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Posted on May 7, 2008, updated July 11, 2011
I collected my mail from the mailbox one day, and as I sorted through the various items, lo and behold! there was a letter addressed to one of my cats. I opened it on her behalf, and it was an application to join the National Home Gardening Club, complete with a personalized membership card! I was unaware that she had any horticultural interests other than rolling in the catnip and digging in the mulch. Needless to say, she did not become a member. I still wonder how her name got on their mailing list. Cats are smart animals, but they don't apply for garden club memberships!
On July 11th, 2011, tomtkitty added the following:
Once again, one of my cats has received this most generous offer of a rototiller, a sprinkler, a lawn mower, and a few other items that she, lacking opposable thumbs, cannot use.
According to the letter, it's no secret among my friends and neighbors that she is an outstanding gardener & passionately devoted to her hobby. As her owner, however, this comes as news to me. I seem to be the only one working in the garden. How did this company manage to get my cat's name? She will have to fill out her own form if she wishes to "apply for this exclusive membership". I will not contribute to her delinquency. I will not pay for her subscription to the magazine.
On Jul 7, 2011, hardyinokc Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
The first couple of years as a member of the National Home Gardening Club, I was sent 2 or 3 different products to test. I was then offered the opportunity to become a "Lifetime" member. I paid for the "Lifetime" membership in about 2003, expecting to continue receiving products for testing. I have not received a single product to test since becoming a Lifetime member. I suspect that receiving products to test is just their way of getting members to pay the big bucks for the Lifetime membership. I guess the product testing is just for new members or members they are trying to convince to pay for the Lifetime Membership. Also, I have noticed that the Gardening-How-To Magazine seems to have shrunk to fewer pages over the past few years.
On Jun 22, 2011, BabsERNurse Whidbey Island, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:
I joined Nat'l Home Gardening Club just over a year ago. I have received several items for "testing" and "feedback" that so far have been fairly decent items.
My complaint is about the gardening books that have been sent. At first they came at a more reasonable rate. About one every 6 weeks. I would go online, pay my bill when I received it with the book and it seemed like I had turned on a batting practice machine. They started spewing out to the point that they were coming every week! So, I did some sleuthing to find the phone number to call (1-800-324-8454) and called to have my membership cancelled and of course get the books stopped.
I spoke with a customer service person who went into my account and noticed I had received MANY books and had paid for each of them, so she put a notification on my account to only send one book every 2 months and gave me a $10.00 off discount as well. She explained it would probably take about 28 days to get this into the system as they work on a monthly set up and if another book came in the meantime, to ignore the bill.
So, all I can do now is wait to see if this really happens. If the books keep coming at the rate they had in the past, I will call them back and cancel my membership. I just hope I haven't been a sap and allowed someone to get away with making a fool out of me.
Other than what I've listed above as a gripe, I have been quite satisfied with the items and information I've received from the club. I'm not the most experienced gardener and all the information I can get is helpful. Many blessings on Dave's Garden and all the wonderful folks who post here with their experiences and information. I'm also thankful for the Watchdog List and ability to add my own personal experience.
On Jun 17, 2011, RebeccaLynn Winston Salem, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
Today I received in the mail a large envelope with an offer to join the National Home Gardening Club. I spent ten or fifteen minutes reading all the information. It sounded good, but before I proceded in joining, I decided to check Dave's Garden Watchdog to see if there were any reviews of the company. After reading many of the reviews, I've decided not to join - too many problems have arisen for "members." In addition to being a member of Daves Garden, I also order plants, bulbs, etc. from several different mail order companies. Still I wonder if Daves Garden provided my name and address to National Home Gardening Club. If so, in light of the many negative reviews of the company, I would hope Daves Garden will no longer sell names/addresses to this company. I truly believe that WE ARE KNOWN BY THE COMPANY WE KEEP. I have loved and trusted Daves Garden for many years.
On Apr 28, 2011, Alaska_Jim Eagle River, AK wrote:
Although ultra-aggressive in its marketing tactics, this company deserves at least a little credit. Admittedly I joined this club thinking I was just signing up for 12 magazines @ $1/month along with some freebies like many others out there. I'm usually not the type to skip reading the fine print but have to admit I did so when I joined the NHGC. I did my usual "cut n paste" of the agreement details which I saved without giving it much thought. Thing is now that I go back through and read it, everything was laid out right there in black and white. Just wish I would have read it BEFORE I signed on for the pains in the butt to come.
I joined the NHGC back in February and like others sent in the little card for the "freebies" (pruning shears, knee pad, etc..) Just today (4/28/11) I received my package of freebies in the mail - not exactly what I call fast but at least I eventually ended up getting the stuff.
The pruning shears aren't exactly heavy duty but they aren't as cheap as my old pair and if I ever get back down to 110 lbs or if I need a one-kneed kneeling pad, I'll be set!
Seriously though - I guess free is free and these items aren't bad for free.
I sent in my first $5 gas redemption coupon for the 1st quarter of the year. I received a confirmation e-mail letting me know they received it and it was in process then a week or so later I got a check for $5. I scanned the check for any fine print to make sure I wasn't signing away my first born by cashing it and so far so good - check cleared with no issues or strings attached and I just sent my 2nd redemption coupon for the 2nd $5 this week - we'll see how that goes.
Like others just after joining I was shocked to see I somehow owed $10 when I logged in to my online NHGC account. When I contacted customer service to see what was up they told me it was part of the product preview I signed up for. I was furious and told them I would not open the package when it arrived and that I'd simply mark it "Return to Sender - refused" as I was not interest in part of the product preview program. I also told them not to bother sending me any other items to "preview". The customer service rep said, "OK. I'll take you off the program but it's too late for me to do anything about the book because it's already in the mail".
At that time I also told her I wanted nothing to do with a lifetime membership and that I only signed up for the magazine and that's it. Again I got an, "OK. I will take you off the life membership program list". I have recieved a "2nd notice" to my "selection" to the life member program but simply threw it away. In case I ever have any issues down the road I am saving the e-mail from the customer service rep confirming my desire to not be bothered about the life membership and if I get a third notice about the matter I will e-mail them again.
When the package containing the book (I assume - never open the package) for me to preview arrived I immediately did as I said I would and took it to the post office and refused the package. That was back in March. Then I received a letter in the mail (probably about 2 weeks ago - mid April) from them asking me to either send back the book or send the $10 and there was also a yes/no box for me to mark as to whether I wanted more books to preview or not.
At first I was pretty fired up since I knew I refused the book which means it was returned to them already and also since I'd already asked for no more items to preview and was told I wouldn't be bothered with it but I decided to simply mark the 'no' check box on the return receipt and sent it back them to see what would happen next to see if they'd actually honor my request.
So far no more preview items and to my surprise today I got an e-mail confirmation that the book they'd sent me back in March (the one I returned "refused") had been returned and that my account had been credited and sure enough I'm now back to $0 on my account.
So all-in-all I'd have to say my experience with them so far has been a pain in the caboose but thus far they've followed through with most of my requests to be left alone - they're just a little slow in confirming things and fairly aggressive in their marketing tactics. I have admit I've pretty much gotten my $12 worth so far in the way of the $5 check for gas and the pruning shears. And assuming I get the remaining 3 checks for gas I'll have redeemed more than my $12 worth but we shall see.
Who knows though maybe there's more pains in the $@# to come but so far I'm OK with what I signed up for and if I'd have read the agreement before submitting my order, I might have recognized the issues to come and avoided it altogether but so far my experience hasn't been as bad as others and the NHGC customer service has been pretty decent to deal with. I will certainly update my preview with any good or bad items I experience down the road but so far not-so-bad.
On Apr 27, 2011, aeastabrooks Soap Lake, WA wrote:
I too received the invitation to join their club which is how I found the davesgarden site... always investigate where you're thinking of putting your money!
Anyway, whether or not I join, I wanted to help alleviate some of the ill feelings many posters have toward their garden vendors. I was in marketing for awhile and can tell you that your name was not necessarily sold by your garden providers.
Acquisition lists - the lists companies buy to help them acquire new customers - are generated in a variety of ways... many of which are all 'public disclosure' venues.
More than likely, the fact that your own a home, have public utilities in your name, have children, live in a suburb - or a town, or the country, subscribe to better homes & gardens, forbes, wall street journal, shop at macy's, and a whole litany of other items was the deeming factor in you being included in this acquisition list.
It is actually very expensive for companies to buy mailing lists and often they will opt to blanket an entire zip code - all know names at all known addresses (much cheaper list though the response rate is lower) within designated zip codes.
I say all this in the hope that you will forgo any bitter feelings toward your customary and usual vendors - though I can't guarantee it wasn't them, I'd still wager it wasn't!
I have not ordered any plants or gardening supplies since moving to our current house - nothing that would have put me on a mailing list with potential for targeted resale... I've ordered shoes and items from ebay on-line - that's it and I'm fairly sure this place wouldn't pay money to any of them for my name. :)
Hope I've been of some help...
JUst an FYI for all of you who are speculating that your seed companies and other places that you order tools & plants from are selling your addresses to National Home Gardening Club:
I have NEVER ordered from any mail-order companies. This past year, I decided to sign up for Garden Gate magazine, via *this* website. (Dave's Garden) So today, in the mail, I got the "Congrats, you have been selected.." packet in the mail from National Home Gardening Club. The ONLY places who could have sold them my address are DG or Garden Gate. Shame on them. :(
After Googling the company and finding the reviews here, I'll be filing my packet for the Gardening Club (and NOT mailing it in). If I get a bill later, I'll be filing a claim with the State Attourney General's Office *and* the BBB here in MN. That would NOT be cool. I just wanted to find a fun website to learn about plants/flowers and thought it would be safe to order the magazine that they recommended.
Well, first of all - I am not a scammer as one poster inferred about anyone making a positive comment about this club. I have been a member of the club for over 10 years, about 7 years as a life member. I have been very satisfied with what the club has had to offer. When I converted to being a life member, I had no problem receiving the credit for the years I'd paid an annual fee. I've never received products that I did not request from them. They do, however, send out packets of information about products and trial offers. If you accept the trial offer, you do need to tell them that you don't want to continue receiving the products, if they are a series. I did accept an offer for gardening books and when I decided I no longer wanted to receive them, I notified them and did not receive any further mailings from them. If you join only to get expensive products free through the product testing, you will likely be disappointed - not everyone gets a tiller or lawnmower to test. Many of the test products are things like seed packets, gloves, etc., although there are limited opportunities for major product testing. The bi-monthly magazine is colorful and while the articles are generally of a basic to intermediate nature, they are interesting and well written. The bulletin board is probably my only disappointment about the club. The intent of the board to share gardening successes, failures, and knowledge is good, but I feel like too many people use it like a social network and seem quite persistent about getting others on the board to march to their negative drummer. I'm not sure that is the club's fault, though. All in all, it seems to me like a pretty good deal for the money. I'm not aware of any other garden magazine you can get for $12 a year.
On July 30, 2010, kfoye changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
OK. This is one of those things that drives me crazy and has led me to develop the following saying "The seeds of knowledge are rare and very difficult to germinate while the seeds of ignorance are like virulent weeds, which once germinated are nearly impossible to kill." Some posters giving a negative rating have pointed out the "fact" that the positive rating posters must be plants by this company because they are all new posters who signed up and posted this one review. In a quick look at the first page alone, there are 11 positive ratings from first time posters and there are 11 negative ratings from first time posters. One of the folks who insists that the positive ratings are part of the scam has a grand total of two posts him or herself. I am not supporting or negating this company and I am not saying that people who just sign up do not have every bit as much right to post their opinions as those who have posted more frequently. But I do want to point out the fact that it is very, very dangerous to accept something as fact simply because someone else says it is. And, it is unfortunate that this type of behavior is occuring on the Garden Watchdog site, as I have always seen this as a very credible source of information. But, even with a credible source of information, people need to not accept as fact things that just don't add up.
I haven't joined, and probably won't based on the negative feedback I found here. The dead giveaway that this was a scam is the line "it's no secret among your firends and neighbors that you are an outstanding gardener". LOL...my yard is ALL weeds! I can't grow grass. I sent away to Gurney's for a few plants (which I promptly killed) and so they were obviously the ones that sold my name/address. It just sounds too good to be true...and after hearing about their scammy tactics, I want no part of them...and have my doubts about Gurney's too if they will sell my info (though they've been great about replacing the dead plants - twice). So as you can see, they will send this to ANYONE, including me.
I just want to thank all of the contributors to Dave's Garden for always steering me in the right direction. After reading many of the comments, I have decided to pass. I always have to remind myself, "If it's too good to be true...it probably is".
On Jun 8, 2010, perenniallyme Jamaica Plain, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
THIS IS JUST A COMMENT - NOT A RATING.
I came here to check out this co. after receiving a solicitation from them today to join. I noticed that ALMOST EVERYONE WHO GAVE THEM POSITIVE RATINGS DID SO ON THE DAY THEY JOINED DG, AND MADE NO OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS TO DG OR RATINGS OF ANY OTHER COMPANY, SO I BELIEVE THEY ARE COMMENTS POSTED BY THE COMPANY IN QUESTION, OR AT THEIR REQUEST. Based on all the other comments (negative), I will not join, despite the offer of 4 gifts including a fiskars bypass pruner, a kneeling pad, $20 in gas rebates, and a $100 grocery coupon card (not sure what exactly the last 2 are).
On Mar 29, 2010, Antony_7 McConnelsville, OH wrote:
Like most others, I got the offer through the mail, and I was intrigued. I sent in my intent to join the club for $12 per year, and I promptly received the magazine (6 issues per year.) This is where the guerrilla tactics begin. Contrary to the offer, the National Home Gardening will charge you for two years of subscription, not one year as suggested. I initially refused to pay, and quickly they sent me nasty, threatening letters. I gave in and paid. I then received only one of my free gifts, a small pair of pruners.
By this time I had read other reviews about bad experiences with books. I contacted them via email that I wished to receive only the magazines and no books or test products. I have, to this date, not received any of the books as other customers have, so I cannot comment on the quality of the book club, however, I was grateful that my request was promptly fulfilled. I have received a fair quantity of junk snail mail, which I am not pleased with.
The magazine, which club members receives only 6 times a year, is colorful, organized, and well-written. The magazine is targeted toward beginners, as other reviewers stated, but the articles remain enjoyable. Overall, however, the magazine remains wanting. It is simply too little with too few articles.
The website has plenty of potential. The layout is bright and professional. The articles are concise, although sometimes a bit too concise. There is an active forum for its members. There's even an events calendar (albeit the events are pricey to attend.)
If it were not for the sketchy tactics of the management, the National Home Gardening Club would be a small step above mediocre. I will, however, not recommend anyone but the brave to dare venture into this club.
On Jul 3, 2009, kenrnoto Westminster, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:
Isn't it funny that almost all, and I mean just about all, the Positive Remarks were made from members who signed up the day they made the positive remark!
Seems like that company will make a new member, have them post a very Positive Remark, then that's the last you ever hear of them.
Now, I saw an advertisement for this company on Facebook. I decided to check them out. What I saw is what many have posted here - it's basically a scam.
They tell you you're getting this great pruner and trowel for free - but they leave out that they are poorly made. The one photographed isn't even the one your supposed to get.
The Scam is that they'll give you all this stuff during your free 30-day trial. You get a magazine plus these two garden tools (that's their current offer).
Then they'll bill you for your subscription - $12 annually they say. But what really happens?
According to the reviews on Dave's Garden and other websites that I checked - you get a bill for $24 - two years.
If you agree, then they'll send you an offer for a lifetime membership - $200. I guess they figure since you were a sucker to pay the $24 instead of the originally offered $12, then you're enough of a sucker to pay $200 for a lifetime membership.
As P.T. Barnum used to say: "A sucker is born every minute!"
And what about the testing of tools and all? They claim if you qualify they'll send you a garden tool to test. And they say that you may also qualify to keep it. Sure you can keep it if you pay for it! Or if you pay for the "P and H", where the "P" now stands for "processing fee" and the "H" stands for "handling fee". Gee, I thought processing and handling were the same thing, didn't you? Years ago the "P" stood for postage, but now these scammers have changed it to processing. Check that out, more and more ads on TV are saying "P + H", then in the fine print you find out the P is for processing, not postage.
Anyway - this company will send you items then bill you for them. They could be items you think were free, but then a few weeks later you find out that they want you to pay for them. If you don't pay, they'll send you threatening letters demanding that you pay up.
Shoot folks - check out this company on other websites that review companies - you'll see for yourselves.
And don't forget to disregard any POSITIVE POSTS by "members" that just joined that day. Those posts are usually by reps of that particular company trying to sucker you.
Check out the Better Business Bureau too -
Find out the truth about these company's offers.
You'll be glad you did!
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me
On Feb 22, 2009, gardengirl1000 Virginia Beach, VA wrote:
I got the offer in the mail yesterday from the National Home Gardening Club, sounded like a good deal and was thinking about joining. But after reading the reviews it is going in the trash. Thank you all for sharing your experience so others don't get scammed.
Does it seem a little strange that one gardening club forum has an entire area dedicated to reviewing what I assume is a competing club? I appreciate the Garden Watchdog with mail order companies but something just seems odd about this. I'd feel better if Dave's Garden stuck to reviewing mail order companies who aren't necessarily offering the same membership services as Dave's offers. Less perception of a conflict of interest.
Note from the Garden Watchdog editors:
The Garden Watchdog contains a category for gardening-related magazines. This listing for the Gardening How-to magazine was created in 2004 to provide information about the magazine, and an opportunity for the magazine subscribers to add reviews for it.On January 29th, 2009, brokein09 added the following:
Thanks for the feedback, Garden Watchdog editors. I guess what still doesn't feel very good to me is that this really doesn't seem to be about rating the magazine - most comments seem to relate to bashing the other club and attempting to convince people not to join that club. I'm not defending this club because I don't have any experience with them - I'm just saying some things don't feel quite right. I rely on Garden Watchdog a lot regarding mail order companies and I hate to see things that might decrease the credibility of the good work that Watchdog does in that area. Jack
I got a promotion from National Home Gardening Club today and thought it looked too good to be true. The negative and neutral reviews here confirmed this. There is a reason that not a whole lot of joiners got tools to review. They state that they have currently 600,000 + members. Further down the same page, they say that 380,000 members over the years have tested products. Do the math: only about half the members got one tool to test.
On Mar 25, 2008, patina23 Neptune City, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:
I became a member three years ago, paying the yearly fee.
I received the items promised for joining and used all of them.
I decided to pay the membership for life fee last Spring, and gave $150 of the $200 due and made small increment payments since to pay the total off.
I was also told I would receive the three years of payments I sent in, back to me and I have to call about this because I just thought of it now, after reading these posts. The $75 was not deducted or mailed back ot me in a check.
Lifetime membership gardening products arrived at the house, then a testing product- a weather proof chaise lounge cover made of durable material and this product did cover three stacked chaise lounges, over this past winter. This cover turned out to be a very good product.
But-an item came to my home when I joined and paid the lifetime member ship fee, and I was not happy.
A small sunflower trinket like box that opens, containing a sunflower pin and something else, I forget now. With a bill stating to mail in a payment for this item or mail it back. The bill also stated if I did not return it, I was to expect three more items similar to this item, every few months.
I was bummed to receive this unexpectedly. I do not deal well with having to return something I did not ask for to begin with and also feeling like "What did I get myself into?" I sent in the $29.95 payment a month later and should have returned it ASAP, but I forgot about it.
So far, nothing else has been sent in the mail to my home. I wrote on the bill that I did not want to receive any more of these items--PLEASE!
I want to see how it goes with this lifetime membership. I hope I did not make a mistake.
Okay, I seem to have the same issues as several others. I actually got suckered in because I was told in the original mailing that membership dues were much less what they ended up charging me (just over $200.00). If I recall correctly, I was told (in the original mailing) that membership was only $24.00 a year. So, this past summer I decided to join because the price was reasonable, and at that price if they weren't all they said they were (which I suspected they couldn't possibly be for that price) it could still be worth it because of that low low price.
After I wrote that check it wasn't too much later that I got a box of stuff. At first I was excited because this seemed to be just as the company advertised. It was mostly seeds, a book, and that was pretty much it certainly nothing to test and nothing to write home about. And, imagine my surprise, when a couple weeks later I ended up getting a pricey bill for the crap in said box! (Because of these additional charges, I suspect I've actually paid $300.00, if not more for my membership)
Sometime after that I got a hugh box, but after that first time I was wary rather than excited, so I opened it very carefully in case I needed to send it back. So far, I haven't gotten a bill for the contents, however, there was very little actually in that big old box.
It was after this that I got my biggest shock of all - a bill for the cost of my membership, which I had already paid. Worse still, this new bill was charging me over $200.00 dollars. WTH?
At the time I got that bill I'd been a member for three/four months and saw nothing that was worth $200.00, and in the time since then (stupid of me, I know, but I thought maybe after I paid I'd see something worth it) I still haven't gotten anything to justify paying a $200.00 membership. NOTHING! All I have now is regret, because I could have bought many new plants for my garden with that money, instead I've completely wasted it!
Also, none of those products that they claim to send to members to test and rate have come my way. So I feel like I'm paying over $200.00 for a magizine subscription that isn't worth more than the $24.00 I originally paid even if you include the three/four packets of free seeds they've sent in that original price.
Honestly, I can go to my local Dollar General Store and buy better seeds for a quarter a packet, because the so-called free seeds I've gotten have never even attempted to grow, even when I finally got fed up and dumped the whole packet in one pot, not one came up. And going to my local Dollar Store I get much less hassle and no threat of a hidden bill showing up later - that's certainly worth a quarter, especially when you consider that even the following year most of the seeds from Dollar General can be planted and while by that point less than half will come up, it's still better than those so-called free seeds from this company.
My first negative review on this site (though at this point I've only given three ratings), and I honestly find myself hoping it is my only one. The sad thing is that I would have probably rated them positive or at least neutral if they had stuck with that original price of $24.00.
However, I would be willing to change my rating to at least neutral if the company shapes up come spring - I'm willing to accept that maybe they have nothing to send in winter, but I actually hold little hope of getting any of the so-called free products.
To be honest, at this point, they would have to send me something really nice to have any chance of keeping my money coming, because I just can't afford $200.00 a year for what amounts to a magizine subscription.
On February 25th, 2008, ConGar changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Changed my rating to Neutral after it was suggested that I check over my paperwork again. I have now done that, and from what I can gather from the rereading is that I won't (or shouldn't be) charged $226.00 every year. It would seem the $226.00 is a one time charge, I can't help but have my doubts, BUT until proven otherwise I decided it was only fair to change my rating from Negative to Neutral since the large charge was the main (but not only) reason I was so very unhappy.
The other reasons (mentioned above) are the reason I'm not whipping out a Positive, and after rereading things there's a new reason I'm not completely satisfied.
There is a disturbing lack of clarity in the original paperwork, because everything in that indicates that my original $24.00 payment was for a lifetime membership and not merely a magizine subscription. It would have been much nicer knowing up front that a lifetime membership was much more expensive than that before getting such a large bill slapped on me.
On Oct 16, 2007, jcpaul Alexandria, MN (Zone 3b) wrote:
After viewing the magazine on Amazon.com, I subscribed for what turned out to be a two-year subscription (I also thought it was for one year). I have enjoyed the magazine but also agree that it is pretty basic. I especially enjoyed the articles on garden critters and garden design. I resisted signing up for the Lifetime Membership because, after receiving their free hand-held pruner, I realized that their items were not quality products. As a veteran of several book clubs, I was very conscientious about reading all the details of what they sent me, and this prevented a lot of headaches and returns. I did call the company and told them not to send me anything further of any kind without a notice first. The Customer Service Representative was cordial about removing my name from all the different products they mail out (including little porcelain boxes, CDs, books, etc.). I did get about four of their books and felt they were not comprehensive or in-depth enough for my taste and for what they were charging. I still enjoy the magazine (I'm also a gardening magazine fan!) but will not resubscribe when my two-year subscription is up. The customer service representative also asked me if I wanted to sign-on for product testing. I told her that if the products I had already received were an example of the kinds of products they sent out that I was not interested. I never received any products to test that were worth keeping. Soooo, if you sign up for this club/magazine, realize that you are essentially signing up for a series of book and product subscriptions. If you enjoy getting gardening goodies in the mail and especially if you are fairly new to gardening, you might enjoy this group. However, if you are more advanced and only want quality products and in-depth information, you might want to go elsewhere.
On Mar 16, 2007, nevadagdn Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:
I found a copy of this company's magazine in my doctor's waiting room. The magazine wasn't half bad--I thought I might like to subscribe. Since there wasn't much information on subscribing in the magazine, I went to the website once I got home. I still didn't find the information I wanted--just information on a "trial" membership and that the magazine would cost a dollar a month. I wasn't too sure about that, so I didn't subscribe.
Coincidentally, I got some junk mail from the same company a couple of weeks later. I figured that perhaps there I'd find the sort of definite, reassuring list of prices I wanted. Nothing, and I read every scrap of paper in that envelope.
Needless to say, I didn't, and won't be subscribing. Given the comments here, I just don't feel comfortable getting tangled up with this company.
On Aug 5, 2005, flowermaiden Saint Maries, ID wrote:
I have mixed feelings about this company, both positive and negative. I am a life member. I have found some of the books they sent me very useful and informative, and have voluntarily purchased those I liked. When I sent others back, I never had any problem.
However, I feel I have been badly treated in one respect: In their magazine, Gardening How-To, there is a section called "Home Grown". This is where us "average folks" members can submit good quality photos of our personal gardening achievements, and have them published in the magazine. In 2001, I sent them ten of my best gardening photos, figuring that out of all those, they would find at least one they liked well enough to publish there. I was only expecting one, and no more than that. I also sent them a nice cover letter explaining that I am a life member and sharing some of my gardening philosophy. They never published any of these photos, and, quite frankly, I don't think anyone ever even looked at them! I complained to the editor of this section, and got the usual platitudinal excuses editors make in this situation. These were good pictures which adhered to their submission guidelines, and I felt that at least one of them deserved to be published there. I have seen photos in this section that, in my opinion, have been at least as good as the ones I sent, and many not nearly as good. I would have liked to have been able to share these with fellow club members, and I still feel disappointment every tIme I turn to the "Home Grown" section. I feel that my submission was thrown onto some heap and forgotten.
They did send me products to test, free of charge. These were various flower and vegetable seeds. I planted them, then filled out the evaluation forms and sent them in. I got to enjoy some good-flavored cucumbers by this means.
It's a good club if you don't expect too much. The magazine does have some good articles, and one needs to choose which are most helpful to their particular needs.
On Jan 2, 2005, missmuffit Des Moines, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:
I have been an annual member of the NHGC since it's inception. I continue to renew because I am a gardening magazine junkie, and while I don't consider this the cadillac of mags, I enjoy certain aspects of the magazine ; seed exchange, best new plants of the year, member's photos, etc.
I am frequently badgered to become a lifetime member and while I realize that they need money to continue their venture, I feel they waste a lot of money on the mail and telephone assaults.
I don't feel that they offer me anything else for the 'dues' that I pay besides the magazine. I probably will not renew again, but am sure that I will receive several phone calls and mailings during the next year that I am still an active member.
On Dec 1, 2004, adina72 Pennellville, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:
I was a member a couple of years ago and found the membership to be dissapointing. I got some pruners that were so-so and a bunch of seeds that never grew and tons of membership stickers and notepads that I could care less about. What really annoyed me was that I somehow got on their mailing list for a book club. It was very difficult to get off the mailing list. The hardcover books were nice at first, but each one got smaller and was not worth the $20-$25 I had to pay for them. I started returning them, but this was a hassle to me. I did enjoy the magazine. This year I found that you could subscribe to the magazine without joining the club, so that is what I did.
I tried it for a year. What I basically got was a magazine subsciption - any "product testing," other than a few small packets of free seeds, never materialized. The seeds were always small packets of baby's breath, red corn poppies, and the large-flowered sunflower seeds you grow for seed - most of them were sent when they tried to get me to join and again when they tried to get me to renew. Personally, I didn't find much of interest in the magazine, so I cancelled.
On May 13, 2004, DonnaMack Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
Just a warning to anyone joining this club on-line. The offered option of declining to have your name "shared" with a few vendors is put together such that it is very easy to default to the option of giving them permission to share (do they mean sell?) your name. Since joining, my mailbox has ben jammed with not only any catalog even vaguely related to gardening, but some relating to apparel and furniture. There have been dozens. When I joined the American Rose Society last November, I was very pleased by the fact that my name, address, and e-mail were not shared. If you do not want to be bombarded, tread carefully if you want to join but opt out of mailings.