I placed my first tomato order late in the Spring...we had helpful phone advice, and e.mails from Laurel and her staff. We knew when the tomatoes were coming....and even though I had doubts about little plants traveling 3 days across hot, hot, hot country....they arrived green, perky, strong, and absolutely ready to get in the ground right away. My only mistake was not ordering sooner, so i believe that i will be placing my order for 2009 in October of 2008. Thanks to Laurel for being a tomato growing and shipping wizard. The planting and care instructions were so comprehensive that all aspects were covered.
I ordered from Laurel's for the first time and am extremely happy with her site. The site is thorough, easily read, and very self-explanatory! I had no trouble ordering except to curb my spending of corse!
Her shipping procedures are wonderful, I've done alot of web purchasing and her packaging is 1st. class! All e-mails were answered promptly and graciously within hours of sending them! I don't know how she does it? She has got to be super busy with growing and shipping in the spring but is always cheery and pleasant! This is a woman who truly loves her work. I would love to work for her if I lived near her. The plants arrived in super condition and are growing like crazy! Thank you Laurel and I will order again!
This is my 3rd year ordering from Laurel and I couldn't be more pleased with my tomato plants and personalized service. I positively drool over her website and wish I could have them all, but I live in the mountains (3 days of frost in mid-June followed by 90+ degree weather) and need to focus an shorter ripening times so some of them are just not feasible for my garden. When I call to order, I have an idea of what I'd like, and which ones I really, really want. I learned from my first call to Laurel that she is an absolute guru when it comes to knowing what will grow well in any climate and I trust her completely when it comes to the matter of any substitutions and she knows my tastes and recommends accordingly. Yes, they get extremely busy and I may get a little (overly)anxious to plant, but when those tomatoes arrive in perfect condition all nestled nicely in their protective packaging, I know I've made the right decision by ordering from her. My phone encounters with her and her daughter have been very professional, helpful and, most of all, fun to talk with about tomatoes! I ordered plants a few years back from a grower on e-Bay and was really disappointed. With Laurel's Heirloom Tomatoes I know I'm going to get healthy plants that produce yummy tomatoes. I won't even buy plants locally any more. Why should I when I can have such fun getting awesome tomatoes from someone who knows and loves what they're doing?
On July 30th, 2008, mdyblu added the following:
As I mentioned, we had a nasty frost in early June and one of my tomato beds got hit pretty hard. I am thrilled to say that those plants came back like gangbusters, are blooming and have tomatoes! Now those are healthy plants.On May 11th, 2009, mdyblu added the following:
I'm so excited, I just unpacked my precious tomatoes for 2009. The plants are beautiful and have thick, healthy stems. It looks like another awesome year with lots of new varieties to try and I can hardly wait. As usual, the packing just blows me away. Those little babies are so protected and wrapped with love that they make their 3 day trip in perfect condition. By the time I got the last plant unwrapped, the first ones had perked up just like they had never been in a box. Thanks Laurel. You're the best when it comes to tomatoes and I'm proud to be classified with you as "weird" when it comes to appreciating and loving tomatoes of every size and color.
Wonderfully positive....The website is fantastic....all instructions are clear...she has done a great job covering all issues...about picking your plants...placing your order....shipping instructions...the substitution policy.....I fully understood from the beginning exactly how my order would be handled.....One of the boxes I was to receive was delayed by the UPS/Postal Service and arrived 4 days later than the original boxes...I was very concerned that the plants might be dead by then...(total of 7 days travel time)...however because of the quality packaging that Laura uses my plants were safe sound and healthy when I received them...Even though Laura had no control over the shipping and that UPS/Postal Service does not guarantee perishables she was going to replace me plants at no charge to me if they arrived dead....which I felt was a lot for her to do since it was not her fault that the plants were delayed.. ...All of my plants arrived healthy and in beautiful condition....I am a little surprised at a recent complaint listed here...because all of this person's issues are covered on the website prior to ordering...all one has to do is read.
I have been buying tomato plants from Laurel for a few years now and would like to comment on my experience. I can sincerely say that Laurel's heirloom tomato plants are the very best plants available, anywhere. What you receive are healthy plants that are just the right size (big enough to make it yet not "leggy"), they are SUPER carefully packed for shipment (secured in their pots with cut to fit bubble pack and cardboard, plastic bagged for humidity control and then inserted into cardboard sleeves before going into the large shipping container). They grow like crazy once they hit the dirt. This year my plants got hung up for a few days (in transit for five days during 90 degree temperatures), but when I unpacked them they were still fresh as could be. People who pay that much attention to the care and shipping of seedlings are GOOD people. I have spoken with Laurel on the phone a couple times and she is very pleasant and cheerful. She told me she sends thousands of plants in a season! No wonder the shipping dates fill up so quickly - the early bird gets the quickest tomato plants! They will even plant seeds for YOUR order if you want a specific species! You can't beat that kind of service! If the lady who complained about the high cost of UPS can do something about it, have her call AMAZON.com and get them to lower the $3.99 shipping charge for a one-penny used book (but I still buy them). I fully intend to try all one hundred and sixty varieties of Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants. I can care for six a year, so that will take me through the year 2035 !
laurel has gone above and beyond for me - I have not only received beautifully packaged, healthy seedlings - but she has been wonderful answering gardening questions to a relatively amateur gardener - I've emailed her about insect problems, asking for a diagnosis as to whether I had wilt, and help creating a custom gift for friends - she emails me PROMPTLY providing specific & useful advice; it astounds me that she has the time to attend to each customer in such a personal way-
she doesn't simply want to sell you plants, she wants you to find joy & satisfaction in the gardening process
a wonderful gardener and an even more wonderful woman.
This is the second time I have ordered tomatoes from Laurel. The first time was a generally satisfactory experience though 1 of 4 plants wasn't available and the plants did not ship until the 10th day of the 10 day shipping window.
This year however, 2 of 6 plants weren't available and the 10 day shipping window was changed (without warning) to a 14 day shipping window. This was presumably so that the plants could be shipped at 12 days from the requested shipping date without breaking any promises. I understand that sometimes plants/products aren't available when we want them but this seems to be a recurrent problem with Laurel. Most annoyingly, the receipt enclosed with my plants did not explain why 2 were missing from the shipment nor was the total price reflective of fewer plants. After several emails I finally have my refund, one month later!
Laurel encourages early ordering/payment so that the customer can choose the shipping date they prefer. In my experience it does very little good to order early, especially for those of us in more northerly climates who plant later in the season. By being forced to choose a later shipping date, many plants it seems, are already sold out. Though I ordered (and paid for) my plants in March, 1/3 of them failed to ship and they didn't arrive until 4 June, though the shipping window was 19 May.
I am also not pleased at having to spend $21.85 to ship 4 plants by the USPS. When shipping is added to the cost of the plant, plus its custom packaging, the total cost is approximately $11.50/plant. This significantly higher than Laurels' website explains.
Overall, my second experience ordering tomatoes from Laurel was not a satisfactory one. Gardening should be fun - this was definitely more trouble than it was worth.
On Jul 2, 2008, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
As noted on you receipt, the plants ship within a 10 to 14 day shipping period or 'when they are big enough to travel'. We note this specifically on the receipt we send when you place your order so that you know we are taking care of the plants and not shipping plants too small to survive the trip.
Your Northern Lights and Peacevine plants were just too small to travel and we did not want to risk them being damaged. At the time you ordered, you did request we refund your cost if any of you plants were too small at shipping time.
(As noted in our email exchanges, our acct. dept issues any refunds or price adjustments at the end of each month. You told me it would be okay with you.)
Regarding shipping costs, the Post Office-- who has hired UPS to transport their priority mail packages -- is now using UPS prices so that any box even an inch taller than 12" x 12" x 12" can be an additional $10.00. So, the post office is now charging for package dimension along with package weight--since your plants were quite large, the cost was higher. Your actual shipping as I recall was $19.85 and we did refund the shipping amount you overpaid along with plant and packaging costs within 30 days per our website.
I realize shipping costs are high but we don't set those costs, it's not our idea and all that cost goes to the Post Office.
If it were up to me shipping would be free! Wouldn't that be wonderful.
I called you about the 2 plants being too small and that you would receive a refund-- which you did-- within less than 30 days of that call.
We do hope your 4 plants, Paul Robeson, Green Zebra, Sun Gold and Super Snow White are doing well in your garden and that you have a wonderful harvest.
Again, we wish we could have made you happy; we sure tried!
On Jun 10, 2008, AnthonyR Ocean Springs, MS wrote:
Laurel's is absolutely awesome. The tomatos are top-notch and SO well packaged. I've never seen any other packaging as great as this, well worth the shipping cost. The plants were beautiful and come with a small packet of info about how to care for and how best to plant the tomatos. I even received a complimentary free tomato plant one year! You can bet the bank you will get only the best and most beautiful tomatos that you've ever had shipped to your house.
Customer service is great. I got a personal call twice, once to apologize to tell me some of my plants need more time to grow out. The other time was Laurel herself with a very polite message about how I would like to pay for my order.
The website deserves meantion as well. Its stuffed full with infobits, growing instructions and of course the list of hundreds of tomato plants she has to offer. They are a little pricey but you get what you pay for. Each tomato plant listed is described in good detail so you can pick out exactly what you want for your personal choices and local climate conditions.
I too have not had any response from Laurel. In previous years I had no trouble getting my plants so I had no need to email her. This year I still have not received my plants and I have emailed her twice with no response. It's disappointing to say the least.
On Jun 6, 2008, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
I ordered four tomatoes plants from Laurel with an understanding that they would be shipped to my address in Walla Walla, WA over a two week period during either the week of May 19, 2008 or the week of May 26, 2008. I ordered an additional two plants to be shipped to my parents in Warsaw, OH during that same two-week period. The two week time period has come to a close and the plants have yet to arrive in either WA or OH. I have placed two phone calls and sent four e-mails to Laurel over the past week. No one will respond to my e-mails or phone calls. We need to get these plants in the ground very soon or miss the planting window. I would still like the plants, but am becoming very discouraged with the lack of response I am receiving from Laurel. A phone call or e-mail letting me know when these plants will arrive would be appreciated.
On June 2nd, 2008, streamshaw changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I received a call from Laurel's today apologizing for the delay and promising to get the plants to us immediately. They are currently swamped with numerous orders and indicated that they recently have hired addional help. I have also recently spoken with two people, my sister in Ohio and a local lady here in Walla Walla, WA, that expressed total satisfaction with their tomatoe plants from Laurel's. At this time, I wish to recant my previous comment and give Laurel's a positive rating.
On Apr 29, 2008, MichaelPlechaty Saratoga, CA wrote:
My order arrived today. The plants are absolutely beautiful! Laurel has my business for future. No sense in all of the hassle to start plants from seed when, for a little more money & a lot less hassle, I can let her do all of the work.
Laurel was always responsive to my email questions, and she made sure that I clarified my order before finalizing it. Shipping was prompt & immediate as scheduled.
I am looking forward to *next* year's order already.
Laurel, thanks so much for putting my order together for me. ..so much to choose from and so little space. You have the best selection I have found. Although you were very busy, you paid attention to what I was looking for and prepared the order for pick-up. I hope I wasnít too much of a pest. I have referred you to friends who are anxious to get plants from you. Canít wait for harvest time.
On Friday, April 18, I called the number listed on Laurel's website, and Laurel herself answered. I said I would like to place an order, and she said she needed to call me back because her computers were being serviced. I received no return call from her, so I called later in the day. There was no answer, and the call rolled over to voicemail. Unfortunately, the voice mailbox was full and I could not even leave a message. Today (Monday, April 21), I tried calling again, and again got Laurel's voicemail, which was again full.
It seems Laurel is either too busy or unable to tend to her mail-order customers. Either way, I got the clear impression that I should seek tomato plants elsewhere.
On Apr 21, 2008, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
Hi there! Yes our lines get really busy this time of year and we get about 15 orders per 10 minute period. So sorry I did not get back to you yet. We are taking orders constantly so if you are patient we'll be sure to take good care of you. We offer consultations to each customer and do not rush people along so you may not get an instant response--each customer is precious to us. Many companies just blast throught the ordering process--we don't ; we take our time to be sure everyone is well looked after the old fashioned way.
We take many thousands of orders at the height of the season during April and May and sometimes it takes more than one try to get through. You can also email your order and we will get back to you within 2 to 3 days. Our long-time customers begin ordering in October for their spring plants in order to beat the rush. Please give us another try and we'll add 2 free plants to your order to make up for your dissapointment.
After my initial purchase of tomato plants from Laurel, I have had difficulty communicating with her company. I have sent several emails in the past 6 months and have received no response. Not one! I believe that her company is quite busy, especially seasonally, but if she makes it impossible to communicate, I can no longer be a customer. I wonder if they are no longer shipping tomato plants by mail order?
On Mar 22, 2008, Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants responded with:
Well, you bet we're shipping and very busy! 12 months out of the year and sending thousands of plants.
We cannot seem to find a record of this gardener anywhere in our files, no record of a purchase, but we did get one email to which I responded some months ago. Could not locate anyone in our files with the first name signed on the email or any similar name.
We received only one email to which we responded.
I have tried to contact this gentleman via Dave's Garden here with no response, it's rather challenging to reach someone without knowing their last name. Perhaps he ordered from a different company as we have not sent plants to anyone with his first name and city (noted in his profile at Dave's Garden) during the last year.
We sure did our best to find him and see what we could do to make him happy!
I did have a few questions and concerns upon arrival. When I finally emailed her she was quick to answer and communication was the best. She even offered complimentary plants. She is very honest. We all make mistakes and when we are real busy more apt too. But there isn't many who admit they do and offer to make it right. And an equal amount of the fault was mine. Will order again if she has plants I need and can't get seeds for.
All I have to say is....thank you Laurel. The tomato plants were beyond my expectation. Large, healthy, packed unbelievably. Not a smidgen of dirt was out of the pot. Healthier tomato plants then my local nursery. My attempts with seedlings need more practice. I had hand surgery yesterday but managed to get 3 of them in the ground today. I will finish tomorrow....then elevate my hand.
You definately found yourself a new yearly customer. I will certainly tell my friends.
Of all the mail-order plants I've ever received, these were the most carefully packaged - not only bubble-wrapped containers set into customized boxes but covered with netting to catch any soil particles that might have moved during shipping. Not a 'hair' out of place, the first part of my order arrived ready to plant. Other plants were held for increased growth before shipping. The plants are all healthy with well-established root systems. The instructions included with the order were comprehensive, easy-to-read and to follow. Variety selections are tremendous, among the top three in the country. Service is highly personalized and attentive. This has been a perfect buying experience. Thank you, Laurel!
Laurel was very helpful in my Tomato plant selection and the purchase process was painless. The plants arrived when expected and were in great shape. They were packed well enough to withstand a Pensacola Hurricane! All were healthy and vibrant. I am a repeat customer for the service and the product quality. Thanks.
When I ordered three tomatoes in early 2005 she said she could provide them all. The tomatoes did not show up and I had several email exchanges over an extended period before I finally got the plants (had wrong ship date on my order .. running behind on orders .. problem with some employee, order lost ..) . When the tomatoes finally showed up they were over a month late and were three varieties completely different from the ones I ordered. I never received any email about a substitution, which I would not have wanted. To her credit she did completely refund my money when I complained.
Great, great customer service! I haven't ordered from Laurel yet -- can't this year due to construction, as much as I want to -- but have been exchanging e-mails with her. She's been extremely prompt (i.e., replies within hours at Christmas time), knowledgeable, and courteous. I had inquired about custom-growing one particular one that I had read about but couldn't locate seeds for myself, and she very gracious about growing it out of her personal seed stash. I'm very impressed and will definitely buy from her when I have the new deck and planters in.
Laurel is knowledgeable and easy to work with. You tell her where you are and what you are looking for in a tomato and she will be able to tell you what might suit you. Ordered 2 variegated tomatos when I saw them on the site- didn't know there even was such a thing. They came at the proper time properly packed, and healthy though a little frazzled from the trip like we all would be traveling. They recovered quickly and now are thriving and producing their flowers. She has varieties that I didn't know existed. This is a small and very personable company. You aren't a nameless faceless customer among millions, you are a fellow gardening friend and are treated as such. I couldn't give higher ratings to any company.
WOW, This company is a true find in the nightmare world of rip-off garden suppliers out there. I ordered 8 unique pepper plants, received great advice from Laurel via phone, and received an email the day they were shipped (as promised). The packaging was exceptional; hard cardboard external, each plant in individual plastic containers wrapped in plastic with ties which are each enclosed in separate hard cardboard wraps. These would have survived a wagon train trip across the country (CA to GA).
DO NOT HESITATE TO BUY FROM THIS COMPANY.
They are truly exceptional.
actually i would rank exceptional
i ordered 12 plants from them they were promised to be shipped on apr 15 recieved them april 18 they were in excellent condition as if they were still in the green house
these people have a superior product and packaging to any ive ordered
they state size of plants on website which is rare if not the unique laurel the owner was very knowledgable and helpful and did exacatly what she promised
although the shipping was higher from california to georgia where i reside i will continue to order from them exclusively from now on the additional cost is well worth it
i will post later on the quality of the plant breeding and production which i expect to be of the same exceptional quality
if this review seems overdone its because i have been burned and disappointed by many company and am delighted to see a company meet and exceed expectations and too often we fail to acknowledge these and dwell on the failures of the bad ones so i say great job when its deserved
I ordered plants from Laurel via email and she responded back within hours and told me that one plant had sold out but offered a similar tomato if I wanted it. I accepted and then confirmed my order. She told me the plants would ship the next week due to high volume at the time. The day the plants were to ship, she emailed me to let me know they were on the way. Plants arrived two days later (they went from California to Georgia) in very good shape and are doing well in my garden. She was a pleasure to work with.