On Jul 25, 2015, Agavegirl1 Casa Grande, AZ wrote:
Today, July 25th, 2015 I wanted to place an order. Although I read the reviews I decided the good outweighed the bad. I was also pleased that the company responded quickly and addressed any negative comments, questions and concerns. Obviously they cared.
My problem, however, came when everything I wanted to order came up "not available", "not yet available" or "out of stock". Seriously? We're talking basic plants like succulents, Agaves, Aloes. We're not talking exotics. I thought they had a green house? Things grow in a green house.
I switched to looking at what I call "generic flowers". Mums, lilies, etc. Same thing. So what exactly do they have and what is it they sell?
I would be very leery and overly concerned about browsing their website more, contacting them, signing up for emails or giving out more of my personal contact information than necessary. Since they have been taken over by another company I don't know what type of data they are collecting or what type of consumer base they are trying to build.
I'm sure they are a legitimate company. I'm just very confused why every plant they showed was either unavailable or out of stock.
On Jul 25, 2015, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Jul 27, 2015 8:06 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thanks for your note. We have two main shipping seasons: Feb - June and Sept - Nov. Although we do grow in greenhouses, plants just don't like to be shipped or transplanted in the extreme temps of summer and winter. Ever sat in a FedEx truck for a few days in July in Arizona!!??
The way we (and most, if not all mail-order nurseries) work is that we accept advanced orders during the off-season and we will ship at the right time for planting in your zone. You mentioned agave: We're offering 4 for fall delivery http://www.highcountrygardens.com/perennial-plants/agave Note that we generally have a broader selection of plants in the spring when demand is higher. Also note that our plant selection is constantly evolving. We keep discontinued plants on our site under the 'unavailable' section so the people who bought them in the past can still come and find planting or care information.
Hope that answers your questions/concerns. If not, call us from 7 AM - 5 PM MT, Monday - Friday. 800-925-9387
I just ordered a shipment of plants costing over $200.00. High Country Gardens used to get good reviews on Dave's Garden Website, so I made the mistake ( hopefully not ) of ordering without checking out recent reviews. There are so many negatives I would never have taken a chance if I read them first.
My fingers are crossed. They have a great selection of plants and the ones I chose will look wonderful in my yard if they are healthy when I receive them and if they will live!!
Just received our first order from High Country and it was complete as ordered and arrived on time. However, the packing definitely left something to be desired.
The plants were a little disappointing as to size and quality appearance. However, the root systems looked very good so therefore I wilI withhold final judgement until we see how they do.
On the same day we received our first order from another company and the packing and quality appearance of the plants was far superior (see Annie's Annuals rating). We will plant them on the same day and see how each do.
On Jun 8, 2013, JulieBW Geneseo, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on May 17, 2013, updated June 8, 2013
I placed my order in March, requesting April 15 delivery. Nothing arrived, no notification received by me by that date. I did receive a response to the email I sent, stating that my order would be delivered later due to unexpected weather conditions. I later received a mass email, stating I would receive my order by May 13. I have still received nothing, and no notification regarding the status of my order. I did receive a $10 credit recently, but there was no explanation. I have now just sent another email about my order. UNACCEPTABLE.
On June 8th, 2013, JulieBW changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I have changed my rating from negative to neutral. I did finally receive my plants, and a refund for what was not available.On Jun 8, 2013, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 17, 2013 3:55 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
So sorry for your negative experience. As I've told others below, we're doing our very best under difficult conditions. We're close to clearing our back-orders and crediting folks for any products that we can't deliver, but we're not quite there.
Posted on May 22, 2013, updated May 27, 2013
Posted on May 22, 2013, updated May 22, 2013
I've bought from HCG for several years and always been very happy with plants and service. Didn't get a catalog this year, odd,(didn't know about the changes afoot) but I went online and ordered 6 plants in February (2013), ship date end of April. Called, then e-mailed when plants didn't arrive, delay due to weather problems understandable but they could have sent out a mass e-mail informing customers. Received order mid-May, only 3 plants in box, 2 decent small grass plants, one dried up little stem with 4 leaves supposed to be an Agastache, and a note on the invoice "subbed 3" for 3 other Agastaches I'd ordered that were now unavailable, but they apparently wrote that down and then forgot to pack the plants! So, I paid for 6 plants, have received 2 viable ones (both grasses), paid 15.00 to have the privilege of receiving those 2 little grasses floating around in a box with virtually no packaging inside so the soil was mostly out of the pots. Have sent three courteous e-mails, no response for 4 days now, no refund showing on my credit card, can't get anyone by phone, this is just a shameful way of doing business. Thought if I posted here, maybe I'd get a response from the company this way!
On May 22nd, 2013, growgirl53 added the following:
I'm a "positive" person, so I'd love to be able to change my rating for your company. Your response is appreciated, I will wait to hear from a customer service rep regarding resolution of the issues with my order, and I will be sure to update here with, I hope, the positive outcome.On May 27th, 2013, growgirl53 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I received replies from two HCG representatives immediately after I posted here and through personal e-mail, very cordial and helpful and the issues have now been resolved satisfactorily. I received a full refund posted to my credit card for the ordered plants I did not receive, as well as the Agastache in such poor condition, and I was pleased that the shipping was also refunded which I did not request but I find a very fair measure on HCG's part. I believe they are working very hard to "get on the right track" here, and will keep them on my list to watch with the hope I will be able to order from them with confidence sometime in the future. They carry plants I cannot find here in PA and have been a great source for my "xeric" efforts in my gardens.On May 27, 2013, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 22, 2013 1:57 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We're working through our emails and voicemails as quickly as possible in the order that they came in. We will reach out ASAP.
What a shame. I was going to place an order with this company but after reading the negative responses have changed my mind. I hope High Country gets their act together soon as plants and selection look fabulous.
On May 22, 2013, hardyinokc Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
Posted on October 25, 2012, updated May 22, 2013
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A few years ago, I ordered 6 different ornamental grasses from this company. 6 plants arrived in fine condition; however, a year later, it became apparent that one of the grasses was not a grass I had ordered. They had sent me two of the same grasses, but I was not able to determine this til the grass bloomed. When I attempted to get a replacement grass for the duplicate they sent, I received absolutely NO help from their customer service. Since all 6 plants were labeled according to what my order had been, I had no way of knowing that one of them was labeled incorrectly til the year later when it finally bloomed. I have no problem with their quality of plants, but I have a BIG problem with their poor customer service and attitude.
On April 19th, 2005, hardyinokc changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
Customer service supervisor contacted me and offered to sent replacement plant. Was very friendly. Am looking forward to receiving the replacement grass. Customer service appears to have improved dramatically. Would definitely order from High Country Gardens again in the future.On April 29th, 2005, hardyinokc changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
My replacement plant arrived yesterday. It was a very healthy specimen and was well packed. The only problem is it was STILL not the correct plant; which is why I've changed my rating from "positive" to "neutral". I do appreciate their effort, but it would have been nice to receive the plant I was expecting. On June 2nd, 2006, hardyinokc changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
Well, I decided to try placing an order with HCG again. Big mistake. They sent my order in mid-April, but failed to send the plant I most wanted (ipomea leptophylla). Have spent the last 1 1/2 months attempting to find out when I might possibly recieve this plant, but to no avail. No one can tell me if it has or has not shipped, or when it might ship. I am very disappointed in HCG's lack of communication, and their customer service seems to have deteriorated. I do not understand why all of the communication has been up to me. They should be willing to let their paid customers know what is happening with their orders. Although their customer service reps have stated they would return my calls, I have yet to receive a single call from them. On June 2nd, 2006, hardyinokc added the following:
Well, I decided to try placing an order with HCG again. Big mistake. They sent my order in mid-April, but failed to send the plant I most wanted (ipomea leptophylla). Have spent the last 1 1/2 months attempting to find out when I might possibly recieve this plant, but to no avail. No one can tell me if it has or has not shipped, or when it might ship. I am very disappointed in HCG's lack of communication, and their customer service seems to have deteriorated. I do not understand why all of the communication has been up to me. They should be willing to let their paid customers know what is happening with their orders. Although their customer service reps have stated they would return my calls, I have yet to receive a single call from them. On June 29th, 2006, hardyinokc changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I admit I have had some problems with HCG, but after receiving my most recent plant order (their end of spring shipping sale), I just HAD to change my rating. They may have some problems, but the quality of the plants just cannot be questioned in my opinion. The plants I received were well-packed for shipping, extremely healthy and definitely ready to be planted. Good Job HCG!!!!On April 29th, 2008, hardyinokc added the following:
I ordered from HCG again this spring. My order arrived as scheduled, and all of the plants were in great shape. There was a small problem tho: 1 of the agaves I ordered had a ID tag with it that stated hardy to zone 8; on the HCG web-site when I placed the order, the web-site description stated this agave was hardy to zone 5. I called HCG to check which zone was correct for this plant. They apologized about the mess-up (the on-line description gave the wrong zone) & sent out a replacement plant almost immediately. I really appreciated their prompt attention to the situation. THANX & GOOD JOB!!!!On April 2nd, 2009, hardyinokc added the following:
I placed an order early 2009. The order shipped/arrived as expected. All plants were well packed. In the HCG catalog, they frequently comment (and show pictures) about how well-rooted their plants are, but I think that only applies to the plants in the large 5" pots (they show pictures of well-developed root systems in the 5" pots ONLY). I had ordered a Yucca Radiosa; it arrived in the smaller 3" pot and had very little root system (it seemed to be a very small seedling with only three little leaves). I contacted HCG about the poorly rooted yucca; they responded, and sent me a replacement yucca. I have left the new yucca in the 3" pot because I'm afraid of what I'll find if I check out the roots. I am keeping the "Positive" rating because they did respond and send a replacement plant, but I must admit, I'm very hesitant to order anything from HCG that does not come in the 5" pots, as the smaller pots may or may not have well-developed root systems. I do appreciate the prompt response, good communication, and replacement plant. On April 9th, 2010, hardyinokc changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
On 12-4-09, I placed an order for the Agave neomexicana "sunspot"; I ordered this extra early with the hopes that I would receive a nice-sized specimen. This was the only item I ordered because the catalog indicated that it came in the 5" deep pot. I received this plant yesterday (4-8-10); it did arrive on the correct week & it is alive, but I am greatly disappointed in the size of the plant (less than 2" across). I thought that the 5" pots would have well developed root systems. WRONG! Even though the agave did arrive in a 5" pot, it appeared that the plant had actually been grown in the small cactus pot & was transferred to the 5" pot just before being shipped. All of the root system was in the top inch of soil (why have the other 4 inches of soil in the pot if there are no roots in it?), and the root-ball was still shaped into the small square shape of the small cactus pot. I spent the extra money on this plant because it was supposed to have the well-developed root system that they claim all of the 5" pots have. NOT TRUE. Just because they state the plant comes in a 5" deep pot, do NOT expect the roots to be any better developed than if they were in the small cactus pots. I would really like to place another order with HCG because they do have some plants that I cannot find elsewhere, but this recent experience causes me to hesitate in placing further orders. On April 12th, 2010, hardyinokc added the following:
I have emailed HCG customer service.....no response yet. On April 12th, 2010, hardyinokc added the following:
3:26pm....2nd e-mail sent to customer serviceOn April 12th, 2010, hardyinokc changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Spoke with Victoria at HCG customer service. She offered to file a claim for a refund. Since the plant is actually still alive, I did not feel right expecting a refund. I just hope HCG improves their quality control to ensure that their plants are adequately rooted prior to being shipped out (ESPECIALLY their 5" Premium pots since they like to stress how well rooted the plants in Premium pots are supposed to be). On July 2nd, 2010, hardyinokc added the following:
well, I've done it again.....I placed another order with HCG .... Hope I don't end up regretting it...I really hope the plants arrive well-rooted and in good shape.... will up-date after the plants arriveOn July 12th, 2010, hardyinokc changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Well I received my latest plant order on Friday, July 9th. Plants arrived well-packed and were healthy with nice root systems.On July 23rd, 2010, hardyinokc changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
Well, I was afraid this was going to happen. On 4-9-10, I had left a comment about the tiny agave neomexicana "sunspot" I had recieved from HCG (the one with the practically non-existent root system in the so-called "premium" pot). After struggling for the past 3 months, the poor little thing died this week (exactly what I was expecting because of the lack of root system it had when it arrived). It cost me $15 plus shipping for this extremely tiny agave, & now it's dead. What a waste of money.On July 23rd, 2010, hardyinokc changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Just got off the phone with HCG customer service. On 4-12-10, Victoria offered a refund, but I had declined the refund at that time because the plant was actually alive. Today, HCG informs me that a refund had been issued for that plant on 4-26-10. Last I knew, I had declined the refund offered on 4-12-10, but I guess they issued a refund anyway. It would have been nice if HCG could have notified me that a refund had been issued back in April; now I feel like a FOOL for calling today about a refund on a plant that they say has already been refunded. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS PLEASE. On May 29th, 2012, hardyinokc added the following:
Well, done it again...just placed another order with HCG. Guess we'll see what shape the plants arrive in...hoping they are better rooted that my previous orders. On June 11th, 2012, hardyinokc changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
well, when my most recent order arrived on 5-31-12, one plant had a pot full of roots & was very healthy; however, the other plant arrived droopy and completely wilted; upon removal from the "Premium" 5inch pot, the roots were all in the top inch of soil. I filled out the "Plant Claim" form on on the HCG site on 6-1-12 & received an answer back that same day that my replacement plant would ship on 6-4-12. Today, 6-11-12, I have not received my replacement plant (I really hope it hasn't spent a week in some post office or something...that certainly won't help the plant do well), & I have heard nothing more from HCG. On June 11th, 2012, hardyinokc added the following:
Well, I just received an email from HCG which gives the tracking info for my initial order (which was delivered on 5-31-12) and indicates that 5-31-12 was the delivery date of the Replacement plant. How could 5-31-12 be the delivery date for the replacement plant when I did not submit the Claim Form for replacement until 6-1-12?. So, I guess my replacement plant STILL has not shipped (a week after HCG said it would ship).On June 11th, 2012, hardyinokc changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Just received another email from HCG that states they are now shipping out the replacement plant. Hoping for the best!On June 14th, 2012, hardyinokc changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
My replacement arrived looking great! Just wish the initial plant had been this good so I would not have had to request a replacement. On July 20th, 2012, hardyinokc added the following:
just received an order from HCG yesterday. 2 of the 3 plants were well-packaged and seemed healthy. the little cactus I received in this order had good color but did seem rather small & had lost most of the dirt around the very small root system.On October 25th, 2012, hardyinokc added the following:
Received plant order yesterday...plant seemed to be healthy, but it appeared that FedEx had been very rough with the box during shipping; most of the dirt was out of the pot and the box was about half-smashed. Perhaps HCG should consider changing to UPS or something as FedEx seems to care less and less about how their packages arrive.On May 22nd, 2013, hardyinokc changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
remember when HCG was one of the top 30 companies? most of the feedbacks left since American Meadows took over have been negative...certainly makes me hesitant to order from HCG OR American Meadows...On May 22, 2013, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Apr 9, 2010 12:46 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Have you contacted Customer Service? We would like to help resolve this issue. Customer Service is available Monday through Friday 9am-5pm MST. You can contact us toll free 1-800-925-9387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 "
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.
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 email@example.com.
High Country Gardens
Customer Service Supervisor"
This is the first time I bought from HCG that I was not satisfied. Two of my 8 plants arrived with the soil spewed out into the box, and one of them has half of the young stems completely dead. Also, I had ordered root stimulator to help with planting and it was not in the shipping box. Not sure if it was sent separately as no communication indicated that. I have a feeling they forgot it.
YET ... the 6 other plants in the box [lavenders] all look full, healthy and robust.
Living in NY, I think I probably will stick to more local growers in the future.
On Sep 24, 2011, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Sep 27, 2011 11:08 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
So sorry that some of your plants arrived in less than optimal condition and that a product was missing from the box. We are happy to replace them for you at no charge. You are correct the Root Stimulator Combo Pack should have arrived with your plants. I would like the opportunity to rectify this situation and make sure that you are satisfied. I would like to make sure you get your root stimulator and new plants. Please contact me directly, by phone or email with your order number, at your convenience so I can take care of this for you. Thank you for your business, our goal is your gardening success!
Posted on August 26, 2010, updated July 21, 2011
I placed my first order with HCG this past Spring, all plants arrived looking healthy. After planting everything still looked good, however, 1 plant did not make it. I e-mailed HCG for a replacement, they said it was just past their summer shipping deadline, they would replace it in the Fall, or add it to my next order. I asked for the plant to be replaced in the Fall. I didn't intend to order from them until next Spring, I wanted to see how everything came through the Winter. However, the Fall catalog came, and well....you know how that goes...
Anyway, the replacement came today, looks great, and I'm anxious to see how all the plants fare this winter. I hope they do well, I had a great experience with HCG, and if all goes well with the plants, I WILL be ordering from them again.
On July 21st, 2011, stanlesmith changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Although I still think highly of HCG, I would not recommend them for zone4 and colder. Some of the plants I ordered came back, but not enough to warrent ordering more. Living in WI; I knew it was a crapshoot...sigh...
Ditto the comments from others regarding plant size and - I hate to say it - health of the plants. The plants I received about 6 weeks ago are still struggling to get established, and I fear I may lose a couple of them. I'll probably be able to check on the refund/replacement guarantee and will update if that happens. That said, they are certainly not the smallest or weakest plants I've ever received from a mail order nursery.
On the positive side, prices at HCG are some of the best. They offer many unusual, hard-to-find things. Especially love their focus on xeric and natives, something other nurseries should offer...considering the state of our planet. Will update status of plants in a couple of weeks.
I was generally satisfied with the processing of my on-line order with High Country Gardens a few weeks back - and they were prompt in the shipment of the order. My one complaint though (and I'd read this complaint from other customers) is the puny size and condition of the plants. It appears as if HCG is trying to maximize profits by minimizing plant size. One week after this shipment, I placed an order with Digging Dog Nursery in N. California for similar plants and pricing, and received plants that were easily twice the size of those from High Country Gardens.
On May 12, 2011, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 13, 2011 4:00 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 Feb 4, 2011, jpgreen Roswell, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:
They seem a bit expensive but plants have always arrived in excellent health, done as good or better than advertised, and they have the best packing system i've seen yet
On Feb 4, 2011, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Feb 4, 2011 4:52 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thank you for complementing our plants and packaging. Here at High Country Gardens we grow the majority of our plants in our specially designed 5" deep premium pots. We focus on developing hardy, healthy plants that we care for till the right shipping time for your area. We appreciate you recognizing the extra care we take in developing and shipping our plants.
I ordered three plants from High Country Gardens this fall. They arrived in OK shape. They looked somewhat healthy but they were dry and on the smaller side compared to plants I had ordered from other companies for around the same price. The package they arrived in wasn't the best. Dry dirt was all over the inside of the box and there was hardly any dirt left surrounding the plant. The plants are doing well in the ground, but the reason I chose neutral was because of the way that the plants were packaged. I will consider ordering from this company again because my plants are doing well since being planted, but they should consider a more efficient way of packaging them.
On Oct 29, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Oct 29, 2010 1:18 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. This is very helpful information for our shipping department. I have sent this information to our shipping supervisor for quality control on packing. Please contact me so we can further investigate what may have occurred. I am glad to hear the plants are thriving and hope you will continue to let us serve you.
Ordered 6 plants in the late spring to try out this company. I was surprised when they arrived that the plants were so small. The roots and stems were only about inch long on either end. All but 2 died. Called about a replacement and was told that shipping had stopped for the season and they would send out in September - so much for flowers this summer.Replaced 3 with something different as I hoped to have better luck and originals were no longer available. These were a nice size when they arrived - about 6 inches. If the original shipment had been the same size they might have survived I think. Was surprised that I only received 2 of the 3 replacements and was told they were a slightly different price so they only sent 2 plants. the 4th plant to be replaced would come the following week. Enquired about adding to that shipment to fill in the empty spot in my yard. Did not respond to email when asked about the small credit left on my account. Bottom line - replaced plants seem to be OK as they were bigger - not just 1 inch roots in a 5 inch pot.. Would I order from them again? Not if I can get the plants elsewhere.
On Sep 25, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Oct 1, 2010 8:44 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I am sorry to hear your first shipment of plants was not the usual quality of High Country Gardens. I am glad the replacements were nice and healthy. We do not ship plants late in the heat of the summer (June-mid August) which may have been one reason we could not ship to you immediately.
Our customer service is dedicated to responding to emails within 4 hours. I apologize if you did not receive a response. I know some of our responses have ended up in the spam or junk files. To prevent this from happening you may want to add us as a friend or known email. I would be glad to assist you if you want to contact me. I hope to be of future service to you!
On Jul 3, 2010, ripleydoodle Eckerman, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:
Posted on June 7, 2010, updated July 3, 2010
I requested a copy of HCG's catalog this spring, and afterwards received an email from them with a "ten dollars off a twenty five dollar order" coupon code, so I decided to try them out.
I bought three plants and a shrub. After shipping charges the total for the order was $31.95 (that's after the ten dollar coupon was taken off). So let's call them around $8 each.
Three were in premium pots, one was in a standard pot.
Premium is definitely the wrong name. The plants are small, bedraggled, and don't look healthy or thriving. I will try to nurse them along but I think it's going to be a few years before they get up to size. They are alive, and might survive and be decent sized in a few years, which is the only reason I'm giving a neutral and not a negative rating...though if they don't live I'll most likely change it.
I don't mind buying small things and growing them up, but for $8 each I could get some good sized plants at a local nursery.
I was definitely disappointed when I opened the box and saw the quality of the plants. I highly doubt I'll order from them again.
On July 3rd, 2010, ripleydoodle added the following:
In answer to the comment from Victoria...
I was not referring to "big box stores," I was referring to locally run nurseries.
You may send smaller plants on purpose, and think that that will make them thrive in the long run, but that should be reflected in your prices, don't you think?
Even so...the size was only part of it. The other part was that they looked about half dead, were spindly and browning with broken parts. On Jul 3, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Jun 9, 2010 9:02 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We grow our native and xeric plants lean, tough and ready to take off. Plants with a strong root system and less top growth will do better in your garden. What you see as an impressive plant in most garden centers and big box stores is actually fed with heavy nitrogen fertilizers to push the green growth on top. Many times resulting in floppy weak plants. With perennials you want energy in the roots to take off fast in your garden. You will be amazed at how fast our plants take off and if not, we have a 100% perennial plant guarantee.
High Country Gardens
Customer Service Supervisor
On May 28, 2010, YvonneMal Waymart, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on May 21, 2010, updated May 28, 2010
Posted on May 21, 2010, updated May 21, 2010
Posted on May 21, 2010, updated May 21, 2010
Ordered Ornamental Grasses Sampler in addition to 3 Little Zebra. Opened the box before UPS transit the driveway.
The Miscanthus Gracillimus came with three (3) stalks in the pot. Three... one of which is DEAD. Dead! So now I have 2 stalks. Just despicable. Why would anyone packing a box throw in the Dead Grass Plug?
This is not the first time I have ordered from High Country Gardens. I got their Blue Grey Garden and the grass does best so I decided to stick with the grass. Takes 3 years for the plugs to start looking good... how many will it take for 2 stalks of grass to fill in.
To my wits end with disappointment.
On May 21st, 2010, YvonneMal added the following:
Victoria (excuse my disappointment which has so clouded my head from I opened that box). , I am not holding your hand to send a replacement so I don't know why I have to call and why you need my allowance to sendd it when I just made the order and you have my address in your system. I will take a photo of the thing tomorrow and send it to you also.
On May 21st, 2010, YvonneMal added the following:
I don't relish having to leave a negative. Nor do I relish the thought of calling when I placed my order with a company that I expected to come through on its plants. I sent the email w/photos of the grass in its pot. Keep in mind that I just got it this afternoon. On May 28th, 2010, YvonneMal changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Replacement received. Clearly as a top 5 company... sliding sickly plants into customers' orders is poor company standard.On May 28, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On May 21, 2010 2:52 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thank you for the report on the plant shipment. We strive to grow and ship the best plants in the business. Please allow us send a replacement, which of course, is free. Call or e-mail directly so I can personally handle the replacement order.
On May 21, 2010 4:22 PM, High Country Gardens added:
I request that customers contact me so I can obtain the order information since that is not usually included on the comments. I have now searched are system and was able to locate your account by your user name. You do not need to contact me, I have set a replacement to ship to you next week. Feel free to send a photo if you would like.
On Apr 22, 2010, MartBright Centre Hall, PA wrote:
Posted on January 15, 2009, updated April 22, 2010
I bought two preplanned gardens for my new property, which receives full sun and a LOT of wind. Probably a quarter of the plants arrived in poor condition, but I only asked for a few replacements--I guess I didn't feel right about asking for replacements for as many as were in poor shape; I thought I could coax them along as I am a very experienced gardener. All of the lemon thyme plants died, and thyme is not that hard to grow! Many of the other plants remained rather stunted (they were small anyway to begin with, which was rather disappointing) but some of them really took off--the yarrows and the catmints and the roses were doing super-well in the summer and fall (now they're under snow). The roses are tiny plants but they're own root and they take off. Beware of witches brooms though on rosa eglanteria; I've had two I had to destroy in previous years. I did order one again though because I like them, foolish as it sounds.
Overall the customer service was good and the plants middling--I would not order again unless there was something I could not find locally that I really really wanted. It's just too risky--not just with this company but with almost any mail order company, except for Select Seeds Antique Flowers, which is the best company on the planet!!
On April 22nd, 2010, MartBright added the following:
Just want to add that despite claims that many plants are rabbit-proof my experience is NOT. I talked to them about this and they acknowledged that yes, if the bunnies are hungry enough they'll eat a lot of the plants advertised as rabbit-proof. I think they should change the copy in their catalog to reflect this fact. After all, I don't live in the desert where there's literally nothing else to eat. I live on the east coast.On Apr 22, 2010, High Country Gardens responded with:
"On Apr 22, 2010 2:00 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
We are sorry for this misunderstanding. We offer many plants that are rabbit 'Resistant', not rabbit "Proof". All deer or rabbit resistant plants need to become established before they either emit an odor or taste that critters find unappealing. We recommend protecting young plants until they can build up their resistance.
Posted on October 10, 2009, updated November 09, 2009
I ordered 3 plants from this company at the end of the spring shipping period. They had not been secured in the box, and arrived with many of the branches broken off. They offered to replace them in the fall, but I said I’d see what I could do. The roots were in good shape, and the plants recovered (one later died but it was while I was on vacation so I count that as my fault).
I decided to give them another try. I ordered 11 plants and some bulbs for fall shipping. The bulbs look good (shipped separately at appropriate planting times with no extra shipping charges). The plants were well-secured in the box. Of the plants, 6 look good, 2 look healthy but poor form (long branches with foliage just near the ends), 1 looks wilted and hasn’t recovered in 48 hours, and 2 look terrible (pale, wilted, tips of leaves dried out, no roots seen at the edges when carefully taken out of the pot) – I’m not hopeful that the last 3 will survive, but I’ll do what I can for them.
When I buy plants I want healthy plants. I don’t want 3 out of 11 to look like they'll probably require replacement/refund - even if that process is easy, and I don’t want plants that will probably recover if I give them extra care, (or that I’m embarrassed to have in my garden because they look so unhealthy). Their selection is wonderful, but I don't think I'll order plants from High Country Gardens again.
On November 9th, 2009, socal24 added the following:
Of the three plants that I thought might not survive, only one died. One put out nice new growth, and one is just sitting - hopefully it will put out new growth in the spring.
I've purchased three items from High Country gardens. I always bulk at the price of their items, but they have drought tolerant plants that I can't find elsewhere. The plants I've received haven't done that great, but they haven't died yet either. They only big complaint I have is the purchase of a water sprinkler. I ordered it from High Country Gardens because I thought they probably had high quality products due to the price they charge. It cost me about $50.00 with the shipping and turned out to be rather worthless. A month later I saw the exact same sprinkler at Home Depot for $12.00. I'd buy from them again if they had something I really wanted and couldn't find it anywhere else, but if given the opportunity to purchase it elsewhere, I would shy away from this company.
On Jul 6, 2009, flowerdervish Walnut Creek, CA wrote:
I love their catalog and their whole emphasis on xeriscaping and drought-tolerant products -- but in reality, the plants from this supplier have not performed well for me.
Most of them have quickly turned spindly, and just this weekend, I ripped out several dying or dead plants, all of which I'd received from this supplier.
Granted, this could be due to something I did wrong and/or to me still getting the feel for the microclimate I'm in now (moved from San Francisco to Contra Costa County, in the eastern inland Bay Area) -- but meanwhile, most of my plants from other sources have done well in my two-plus years in my new home, whether they were plants that I bought after moving or ones I brought with me from my old residence.
I live in zone 3 in the mountains outside of Las Vegas. I ordered about 20 perreniel flowering plants which arrived in excellent condition. They were supposed to be cold tolerant and bunny and deer resistant. They started out well and seemed to be taking to their new home until the bunnies discovered them, and bunny resistant or not, they are now twigs or eaten to the ground!! Yikes!! Anybody have any suggestions?
I ordered two pre-planned gardens as well as several oriental poppies. The plants that came in the premium pots were fine, but those that were in the standard pots are amazingly small. I paid my local nursery and High Country Gardens the same for elfin pink penstemons. Those from the local nursery were in four-inch pots and were blooming. Those from HCG were in standard pots and maybe stand two inches tall. I doubt that any of the plants from HCG (penstemons or any of the others) will bloom this year, and will be surprised if they're old enough to bloom next year.
Because HCG carries species of xeric plants that are difficult to find locally, I'll probably order from them again. But, I will not order any of the pre-planned gardens or anything that comes in a standard pot.
I will also add that shipping was as scheduled and the plants were well packaged.
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
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 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.
My garden club friends highly recommended High Country Gardens to me and I've been receiving their catalogs for a few months now. I placed my first order in mid-May. I received my nine standard pot plants (3 each of 3 different plants) when expected and in lovely shape and packaging. Very ingenious I thought. I immediately put the 9 containers outdoors in a shallow baking pan full of water as I couldn't get to planting for two full days after receipt. It's been a month now and 8 of the 9 plants are flourishing. The one that is completely dead used to be a Thymus serpyllum. All 3 are planted together and in the same manner. Why 1 would die and 2 flourish is a mystery to me unless it wasn't healthy to begin with. I'd like to know if others have had this problem.
I am rating High Country Gardens with a positive but with a reservation.
Most importantly, the plants arrived in wonderful health. Second, the packing was outstanding. Only one plant, Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue', had minor breakage. Third, some of the plants I ordered are only available at HCG and I am thrilled to have them. I will be ordering again in the fall.
My main reservation is with one plant I received, Pelargonium Endlicherianum - Turkish Pelargonium. They are advertised in the catalog and on the web site as being "two year old blooming plants." While all the other plants I ordered had, wonderful roots that I had to 'rough up' before planting the roots on the Pelargonium Endlicherianum are almost non-existent. There are a very few very white, new looking roots and no older looking roots at all. The plants are also extremely small. I received this order 5/23/08 and sent an email to HCG 5/24/08. I didn’t expect an answer right away because of it being a holiday and a weekend though I did receive an almost immediate response; in part, it said: “I am sorry to hear that the Pelargonium Endlicherianum were so small and that the root systems were not well developed. I will need to investigate to see if the plants you were sent were from a group that were not ready rather than the group that should have been shipped.
I, or someone else from Customer Service will get back to you either Monday or Tuesday.”
It is now Wednesday and I have yet to hear back. I’m guessing HCG is still catching up from the holiday. If I hear from them, I will update my comments.
On May 28th, 2008, angele added the following:
I've heard back from HCG. I emailed a picture of the roots to them and they think they look fine but have put a note in my file regarding my concerns. I'm satisfied with their response. I am going to add some photos of the plants I received to my DG Journal or Diary so if you are interested you can see. I do expect these plants to survive but am not planting them in the ground. I'm putting them into larger pots and hope to plant them in the fall.On September 19th, 2008, angele changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I'm changing my rating from positive to neutral is because I have received an order from ANOTHER company. This second order is FAR superior especially in the developement of the plant roots. Out of the entire HCG order only 1 plant has performed outstandingly - Agastache Ava. Several plants have done okay but more importantly several have done absolutely nothing. They are smaller than when I planted them in the Spring. It is my strong opinion that the Pelargonium Endlicherianum were not two year old plants as advertised. This really bothers me the most. I lost one and the other two are barely hanging on. The packing from HCG was outstanding but the plants, in my opinion, did not live up to the advertising.
The order I received from the different company has taken off like gangbusters. The roots were amazing. The plants showed almost no transplant shock and started growing within days. Several are already blooming. I am taking into consideration that I planted the order from HCG in mid-spring and this second order in late-summer. Both orders were of perennials.
If you were to ask me in person I would tell you that I probably will not order from them again. The Pelargonium Endlicherianum really left me with a bad feeling about HCG.
Placed my first order with them this spring and am very satisifed. Plants arrived the week I requested and were not dried out despite my East Coast location. Except one, everything arrived in good size and healthy. One Salvia that they shipped was packed with too much water, and sustained significant root damage, so they are reshipping it. I'm not sure how well some of these Western plants will grow here, but if they fail, it won't be the fault of HCG.
On June 2nd, 2008, mwieder changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
The replacement they sent showed up worse off then the original; upon inspecition it looks like they just took a cutting from another plant, put it in soil and shipped it over. They made the same mistake they did last time, waterlogging the soil, which is very bad for a salvia and kills the roots. I told them explicitly this was the problem the first time and they repeated it again. You'd think for a company that expresses expertise in xeric plants, they would know not to ship them in water logged soil.
HCG has a great selection of plants. I've made several orders in the last two years. The plants arrive pretty much as expected - which is to say quite small - but I think the small root systems have a better chance of transplanting successfully in my marginal-soil desert garden. I do have a couple of negative experiences though. I made one transaction that included a small discount (I think it was $5) but the discount wasn't applied when I completed the online order. I sent email about it and the response said I should call if I found the order was placed without the discount. By that time, with the charge already put through to my VISA, I pretty much blew it off. With the last order I placed this year, Jan 29, all three of the lavendars, all four of the alyssum and three of the four verbena have died. (Jasmine, nolina, fallugia, buddleia and one verbena from the order doing OK.) I filled out the online replacement form when the first alyssum died within a few days of planting but never got a response. In the meantime, the others have died, but because gardening in my area is so difficult I usually just write off the loss to the environment, and my inexperience with desert gardening, and don't seek reimbursement. To wrap it up, my only beef with HCG is their failure to follow through with online service. For me, making phone calls is a lot more inconvenient than handling transactions by email.
I like their selection, but I agreed with Joe777. I ordered Veronica X Blue Reflections around the same time with Joe777. It was dead. I did not have any problem with other two type of plants. It seems that there was some troubles with that particular plant..... If so, they should not sell. I am not sure if I order anything from them. What's the chance to receive troubled plants?
On May 25, 2007, trachecache Colorado Springs, CO wrote:
I am not quite sure how to rate HCG. I love their products, website, newsletters and customer service. I have ordered three times from them. The first time, stems of several of the items were broken at the base of the plant and were scattered throughout the box. Customer service replaced them immediately with plants that were not as large as the first damaged set. They lived and may even thrive this year. The second time (ordered in Dec 06 for delivery in May 07), the packaging did not include the nifty foam sheets and rubber bands. The dirt was missing from most of the pots. Since it was not hot when it was shipped and delivered, all but one survived. The one broken and dirtless plant was planted with the rest and is still alive only, while the others are thriving. I did not contact customer service because I considered damaged plants part of the package deal. Today's shipment, (ordered just last week for shipment this week) was very well wrapped with the foam sheets and rubber bands and arrived in excellent order. However, my order of 8 Baptisia Australis was swapped for 8 Aster X frikartii "Monch," not at all alike! Once again, customer service was extremely responsive. However, the delays due to the reorders do put a crimp in my family's planting schedule.
So, great products, fantastic customer service, extraordinary website, but significant problems in shipping.