I received two camellias from Camellia Forest this week. I ordered the $27 plants rather than the $16 plants hoping for larger plants. I received two twigs one around 12 inches and the other 14 inches. I live in a state that borders their state. These two plants plus shipping cost me $69. Unless you are looking for something that can't be found anywhere else, I suggest you purchase elsewhere. These plants will take years before they will ever bloom due to their size. I emailed Camellia Forest and expressed my disappointment. They told me they were slow growers...what a rip off!
I just received a Governor Mouton From Camelia Forest
that is covered in some type of fungal leaf spot. I sent them 4 pics at their request, and they admit that there is fungal disease, but they won't replace the plant. I will never buy from them again. So much for their great reputation.They will ship you a diseased plant @ $60 + $15 shipping, and it's your problem.
I've been gardening for 35 years and ordered many a plant from many a nursery. I have had my share of mix-ups, and always been treated fairly and kindly. But not from these folks. I ordered three camellias from Camellia Forest. I planned my entire new garden around these three expensive specimens. A lovely woman spent a good 45 minutes with me helping me to choose which ones were best for my location, and giving me information on how to amend the soil to ensure the plants did their best. Just at the time to ship, I got a brusque and cavalier message from another woman telling me that they didn't have my plants, and thus were not charging me. No apology, no mention of what happened, no offer to help me choose new plants, or suggestions as to how or when I might be able to get new plants, or perhaps get the same varieties but in a different size or later in the season - nothing. Soviet Union customer service.
I called and left a message saying I was flabbergasted to hear that they no longer had the plants I ordered and had not been offered any apology or assistance. I said, like ordering a living room couch, I had really planned the whole garden around these specimens, and that I figured that probably, if they sold couches, and had spent 45 minutes helping me decide which one to buy to be the centerpiece of my living room, they would not have just called and said "oh well, we don't have your couch." I asked them to please call me back and offer me some assistance or at least some information as to what happened. (maybe they had a whole bunch of plants struck down by disease, or maybe they would have more in 2 months - who knew.) I did not raise my voice, curse them, or any other objectionable behavior. I did say I was flabbergasted and completely shocked, and very much hoped to be able to work something out so I could continue with my garden plans.
I got a lovely message from a man named David apologizing and telling me to call him to see what we could work out. I was very hopeful. So I did call, and got the initial lovely woman. But this time she was not lovely. She called me names, told me she was just an employee and what did I want her to do, said I "yelled" on the answering machine, and when I said I did not think I had raised my voice at all, said, well maybe I hadn't but that my voice was "shrill". She told me that they were completely out of plants due to a NYT article, but that since I was so "shrill and difficult", I should go elsewhere to get mine anyway; they did not want my business, said she. Completely bizarre.
She actually asked me what I hoped to accomplish by talking to her, and I told her the above. (that I had hoped to find a work around, maybe get the same plants in a smaller size, or a different variety, or at least to find out what happened. And to find out if they really were not capable of guaranteeing that if I ordered again my plants would be shipped, because they have a retail store as well, and so maybe they don't tend to hold plants for mail order customers.) You know - to be treated like a human being, or, possibly even a valued customer.
No such luck. For wanting to know what happened to my order, objecting to a brusque and cavalier dismissal, and asking for actual customer service, I got name-called and told they were a small company with only three people, they had no more plants, and I should take my business elsewhere. Oh, and the kicker - the caller who was so cavalier, that I thought must have been someone extra they hired to help with the phones during the busy season - apparently she is "one of the original owners," whatever that means. Maybe Mrs. Parks?
I can see why they are a small company, and I expect that they will stay a small company, or go out of business, given the worse than zero customer service they provided me. It is sad, because I was really looking forward to those camellias, and I've already bought the soil amendments and had everything ready. And they were so nice when they were trying to sell me the plants. Once they did not have anything to sell me, that changed in a heartbeat. I understand that it is the busy season for them, and they might be stressed, especially if they had a lot of extra sales due to an article in the Times, but these people were unreliable and mercurial to say the least.
Don't order from them if you hope to get your plants, and definitely don't plan your entire garden around specimens you think you've ordered from them, because they have absolutely no commitment to ensuring that you receive what you order.