Posted on May 16, 2013, updated May 17, 2013
Residing in North Carolina, I was excited when I first learned that High Country Gardens had drought resistant plants. In October 2012, I ordered two Agastache Ava plants. I was pleased with the ordering process and received the plants in approximately ten days. When I opened the box, however, I was dismayed to see that one of the plants looked extremely healthy and one looked extremely sick. The written insert included with the plants said that even if a plant looked sickly it should be planted and it would sprout green leaves in a very short time. I did just that but, sadly, the sickly looking plant died so I emailed High Country to request a replacement plant. They were very apologetic and said they would indeed send me a replacement Agastache, but it would not ship until mid-April 2013. On April 17, 2013, I emailed them to see if the plant had shipped and if not, when it would be shipped. They responded by saying that Denver, where their shipping facility is located, had received a major snowstorm and the plant would be shipped on April 22nd. On April 24th, I emailed the company again to inquire as to whether or not the plant had shipped. I received an email from them which was exactly the same message I received on April 17th that shipping would resume on April 22nd (?) I emailed again on April 30th, and was told the plant was in the process of being shipped and I would be receiving a shipment notification “shortly”. On May 11th, having received neither the plant nor a shipping notification, I emailed them again. This time I was notified by High Country that, alas, the plant was out of stock. Needless to say, I am very upset with this situation and I feel that a plant ordered six months earlier should have been one of the first ones shipped out in April. I will not be ordering from High Country Gardens in the future and will certainly inform all my gardener friends to stay away from this deceptive company.
On May 17th, 2013, magnolia92 added the following:
TO: Ethan Platt, President, American Meadows / High Country Gardens
Thank you for your response to my complaint regarding High Country Gardens. I was indeed aware that American Meadows purchased High Country Gardens and I am empathetic to the problems your company is having with the inventory and ordering systems. However, as a customer, these issues mean relatively little to me and when I order from a company I expect to be treated honestly, fairly and not be placated with excuses. As for your Customer Service Reps doing the best they can, I am a CSR as well and CSR’s do not tell customers that they will do something and then not do it. It comes across as being unscrupulous and produces very unhappy customers.
Again, thank you for your response. I have emailed High Country that I will accept your offer to receive the replacement Agastache Ava this fall, although I have little hope that the plant will arrive and be in good health. On May 17, 2013, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 16, 2013 8:43 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I'm very sorry for your frustrations with your replacement order. As you may or may not be aware, High Country Gardens closed in November 2012, but reopened in February of this year under new ownership. It has been an extremely hectic spring as we have worked around the clock to get High Country back up and running. One of the biggest frustrations we've experienced has been inheriting their inventory and order processing system. Although the vast majority of our orders have shipped as promised, we have had some (like yours) that continue to give us trouble.
I can assure you that we have had no intent to deceive. Our customer service reps are doing the absolute best they can with the conflicting information our systems are providing. We will happily honor our guarantee and either credit you for your fall purchase or send you more Ava in the fall (Yeah, I know you've heard that before!). Please understand that it's been a crazy-hectic few months and we're doing all we can to stay on top of things.
Again, I apologize for your negative experience.
American Meadows | High Country Gardens"
As a past and very satisfied customer of HCG, I was dismayed when learning that the store and online catalog were a thing of the past. Then great news, they were back, under new ownership (by passionate plant-people) and David was still going to be around to do what he does best, and loves. Plants. Isn't that why we are all here?
As with any transition things have not gone well, plant orders have been lost, inventory isn't there, etc. The possibilities are endless for playing the blame game but I would like to ask all of you this, please just be patient. They have an incredible staff trying to make sense of lost and unreliable things of the past. Many of which were out of their control. Again, please be patient. Things will be sorted out and HCG will once again be there for the plant lover in all of us. I have not been asked to say any of this but feel that HCG deserves the benefit of the doubt when they are struggling so dearly to make good on their word. My greatest dismay was hearing, when the president of the company called me personally to tell me what had happened to my order, "You are only the second person in two days that has been civil to me..." What a shame. What a dreadful shame...
On May 17, 2013, dserrano77 Chapel Hill, NC wrote:
Posted on May 17, 2013, updated May 17, 2013
I have ordered from High Country Gardens in the past and been satisfied with their communication, updating/notifications, and plants. Based on these experiences I was expecting the same good experience with my order this spring (submitted 4/22/2013). Plants were supposed to ship the week of 5/5. At the end of that week I inquired about my order. I was told they would arrive the week of 5/14. They didn't. Then I started getting undocumented emails with reimbursements and credits that were not explained. I had to email to ask what all this reimbursing and crediting was all about. Turns out they discovered (about 3-4 weeks after the order was place) they actually didn't have most of the plants in my order (3 such events -- How does that happen??). I was then told that the plants would ship for delivery on 5/18. Then I was told they would ship the week of 5/20. At this point I called and spoke with their Customer service (who were nice but not too informative about what exactly was going on -- in their defense I don't see how they can since they are no longer at the propagation site). They confirmed that they are no longer growing plants at the santa-fe location and the propagation facility in Denver is having major problems.
I asked them in email to either overnight the plants to me at their expense so that they arrive by 5/18 as they had promised or cancel my order. I got a refund confirmation email with no apology and no additional info. I guess they chose to cancel the order . . .
This may be acquisition-related growing pains as american meadows representatives have claimed in defense, but boy are they botching this -- if they want to keep customers they need to do a better job than how they handled me.
Needless to say I won't be ordering from them again and have to give them a bad review. I hope other fans of xeric plants avoid my experience and go elsewhere for plants.
On May 17th, 2013, dserrano77 added the following:
In response to Ethan: Ethan, thanks for the note. I understand that that is the current line on why this is happening. What I don't understand is that if this is true, how come I didn't have problems in the past but have since the acquisition. This claim rings somewhat hollow. Thanks for bailing out HCG, and it may be a coordination issue, but HCG was fine before and a problem now -- so it can't be the system only.On May 17, 2013, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 17, 2013 1:15 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
So sorry for your negative experience and specifically, our inability to get you timely and accurate info about your order. As I've indicated in other recent responses, we inherited a very cumbersome inventory and order processing system and are working around the clock to rectify the issues.
I sincerely apologize for the negative experience and assure you that we will once again get High Country back to exceeding customers' expectations.
Posted on October 4, 2011, updated May 2, 2013
This is my first time to order (10/2011) and I am very pleased. My order arrived quickly and accurately and gave me an alternate to the "big box" stores that have cleared their garden area to make room for their Holiday items. If I had to say something negatively I would comment that they offered a 15% discount less than a week after placing my order. I feel they probably knew about this at the time of my order. However, they are in the business to make money. I will order from them again.
On May 2nd, 2013, glb360 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I placed an order on 2/21/13 that never arrived (was scheduled for 4/15). I emailed for status and was told they were having problems with their shipping facility in Denver and offered a refund which I accepted. While they were quick to respond to my inquiry in a courteous and professional manner, I will probably go elsewhere in the future. I hope the new owners will get their act together and bring HCG back to its former success. On May 2, 2013, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 6, 2013 10:29 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thanks for your business and honest feedback. As you may be aware, American Meadows acquired High Country Gardens earlier this year and faced a monumental task in getting everything ready for spring in an extremely short amount of time.
Without getting into all of the details, some of our spring orders were held up by a variety of reasons both in our control (unfamiliarity with HCG's order processing and inventory systems) and out of our control (the insane "spring" weather Denver's been experiencing). The bottom line is that we've failed to live up to our strict standards with some customers and for that, I'm truly sorry.
High Country Gardens has always been about unique, high-quality plants you can't find anywhere else. I can assure you that's still our mission, as is the desire to be one of the easiest companies to work with in our business. Please forgive us a few bumps as we transition from our fulfillment in New Mexico to Denver.
President | American Meadows / High Country Gardens "
On Feb 20, 2013, Guppycat Eldorado at Santa Fe, NM wrote:
HCG is back!!!! I live in Santa Fe (HCG's former home) and I just ordered from them now that American Meadows has taken over.The person on live chat provided quick,knowledgeable answers about the transition, ordering on the new website was really easy, and the email acknowledging my order was in my inbox faster than I could click over there from the HCG site. The plants won't arrive until May, but I'm guessing they'll be fresh and healthy, just like my HCG orders in previous years. Now I can get those special "rock garden" plants I thought I'd never find again!
On Feb 3, 2013, carrielamont Bedford, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Posted on April 13, 2007, updated February 3, 2013
Just want to add this now while I'm thinking of it. My father, who lives across town from High Country Gardens, told me never to order from them, as all their plants are for dry climates, and I live in soggy Massachusetts. Well, he's not around to complain, and they were almost the only ones to have the hardy diascias I was looking for. The other vendor credits them with having first developed the diascia 'pink adobe'. Why would I order them from anyone else? I'll follow up with another rating when I actually have some experience wiith them.
On February 3rd, 2013, carrielamont added the following:
Reading the other current negative reviews is sad, since I've always had such positive feelings about this company. I was planning to order some Agastache for containers, since now we live in hot and dry; much closer to the intended home for these plants. D. 'Pink Adobe' is still doing well, as I recall. I hope spring shipping starts soon.
On Jan 18, 2013, shindagger Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
Posted on October 27, 2010, updated January 19, 2013
After years of looking at the plants at High Country Gardens, I finally placed an order for some native grasses no one else seems to sell. They just have so many hard to find plants. They are upfront about planting/climate conditions, stating what might not be suitable for different areas in the country and I think if you keep in mind that your climate may have drawbacks to planting low water plants you will not go wrong with this company.
My plants arrived in excellent condition and the packaging was impressive, with nice heavy boxes with inner protective lining and the plants were extremely fresh and well rooted.
I placed a second order for Los Lunas Sacaton, an exclusive strain of grass they carry, and the plants just arrived today. Again, excellent, well rooted, good sized plants that are in very deep pots. I can't wait to see how big these monsters really get.
I would definitely order from them again.
On January 18th, 2013, shindagger added the following:
I just found out that High Country Gardens is going to continue to offer their mail order service. I am so glad to hear it because it saddened me to hear they were closing down. There are so few sources online for similar plants and they are nice to deal with.
Despite the number of comments, mostly positive, for High Country Gardens, and it's apparent demise; I feel compelled to add my own 2c
Visited the Santa Fe store at least twice in the last 6-7 years and ordered on line at least a dozen times; the last being October 2012 for spring bulbs; all plant materiel was in good shape
However beyond the actual goods they sold; the information on and development of unique plants was most valuable; and I believe important to a world and nation that is becoming ever more environmentally conscious. I purchased varieties of Jerusalem sage; Bethlehem sage; and Kashmerian sage; which they produced from it's discovery by Paneyoti K of Denver Botanic Gardens; I also tried the Digitalis obscura which they fully described as being native to Spain; but suitable for dry arid conditions;
So while the end of Santa Fe Gardens is the loss of an important resource, I hope we will hear again from David Salman and his associates about the important contributions they have made to 21st century horticulture..........................
Galewood Design Associates
On Oct 7, 2012, flying_squirrel Priest River, ID (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on July 11, 2008, updated October 7, 2012
I am a gardener transplanted from the wet western side of the Cascade mountains to the northern Idaho mountains. In planning my landscape here I realized I needed to go with plants that like the hotter, dryer and just generally harsher conditions. After reading HCG catalog and seeing their good reviews, I decided to place a good sized order. A few of the plants looked weak on arrival but I planted them anyway. Of the 50 plus plants, only 2 died after 2 months of trying to coax them along. The rest have not only survived but are really starting to take off. I got a refund for the 2 that died, quickly and no quibbling. I look forward to ordering more plants in the future.
On October 7th, 2012, flying_squirrel added the following:
Recently placed a small order since a couple plants were on sale that I wanted. They arrived quickly, well packed and small but healthy.
On Sep 13, 2012, bethany_in_ct Hartford, CT wrote:
I ordered two sungold tomato plants from them fairly far into the season (June?). They arrived within the window they promised,and were quite tall and healthy when I took them out of the packaging. The tomatoes have produced abundantly all summer.
Posted on March 30, 2012, updated September 9, 2012
I ordered 8 flats of legacy grass plugs, and one of the pre-planned gardens, as well as some planting supplies. The supplies came quickly. I ordered the grass and plants to come end of April. I was very nervous when I received the grass a month early. I called customer service and was quickly assured that the grass would be re-sent for the date I had chosen. Thank you High Country Gardens for being upstanding and helpful!
On September 9th, 2012, PamelaNoyes added the following:
So the grass never re-shipped, but they were so helpful and sent me a gift card to make up for the inconvenience. I have since ordered several more shipments. Some of the plants seem small, but all have flourished. Everything that I planted in the spring is large and blooming despite the dry year and me having a new baby so I neglected them.
I love this company. I have never had a bad experience with shipping or with the health of the plants they have sent. EVERY ONE of the plants I have bought from them has thrived. I live at 7,000 ft. elevation and I have had quite a few mail order plants from other places that have gone into terminal shock. High Country plant are a great fit for my landscaping. My penstemons are so gorgeous right now with the monsoons going on - wish I could post some photos so you could see the High Country plant experience we're having here.
Our early experience was wonderful--product is great and arrives in good condition. However, we live in a small town without mail delivery, and because of this, we cannot convince High Country to ship to us, even though they have shipped to us before. They tried "correcting" the address on several orders without contacting us, sending our plants to the middle of nowhere. Customer service refuses to help because they cannot verify our address through the USPS.
On Jun 8, 2012, trackinsand mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
Posted on May 17, 2012, updated June 8, 2012
i hate to give negative feedback but here goes. i realize that HCG promotes xeri plants but it is my understanding (as a total Lilium newbie) that this particular plant should not be allowed to dry out completely.
these three Lilium punicums arrived bone dry and half out of their pots. the tiny 3" pots did have a rubber band on them which was supposed to hold the small piece of plastic over the top but since the plastic didn't even fit the pot properly, all the soil was out and loose in the box. these are a fairly tall plant (approx. 12") but the tops had obviously been cut off to fit the box. this means i won't have a chance of a summer flower this year from what i understand about Lilium.
these plants are an experiment for me in florida as i'm not sure they will like my climate. the shipping was reasonable
as were the plants themselves so i'm giving them a try.
had the box been longer but smaller in diameter and packed with just the least amount of cushioning so they weren't banging around loose in the box, i would have been a lot happier with this experience.
On June 8th, 2012, trackinsand added the following:
i wanted to update my experience with this company and their plants and i see that someone did respond to my neutral rating with an offer to replace. i wish i had seen this before now. one plant died a week ago and the other two look fairly decent so far. i expected it of the one plant since it was only hanging on to the pot by a thread (root).
i didn't keep my paperwork so i don't know if i can get a replacement or not but i'll try.On Jun 8, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 20, 2012 11:02 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We appreciate your feedback! This has been passed on to our shipping department for training purposes. We would like to send you out replacements. Please contact me directly with your order and or customer number.
I had the WORST experience with mail order ever! It all started with my order on 3/19/12 for the Sizzling Colors' Inferno Strip, Penstemon mexicali and Cold Hardy Mediterranean Garden. Not a huge order but still 360.00 worth of product. The ship date was In April and that's when it all went downhill! First the order showed up missing more than 20 plants and many looking bad. When I tried to call all you get is voice mail so I left a message and filled out the form with no response for a week and many more calls and emails. The lady on the phone said they would send the missing plants but not on my schedule which was kind of ok since I wanted them. Well I finally got the plants and then another order of inferno strip shows up. Not sure what to do I called again and filled out many many forms for 2 weeks with no call back. When I did get a support call I told them I gave the plants away as I had no room and they just sat around. I was told that was ok and they still had a few DOA plant to ship when stock came back in. Another week goes by and I come home to 5 more boxes on my porch! Another inferno stip and a few other plants. Back to calls and emails a week latter I get a person on the phone and she tells me they have charged me for 3 inferno strips along with a few other plants. Now I'm pissed and tell the lady to have a manager call me as she was the after hours call center. So again many calls,emails and weeks later still no response so I start calling the garden center not mail order store And got a cell phone number of a person high up at Highcountry. Even she couldn't get anyone to answer her. Finally 1.5 weeks latter she called back and said no charges are made for the extra flowers. I was also informed I would receive the DOA plants none of which to this day I received! This is an abbreviated version of all that took place but it doesn't seem that way. I will never order with them again or recommend any other people place orders with them.
On Jun 8, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Jun 8, 2012 2:53 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I regret to hear you had difficulty reaching us in regards to your order. We have made changes to improve response time. I would like to look into what plants you are still missing. If you can please contact me directly toll free 1-877-811-2700 ext. 3023 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customer Service Supervisor
High Country Gardens"
On Jun 3, 2012, FiremanDave Red Bluff, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Overall, good experience.
I order through HCG to obtain choice plants that are not available from local and regional garden centers in my area.
Two Important Notes:
First: plants seem to be shipped direct from the greenhouse so are not "Hardened off" to tolerate strong sunlight or temps. I would STRONGLY recommend that gardeners take CARE before planting out new purchases directly in the ground. My plants really needed some hardening off time before they are garden ready. So I introduced them to the sun slowly and watched for stress.
Second:Catalog and website often do not jive with availability. I had seen Prunus andersonii in the catalog but not online when I went to order. This has been true of several plants, that seem to not appear online.
I have visited the store in Santa Fe and loved the selection and the gardens and have chatted with David Salman personally. He is a fine plantsman.
On May 30, 2012, cscheids Colorado Springs, CO wrote:
Posted on May 25, 2012, updated May 30, 2012
Posted on May 2, 2012, updated May 25, 2012
I placed a $350 order with this company based on positive reviews. However, I had a change in my landscaping plans that necessitated my delaying an order I placed by two weeks. I attempted to contact customer service for over a week to request that my order be postponed and was never able to get help. I emailed the company several times with no response, was never able to get anyone to answer the phone, was rerouted to a voicemail box that was perpetually full, and the only "live" person I spoke with was a live chat who said they would postpone the order but did not. I received an email from the company stating that my order was on the way!!! Great now I have a bunch of plants that will likely die because I'm not able to plant them. I will never order from this company again or recommend them to anyone.
On May 25th, 2012, cscheids added the following:
Interesting…..I get no response from the company via all their advertised means of contact (voice, email, online chat), yet the same day I complain in this forum I get a response. To follow up, I finally got a voicemail message from a gentleman representing the company on the day the order shipped, saying that they would return the order and resend it to be received on May 19th. Nothing arrived. I contacted the company on Monday morning the 21st to see what had happened, the person I spoke to was not able to help and said a supervisor would be in contact with me within ONE TO TWO WEEKS…. ridiculous. I called again on the 24th and left another message and later in the day got a call from the same gentleman assuring me that the order was going to be shipped for arrival at the end of the day Friday the 25th. It's after 7pm and nothing has arrived. Don't waste your time or money with this company. I'll be doing everything I can to get the charges on my credit card reversed.On May 30th, 2012, cscheids added the following:
I was contacted by a customer service rep over the weekend who assured me my order would arrive by Weds the 30th….and it did! But, while I was expecting healthy, thriving plants, instead I got two medium sized boxes with things in it that I would scarcely call such, more like seedlings, if that. Two leaves on a stem does not make a plant and the grasses I bought are about 3 inches tall and dead already. If this were my product I would be totally embarrassed by the quality. I really wish I would have spent my money on plants from Home Depot or Lowe's, for the same price or cheaper I would have gotten things that I can actually use. Ah well, lesson learned.On May 30, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 2, 2012 1:37 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I am sorry to hear of your recent experience and would like to look into your order for you personally. Please send me your order information so assist you. Toll free 1-877-811-2700 ext. 3023 or email email@example.com.
High Country Gardens
Customer Service Supervisor
On May 26, 2012 12:03 PM, High Country Gardens added:
Thank you for giving me the time to work with you today. I will follow up with you on Tuesday! I appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.
I have ordered from this company for years, as they sell plants that do well in my part of the country, and I generally have been very pleased with the plants and the customer service. This year has been an entirely different experience. On February 7, 2012, I ordered over $300 worth of plants from them. I received a portion of the plants shipped on the agreed ship date, April 24, 2012. Half of the shipment was in fine condition, the other plants included were barely breaking dormancy and were tentative at best. On the enclosed packing slip I was then advised another portion of my order had been cancelled and another part of the order had been delayed to ship May 7. May 7 came and went without notification of shipment, and after emailing and calling several times, I finally connected with a live person who told me this portion of my order had been cancelled as well. In the meantime, the plants in the received order that were barely alive had died. Essentially, I received one quarter of my order. In short, this had been my go to source for plants for my area; however, I'm not sure I will order from them again.
On May 27, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 28, 2012 10:11 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I am sorry to hear of your recent order experience. We have made some changes this season which we are trying to iron out. Please contact me directly to resolve the shipment received.
On May 26, 2012, 1345afge Colorado Springs, CO wrote:
When I placed my order in March 2012, I requested 14 May 2012 shipment. I received confirmation in March, but I did not receive my order the week of 14 May. I sent two e-mails requesting status - no responses. I finally called a representative who indicated my shipment would be sent 28 May. I asked why I did not receive notification of the delay or responses to my two e-mails - the excuse was the company had implemented a new computer system (Why implement a new system during this time of year?). Also, many plants I ordered were not available. I requested cancellation of my order, and the representative said it would be done. However, I have not received an e-mail cancellation notice. I have been a customer for years and have placed many orders of $300+. Current customer service and communications are terrible. I want my order cancelled and a refund on my credit card. I also request a confirmation that my order will be cancelled. No more orders until you can win back my trust with timely responses, available plants, and much better customer service.
On May 26, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 26, 2012 12:07 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I understand your frustration in trying to get resolve. I apologize for any inconvenience. As you know this is not our norm and we are working to make sure the service you are use to with High County Gardens is restored. I would like to make sure your requests have been fulfilled. Please contact me by email or phone.
On May 26, 2012, flowerblue36 White City, UT wrote:
I have emailed the company twice and called due to not having received my order. No response to either email. The person I talked too on the phone stated my order would be made "priority" and would be sent next week. I still have not received my order. I have ordered from HCG before and never a problem like this.
On May 26, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 26, 2012 12:04 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I regret to hear of your recent experience and apologize for any inconvenience. Please contact me so I can look into this personally.
I'm sorry to give this company a negative review, as I've used them for many years. Their plants are excellent, but their customer service is atrocious this year. I placed an order in January, assuming that would reserve the plants I wanted, especially since they charged my credit card right away. Come April, I only received 9 of the 14 plants I had ordered. Of the missing ones, 3 were listed as unavailable, but the other 2 had no explanation whatsoever. Since then, I have only recently been able to reach someone by phone, as I was always sent to a voicemail system that was full, and that representative said she needed to send my case to another dept. who would contact me (a week later, I've heard nothing). None of my emails (including to Victoria Peralta) has been answered. A credit has been issued to my account, but it is not the correct amount. Do I think this will all be straightened out in the end? Maybe. But I'll never get back the time and energy I've wasted on trying to figure this out and get an answer from them.
On May 24, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 24, 2012 3:46 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I am sorry to hear you have not had resolve in regards to your order questions. I do try and respond to all my emails and calls when I am in. I apologize if I did not respond to an email you sent. I would be glad to assist you. Seeing you have already emailed me can you please resend the email or it may be best to call me with your information.
High Country Gardens is a great company to deal with. They are always friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. Whenever I have had a problem with a shipment or an individual plant, they have always taken care of it with a smile. They're great!!
On May 21, 2012, sunnybordergirl Hawesville, KY wrote:
I recently placed an order and requested an immediate ship date in an effort to receive my plants before an upcoming holiday. I received a confirmation of my order indicating my order would ship the date I requested. I expected to receive my order at least by the following Friday, however, the website didn't indicate how my order would be shipping so I placed a call. I was told that my order did not ship and would not ship until the the following Monday. The person wasn't really sure what happened and told me that they were located in another facility, however my order would ship on the following Monday. Today I called to make sure my order shipped and was advised that it was not going to ship AT ALL. I asked them why that no one e-mailed me or phoned me to let me know there was a problem either with my initial ship date or subsequently when they determined that my order was not going to be shipped. When I placed my order I provided my e-mail address and a telephone number in the event they would need to contact me. It is unacceptable customer service to just simply not contact me in any way (either e-mail or by phone) to let me know the status of my order. I was concerned when I saw the other negative reviews, however, I have had good experiences with HCG in the past - so I took a chance. However, after this experience I will certainly consider carefully other reviews because this became my own bad experience. Really a shame because I previously did have good experiences. An e-mail or phone call only takes a moment and certainly makes a difference for customer goodwill.
On May 21, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 22, 2012 4:48 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I appreciate you giving me the time to speak with you yesterday. We are working on making adjustments to make sure this does not occur again. My apologies for any inconvenience.
On May 21, 2012, JonSchneider Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
Posted on May 19, 2012, updated May 21, 2012
After several years of wonderful experiences with this company, I have to rate them with one big negative. I have tried contacting them 6 times via e-mail, their internet claim form, etc. with no response. Finally, I called and spoke to a customer service representative who "had no authority" to replace 6 dead plants and promised me she would have someone call me. that did not occur either. The bottom line is that I am out 6 plants with no mechanism to resolve the issue. As good as my previous orders have been in the past, I would not order from them again nor advise other gardeners to do so. My guess is that this letter may result in a response, but this is just plain bad customer service
On May 21st, 2012, JonSchneider changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
As expected, High Country Gardens appropriately responded to my evaluation. They are apparently experiencing "growing pains" with new software that has impaired their ability to respond to customers in a timely fashion. I am pleased to say, though, I have been in contact with both Sam and Victoria and we came up with a very fair resolution to my issue that will result in me being able to obtain new plants that will be sent to me overnight. This is exactly the kind of customer service that i would anticipate from this company. It would be hard to add enough superlative to the plants I have previously ordered from them. The packing is always superb and the deep pots with excellent root systems guarantees easy transplants with hardy growth. I will be back to order from them in the future. Anyone can make a mistake and they certainly are forgiven and deserve another chance.On May 21, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 20, 2012 10:36 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I am sorry to hear of your recent experience. As you know this is not the norm for High Country Gardens. I am glad you gave us the opportunity to contact you and to satisfy your request of replacements.
I was a little surprised at the small size of the plants...a first for me, but they've been transplanted and are doing fine.
Arrived in good condition. A first order for me, so I'll have to see how the plants do.
On May 18, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 20, 2012 10:40 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Glad to hear your plants arrived safely and are planted in their new home! Happy Gardening!
On May 8, 2012, texasgardner69 Amarillo, TX wrote:
Posted on May 4, 2012, updated May 8, 2012
I believe High Country Gardens is having growing pains. We have ordered from them many times and have always had a wonderful experience each time. We have visited their retail store in Santa Fe and was very impressed. This Spring has been very different and do not know why unless they have grown too big too soon and not able to take care of their customers. I placed an order back in February calling for May 1st shipment. I was surprised they ran my credit card through immediately and when I asked them they said they were a small company and had to do this to "reserve" my plants. We have had a warm Spring so have tried to contact the company to request an earlier shipping date by e-mails, all went unanswered, many, many phone calls to regular number and 1-800 number with both going straight to voice box which was always full and finally going to the chat line. One operator said they had experienced 3X the normal activity in customer service and were behind. I asked when my order was due to ship and she told me it would ship no later than May 1st. On May 2nd I called again on the chat line and asked if my order had been shipped for I had not received a shipping confirmation e-mail. That operator said it was in the shipping department but did not know when it would actually go out for it will remain in the shipping department until the entire order is ready for shipping. She also said they do not send shipping conformation e-mails but I have always received them in the past. I also had a question on the size of container for a yucca I was interested in purchasing. One chat operator would only guess but did not know for sure, when I called back I received a different operator and she said it was a 5" premium pot and a third operator said it was a gallon container. The only reason I kept asking was due to the high price. You cannot get through to actually talk to anyone, your e-mails will go un-answered, no one seems to care or know what is going on and the consistency is non-existant. I have recommended HCG many, many times but may have to take back all the good things I have said about them until they can get their act together. They are such a unique company I really hope they can get through their growing pains.
Here it is Friday May 4th. My last contact with HCG was May 2nd and was told by the chat operator they only ship out on Mondays, yet a previous operator had promised my order was to be shipped no later than Wednesday, May 2nd. I have no idea when my order will be shipped or will arrive so everything is on hold waiting for HCG.
On May 8th, 2012, texasgardner69 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I am changing my rating to neutral due to the speed and efficiency Victoria Peralta handled the complaint. The plant order arrived today in excellent condition and were all good size plants. I will be doing business with HCG again.On May 8, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 5, 2012 4:03 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. High Country Gardens spring 2012 season took off quickly and with that we have been receiving a high volume of calls and emails. We have made some recent changes these past few days in hopes of improving wait time. I am sorry to hear your questions were not resolved. Please do contact me directly and I will look into your order for you. Toll free 1-877-811-2700 ext. 3023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Country Gardens
Customer Service Supervisor"
Two of my last three orders have been problematic. In my previous order, I ordered two 1 gallon plants that had obviously been transferred from 2 inch pots to gallon pots just prior to shipping. The root structure was just pitiful. In my most recent order, I decided to forgo gallon plants for 5 inch pots, but 2 of the plants had obviously just been transplanted to 5 inch pots from two inch pots. Plus, they left out two of my plants that I ordered and paid for. It was a large order and they did not include a packing list, so I can only assume they were hoping I wouldn't notice. Packing has also become increasingly shoddy over the past couple of months. Customer service has been helpful, but I expect them to get things right the first time. Make sure to take pics of plants if you have a problem. I wasn't offered a refund for one of the gallon plants because I went ahead and planted it without taking a pic. I wasn't asking for a full refund just the price difference between the gallon and 5 inch pots.
On Apr 28, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 1, 2012 1:59 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We appreciate your feedback and are looking into the issues you've brought up. We have a 100% guarantee and do not require photos for replacements or refunds. Please contact me directly to process a claim if this was not resolved. Toll free 1-877-811-2700 ext. 3023 or via email email@example.com.
High Country Gardens
Customer Service Supervisor"
On Apr 24, 2012, CEH208 Eldorado at Santa Fe, NM wrote:
Plants received were poorly shipped/packaged. Several stems were broken but have been trying to salvage them. Plants did not have well developed root systems and were too young to be shipped out. I now have two plants that have completely died. Have emailed customer service for replacement 3 times with no response. Waited a week and tried calling customer service which went to a recording saying please leave a message, but the mail box is full. Sadly, I still have more plants ordered to be shipped this week, wishing it could be cancelled. I think the retail locations are fine, and I know problems occur in shipping, but the lack of prompt customer service means I won't be ordering again.
On Apr 24, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Apr 24, 2012 12:34 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I am sorry to hear of your recent experience. We take great pride in our plants and customer service and want to fix this for you, as well as use your feedback to improve our service. Please contact me at your earliest convenience by email firstname.lastname@example.org or direct at 1-877-811-2700 ext. 3023.
High Country Gardens
Customer Service Supervisor"
I ordered 5 Agastache 'Ava' , 5 Agastache cana 'Rosita' and 1 Buddleia alternifolia in early March. I was able to select my week of shipping, which is wonderful! I received an email that my plants were shipping the 2nd week of April, just as I had selected. They came right on time and were packaged secure and safe! HCG has a wonderful packing method! Every plant looks wonderful and healthy!! I've ordered from them 2 years ago and had the same great experience. They have the best selection of Agastache!
On Mar 30, 2012, Ispahan Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:
This is a marvelous company. Customer service is efficient and helpful (Sam is the greatest), plants are great quality, selection is wonderful and the packing is more environmentally friendly than most nurseries with very little extraneous material involved.
I just received a large order to start populating my new garden with bountiful perennials. I am very pleased.
I always look forward to learning about the new HCG plant introductions each year. At such reasonable prices, it is hard to resist temptation!
I will definitely be a repeat customer in the future.
By the way, I am surprised at some of the negative reviews below. The customer service of this nursery is one of the best and easiest to deal with...
Posted on April 30, 2006, updated March 23, 2012
My plants arrived exactly when they were supposed to. They were safely packed, and arrived healthy. They were very small but all with healthy root systems. I planted them 4 days ago, and so far so good, despite having been alternately rained on and sun-scorched immediately after being transplanted. Only the healthiest and most tenacious of plants can survive springtime in Austin.
On March 23rd, 2012, Idiopath changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
Update: I ordered from them again last year (2011) and most of my plants arrived in terrible condition. They were so mushy and yellow I just threw them away. I contacted customer service, and received an email stating that a credit for those plants had been applied to my account. I was told that it would not expire, and I could use it at any time by simply mentioning it to the representative who took my order. I attempted to do this this past weekend. The rep was unable to find the credit.
Since then I've attempted to contact customer service several times, and have gotten zero response. I won't be ordering from HCG anymore. It's not worth risking my money and my time. I'm now out almost $50, plus the time I spent on hold, plus the time it took me to write all of those emails that have gone unanswered. On Mar 23, 2012, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Mar 23, 2012 9:14 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I regret to hear you were not able to get resolve. HCG credits do not expire. For your privacy I am not able to obtain your contact information through your post. Please contact me and I will be glad to assist you.
I've ordered from HCG for at least 5 years now and have always been very satisfied. In all those orders, I've only had one plant not make it; took a picture, sent it to HCG, and promptly received a replacement, healthy and still going strong in my garden. I'm a fan!
On Mar 19, 2012, virginiarose Southeast, VA (Zone 8a) wrote:
Well this is my first order with HCG, I was a little disapointed with the size of a plant I ordered. I sent a picture and they offered me my money back or a bigger shrub in April, so I took the new shrub. I do like the selection of plants on this website and plan to do more business. I appreciate the prompt way they handled the problem and the customer service is terrific.
On Mar 17, 2012, echinaceamaniac (Clint) Medina, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:
Posted on February 20, 2012, updated March 17, 2012
Posted on May 28, 2010, updated February 20, 2012
Posted on March 13, 2009, updated May 28, 2010
I ordered a Hesperaloe parviflora 'Yellow' and it was shipped exactly when I requested it to be shipped. The plant is very healthy and in a larger pot than expected. It also already has offshoots at the base. It looks as good as a plant I bought locally last year (the red variety of the same plant) and the price is very competitive, including the shipping costs!
I would very highly recommend this company. I'm impressed. Thanks for the good service!
On April 3rd, 2009, echinaceamaniac added the following:
I just received another order and they did it again! They ship it when promised. Thanks again!On May 28th, 2010, echinaceamaniac added the following:
I received my plants yesterday. Both Echinacea "Pica Bella" had buds on them already. Sure, the shipping caused the plants to not be perfect, but that is understandable. I have ordered from High Country Gardens several times now and all my orders with them have been positive experiences.On February 20th, 2012, echinaceamaniac added the following:
I received my latest order of Delosperma 'Fire Spinner' and Red Yucca 'Brake Lights.' Both look great. High Country Gardens is top notch in my book!On March 17th, 2012, echinaceamaniac added the following:
I ordered a Delosperma collection and it came in perfect condition. Their packaging is among the best I've ever seen. I just hope they don't switch to coco pots like Bluestone did. Thanks for the great service!
I have visited their nursery/greenhouses in Santa Fe and ordered plants from them. Their demonstration garden is gorgeous.
Last summer (2011), I ordered Silver Buffalo Berry bushes and only lost one due to neglect. The plants came with soil and were very healthy. Shipping was fast. Luckily their climate is similar to our climate in Flagstaff, in fact we get more moisture, so growing here is a little easier.
I highly recommend this company to all my neighbors and people I work with. They are a great company to get hard-to-find natives.
I just found HCG this year and placed my first order for 3 Amaryllis bulbs that were discounted. I was told the bulbs would be small because they were discounted but I have been trying for 2 years to get this particular variety so I agreed and expected 3 small bulbs. They arrived within the week and were the biggest bulbs I have ever received. I was thrilled and I'm anxiously waiting for them to bloom.
I will order from them again when I find something I am looking for.
A very satisfied customer in Abilene Texas.
On Feb 7, 2012, kkirschbaum Yonkers, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
I was surprised to see that HCG gets somewhat mixed reviews on here, and then I realized that though I have ordered from them several times a year since 2007 I had yet to contribute a review. I am a fan of this nursery. I've never visited them, but I like the ethos of their catalogue. Westchester County NY would hardly be considered a xeric place, but I garden on a hilly site facing south and east (and never water once a plant is established so everything in my garden needs to survive on rainwater). Their selection of water thrifty plants is very useful for my site. I've been happy with the success rate of most things I ordered from HCG. Have plants died? Yes -- but unless the plant dies shortly after arrival (or arrives in bad shape) I find it hard to blame the nursery. Plants are living things and by their very nature this means they all die eventually. Part of my flexibility on this point is that I've experimented with plants from HCG that are offered with the caveat that the plants are better for the arid West, and when those don't make it I especially feel it unfair to complain. Amazingly an impressive number of these Western plants have survived (Chamaebatiera millifolium, Hesperaloe parviflora) or even thrived (Tagetes lemmonii, Philadelphus lewisii) for me. In general I find HCG's service is very good -- I always select my ship date, and have never had a problem with plants not arriving as expected. The packaging is usually great, so I haven't had problems with plants arriving in bad shape. In fact, this year I ordered another round of Agastache rupestris and was pleased that HCG changed their policy and didn't cut the plants back before shipping. I had a 100% success rate getting those established whereas in the past I always lost some. I always look forward to seeing what's new at HCG. I find their catalogues inspiring, and I like that they are unafraid to offer unusual varieties. I think many complaints on this board are from people whose expectations are a bit unrealistic. If price is really a big issue for you or if you get ruffled if a mailorder plant arrives looking jostled, then maybe you are the kind of customer better served by shopping at a local garden center or the big box stores. I've had plenty of bad mailorder plant experiences with other companies -- plants arriving dead, plants arriving bare root without that having been clear in the sales pitch, wrong plants, shipments gone awol without any tracking -- but I can heartily say that HCG is not among the bad mailorder companies.