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Comments regarding J.L. Hudson, Seedsman

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  Feedback History and Summary  
271 positives
4 neutrals
5 negatives


Neutral RoseyQ
(8 reviews)
On Apr 5, 2012, RoseyQ Crystal Lake, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Posted on December 17, 2006, updated April 5, 2012
I like this company very much.

On April 5th, 2012, RoseyQ changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:

The reason why I am not ordering from them this year is becuase it's too much work to place an order. You have to send them an email with cut and pasted decriptions of what you want, the quanity and price, add it all up, figure the correct shipping fee, send them the email request, then you have to pay through PayPal. It's a two-step process. They really do make ordering alot of work for their customers and I find no other seed companies ask this of their customers in order to sell seeds.

Maybe they could look at the other top 5 companies at the Garden Watchdog and see how they recieve and process orders online.

Neutral jameserrb
(2 reviews)
On Sep 12, 2011, jameserrb wrote:

I bought from this company a few years ago. Their catalog was easy to read and find things in, their prices were good. and delviery was prompt, that's all anyone could really expect. My only complaint was i wrote a short note inquiring about a certian speices, the owner wrote back very disturbed by my question. I'm not sure, but it sounded like he was disturbed because he felt I questioned his integrity via his products. I never wrote back explaining it was nothing personal, rather I told myself in the future if I've any questions to use google rather than ask him. His reply really did disturb me just because he was so angry, and i hadn't a clue my question would cause that kind of reaction. I'd do business with them again, but don't ever ask any questions.

Neutral Hypatia10
(2 reviews)
On Jul 5, 2010, Hypatia10 Santa Monica, CA wrote:

I put "neutral" because I haven't ordered yet, so I hope this doesn't distort their ratings.

Reason for this feedback is that I am VERY enthusiastic about this company's commitment to evolution, as opposed to fanatic religious dogma.

Second, I note that they at the end of the Web site, they offer homage to Hugh Thompson, hero of My Lai. This was a terrible incident in the Vietnam War. Most people today would not remember the unbelievable slaughter of civilians that day -- old, young, women, children -- by American soldiers under the command of Lt. William Calley. Thompson was the hero who landed his chopper, stepped between the soldiers and what was left of the civilians, and threatened to shoot if they did not stop the killing at once. It took years for the atrocity to be revealed to the public. Lt. Calley was tried and received a slap on the wrist, whereas Hugh Thompson was reviled and threatened.

Get the story:

Neutral DonShirer
(15 reviews)
On Dec 29, 2006, DonShirer Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:

I placed my first order with them last spring with mixed results.
Gaura, centaurea, platycodon and lobelia did well.
Several other perennials germinated but did poorly after transplanting.
This may not be their fault since our soil is generally poor, and I may not
have enriched it enough.
Their Bulls Blood Beet and (surprisingly) Viola Tricolor did not
germinate well.
I may order from them again, since their catalog is quite informative,
but at present I cannot give them a standing ovation.

On Dec 29, 2006, J.L. Hudson, Seedsman responded with:


On Feb 20, 2007 8:04 PM, J.L. Hudson, Seedsman added:

Mr. Shirer placed his request January 16th, and his seeds were mailed January 20th, 2006. We heard nothing more from him until seeing his remarks on Garden Watchdog.

The seeds supplied were good - the Bull's Blood Beet had germination well over the USDA Federal Standard of 80%, and the Viola had close to its maximum germination of about 25% (see below).

When people complain to us, we don't mind - we thank them! I've always said that the rare valid complaint about seed germination is worth $1000 - if a bad lot somehow slips by our quality control program, or particular lot of seed "goes off" in between regular scheduled germination tests, and a client brings this to our attention, we can pull the lot, retest it, and stop distribution if bad. This helps prevent others from having a bad experience, and keeps our reputation intact.

Even an invalid complaint about germination is worth $100 - because by replacing the seed and explaining to the client what might have gone wrong in the sowing of the seed, we can both help the client achieve better success with seeds, and show them that the seed was not at fault, and that we take seed quality seriously.

But if the client never tells us that they had poor germination, we have no chance of making things right. Unfortunately, Mr. Shirer never contacted us at all about these seeds. We wish he had! If he had, we would have reported that the Bull's Blood Beet that he ordered in January 2006 had given 85% when tested just two months before in November 2005, and gave 92% tested June 2007, and gave 96% tested in December 2006 (yes, many seeds go up in germination for several years before they start to go down). Certainly if he had no germination, something was wrong in the conditions when he sowed them. If he had contacted us, we would have gladly sent him another packet to try, and reported to him the results of our test.

The Viola tricolor Sawyer's Black is a tricky one to germinate, and under the best of conditions it usually gives only low germination. Violas can be very tricky, some requiring a prechill, exposure to light, or treatment with GA-3 in order to get germination. Under our description of this seed, we clearly note that it has naturally low germination. Again, we would have sent him another packet with suggestions on how to get better results.

His poor results are no reflection on his skill - he got good results from the Gaura, another kind that is often tricky to germinate.

Seeds are living things and even the best among us will have unexplained failures of germination. Even in our laboratory tests under controlled conditions we sometimes have unexplainable failures, with the same seed giving good results when retested. As we pros say "Go figure!"

So I urge everyone to always, always complain, but be sure you contact the supplier FIRST - don't publicly complain about someone unless you have contacted them first, and given them a chance to fix any problem. All mail-order suppliers are concerned about their reputations, and it is unfair to diminish their reputation without contacting them first.

We are glad Mr. Shirer only gave us a "Neutral" rating (rather than Negative), and he also showed his honesty by mentioning that his soil might have been at fault.

Rule of thumb - don't publicly complain about someone until you have contacted them and given them a chance to fix whatever the problem - it's only fair.

Please, send a friendly report of your results, and you will receive a friendly, helpful reply in return!"

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