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Comments regarding Swallowtail Garden Seeds

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  Feedback History and Summary  
200 positives
12 neutrals
20 negatives


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Positive Kiyannaboom
(2 reviews)
On Jan 19, 2009, Kiyannaboom Denver, CO wrote:

I have ordered flower and vegetable seeds from Swallowtail for the past 3 years. Their website is simple to use and contains superb photographs. Each year, I find many unique varieties that I've never seen anywhere else. Seed germination has been excellent.

This year I placed my order in early January. A couple weeks later, I hadn't received the seeds & was champing at the bit to start my early sowing. Voila'! The very next day, an overnight express envelope arrived with my seeds! The company spent a good bit of money to get them to me this way, and I appreciate it! I've recommended Swallowtail Garden Seeds to all my fellow community gardeners.

Neutral peonyflower
(2 reviews)
On Dec 24, 2008, peonyflower Glen Ellyn, IL wrote:

I placed a small order by mail back in November.I have called them twice and each time they seemed they were sincere about what happened to my order. The first time they said they had mailed it the past week, the second time they said they would track the order since it shipped two weeks before. I gave them my e-mail and phone number.I never recieved either one as to what happened to the order. I was looking forward to these seeds.I'm giving them a nuetral rating in hopes they will deliver. If I recieve them,I will surely write another review.

On December 28th, 2008, peonyflower added the following:

I finally recieved my seeds. Apparently they were sent to a non-existing city in Illinois. It took a while, but they delivered.
I hope they look at the addresses more carefully before they ship seeds out.
Negative bigcee
(1 review)
On Oct 30, 2008, bigcee Casa Grande, AZ wrote:

In the past month I have ordered 2 small orders with this Company and both times I had to call to find out when my order would arrive. I never got to talk to a rep, just leave a message. E-mails go unanswered. Both time it took over 10 days to get from Cal. to Arizona. If you have LOTS of time, these are your folks.

Positive geminitrv
(6 reviews)
On Aug 30, 2008, geminitrv Marshall, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I ordered from Swallowtail Garden seeds for the first time recently. I received a nice package today, and everything looked great! There was lots of information and planting instructions on each packet. I would recommend this company and will definitely order from them again in the future. =)


Positive Containerted
(7 reviews)
On Jul 17, 2008, Containerted Buford, GA wrote:

Ordered several tomato seed packets this year. They were here in one week. The seed counts were good and the packaging was kinda neat. Yes, they will be hearing from me again.

Positive bsewall
(2 reviews)
On Jul 15, 2008, bsewall Richmond, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Great selection. Excellent website that is easy to use. My order arrived quickly. Germination rate was excellent.

Positive CosmoLover
(2 reviews)
On Jun 30, 2008, CosmoLover Ellsworth, ME wrote:

I ordered a number of seeds from this company this year and found them to be wonderful seeds. They all germinated wonderfully and are growing very well. When there was a question about my shipping address for my seeds, not only did I receive several e-mails but phone calls as well. I will definately order from them again next year.

Positive rebecca101
(25 reviews)
On Jun 23, 2008, rebecca101 Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I ordered several seed packets from them this year and was very pleased. They had a great selection, reasonable prices, and fast shipping. Germination was excellent and the flowers so far have been lovely. Will definitely be back for more next year.

Positive PeonyandRose
(2 reviews)
On Jun 23, 2008, PeonyandRose Preston, CT wrote:

I have been buying seeds from Swallowtail for two years. They shipped very fast and all seeds were well packed. I have successfully grow some beautiful plants from their seeds. Will keep shopping with them.

Positive gardenlemur
(8 reviews)
On May 14, 2008, gardenlemur Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

I am really pleased with Swallowtail Garden Seeds. Before I ordered I sent questions via email and their response was quick and very informative. I placed my order with ease through their website and the seeds arrived promptly. They were neatly packaged and included good directions. I can tell that they really enjoy what they do and are willing to help their customers along. They have a very nice selection of seeds and I appreciate the reasonable shipping charges. I will certainly order from them again.

Positive bethany_in_ct
(3 reviews)
On May 14, 2008, bethany_in_ct Hartford, CT wrote:

This is my first time growing plants from seed, but so far I'm very happy with Swallowtail. First, I thought the website was very easy to use, and they had the best selection and info I found on the internet. Then, the seeds arrived VERY quickly after ordering, with very reasonable shipping rates. Next, the packaging was really nice--just enough packaging, nice seed packages, and seeds in convenient ziplock bags inside the paper seed packs, with wax paper packets inside those for really small seeds. I've also had great germination rates with the seeds I've planted so far--two heirloom tomatoes and foxglove (>90% on the tomatoes, harder to tell but still very good on the foxglove).

Positive dottik
(10 reviews)
On May 10, 2008, dottik Oakland, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

Ordered three kinds of seeds. All arrived in great shape and in almost record time. Will purchase from this store again. Dotti

Positive Cynara
(2 reviews)
On Apr 14, 2008, Cynara Champaign, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:

I've been a customer for two years, and have ordered maybe ten seed packets each year. I've been very pleased with the experience. Speedy delivery, reliable labeling, and excellent germination. I've ordered from a lot of sources, and this is the one I'm coming to trust the most.

Positive Marilena
(11 reviews)
On Apr 9, 2008, Marilena Chicago, IL wrote:

This is an excellent company in all respects. Great seeds with good germination rates and rapid service to Canada.

Positive ljmelbs
(6 reviews)
On Apr 7, 2008, ljmelbs Monson, MA wrote:

This was my first time ordering from Swallowtail seeds. I ordered a bunch of primrose seeds (as well as others) and all but one that I opened were perfect. One of my primrose seed packets was light - so I emailed the company. WIthin 48 hours they had 1) refunded my money for the packet and 2) mailed me another one!
I've started monarda and primrose and so far, the germination rate has been really solid. I recommend this company!

Positive msonmezay
(8 reviews)
On Mar 27, 2008, msonmezay Mission Hills, CA wrote:

This was my first order with Swallowtail Garden Seeds, and I am quite pleased. They really give you a generous amount of seeds! My order came quickly. Their selection of seeds is big, it was hard to choose what I wanted! I would order again next year.

Positive gemini_sage
(25 reviews)
On Mar 17, 2008, gemini_sage Winchester, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This was my first order with Swallowtail Gardens, and thus far I'm quite pleased. The germination rate on the snapdragons I've sown has been excellent, and I was thrilled with the quantities of seed for such good prices. I ordered from 3 other sources on line the same day I ordered from SG, and received all of them 1-2weeks before my order from SG, so I was glad I ordered early. Considering the bulk pricing and good luck I've had with the seed so far, I don't mind getting my order in early :-)

Negative Lala_Jane
(3 reviews)
On Mar 6, 2008, Lala_Jane North West, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is the first time I have ever left negative feedback for anyone anywhere. And I hate it. But I feel that I must express my disappointment.

On Feb. 2nd I sent Swallowtail Garden Seeds an email telling them that I'd had extremely low germination on a packet of their coleus seeds. I asked their advice on whether they thought the seeds might still sprout (it had been 3 weeks,) or if they thought should I replant. After 5 days with no response I sent another email asking if I could get the seeds replaced.

The next day I got a reply telling me, "As our seeds are guaranteed, of course you can get a replacement." Fast forward 4 weeks. No replacement seeds sent. No contact from Swallowtail Seeds.

On March 3rd I sent another email asking if I'd gotten lost in the shuffle. Again no response. This morning I sent yet another email guessed it. As of this writing there's still been no response.

By reading through their past feedback this company has a pretty good reputation. I'm not sure why I've been given such poor customer service but it is certainly frustrating and I will not be ordering from them again.

Positive IronstoneGarden
(1 review)
On Feb 29, 2008, IronstoneGarden Andover, MA wrote:

Last year was my first time ordering with Swallowtail and I am very happy that I did. Their product descriptions were right on, everything (veggies and flowers) came up great – grew/looked/tasted exactly as described. Great company, great customer's reassuring to know that there really is an actual “somebody there” at the other end of the internet in case something happens. I will rely on their descriptions and be a little more adventurous in my ordering this year!

Positive faerygardener
(7 reviews)
On Feb 12, 2008, faerygardener Angels Camp, CA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Have ordered from this company for the last two years. Excellent selection and service. I'll order from them again and would highly recommend them to others.

Positive mudpiegirl
(15 reviews)
On Jan 20, 2008, mudpiegirl (Zone 7a) wrote:

I stumbled on the Swallowtail seeds website after doing a web search for a particular type of California poppy seed I couldn't find. I was very happy with the speed of their delivery and their germination rates. the flowers were just gorgeous. This year I wanted to order more, but I was unsure whether they had their 2008 seeds ready, so I emailed them and got a very prompt reply. Once again, my order was sent very quickly! I expanded my order this year beyond California Poppies, and I expect good results, based on last year's performance. Their web site is beautiful, the descriptions and pictures are accurate, and it is very easy to navigate, load, and order. They have varieties I can't find anywhere else. They are one of my favorite companies!

Positive abileneblues
(2 reviews)
On Jan 19, 2008, abileneblues Abilene, TX wrote:

I ordered several packets of seeds from this company and received my order within a few days. I won't have any idea of the germination rate until next spring, but the website, ordering and order fulfillment were all great. I will do business with them again.

Positive starlight1153
(15 reviews)
On Jan 19, 2008, starlight1153 Seale, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love Swallowtail gardens. Nice , easy to navigate website and good descriptions. Just ordered 21 different packs of seeds ad they arrived all the way fro Ca. to me in days.

Thank you for a such a great transaction!

Positive bmuller
(19 reviews)
On Jan 19, 2008, bmuller Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:

Excellent company! I've ordered from them in the past (one or two years ago) with good service, as well as good germination rates. Recently ordered again--and received the seeds in an incredibly short time. They also have a good selection of seeds.

Positive tepelus
(12 reviews)
On Jan 12, 2008, tepelus Nashville, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

Ordered from them for the first time and was very pleased. All the seeds I had ordered had come and had arrived within a few days of ordering. They have a great selection, good prices and wouldn't hesitate to order from them again. Sowing instructions are easy to follow, now I just have to see how well I can germinate and grow them! I will recommend them to my friends.

Positive gsteinbe
(20 reviews)
On Jul 19, 2007, gsteinbe Trenton, NJ wrote:

I'm not sure why this company isn't still in the top 30. I really like Swallowtail Seeds. I've never done any formal calculation of germination rates on their seed, but I've been pleased with pretty much everything I've ordered from them over the last few years. They're quick and fairly inexpensive, especially their bulk seed. They have a wonderful selection of things. Their website could be a little easier to navigate, and their seed packets do sometimes leave off the oddest, important information (e.g., planting depth or light requirements for adult plants), but their seed packets are usually very clear and straightforward about what the seeds need to germinate -- much clearer than some other companies in my estimation. Rather than say, "Sow seed in early spring," Swallowtail Seed tells you what temperature the seeds need for germination, so you can plant them whenever you want (if you can control the temperature), or you can plant them at the appropriate time of spring or summer (based on the temperature outside). I also really like their seed packaging. They always have an outer envelope of paper with instructions and information printed on it, and then they have an inner plastic envelope for the seeds. I like this arrangement, because I can open the paper envelope and check out how big the seeds are and how many there are without disturbing the airtight seal on the clear plastic envelope inside. And the packet usually has quite a few seeds. Their packets of Dame's Rocket and Foxglove, for example, are essentially bulk amounts at regular seed packet prices.

Positive bstrake
(3 reviews)
On May 30, 2007, bstrake North Wales, PA wrote:

Great source for rare seeds. I was looking for alpine strawberries and they were the only place i could find the seeds. Good shipping, seeds arrived the same day as a seed order of similar size placed with a competetor two days earlier. I've yet to see how the germination rate goes, but I'll edit later if it isn't good.

Positive smoltish
(1 review)
On May 28, 2007, smoltish San Jose, CA wrote:

Placed an order online on Monday the 21st, received my seeds on Friday the 25th. Everything was packaged nicely and arrived safely. Now I've got to see if I can them to grow (I'm notoriously bad starting with seeds)! :-)

Positive maye20
(2 reviews)
On Apr 14, 2007, maye20 San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I ordered five vegetable/herb seeds and one type of flower seeds. The germination rate was impressive (probably >90%). Communication was fast, and they answered a question via email clearly and thoroughly. Although it took almost two weeks to get to me (which was surprising, since they are a local company), I was pleased with my experience and would order again.

Positive tracylynn34
(3 reviews)
On Apr 10, 2007, tracylynn34 Menominee, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Prompt service and hard to find flower seeds. I will be ordering from them again and again.

Positive cycloyd
(1 review)
On Mar 30, 2007, cycloyd Muskogee, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is my 3rd year of ordering from Swallowtail Gardens. I found their website while searching for cypress vine seeds and I've expanded my order each year. This year, I placed my order last Sat night and rec'd it today. The seeds have always germinated well, their packaging and instructions are great. In my experience, they have been great and offer a wonderful selection.

Positive Aimee_
(5 reviews)
On Mar 30, 2007, Aimee_ Walnut Creek, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I ordered seeds, they arrived quick, and the germination rate of the seeds was fantastic! I had a question regarding some information on some seeds and the customer service is superb. I will definately be ordering again from them.

Positive ionltd
(6 reviews)
On Mar 12, 2007, ionltd Windsor, IL wrote:

Great company.
I received my order in 4 days shipping from CA to IL.
I found the directions included easy to understand and detailed.
So far everything has germinated as expected

Will definately order from again..

Positive ks5955
(1 review)
On Mar 5, 2007, ks5955 Columbus, OH wrote:

Swallowtail Garden Seeds offers a great selection with their online catalog and the seeds I ordered arrived in just a few days. Everything is packaged very nicely. I like the fact that seeds are enclosed in a sealed plastic bag within the paper packet with instructions. Also, the prices are very reasonable. I can't wait to get started with this year's garden.

Positive arachide
(12 reviews)
On Mar 4, 2007, arachide Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've placed 3 orders from Swallowtail this year and been pleased with every one. Shipping was quick and seeds nicely packaged. They also have a nice selection of some not so common varieties.

On January 11th, 2008, arachide added the following:

I placed another large order this year. I really like this company. Their seeds always have excellent germination and they have interesting varieties.
Positive AS
(45 reviews)
On Feb 21, 2007, AS (Zone 7a) wrote:

All of the seeds I ordered were in stock (I checked the online status before ordering), and the seed packets have contained at least the amount of seed specified, usually a little more. Germination has been excellent on geraniums (100%) and pansies (80% or better) I'll update if germination is poor on any varieties I start later. The germination instructions were OK - germination temps for non-direct seeded plants, seed depth, light needed for germination were available on most packets. Minor quibbles: It would be nice if they included the time to start indoors before the last frost. I did have to look this up. And noting the outdoor soil temps for sowing (cool or warm) would be a plus for novice gardeners. The instructions on the sweet pea seeds and sunflower seeds are vague enough that a beginner might start the sweet peas far too late in our climate, and the sunflowers a little too early.

Shipping was a week or two slower than Parks and Pinetree Garden Seeds, even considering the distance, but it was acceptable.

Negative turtle_girl
(3 reviews)
On Feb 20, 2007, turtle_girl Westminster, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have to agree with kqcrna in Cincinatti. I've yet to figure out why this company is so highly rated...and I'm fairly easy to please. My initial reaction was to give them a positive rating with suggestions on how to improve their website and customer service. However, problems with my order and a lack of communication from the company have soured me on this experience.
To top it off, I had to spend several hours of my free time doing research on how to grow their seeds because the packs often lack such basic information as planting depth, sowing time, or frost hardiness.

I placed a large seed order with them on 1/19 because of all of the positive ratings they got on this site. It took over two weeks to get the bulk of my order (a bit long, but expected). Part of the order was sold out and part was on back order. It would have been nice if they would have noted this on their website or at least sent me an email letting me know this so I could order from another source. The back ordered items were supposed to be sown in late January.

More than a month later, I've yet to receive them...However, I was charged at the time of my order. I'm not uptight about the money so much as I just find it to be a bad business practice.

Additionally, you can't check the status of your order online, so I called them a week ago (Not a toll-free call) to check on my back-ordered items. I received an Email back letting me know I should get the rest of the order "soon"...I guess they couldn't be bothered with the time or expense of returning my phone call. I'm still waiting for my seeds.

On February 22nd, 2007, turtle_girl added the following:

Though I appreciate the amount of work and dedication that goes into running a small business, there is a certain level of service that is expected of any establishment large or small. I don't feel that level was met in the way this company handled my order, especially compared to the service I've received from similar companies.

I also appreciate this company's high standing among DG members, but I can only speak for my own experience. Anyone researching this organization will see that it was unique.

Lastly, if this gentleman had put even half as much time and effort into communicating with me about my order as he did to responding to a "negative" rating on this site, I would have given his company a glowing reference. I don't want a refund. I just wanted a little communication and some information on how to sow the seeds I ordered.

My back ordered items finally arrived yesterday. If I get decent germination rates, I will change my rating to neutral.
As it is, my rating stands. Here is a further explanation as to why:

-Although the company does indeed have an impressive selection, there is no search engine to weed through it (something which is fairly standard in online retail) (Note: though I never mind browsing through seed catalogs, this makes ordering difficult because of the next issue)
-If you take too long trying to find everything you want, their website empties your "cart" and you have to start all over again
-Although they do offer a toll-free fax line for placing orders, their customer service phone line is not free to the customer (again, something which is fairly standard in any retail)
-Order processing is very slow compared to other seed companies (Case in point: I placed similar sized orders with Territorial and Swallowtail on the same day. Territorial shipped my order within two days and sent me an email to let me know it had shipped. Swallowtail shipped my order two weeks later and sent no email.)

Deal Breakers (for me):
-One of the items I ordered was sold out for the season and another was on back-order. The company did not notify me of this until almost 3 weeks after I placed my order and I received the rest of my seeds. Because their products are time-sensitive, someone from the company (or even an automated email) should have let me know this so I had the option to order elsewhere and still get the seeds in plenty of time to give them a good start.
-I called them (2/12?) to find out what was going on with my back-ordered items and asked that someone return my call. All I got back was an email saying they planned to send out the rest of my order later that week and I should get it soon. As of 2/20, my seeds were still MIA and I had heard nothing more from the company on whether they had even been shipped.
-Only a few of the items I ordered contained information on ALL three of the basic seed sowing questions (how deep to sow the seed, how many weeks before last frost to sow it, and how many weeks before/after the last frost to transplant it). Though their site does contain a very detailed and helpful page on general seed starting information, I needed info specific to what I was planting. I'm not a novice, but I also don't know all that info by heart. I ordered three dozen varieties of seeds from this company alone. The owner's suggestion that I call him for that info seems a little unrealistic, especially considering I couldn't even get someone to call me back about the status of my order.

On Feb 20, 2007, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:


On Feb 20, 2007 6:53 PM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds added:

First: We are a family run business and we sell seeds because we love it and we are certainly disappointed if anyone is unhappy. If this customer will contact us we will refund their money and they can keep all their seeds from their "large" order and it will cost them nothing. And they didn’t have to post to get this deal, we offer this to everyone—it is our standard way of doing business.

I am not sure who this is posting so I cannot address their concerns specifically. But we are here during the week to give planting advice (so there is no need to check reference books if you don't want to) and we respond by e-mail (usually within 24 hours) if you don't want to use the phone. However, it is my own opinion that the planting instructions on the packets are more than adequate and we have a great seed starting page on our site also (several Universities use it in their own programs). Perennial flowers on our retail (non-professional) site have winter hardiness ratings so you can become familiar with them before you buy and we have a zone chart on the site so you can see if the plant is right for your area.

We only charge for back-orders if we believe we are getting the item in very soon. But we sometimes get disappointed too. Crops fail, promises made to us by other companies to fill the void can't be fulfilled (and we understand this, no blame intended--this is Christmas time in the seed business and there is extraordinary demand for a limited number of resources). And sometimes our back-order date isn't met. We are not perfect.

When we tell someone to expect their seeds soon it means that the seeds have already shipped via U.S. mail and at the time of time of inquiry the delivery is still well within the normal shipping time. We do ask the person to keep us posted so if a problem does appear we can fix it. But it is true we get the credit when the Postal-Service is unusually fast and we get the blame when it is unusually slow. Neither is fair.

But a last point and I want to be very clear on this. We have a good rating because we earned it. We respond to customers quickly, we offer a 100 percent unconditional guarantee, we offer unusual varieties (over 4,000 counting our bulk section, and over 1200 retail). We cultivate a culture of caring about what we do and how we do it within the company.

It truly doesn't matter to me what our Dave's Garden rating is, it does matter to me that we behave here at Swallowtail Garden Seeds with integrity: both in the quality of the products we offer and how we treat our customers. And by that measure I feel very good about what we are doing and who we are.

To all of you, have a wonderful season. You have shown us extraordinary support over the past few years. And it is very much appreciated. And as stressful as spring can be for both growers on schedules and suppliers I hope we can all find it in us to be kind to each other and make a genuine effort at productive communication. We guarantee everything we do unconditionally, and that will hopefully ease at least some of the natural stress of the season.

Happy Spring and whether buying from us or another supplier, please really make a commitment to enjoy yourselves as you discover or rediscover the miracle of the seed.

Don McCulley
Swallowtail Garden Seeds"

Positive PlantsnobIN
(28 reviews)
On Feb 16, 2007, PlantsnobIN Paoli, IN wrote:

Rec'd seeds quickly, and packages have the description and germinating instructions. I don't know about germination rates yet, but I would not hesitate to order again. Good prices and generous seed amounts.

Positive jasmyne
(3 reviews)
On Feb 16, 2007, jasmyne Lindenwold, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I placed an order with this company and received it less than a week to the east coast. I found that they have great prices, good information, excellent shipping costs, and so far the germination rates have been 90-100%. Highly recommended.

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