also awful. But being an optomist I planted them. Anyway they did not survive through the summer. I get their catalog all the time and I need to call them to tell them to save a tree, I will not order from them again. The funny thing is I ordered in Spring 07 and the plants were beautiful needless to say maybe they figured it was a gift card and not my cash so they would send me the cast offs. I was completely disappointed.
On April 24th, 2009, Pupula changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
They promptly got in touch with my after a negative post and resent my botched shipment, thanks Victoria, high kudos to you and your excellent customer service, plants arrived today!On Apr 16, 2009, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Apr 16, 2009 4:48 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We appreciate feedback so that we at High Country Gardens know what is being done right and where improvements can be made. We strive to provide the best quality plants, products and service. We do not negotiate the health of our plants based on method of payment or any other means. It is never our intention to send poor quality plants. I am sorry to hear your disappointing experience. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss your order.
Customer Service Supervisor
High Country Gardens, a division of
Santa Fe Greenhouses, Inc. email@example.com
1.800.925.9387 ext. 3023"
I have purchased from HIgh Desert for years now, while I lived in Albuquerque and now via mail order. I am a happy returning customer.
I've just ordered buffalo grass plugs to complement my developing native wildflower & grass prairie/meadow. My 1/2-acre meadow started out as decomposing limestone with Texas sized very recalcitrant weeds. Since September we've killed weeds, amended soil, planted a winter crop, seeded & now - finally - wildflowers are coming up. Time to add grasses - buffalo grass plugs with an assortment of twelve prairie grasses.
High Desert has been with me from early idea conception - how to kills weeds without herbicides & then on to to selection of appropriate prairie plants. They have responded to specific questions via e-mail. Early in March I happened to be in Albuquerque & was able to consult directly at High Garden's and cleared up a number of soil questions, particularly regarding micro-nutrients. :)
During this 9-month process I've ordered plants from High Desert and three other national growers. With one notable negative exception, I have been satisfied with the plant material However, the High Desert plant material was consistently superior, more robust (larger) and really, better than other material I've ordered. I am convinced that when you start with good plant stock, as with High Desert plants, the mature garden, in my case a meadow/prairie, will reflect the quality of plant stock.
I'm delighted with High Desert - both quality of plant material and professional expertise and guidance.
On April 15th, 2009, sc4cinc added the following:
In my comment I refer to High Country Gardens as "high desert" from habit when living in Albuquerque - it seems to me that locals refer to HCG as High Desert, at least I did. But HCG is the grower I intended to comment on.
I have ordered from mail order nurseries in the past and I have had some good and some bad results. I was truly impressed with High Country Gardens. The plants arrived securely packaged - especially the cactus - and they were healthy plants. Their catalog and online website gave excellent info on the plants zones, watering, light, etc. and helped me narrow down exactly what I was looking for. I was so impressed that I have placed another order.
I've bought plants from this company for nearly two years. All the plants I've received have been healthy and arrived well packed. They've arrived when promised. The catalog and website give useful information on zone that's good for each plant, it's blooming cycle, light, soil, water requirements and fertilization.
I received my plants yesterday in excellent shape, packaged well!! This is my second order with this company and I have no complaints at all. Their customer service is very fast in answering my emails and their prices are competitive. Will continue doing business with them. AA++
On April 5th, 2009, plantgnome added the following:
Received my hummingbird attracting I hope to get some hummingbirds this year with the help of these plants, as I have been trying for 3 years now. Maybe these will do the trick. Pleasure once again. On May 5th, 2009, plantgnome added the following:
Had a plant from the fall not make it thru the winter and one from early spring-They already shipped my replacement plants. Very satisfied and happy with this company. Will continue to order.On May 7th, 2009, plantgnome added the following:
Received my replacements today-excellent shape and good growth on them. Very pleased!
I purchased two grasses from High Country Gardens recently, and I am very pleased with the outcome.
I was skeptical about purchasing plants online, due to shipping, however their catalog enticed me to give it a try.
My order was handled quickly and efficiently, I received two confirming emails, including a tracking number. I mention this because too many online retailers today fail to send customers confirming emails or shipment notifications.
The plants arrived in the time frame that the company promised, which in my planting zone was only a few days.
The plants came packed in a very sturdy and I must say efficient box. Kudos to all retailers who pack their items in appropriately sized boxes, i.e. small plants - small box.
The plants themselves arrived in great condition, green with moist soil. The plants appear as described and as expected.
On Mar 23, 2009, dthomas979 Saint Charles, MO wrote:
I order 3 plants two orange meadowbrites and an salvia, all arrived on time and decent size at a very competive price.
I have know idea why someone (last posting) would complain and compare what you get from a mail order with what you get at a nursery. I look for a good root system first. It would cost a fourtune to send a gallon size plant though the mail that you find at your nursery. I thought $10.00 shipping to St. Charles, Mo. for a 4 lbs. package was quite reasonably.
Besides if you can find it at the local nursery for cheaper and bigger, why would you order online. I only order online to find something I can't find locally.
On Mar 20, 2009, cerridwenn Farmington, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:
plants are desert adapted, which if you don't live in the desert you don't understand how desperately important this is. they are generally shipped live and are seedlings of reasonable size, but unfortunately have to be planted very quickly after that. also for the same price, you could probably get larger and/or better established seedlings from a local nursery unless it is a unique plant.
they do offer pre-planned gardens, which are nice and supposedly grow into their own space within a few years. i ordered one last year and the plants looked good and i believe survived the winter but they definitely did not spread so i am hoping for some better spreading this year or i will be very disappointed. this year i ordered a sampler of lavenders, which contains 8 varieties. they did allow me to specify when i want delivery, which i appreciate because the part of new mexico i live in is about a month later than the rest of the state for last hard frost.
my main negative on this company is that they are INEXCUSABLY expensive. shipping is hugely expensive, even within new mexico. i can't even imagine what it costs for out of state. the plants are also expensive enough that one expects them to be quite a lot bigger (if i bought an $8 perennial pot at the nursury, i would expect it to be in a gallon size pot with a pretty big plant in it, even if there was only one actual plant). however they are healthy, so i guess i'm supposed to not complain.
the cost of buying here, rather than from plants of the southwest or some other southwestern fairly local dealer, is probably going to prevent me from buying from them any more despite the fact that their plants themselves are good quality and they have a wide variety of things i really want and so far have not found elsewhere.
On Mar 12, 2009, BlueDesert Palm Springs, CA wrote:
I love the HCG catalog. It's beautiful and informative for many difficult to find plants. Their packing of the plants is good (but not as good as Annies Annuals packing ).
The plants I have received are less than good. Very small (tiny you might say) seedling plants which will take a long time before I can plant them out. The HCG prices are EXTREMELY high for such tiny weak plants.
The plants are so small I have trouble establishing them in my garden. ( I have been and avid gardener for 40 years and know what I'm doing). They really need to be 'grown on' in the nursery for several more months before they are shipped out to customers.
This year I experimented with High Country and another nursery (Digging Dog). I ordered exactly the same varieties (agastaches and heliantheum) from both nurseries. The plants from HCG were small.weak and delicate and will need weeks of coddling before they can be planted out. The same
varieties from DD were strong robust SECOND YEAR (not seedlings) plants. Each had multiple strong stems and are already thriving in my garden 2 weeks after being planted.
The prices from DD were $2-4 CHEAPER - PER PLANT .
Lesson learned. Use the catalog from High Counrty for inspiration and photos. As I am sure we all know the photos are all established plants that may well have been growning 5 years to look that good.They are NO REPRESENTATION of what you will receive.
If you do your homework you will find many nurseries that carry the same plants at far cheaper prices and possibly bigger, better stock.
I give HCG a POSITIVE for the catalog. A Negative for the tiny little plants....which averages out to a NEUTRAL
I have been ordering from High Country Gardens for four years. In the interim, they have changed their packaging system. I have done mail order plants for at least a decade, and the packaging HCG uses is the most impressive system I have ever seen.
The very first order I received before the new packaging, two of the plants were dead. When I contacted the company, they replaced them immediately.
I have had mixed success with the plants I order from them. This is not their fault, as we have very inconsistent weather here in the Ozarks and also our soil has a tendency to be very clayey. They clearly mark which plants do not like heavy soil, so I can't blame them if things that want lots of good drainage and xeric conditions die because the soil is too heavy or it decided to rain for three weeks in the middle of June and drowned the xeric plants.
It interests me that so many of the commenters here blame HCG for condition issues when the plants arrive, but HCG is not in control of the plants once they have been put into "the pipeline", so to speak. The fact that they are willing to replace stuff when it is quite possible the issues were caused by the UPS driver parking his van in the sun while he went to lunch or there was a sudden spring freeze during the shipping says a lot about the company. I have personally witnessed the way UPS treats packages, I'll bet FedEX and the USPS are just as callous. Also, I have had plants left in the sun on top of the mailbox by the postman when the box was clearly marked "PERISHABLE -Protect from heat and cold". This is not the plantsmen's fault.
I am extremely happy with HCG and have ordered stuff for this spring, and I will continue to order from them confidently as long as they are in business.
On April 2nd, 2009, EllieSmith added the following:
I ordered grasses from HCG this year. My order arrived today, in excellent condition. I have limited funds, so I decided not to order the multiples of varieties, like I really need 6 Nassella but only ordered two, needed 2 bluestems but ordered one, etc.
Imagine my happiness when the babies arrived and I inspected them and saw that they are big enough and well enough developed that I will be able to split them and get the numbers of plants I need. How cool is that?
I read a comment from someone who says that she thinks HCG plants are awfully expensive, especially when you add in the shipping. I agree. They are expensive. But you have to pay for quality, and shipping costs have followed the price of fossil fuels.
She said that she expects something a lot bigger for $9, that at the nursery she would expect a good sized plant in a gallon container for that amount. I wonder if her nursery is like the one I used to patronize here. They order a whole bunch of plants in 2-4" pots and then repot them into gallon sized containers as soon as they arrive, then turn around and sell them for $9. If they don't sell the first season, they repot them (weeds and all) into a 2 gallon pot and raise the price to $24. Half the time, the variety they say they are selling you is not the actual variety. And I have had plenty of experience with these "large" and pricey plants not being hardy in my zone because they were not labelled correctly, or because they were complete fertilizer addicts and went into withdrawal when planted. And they won't replace them, either.
I'd rather spend my money on something I KNOW arrives ready to grow, and if it dies, HCG will most likely replace them.
I know that I will be confidently ordering from them in the future.
I purchased one of their mason bee homes. The online picture shows a nice terra cotta cylinder with a nice iron holder. What arrived was a tube with a cheap plastic holder. Nothing like what was shown on the website and hardly worth the $30. I emailed them about it and their reply was that I could return it if it was in the unopened package. Well, how could I have known it was different had I not opened the package? And I'd have to pay for shipping for something that was misrepresented in the first place? Kinda counter-intuitive policies for a mail-order company. I gave them a chance to rectify the problem. They didn't.
On Mar 12, 2009, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Mar 12, 2009 4:42 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
High Country Gardens stands behind our products. The picture in the catalog and one on our web site are of the actual Blue Orchard Mason Bee Nest. It is made to look like terra cotta, but it isn't. Unlike terra cotta, it is weather resistant to winter and summer elements and made of durable plastic, ideal for withstanding freezing and thawing conditions.
I ordered 2 Timeless Beauty Desert Willows. Both appear healthy and arrived in perfect condition. This is perfect for what I needed and couldn't find anything similar locally. Would definitely order from again.
On Feb 27, 2009, kaled Tucson, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:
I have placed a couple of orders with High Country Gardens and have been satisfied with both deliveries. I particularly like their rabbit resistant icon which helps buyers find plants that may resist browsing by rabbits. They offer a good selection for gardeners of the desert south west.
I have ordered Expanded Shale Mender twice from them, and it was quickly shipped and arrived within the week. Worked exactly as directed. I have just placed another order with them for some Delosperma, and will update when it gets here and transplants. Prices are reasonable, awesome selection, etc. If you are looking for cactus and succulents to plant straight into your garden I would be patient because those plants that they offer are small, but for all others I imagine they are a garden ready size, and much faster growers.
As I am stuck in an apartment gardening indoors for now, I will definitely be ordering many plants from them in a few years when I move in to a house.
On September 11th, 2009, gittarheero added the following:
Ordered $150 worth of Agastache, Penstemon, Ornamental Grasses, Lavender, and Gaillardia. Just planted here in mid September in Boston (zone 6), so will see how it does after winter comes through. Fast shipping (3 day so it didn't sit over the weekend), shipped on the week I picked. Plants were adequate size for mail order, all were well rooted and healthy.
Am ordering for the second year from High Country Gardens. Plants arrived last year well packaged and suffered little transplant shock. All were true to type. I am especially enjoying the 2008 planting of Echinacea Big Sky. Online catalog is easy to use and informative.
On Jan 16, 2009, Vicky_D Pompano Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I received my first order in November and placed two more orders due to arrive in February. All plants in first order arrived on-time and in good to excellent condition. The garden tips and plant details on their website are extremely helpful to novices like myself. I was looking for Mediterranean plants and found a very good selection at HCG, particularly lavenders! I can't wait for my other orders to arrive and look forward to a long relationship with HCG. Thanks!
Catalog received 12/8 Monday; order (#8120602) placed same day - spoke to “Beth”. Was told 2 conifers would ship 12/15 and arrive no later than 12/18. Charge $64.97 was put on my cc.
e-mail received from Christopher Hunter - Office Assistant
High Country Gardens on 12/9 saying trees could not be shipped until the week of February 16, 2009 because of “the temps”. I had already been told by Beth that the plants are actually in Arizona - day temps of 70 and night temps of 50. I am in Georgia and those temps are identical to ours currently. When I received the e-mail I called and spoke to “Amber”, yes they had charged my account even though THEY made the decision to hold the order until Feb. Amber felt that Beth has misled me since she was an “overflow employee” and not completely knowledgeable. Then Amber admitted that the “plants are not ready now” and said she would credit my account. Silly me, I thought that would mean the full amount they had charged me !!!! No, they decided they were entitled to keep $14.99.
Now, what has HCG gained by this cheap tactic---a negative rating on the Garden Workshop, an unhappy customer and the fact that my cc company will charge them and credit me for this fee they felt was theirs.
They do NOT belong on the Garden Workshop list of reputable vendors. Buyers beware when your cc’s are charged and the amounts charged. You may be very surprised.
On January 15th, 2009, mtnqueen changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
HCG did eventually refund the full amount so all is well. I was told the difference was caused by a glitch in their system. My final comment is that the whole thing shouldn't have happened in the first place.
I've been a customer for several years. So far only 1 plant has died (totally my fault!), everything else has been great. As I hate watering these xeric plants from HCG have been a godsend. Ordering is a breeze, plants are in great shape when received and thrive when planted. I highly recommend this company!!
On Nov 10, 2008, pixiesadelle San Diego, CA wrote:
This company rocks! Two out of about a dozen plants arrived dead, because the temperature was over a hundred the week I requested them. HCG quickly replaced them when I let them know, even though it was the weather's fault, not theirs. :)
On recommendation from this site, I ordered a catalog. I was very surprised at the number and variety of xeric plants available. When I received my shipment the plants were all in good condition and ready to plant. My only complaint is that the three rhus trilobata plants were only the size of regular plants with the potting soil being about 1.5" - 2" below the rim of the 5" premium pots. I look forward to adding to my garden in the future with plants from High Country Gardens.
On Sep 19, 2008, 7lfair Glenwood Springs, CO wrote:
I am a repeat customer of High country Gardens, and have always been happy with their plants and their service, but my last order was just so nice I wanted to post this feedback. I just recieved a large order- the plants were all BEAUTIFUL- healthy, nice sized for mail order plants, with healthy and vigourous looking root systems. The plants were packaged well- all in great shape and the soil still moist. I am a very happy cusotmer of High Country.
I ordered a pretty good size order from HCG ~$75 (total of 6 plants) and was really very disappointed. All the plants arrived in very poor condition - one was DOA and two others were near dead. The other 3 plants did not look great either but were a shade better. I gave them a day to recover before planting them and all 3 weaker ones were dead the next day. I called the company to complain and was impressed by their customer service. They were responsive and sent me replacement plants for the 3 that died. However I was really disappointed because the 3 replacements were in fairly poor condition when the arrived. The agastache was okay but the other 2 were in poor condition. I planted the replacements and they seem to have recovered.
Given the poor condition of plants shipped I probably will not order from this company again. I would have given them a negative but for their customer service.
I ordered a number of xeric, part shade plants from them in the Spring. A significant number of these came nearly DOA in the midst of a early Spring heat wave and given the Westerrn location of the firm, the plants experienced the maximum shipping time to the Northeast. On reporting the problem they could not replace all exactly, but offered some substitutes in the same color range and environmental compatibility. At the end of the Summer season, I found that six of the replacements/substitutes had died (Penstemon and Linum), while three other substitutes had flourished in the same bed. The company's position was that since the dead ones had been "replaced" once they could not now replace or refund .Another three plants which had not been replaced, but died were refunded.
My position is that the original shipment of DOA plants is not a crop failure, but the result of circumstance which I could not control. Lengthy time enroute and abnormally hot period in the late Spring in the Northeast. Hence the real "crop failure" of the Linum and Penstemon over the Summer season should be refunded. in addition since the Linum wer substitutes not exact rrplacements, it is not as if they failed twice As to why they failed, perhaps these plants are really not suitable for the Northeast, despite thei company's claims that they are.
On Sep 5, 2008, High Country Gardens responded with:
On Sep 5, 2008 1:05 PM, High Country Gardens added:
I would like to review your order and claim. Please contact me at your earliest convenience. High Country Gardens guarantees to ship healthy and vigorous plants. If there is ever a problem with a shipment it is important to contact us immediately.
On Aug 24, 2008, katiebug11 Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:
I have ordered three times from this company with great success. The plants were carefully packed, quickly shipped, and have flourished in my garden, even under my inexperienced care. HCG is the only mail-order company I will buy from.