On Mar 19, 2009, supertek2004 Corpus Christi, TX wrote:
I ordered two plants a month ago and haven't gotten anyone to respond to an email yet. I called and some guy said he couldn't tell me anything about my order because he was in the shop at the moment. Isn't the shop where I ordered the plants from? Just because they paid good money for someone to make a beautiful site, doesn't mean they should be taking online orders. No tracking, no email responses, no clue when answering phone calls, and no plants. F-
I ordered a Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy) Fenway Park 5/5/08 and received the plant in reasonably good shape and time. Shortly after arrival it was obvious the plant was not the Fenway Park cultivar (not gold or even chartreuse but dark green leaves). I contacted customer service by telephone immediately and requested the correct plant or a refund. I was told, "It will be taken care of." Its now March of 2009 and I've received no refund or replacement. I can see from the other reports on the Garden Watchdog that others have received that same response. At least I'm only out $32.02. Shipping a common version of a plant and charging a high price for a new named cultivar is fraud.
Avoid Carroll Gardens. Placed an order for three Helleborus and three Sanguinaria Multiplex back on 18 January for a total of $86.18 with shipping. Carroll gardens was very quick to charge my credit card within two days of my placing the order. On 15 April I sent them an e-mail asking if they could provide an estimated shipping date for the plants, since their web site has no way to track order status. Two weeks later after receiving no response I sent a second request...still silence. On 1 May I got tired of waiting and placed a phone call. I was told the items I had ordered over three months ago were not going to be available this season and a refund would be issued to my credit card immediately. I wonder how long it would have taken them to inform me of this if I had not called and asked? Three weeks later I still had not received the promised refund, so after two more unanswered e-mails I again called them on 22 May. They again promised a refund, and today it was finally posted to my account (over four months after my order). Gardening is supposed to be an enjoyable and relaxing activity, but it's anything but when dealing with Carroll Gardens. You should not have to fight for a response to your questions or make repeated contacts before a refund is issued. There are plenty of other reputable mail order garden centers with integrity out there...Carroll Gardens is not one of them.
On May 21, 2008, formisfunction Bethesda, MD wrote:
This place is a disaster.
I found some plants online. I live about 90 minutes away, and was nervous enough about what I saw on Garden Watchdog about them, that I decided to drive over there to get the plants instead of mail ordering.
Their email communications in setting up the purchase were wonderful. THey would respond instantly. They lined up the plants so they were ready for me to pick up when I came in.
We must have exchanged 5 emails and all the communications were courteous and prompt.
Remember, this is all before the sale. After the sale turned out be quite another story altogether.
I bought a bunch of shrubs and trees early enough that they had not broken dormancy for the year. They gave me a money back guarantee that the plants would leaf out.
Upon transplanting, it was clear that one tree, costing $60, was in really bad shape and may not actually be alive.
So I immediately emailed them a heads up on this, saying we'll wait until mid-spring to see if it wakes up for the season, but it didn't look good, and they may want to be busy lining up a replacement tree (my preferred option) or in the alternative, issuing a credit.
No response to my email.
The tree never woke up. They'd sold me a dead tree. Not saying it was done intentionally by them -- just stating a fact -- they sold me a dead tree.
So I email them saying listen, every other tree and shrub has broken dormancy, including other crape myrtle trees. This one is dead. You're going to have get me a replacement or issue a refund.
No response from them.
I email back in another week.
No response from them.
Email again 1 week later.
I must have sent them 5 emails and never received a response.
Finally I call them. Oh sure, they'll issue a refund if I bring back the dead tree. Really? I can't send you a photo of it? I have to send you an entire tree?
Yes. Send me the tree back and then I'll issue a refund.
So I do that.
Send an email saying I've sent it.
Got a UPS delivery confirmation saying they got delivery 2 days ago.
Sent 2 emails to them already saying they've accepted delivery of the dead tree and now they need to issue the refund.
No response whatsoever from them.
And no refund issued as of the time of my writing this.
These folks sure had me fooled. They were wonderful before the sale. Prompt and efficient communication.
After the sale? Forget about it. Don't even respond to you at all.
It is a relief to say I canceled an order I placed March 26, called about April 14, was told it would ship out April 15, called again April 25, was told it would ship out in two or three days. I saved them the trouble, and won't go back to their web site.
I've ordered three times from Carroll Gardens. The first two orders went quite well; they replaced a pink Rose of Sharon with a blue one (which I had specified) at no charge, and I got three 'Carefree Beauty' roses from them which leafed out and bloomed their first year. This fall I ordered a Kolkwitzia amabilis and three Asclepias tuberosa. The Kolkwitzia arrived and looks good, but no butterflyweed -- the dreaded B/O written in pen on the shipping page, which looked more like '310' or a bin number.
It took 2 e-mails to hear back that the plants were backordered. I have since requested a cancellation and refund four times with no acknowledgment -- been sending e-mails every Wednesday.
Based on the feedback here I think I'll step that up to once a day, and if I don't hear anything in a week, I'll call and be rude right back to them on the phone if necessary.
Their Web presence is terrible -- no record of orders, no customer IDs -- and their customer service is even worse. This spring when I visited their site about 75 percent of their plant offerings said 'not available this season.' If they can display an inventory tag like that, why can't they tell you if something is backordered?
I ordered 5 roses from Carroll Gardens and they arrived with no packing around the roots and looked unhealthy. They appear dead now, six weeks after planting. I emailed my concerns to Carrol Gardens and they have not responded.
On May 29, 2007, wallis104 Middle River, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:
Gosh - I've received the Carroll Gardens' newsletter for at least a year....... We live about 50 minutes away so I thought I'd drive there to shop in person......
Since today is Memorial Day, I called first to make sure they were open..... I also inquiried if the daylilies that I was interested in were in stock. (They had advertised them on sale on their website - wanted to make sure they had some left.)
The woman who answered said I'd have to wait to find out when I got there....... Luckily after I AGAIN stated that I was almost an hour away, she finally agreed to check her inventory........
I did purchase 7 daylilies........ however, we could not believe the prices on so many of their items....... A single Hosta for $28.95 - Clematis on a 3 foot trellis - $50.00.......
Last year (and again this year) I ordered bareroot Clematis from Debbie at Silver Star Vinery - paid $14 per plant and this year they have completely taken over the fence with bountiful blooms...... They are incredibly gorgeous and must be 5 or 6 times the size of the plants we saw at Carroll Gardens for $50.....
Their hanging baskets were a minimum of $10 higher - some $18 higher than the ones I purchased at a beautiful "high end" nursery not far from my home.......
Carroll Gardens is located in a rural county...... and although like many rural counties it has really seen a growth spurt in the past 20 years - I did not expect to see such high prices ....... It's not like they're located just outside of Washington DC or Annapolis, Md.
After we left Carroll Gardens, we saw beautiful, full hanging baskets just 2 miles away at Baugher's Restaurant and Farm Mart....... and again, they were a minimum of $10 less.
I should add that the daylilies I purchased were dug up straight from the field while I waited - so that was a plus for CG.
However, all in all, we were not impressed...... and any curiousity that I had is now behind me. Won't be visiting in person or ordering from their website again.......
My first (and only) experience with Carroll Gardens has so far been dreadful. We placed several orders with a variety of online nurseries in February, and all orders have come when requested except for our Canadian Hemlock (Jeddeloh), ordered from Carroll. We are now closing in on June, and we had requested early May delivery.
Multiple emails have gone ignored. From their website, email appears to be the preferred method of contact. Now I realize that it is probably preferred because it is easily ignored.
We will never, ever, ever again order from Carroll.
On Feb 16, 2007, michigangardens Okemos, MI wrote:
Ordered several plants 2 years ago in spring: 2 arrived (crataegus and fothergilla). The fothergilla had webs and pests, which I dealt with myself and it has thrived. The crataegus has not done as well; it was strangely pruned and has never developed a proper leader. The 3rd plant (hamamelis) was listed as backorder. I e-mailed to ask about when it might ship; I received no response to e-mails. I called twice; both times I was told the only person who could help me wasn't working that day. When I finally got the person who could help me, she told me the witch hazels didn't look healthy, so they were delayed for fall shipment. No plant in the fall. I called again the following spring to see if it would be shipped. They claimed that they had no backorder on record (backorder was written by hand on my shipment slip) and so I couldn't receive either a plant or a refund. That was my first experience with this company, and it will be the last.
It is so frustrating that we cannot go to such a venerable, well-stocked alternative to national chain stores practically in our back yard and buy a plant. Back in the 70s, there were old gardens that had been designed with poetic associations of woody and perennial plants in harmony with the historical setting that made the annual pilgrimage to buy a few plants a highlight of spring - not to mention dedicated, knowledgeable, plant-loving staff.
Problem was, things were usually mislabeled, and my job and night school and house rehabbing situation just didn't allow for enough trips around the mulberry bush to get the right plant. Last summer, the labeling was all right, and the plant was healthy and vigorous, but the roots of the plant (and the pots of the rest of the plants that I could see) were entangled with some kind of jointed grass in its pot. I thought, when I got home, that I could sink the root ball in a bucket of water and "float" the grass roots away from the plant's roots, but it was impossible, attempts to root cuttings failed, and it seemed safer to throw the whole business out rather than take a chance on infesting my garden with that grass.
Carroll Gardens has also "thrown out" those gardens, and while the staff last summer were polite and helpful, I miss the bygone ambience of plant-loving, people-loving staff.
On Dec 6, 2006, YangMetalRat Frederick, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:
I visited Carrol Gardens - an hour from my home - in October '05 and immediately thought that their on-line business is what sustains them because their nursery is a bit shabby, not really set up for the walk-in customer. Their garden guru, Alan, was there and he was so knowledgeable and agreeable that I decided to disregard the rundown appearance of the place and order some spring plantings from them: a weeping crabapple, and 9 perennials ordered in late March '06. I recall confusion about the shipping date and several telephone calls attempting to coordinate arrival of the plants with a 2-day trip out of town. They seemed disorganized, workers were out with stomach disorders, things were is disarray, and yet I was assured the plants would not ship to arrive during my absence in mid-May. When I arrived home, there was the package on my sunny front steps ... It didn't help that UPS had disregarded the "this end up" instruction ... When I opened the package I was so distressed: the perennials - which were not labeled - had been rolled up in wet paper towels and had been tossed in shipping so they were tangled up in the branches of the crabapple, which was just a tiny little thing, not at all what I had expected based on my reading of the website description. I probably could have taken up these complaints with their staff, but I did not: the disorganization of the staff did not augur well for quick & satisfactory resolution, it was too late in the season to track down another crabapple (or so I thought at the time), and, having had no previous experience with mail order plants, I was not yet aware that the packaging at Carroll Gardens was not simply the industry standard (I have since been enlightened by Lazy Ss extraordinary careful packaging - no matter there if "this end up" is disregarded!). I did decide, however, to shop elsewhere in future. I should add that I continue to receive Alan's newsletter, which is full of good ideas and advice.
On Jun 3, 2006, boominggarden Bloomingdale, MI wrote:
I am quickly believing this will become a negative entry--I am having a difficult time getting my credit card credited for items that were NA (not available). Why should my money be held from January to June if the items are not available? I should be able to expect prompt credit to my credit card. By e-mail I have contacted them three times. These have been pleasant but so far, ineffective.
On June 10th, 2006, boominggarden changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
I have FINALLY received a partial refund on the items that were Not Available. Not complete and a VERY curt email. No explanation for the wait, the incomplete refund, or anything! I do not want my back ordered item, but I have not been given that option. Garden Watchdog is a wonderful tool to keep these mail order companies on target. I wish I had read the review earlier. I would never have purchased from this company and I would not be so very frustrated.
On May 28, 2006, rosemontgolden Stockton, NJ wrote:
In 2004 I received a $1000 gift certificate from Horticulture magazine as part of an Horticulture's Grand Prize for home gardening. I specified part of this gift certificate to be used at Carroll Gardens. I had had some problems in the past with back ordered deliveries coming to me in the year followiing my initial order. However, in the case of the Horticulture Grand Prize gift certificate, what should have been a happy experience turned into an extremely unpleasant one. I received only a part of my order from Carroll Gardens. I have called Carroll Gardens several times to try to get credit for the plants I never received, or to get credit remaining on the gift certificate. The person answering the phone, in every case, has been at times unhelpful, and at other times downright rude. This past winter, Carroll Cardens told me my plants were on backorder and would be shipped in the spring of 2006 (this is now almost two years following the gift certificate order), and I have received nothing. I feel this business is one of the most unfriendly plant businesses I have ever dealt with, and, in my particular case, their behavior has been totally unprofessional. I recommend everyone avoid this nursery's enticing emails and web catalogue. I still hope to recover the remainder of my gift certificate from Carroll Gardens, but calling them is such so unpleasant, I avoid subjecting myself to their appalling rudeness.
I made my order online january 26 and received a confirmation.When may arrived and no plants came I called and was told that "they are in the shipping room". Two weeks later I called and told "they are in the shipping room.Still no plants came so I called a third time but told the person answering not to give me the line that they are in the shipping room. She then said they were being put into the truck to be shipped the next day. Thatr was a week ago and Virginia is next to Maryland. I called today and was told they are being shipped out this week.I have had this experience with them before. If you live nearby you should call and then drive there and demand to see your plants in "the shipping room" and then catch them in their fib. Why dont merchants just tell customers the truth.
My experience was similar to the last poster.
I ordered three Knockout roses from this company on Feb 24. I received a confirmation of my order, however the confirmation stated that could not give me a set shipping date.
I called three weeks after my order and was told that all roses would be shipped in three weeks. Well that date came and went and I called again. The woman I spoke with said that the Knockout roses would be sent the first week of May. I asked that a confirmation be sent to me when the roses were shipped, and she told me no. She was very nonchalant and did not seem interested in me as a customer.
It is now the middle of May and I have not heard anything from this company. Today I finally sent an email for my order to be cancelled.
I would never recommend this company. They seem very disorganized and unprofessional.
On May 15th, 2005, southerndawn added the following:
editing to add that I was ordering Double Knockout roses, not Knockout.
On Dec 29, 2002, mainegardener Wiscasset, ME wrote:
I ordered 4 plants in February of 2002: cersis Avondale, daphne Briggs Moonlight, corylopsis Wintherthur, corylopsis pauciflora. Two plants arrived in late April. The c. Winterthur was in reasonable condition but the cercis was not at all acceptable. It was morethan 6 feet tall with no more than four 5 inch or less "branches" at the very top all of which were totally dessicated with dry brown leaves. I called and was advised to plant it anyway - I potted it carefully but within two days was obviously dead and would have never made a decent plant anyway. I wrote asking for a refund which did appear on my cedit card statement the next month. The two back ordered plants were promised for late May. Neither has ever arrived nor did the company contact me with any information. I called in late September and was told the daphne was not available but that the corylopsis would be sent within the next two weeks. This never happened and once again no explanation or contact of any kind.
There are too many excellent mailorder nurseries (Arborvillage, Fairweather, Roslyn to name just three) to bother with Carroll Gardens.
I ordered a Golden Full Moon Maple over the phone two years ago. I specifically stated that it must be the Golden Full Moon. I was told they had one in stock. Arranged to pick the tree up. They are a two hour drive from my house. I got the tree. The label was removed when they rang me up, and never put back. I managed to hit a deer on the way home costing $1000 worth of damage. When the tree leafed out a few weeks later, it was only green. I called back to Carroll Gardens and explained the situation. I was then told that they never had the Golden cultivar. I know what I ordered, I had been looking for one for 5 years before I broke down and bought one. I had always heard they were so wonder to deal with. I won't go back. They misled me or were totally inept. Whichever it was is reason enough to leave them be.
I have only ordered from Carroll Gardens once (Spring 1996). Their plants were well grown and good sized. I like the pronunciation guides in the listings. This has resolved many arguments among gardeners here. I notice that many of the complaints are regarding completeness of orders and long overdue backorders. Perhaps this is due to the fact that one has no way of knowing what may be in stock as their catalogs are good for several years running. Therefore a listing does not necessarily mean that the plant in question is available. I'm putting together an order for spring 1997 - guess I'd better cross my fingers. [Update Fall 1998] Hope I won't get tempted by this company again. They do have a wonderful selection and it will be difficult to resist the temptation. My spring 1998 experience with them was the last straw. They didn't ship until June - almost too late to plant around here. The plants were in terrible condition and several of them were label as being "dormant". Guess that means "dead" in Carroll Gardens lingo! The irises they sent came complete with borers. They did refund my money for the bad plants, but it's not worth the agony of dealing with them. Their catalog is now over two years old and they don't seem to be able to pull off printing and sending out a new one so this means that its even more unpredictable what it available. I was really amused when I called in the order. The person answering the phones seemed to have no horticultural knowledge and had to have me spell the word "hosta".
About five years ago I had a rather poor experience with them: the order (in excess of $200) came on time, plants looked ok, but several items were missing. They were backordered and the money (check) was not refunded. It took a year before the back orders were straightened out. Then a far worse surprise: several of the plants had been mislabeled. This was and remains EXTREMELY IRRITATING. Not only did I not have what I wanted (which was often very specific) but I never knew the names of the plants I did have, several of which were quite nice. Among the mislabeled plants were two Siberian irises, a blue spruce, a flowering crabapple, a platycodon, and more than a few daylilies. Negotiating with them proved difficult. They were very slow to get back to me, and no one seemed to want to take responsibility for what had happened. All in all, my advice is to stay away.