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.
On Jan 28, 2012, louis1933 Colorado Springs, CO wrote:
I have been buying from High Country Garden ever since they started. IN FACT MY ORIGINAL CUSTOMER WAS IN THE LOW TWO DIGITS. I have only praise for their plant selection and plant quality; also their soil amendments are very good. This is the ideal place to find plants and fertilizers for the front range of Colorado. Here in Colorado Springs these garden essentials are hard to find LOCAL NURSERIES ARE FEW AND MOST STOCK PLANTS NOT ARE SUITABLE FOR THIS PLANT HARDINESS ZONE AND SOIL TYPES FOIND AROUND COLORADO SPRINGS; MAKING HIGH COUNTRY GARDENS A VERY VALUABLE ASSET.
On Jan 15, 2012, oldCTgardener Glastonbury, CT wrote:
On several occasions I have ordered plants from High Country Gardens.. The ones that I ordered in spite of their recommendations to the contrary (suited for only western gardens) did eventually die (as I expected, I like to push the envelope) but the others did well, and are doing well. I will continue to order from them. Their plants are vigorous and well-packaged. They have always arrived in top condition.
On Dec 6, 2011, Sandwichkatexan Copperas Cove, TX wrote:
I love these people , This is my third year ordering from them and I have never had a problem . They offer gallon sized plants on a lot of their yuccas and agaves , Love that ! Everything I have ordered from them is now huge in my garden and thriving , Even the little 5 in premium pot items . Just placed my order for two brakelight hesperaloes and one agave all gallon sized and the fact they let you choose your delivery date is simply unheard of in mail order nurseries I recommend them to anyone .
On Nov 10, 2011, jerrytate Lake Charles, LA wrote:
agaves were my interest with this company. i placed my first order last week and received it today. that's good. i ordered 10 agave parryi that were on sale for $3.50. that's real good. i called to place an order by phone with a credit card and it took a bit of time as the sale prices were not what they had on their end. the plants arrived and i could here movement when i tilted the box. not good. upon opening the overly complicated packing the plants were in excellent condition with only 2 damaged leaves. very good for shipping agave. i think the packaging was overkill. for a small rootbound agave (which is OK) i see no reason to use rubberbands to keep a piece of foam to cover the top of the soil. more should have been done to keep the plants from moving in the box. i've received many agave from other on-line nurseries that use newspaper. the plants were very well grown and for $3.50 a great value. i will order from this nursery again, and other than the packaging techniques, i give it a positive rating.
The plants are usually seedlings, so they will take years to grow like the pictures. I was disappointed last year when I got my first yucca rostrata. This year, it's growing and I now like getting small plants and watching them grow. I wish they could all be premium or one gallon size. I've ordered about five times, and I usually moderately pleased.
I would recommend HCG, but realize the plants are small.
On Oct 20, 2011, rinomanfroni Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Posted on October 12, 2011, updated October 20, 2011
I am very happy with this company!
Because the plants HCG ships are very tiny, I really suggest anybody (especially if you live in Texas) to buy plants from High Country Garden in the Fall because they will be able to create a good root system during fall and winter before the summer heat begins. Plus the plants are so tiny that you better buy them early if you want them to become something during the next growing season!
Here are the problems I found with the following plants:
1) Helianthemum nummularium 'Burgundy Dazzler' (Standard Pot)
It was out of stock and I received a refund very promptly without even asking anything about it.
2) Hymenoxys scaposa (Standard Pot)
This one died when I planted it in the ground. I believe it was too small (in fact it was a tiny little seedling). I already made a replacement request through their online form 2 days ago. I did not receive a confirmation email about the submission of the replacement request, but I hope they will send me a replacement soon.
3) Lavandula stoechas 'Madrid Blue' PP# 12,573 (Premium Pot)
I hoped this one was going to survive, instead it died just like all the other lavanders I bought at other stores such as Home Depot and Lowes. I really discourage people from buying lavender plants in North Texas because it seems like they do not like the humidity in the air here. Once a lavender feels stressed even a little bit, there is no return, it is doomed to die and there is nothing that can be done. So, I consider this as simply an experiment and I did not ask for a replacement plant. The best lavender plants to buy in Texas are those they sell in your local stores in 2-gallon pots or bigger. They are better prepared for standing our climate.
All the other plants are doing fabulously, and I can't wait for next Spring to see them bloom!
On October 20th, 2011, rinomanfroni added the following:
Wow! Today I not only received the replacement plant for the Hymenoxys scaposa, but I also received another Hymenoxys acaulis! They thought about making sure that I ended up at least with a Hymenoxys alive if ever the scaposa will not make it again!
Thank you so much High Country Garden! The other plants are still doing super great! Let's see how they are going to tolerate the upcoming unpredictable Texas Winter season!
On Oct 18, 2011, Delightful_Dawn Altus, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
I ordered some Kniphofia Caulescens last spring. They arrived as promised in Oct. They were in wonderful shape and larger than I expected them to be. This was a good shopping experience. I will buy from them again.
I've purchased plants from High Country Gardens several times and always been happy with the results. The resources and information available on their website are extensive and the time or two that I've needed additional help, it has been easy to reach a knowledgeable person. I'm a very happy customer, in Maryland.
I purchased two Agastche from High Country Gardens. I have purchased from them many times over the years and have Always been satisfied with the plants that arrived. They have always been good sized plants and in good condition.
This time I ran into a problem. One of the plants that arrived was already shriveled up and drooping badly. The other plant was fine. I went ahead and watered both plants and kept them in the garage for a day. The second day I put them out in a shady area and kept them watered. The plant that was shrivled still looked bad, the other one was great. The next day I planted both of them. What I found was that the shrivled plant didn't have any soil in the bottom half of the pot. This is why it was doing so bad. It didn't have any root system to speak of due to the air space in the pot. I contacted HCG and they have sent me a new plant to replace the other one. That's the way a vendor should answer a problem and that's why I still think HCG is the number one vendor for plants. Overall good product and standing behind what they sell makes them A+ in my book.
On Sep 15, 2011, WilsonCWW North Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:
Ordered a few plants from them during summer of '11. They delivered them towards the end of summer as stated. All plants but one arrived in good condition. One of the plants was wilted and pretty much dead. I contacted the company and within a week I already had a replacement for it. Overall I'm satisfied. It's been a few weeks and the plants seem to be doing well so far. I'd order from them again.
On Aug 24, 2011, Patmisty1 College Park, MD wrote:
I love this company. Had nothing but positive experience. Plants arrive health. If planted promptly and nurtured the first year they thrive.
Just placed my third order with them. I live in a relatively wet part of the country. Maryland, and look for plants that will do well here and have used plants for areas that are hot and dry.
I have just put my third order with High Country Gardens. In the past I have ordered thir Legacy buffalo grass plugs to be installed in a side yard as well as some perennials. Today I ordered 2 flats of the Bella plugs for my small front yard. In the past I have been most impressed with the packaging, prompt delivery as well as the detailed instructions for successful planting results. I am very pleased with their xeric efforts and especially impressed with the ability of their turf to easily adapt to the climate in northern Illinois.
Posted on March 30, 2006, updated June 19, 2011
I love High Country Gardens; their plants, website and service! I received my first order Spring 2005 and everyone of the 8 plants were very healthy, nice and packed well. All the plants grew well and all but 1 (Penstemon pinifolius) bloomed last summer, and I'm sure I'll be seeing blooms on it this summer. I bought Salvias, Agastaches, a Penstemon, a Stachys and a Lavender. I already have another order coming soon and it won't be my last. Highly recommended!
On May 12th, 2006, Marilynbeth added the following:
I recieved my plants yesterday and they look great, if fact one of them (Agastache Orange Flare) was blooming in the box! I was able to get 4 of the 6 planted yesterday in a break from all the rainy days we are getting. Really nice healthy looking plants!
A great company to order from!On March 13th, 2007, Marilynbeth added the following:
I've received 6 to 8 boxes of garden goods already this year, which included the following items........
Planters II (Natural Trace Mineral Fertilizer), Yum Yum Mix® 2-2-2 Organic Fertilizer, Soil Mender Humate, Saltwater Farms Sea Com-PGR Organic Seaweed Concentrate, Compost Tea, 10 to 12 bags of 10 Qt. Fertilome Potting Soil, Dramm Pattern Revolver Sprinkler, 2 in 1 English Sieve, English Steel Sieve with 1/2' Expanded Metal Mesh, 2 bags of Soil Moist™ Water Holding Crystals and a Paint Marking Pen by Faber.
Great company to order from! Next month, I'm looking forward to the 18 or more plants from them. This will be my 3rd year (but not my last) buying from them and planting their plants!
On June 19th, 2011, Marilynbeth added the following:
I've ordered every year since my first order in Spring of 2005. In fact, I've ordered several times or more each year. I'm always very happy with each order.
They're my first place I go to for plants each year. Since 2005, I've been mainly ordering Agastaches and Salvias and Xeric plants they offer.
I order more than just plants from HCG. I garden organically and have been ordering the organic garden goods they offer for the soil and plants.
They have a customer for life with me! I first found out about HCG when I read an article in a Fine Gardening magazine in the Spring of 2005 about them and the Agastaches they were growing and selling and I was instantly hooked! Highly recommended!
I ordered about 30 plants at HCG's end of season sale, my first order with this company. Plants arrived quickly (I did expedited delivery as I am in the opposite corner of the country) in excellent condition. Small, but healthy and robust looking plants, well packed in a manner that is easy to unpack. I couldn't be more pleased. I mail order plants regularly, and will expect to use HCG again.
I have dealt with HCG many times in the past, and have never had a bad shopping experience. A couple weeks ago, I ordered a buddleia alternifolia, and never got a shipping notification. After about a week, I emailed asking for status and Maureen told me my order had somehow slipped through the cracks (that can happen - I ordered via website on a Sat, during a busy busy busy month). She said it would ship immediately with free expedited so I would get it as soon as possible.
When I explained that we are now in 90F days here in GA, she agreed to cancel and refund, instead. The refund hit my account the very next day. I'll be ordering my buddleia in the fall when our temps go back down - not just because HCG is the only reputable place I've ever found it for sale, but because I know this most recent snafu was an anomaly, not the norm. They are hands-down one of the best internet nurseries in the business, in my opinion.
On Jun 1, 2011, COgardener2675 Fort Collins, CO wrote:
Beautiful packaging. Plants arrive safely cocooned. Love the plants in the premium containers. The root systems are twice the size of regular containers. Very healthy plants. Love their on-line sales and catalog filled with tips.
Posted on May 12, 2011, updated May 17, 2011
Although my communications and shipping "experience" shopping with HCG was positive---no problems there---for me, it's all about the plants. What I received was "almost" what I expect from a reputable mail-order source---well rooted young plants with healthy foliage.
With a little TLC, hopefully these plants will recover and go on to become robust, healthy plants. Hence, my "neutral" rating---the plant material could have been better.
On May 17th, 2011, plympton changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Well---after planting the penstemon and gaura I purchased from HCG, I was so impressed with the abundance of roots in the premium containers that I thought I'd come back and upgrade my rating from a "neutral" to a "positive". I see that a company rep has beat me to it and has provided a good explanation for what I received :-)
The day I received my order from HCG, I also received two other orders---one from a Top 30 company and one from one that should be. Of the three orders, one had small plants with no roots---they were barely rooted cuttings in an oversized pot, the second, the plants from HCG in the condition as described above and the third were large, robust plants in excellent condition from another nursery.
As I evaluated them, I naturally felt a "negative" for the one order with small plants/no roots and a resounding "positive" for the order with the large plants. That left me with a "neutral" for the HCG order. However, upon planting them out, I found the root structure to be so well developed that I felt obliged to come back and upgrade my review. On May 17, 2011, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 13, 2011 3:59 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We put great effort into growing plants that transplant well and take off in your garden. We are in zone 5, (it was -20degrees in February) and we grow our plants cold without a lot of heat so they are strong and flourish in your garden. The amount of leaves and stems on spring grown perennials is not a determining factor of plant quality, it’s the crown and roots that make a great perennial. Please note: many western native plants begin waking up much later than common perennials.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
On May 19, 2011 2:32 PM, High Country Gardens added:
Howdy, plympton! Thanks so much for your diligent feedback. Because we know there may be other customers out there who are a little surprised by the lack of showiness in their plants when they arrive in our High Country Gardens boxes, we thought we'd take the chance to build on your experience and comments and put together this short video explaining the different growing habits of various plants. Hopefully this will give customers the encouragement they need to give plants that look a little anemic upon arrival the chance to impress and wow them, just as you did.
On May 1, 2011, Astrogarden Bend, OR (Zone 5a) wrote:
I was reluctant to order a second time as I had ordered some plants a couple years ago and every one died. Since they have such a good selection of Hyssop and also Munro's Mallow which grows great here (semi-native), I gave them one more try. Plants were great and all are now in larger pots in our greenhouse awaiting warmer weather for transplant. Most have doubled in size since we got them!
I would suggest ordering in spring as the first time was in summer and I suspect I got leftovers.
On Apr 30, 2011, agastachegrl Eden Prairie, MN wrote:
Posted on June 4, 2007, updated April 30, 2011
Love this company! This is about the fifth order I've placed and the plants are always beautifully packaged. The plants all flowered the first season and are very healthy and gorgeous. I live in a colder zone, but bring them in to over winter. Agastache plants are phenomenal, many hummingbirds and butterflies. Thank you High Country Gardens, I am definately a fan!
On April 30th, 2011, agastachegrl added the following:
Again I am DELIGHTED @ the quality of the
plants I just received! Very healthy & well packaged!
Zone 3-4 here in MN & haven't lost a High Country
Garden plant yet & it's been prob. 7 years of orders
from them. Shipping costs are still reasonable
and choices are great for any zone! Thank you
High Country Gardens, you are my fave!!
On Apr 22, 2011, Hindernone Broadway, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
I received my first ever order from HCG two days ago. Impressive! Ordering was a breeze online, tracking was very easy and with 2nd day air shipping, the plants arrived with perfect timing. All the plants were healthy and very nice sizes for the prices. (agastache, kniphofia, liatris, lonicera, and sedum) Will be planting today and tomorrow... hopefully I can keep them living east of the Mississippi.
On Apr 16, 2011, k2cedarcity Dayton, NV (Zone 5b) wrote:
My 1st order with HCG and I am extremely impressed with the entire ordering process at HCG. I was able to track my order, it arrived on time, all plant were well packed, great size, very healthy. I found the prices to be very, very, good. I live in high desert country (northern NV) and am delighted to find a company that fits my gardening needs. I will definitely be ordering from High Country Gardens again.
Over the weekend, ordered several composting materials to aid my clay "foundation" dirt. All were received in very good order on Thursday and Saturday!
Very pleased with High Country Gardens ordering and shipping process.
On Mar 21, 2011, moosewood Dewitt, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:
The plants, etc. herein were lost in a divorce**, but as you will see, this expierience is still well worth the mention:
First: I live in a Zone 5 area. Winters are unkind "here", as is my Ex's** heart.
By 2002 or so, I had received a HGC catalog, and lusted after those beautiful and unique cacti and succulents. However, a lot of their palnts are marginal Zone 5 (might as well just say Zone 6!), or simply must must must be kept Winter-dry, to survive here.
My old house** had a wet basement. In 2002, I had a contractor come thru & waterproof it; one step of which was to trench down to the bottom of the foundation. The trench itself was 18" wide, and about 4 feet deep. The old drains were replaced, the trench backfilled with peastone.
As you likely know: Peastone = "perfect drainage".
Still hot for the cacti, and not wanting to waste the space (about 15 feet along a South-facing wall);
I decided to build a sort of Zone 6/alpine house over the trench.
I consructed a raised bed from landscape timbers, roughly 15 ft. long, 3 feet in width from house wall to bed-front, and 8" deep. I spiked the bed to the asphalt driveway.
I lined it with black gardening fabric, and filled it with a mix of ;
a good garden soil,
crushed (pea-sized) stone,
chick grit (aka. "Stoneymo Granite)
a granular material (the name's escaped me) used to areate and loosten clay soils. There was no clay in the soil mix, this stuff was another dry-drainage item, plus it was red-orange and added color to the mix.
For more color, I threw in some crushed (sledge-hammered) red and black lava.
The whole bed was built it in front of 2 basically under-insulated basement windows.
Next came a 'hoop" or "frame" of a good, stiff, springy fence wire, strong enough to support a snow load.
I hooked one edge of the fencing under the house siding, the other edge flexed behind the back edge of the bed.
I used 3 or four pieces of thick, clear plastic sheeting, (the flexible kind, not the one that cracks if bent!) overlapping them by a couple inches, again the plastic went over the fencing, under the siding, and in back of the timbers, then roughly "sealed" each end with pieces of styrofoam;
und dot vas dot!
Oh, boy it was pretty !
I ordered 15 or so Xerics from HGC, mostly the cactus, Rabias, Titanopsis, a small Agave, etc., etc, .
What they show you in their catalog, about how their items are packed, is exactly what you will get!
That package from HCG was a real WOW!!! moment.
The plants were beautiful, healthy, and none were damaged.
HGC's service was as good as anyone's...they are on an "Elite Nursery" list.
Please do order from HGC, you will not be disappointed.
As for the ultimate fate of the raised bed:
I planted HGC's items, making sure to place extra chick grit around their collars, to wick away moisture.
I was surprised to find that the damp basement air leaking thru the windows and into the little greenhouse provided all the water the Xeric plants needed.
Everything overwintered spectacularly, and was beautiful in Spring of 2003 and again in 2004.
Even a Hebe and an Ephedra I got from a local grower.
(2004** divorce final, ** kept the house), I haven't the heart to go back & see if Ol' Roundup Thumbs** has trashed that lovely bed or not.
HCG offers an excellent selection of rare plants and has a beautiful catalog. All plants arrived quickly and in excellent condition. Packaging was good and all plants were well-rooted and a nice size. The perennial pots were shipped with a tiny bag around each pot, loosely rubber-banded at the top to keep the soil in, and made the long trip to PA in nice shape. I will order from them again. Thanks!
I have bought several hundred dollars-worth of plants from HCG over the years. Some have done spectacularly well, others have been just as spectacular failures. I think the key to success with their plants is to understand that they are for western cultural conditions and some will not do well in soils that are, for instance, heavily augmented with compost. Gardeners here in central Wyoming have to practically re-invent our soils in order to get much of anything to grow, and yet some of the plants from HCG like our soil and will disappoint in kinder conditions. I am making a guess at this point to say that probably half of what I have bought from HCG has thrived and half have failed utterly. I blame three things--I am in a rural area with much harser conditions than in town, I am still a rank amateur after gardening all of my life, and because of that, I chose the wrong varieties for my location. I haven't shopped with HCG for a few years so I could allow some festuca to mature and give me a better idea what else to plant in a natives bed, but I did just place an order for some penstemon pinafolius and rhus aromatica--fairly foolproof plants. I anticipate success. If you order from them, ask questions about cultural requirements and research the varieties you want to try really well before spending the money. Their plants come in great packaging and they get up and running pretty quickly, that is if you've made the right choice. All-in-all they are a great resource for western gardeners.
On Mar 11, 2011, hummengberd San Bernardino, CA wrote:
I first heard about HCG from a Hummingbird group on Facebook. It received very high recommendations, so I decided to give them a try. I just received my first order last night and followed their directions for the plants' immediate care. I ordered 11 plants, and every single one was healthy and well packed. I was amazed really as I've never ordered plants online before. I have to say they're all out on the deck now, enjoying some morning sun; to me, they look like they're spreading their little leaves and enjoying their freedom from the packing box. Thank you, HCG. . . I'll definitely be ordering from you again (and soon).