On Oct 12, 2012, arrowleaf Clearbrook Park, NJ wrote:
This is the first year I discovered Swallowtail, LOVE the selection, and the prices are so reasonable! The packaging is nicer than most seed companies: plastic or glassine envelope inside paper package, sometimes all three, sometimes a glass tube with a stopper for certain seed-types. It seems like so much care is taken. I ordered most of my vegetable and flower seeds from them last winter:
FLOWERS: 4 varieties of Columbine, Apricot Sweet Pea (color is more like neon coral, but beautiful and they bloomed all summer and are still blooming-in Oct.!), Cosmos-Double-click Snow Puff white, Apricot Sprite Agastache, Polka-dot Pippa Foxglove, Morning Glory-Flying Saucers, Nicotiana Antique Lime, New Dimension Blue Salvia, Buttercream Sunflowers, Prado Red Sunflowers, Tuscany Peach Verbena, Profusion Apricot Zinnia, Profusion White Zinnia, Giant Benary Zinnia (Salmon Rose), Creamy Yellow Giant Flowered Zinnia, Gallery White Lupine, Princess Victoria Louise Poppy, Bronze Fennel
VEGETABLES: D'avignon Radish, Astro Arugula, Mild n' Spicy Greens mixture, Sugar Sprint Snap Peas, New Red Fire Lettuce, Simpson Elite Lettuce, Flashy Trout Back Romaine, Mottistone Summer Crisp Lettuce, Contender Hybrid Zuccinni, and Scarlet Emperor Runner Bean.
There was excellent germination, with everything except the Poppies, and I'm sure I just didn't get them into the ground early enough; the weather was too warm, too quickly, and then my husband accidentally dumped coffee grounds on top of them. So I will try them again next time.
I read the message from the professor with the poor Columbine germination experience and thought I should share my good Columbine germination experience as a contrast. I ordered four types of Columbine seeds from Swallowtail: Alpine Columbine, Black Barlow, Blue Barlow and White Origami. I had read (on the gardener web forum) that they germinate better if put in the freezer in damp soil for a week, covered, before exposing them to light. So I experimented, and sewed some seeds in soil-less cells, kept at about 65-70 degrees, put others in the freezer for a week, before planting them, and I also put some outside in plastic, domed containers, starting March 11th, (zone 6b, freezing weather) kept out till spring. Some germinated in 24 days, and some took over 30 days to germinate, but some from every group sprouted. The Alpine Columbine freezer group was the first to show, but it seemed like the others caught up, so none of the methods seemed superior. I transplanted to larger containers, and eventually had about twenty or so plants I set out into the garden. None of them bloomed the first year, which I think is normal (is it?), but all the plants grew a lot, and seem very healthy, so I think I will have a lot of columbine flowers next spring. Yes, they did take a lot longer than other seeds to germinate, but I think thats the type of seed they are. And I started out with 145 seeds and ended up with about 20-25 plants, but that's about how many I had room for, and I could have been more careful with them, when they were seedlings.
So I think the company is wonderful and I will definitely order from them again. They are now my favorite seed company.
On Aug 30, 2012, diknownana Glen Carbon, IL wrote:
I ordered a variety of seeds from this company and I am very pleased at the results. The germination rate was great (except for the seeds that something dug up and made a lunch out of). It's a shame the season was so hot and dry that the plants were suffering even with being watered, but they have survived and still producing. The prices and amount of seeds are really good. I am already looking and making my list for next years flowers & vegetables. Needless to say, I will be ordering again from Swallowtail.
Very happy with the seeds I have ordered from this company. I will certainly order again this fall. I like the many different viola seeds they carry and they work well in my garden and germinated reliably.
On Jul 1, 2012, chlorophyll646 Tanglewilde-Thompson Place, WA wrote:
Posted on May 17, 2012, updated July 1, 2012
I ordered many types of seeds from Swallowtail Seeds in both 2010 and 2011. My germination rates were inconsistent both years. The first year, I ordered pansy seeds, which grew fine. However, I also ordered many varieties of columbine and had a germination rate of zero for all varieties. I am a botany professor and have a great deal of experience growing plants from seed. I contacted the company in August 2010, and they issued me a refund for the seeds that did not germinate. They told me that the seeds had been professionally tested and shown 90% germination. They also said that they had sold hundreds of packets of the same varieties and had received no other complaints.
In 2011, I decided to try again because I was unable to find these columbine seeds from any other source. Because I had problems in 2010, I kept careful track of the germination rates. 30 days after planting, I sent Swallowtail Seeds the following email:
Subject: germination concerns
To: "Swallowtail Garden Seeds"
Date: Monday, March 7, 2011, 11:11 AM
I placed an order with you a couple months ago. I planted the seeds 30 days ago. Here are the germination rates I have found:
Red Hobbit columbine 26/28
Arizona Red Shades Gaillardia 30/32
Chianti Mix Pansy 17/28
Spring Magic Navy and White Columbie 11/18
Chandelier Lupine 16/16
Origami White Columbine 1/16
Origami Red and White Columbine 1/18
Origami Yellow Columbine 0/16
Illumination Apricot Shades Begonia 0/23
Go Go Mix Begonia 0/40
Obviously, I am very happy with the germination rates of the first set of flowers. However, I am greatly disappointed that I have not gotten the others to grow. I was unable to grow them last year either. I do not want to keep ordering seeds and not getting results. Might you have some suggestions for me?
All seeds were planted in Promix 1 in 4 x 9 cells in flats. Flats were covered with humidity domes until germination. Pots were kept under florescent lights (except for the pansy, which required darkness to germinate) 28W T5 bulbs, 8 per ballast. If bottom heat was recommended (begonia), bottom heat was given. If bottom heat was not recommend3ed (columbine), no bottom heat was used. Soil was kept moist, but not wet. I am a botany professor and have a fair amount of experience growing plants from seeds. We are growing these seeds as a project for my botany course this semester and the students and I are all frustrated. Please help!
I received no response from the company, and so resent my email to them on March 10, 2011.
Again, I received no response, so I sent the following email to them on March 21, 2011:
Subject: Re: germination concerns
To: "Swallowtail Garden Seeds"
Date: Monday, March 21, 2011, 11:40 AM
Dear Swallowtail Gardens, I originally sent this email to you on March 10th, but have not yet received a response. No additional seeds have germinated since I counted them on March 10. I am hoping you can help me. Thank you.
Again, I received no response to my third email.
Now that it is spring again, I would really, really like to try again. However, it is obviously very frustrating to try to grow the same varieties year after year from the same company. I was glad they refunded my money for the ungerminated seeds the first year. However, I didn't want the money, I wanted the plants, which is why I tried a second time. I was disappointed that they did not reply to my three emails the second year (nor obviously, did they refund my money). Does anyone know of another source of seeds for multiple columbine varieties? On July 1st, 2012, chlorophyll646 added the following:
I could possibly understand missing ONE of my emails, but three? THREE emails over two weeks?! That seems quite disingenuous to me. I have the records of my emails being sent to them, to the same address that they confirmed my order from. It is my understanding that emails are reliable and are even admissible in court. Why would they say on their website that you can contact them by email ["E-Mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
E-Mail questions and comments are always welcome, but please be aware it may take us up to a week to respond, especially during the peak season. If you have time-sensitive inquiries or comments, please give us a call."] if they do not monitor or take any efforts to receive and respond to them. I waited several weeks to receive their response. In fact, I am still waiting. Thankfully, I have since found another source for columbine seeds and have had more than 90% germination. I will never order from Swallowtail again.On Jul 1, 2012, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:
Our email records are not in line with what our customer is reporting. Had we received these emails we would have responded.
We make it as clear as we are able on our web site that using our toll free number (877-489-7333) is the method to use anytime a message to us is time sensitive. We wonder why it might not have occurred to our customer that his/her emails were not getting to us, rather than assuming he/she was being ignored.
Because as much as many of us have grown to accept that email is completely reliable - we know from our own experience contacting customers - that is not. Servers are down, mail boxes are full, typos in addresses can be made.
Our columbine seeds are professionally germination tested; we receive many compliments and very few complaints regarding their performance. Columbine seed must not be covered when planted - and will not germinate when temperatures are too high. Had our customer called us using our toll free number, I feel confident our staff horticulturist would have helped them develop a strategy for success.
If anyone ever has trouble getting an email response from us - please do not assume you are being ignored. It is far more likely your emails are not be getting to us. Our toll free number (877-489-7333) is a no charge, no hassle way to be sure your concerns are addressed quickly and accurately. You will also receive advice that will help you help insure your future success.
Had we had been aware of our customers experience we would have fixed it immediately. When our customer calls us at (877-489-7333) and asks for Lynn or Sandy - we will fully refund the order - which is our standard procedure - it is who we are. To attend to our customer's happiness, to promote their success is our highest calling. It is why we get up in the morning, it is our reason for being Swallowtail Garden Seeds.
On Jul 1, 2012 9:50 PM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds added:
We have not heard from this customer except through Daveís Garden. We previously invited the customer to contact us using our toll free number in order to receive a quick, no hassle refund. The customer has not done this.
As of now, we donít know who this customer is and to rectify the situation without knowing which order is involved is not possible. We, too, feel frustrated because we want to help.
We invite the customer to call us at 877-489-7333 to receive a refund.
Alternatively, if this customer would feel more comfortable, they can provide us the invoice number through this Daveís Garden post and we will provide a full refund.
If the customer does not have the invoice number, their last name would be needed to make sure the refund was properly applied. They can relay this information to us by phone or through this post, whichever they prefer.
If this customer will give us the opportunity we will fix this situation.
On Jun 22, 2012, AuntieFlo Philadelphia, PA wrote:
Posted on June 13, 2012, updated June 22, 2012
Posted on March 6, 2012, updated June 13, 2012
I recently placed a small order for 6 or 7 packages of seeds. The seeds were well packed in a padded envelope and the order was correct. The order came in about 5 days. I'm trying (for the first time) a method of starting perennial seeds outside in plastic milk jugs. I saw instructions in the January issue of Garden Gate. I have planted my seeds and am awaiting signs of growth.
On June 13th, 2012, AuntieFlo changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
Shortly after I got my first order of seeds, a secord (duplicate) order came. I tried to call but could never get through. I emailed to inquire about sending the duplicate order back. The email response I got stated that I placed 2 orders. It's odd that I only got one email, not 2 emails, thanking me for my order and confirming what I ordered and when I might expect it. My order was $18-$19. It was not worth the hassle of trying to get in touch with them to get this resolved. They didn't respond to my second email. They might have sent me a second order that I really DIDN'T order so they got some extra business from me this one time. However, I will NEVER order from them again. They lost a customer forever. On June 22nd, 2012, AuntieFlo changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
A representative from Swallowtail called me after changed my review from positive to negative. She apologized and said that they often get intentional duplicate orders. She gave me a credit for both orders. I may try them again but won't order online, I'll try to call, fax or email an order.
This year I received seeds for 2 kinds of impatiens ("Xtreme Sappire Mix" and "Accent Lavender Blue"), 1 geranium "Maverick Light Salmon", and Candytuft. All germinated well and have survived nicely in the garden so far; the impatiens and geranium are blooming away right now. I will order again from Swallowtail.
On May 14, 2012, PlantMomto3 Nevada, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:
I really hate to leave a negative review. I have ordered three times with this company (twice this year). I am not a novice and I follow directions. My problem was with germination rates. Very, very disappointing. I order from several different companies and these were terrible. I have a greenhouse and I spent hours preparing flats just so 11 out of 75 seeds would sprout (one variety). I think about 10 carrots sprouted (planted directly in the garden). 6 zinnias out of 72 planted. I know it's not me because my seeds from other vendors had excellent germination rates. I am just at a loss why this happened.
Now I am off to order seeds from the other company to cover my loss.
On May 14, 2012, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:
All of our seed is germination tested and 100% guaranteed.
We have no record of this customer contacting usóbut if they had, they would have received a refund or replacement, whichever they preferred. We invite this person to call us now at 877-489-SEED (7333).
We are well known for high seed viability. Great care is taken to manage the temperature and humidity levels of our stored seed. All seed lots are professionally germination tested prior to sale.
We guarantee every customerís seed starting experience will be a positive one.
On May 13, 2012, psychloman Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I am very happy with the germination and subsequent growth rates for the seeds mentioned here:
CAPE DAISY, ORANGE, CLARKIA, DOUBLE MIXED,
BROWALLIA, MARINE BELLS, CHRYSANTHEMUM, SINGLE MIX TRICOLOR, COMMELINA, SLEEPING BEAUTY , LARKSPUR, GIANT IMPERIAL CHOICE MIX , MIMULUS, MAGIC BLOTCH MIX, , SNAPDRAGON, AROMAS HYBRID, FRESH LEMON MIGNONETTE , WALL ROCKCRESS, ROSE DELIGHT, DIASCIA, DIAMONTE MIX, DIANTHUS, GIANT CHABAUD MIX CARNATION,service was prompt and they have a nice selection.
On Apr 16, 2012, Ispahan Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:
While I think their shipping is a bit on the slow end, I love their seed selection and I have had wonderful germination results with almost everything purchased. I would definitely buy from them again, though well in advance of when I would actually need to plant the seeds.
I am from Malaysia. I order my seed on 30th march despite not knowing wheather they ship worldwide or not, by 12th April I receive my seeds. I certainly will order from them again since the service is excellent and they have many variety of seeds . Congratulation and keep up the good works.
On Mar 21, 2012, Madisonwigarden Middleton, WI wrote:
I've ordered seeds from Swallowtail for several years, ,as I was drawn to their site for the great variety (especially coleus -- look at how many they have!!!) Great seeds, great variety, and I've had incredible success with germination too. This year I ordered seeds in February, most came quickly, but a few packets were backordered. After a month I emailed them to ask the status of the backordered seeds. I immediately received an email AND a phone call with an order update, an explanation, and seeds were here within 3 days. They obviously felt that their customers matter and are important to them. Do not hesitate to order from Swallowtail. They are a great company, they will back their product, and they communicate quickly. Their seeds are also wonderful (did I mention they have lisianthus too? I think I had a 95% germination on these!)
On Mar 7, 2012, SeniorGardening Sullivan, IN wrote:
Posted on March 6, 2012, updated March 7, 2012
Posted on February 14, 2012, updated March 6, 2012
Posted on February 14, 2012, updated February 14, 2012
I ordered two small packets of geranium seeds from Swallowtail in December (2011) and started the seed in early January. I did all the right stuff: total darkness, sterilized planting medium; adequate moisture; and bottom heat. The seed only germinated at 32%!
I called Swallowtail in late January and reported the bad seed. They offered replacement or full refund. I took the refund when the customer service agent somewhat snottily informed me the seed was good, as all their seed was tested at 90% germination or above.
A bit incensed, I wrote the owners that day, but have had no response. So...I'm just now posting extremely negative feedback here on Swallowtail.
After three weeks, no refund has been posted to the credit card I used.
On February 14th, 2012, SeniorGardening changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
After emailing Swallowtail today, I received a very pleasant call from Lynn, the co-owner of Swallowtail. A refund has been posted, and she apologized for the incident.
We had a very pleasant conversation about seeds, gardens, teaching...
Sometime in the future, I'll give them another try.On March 6th, 2012, SeniorGardening changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
The refund Swallowtail promised in February for the bad geranium seed they'd sold me in December still hasn't appeared on my credit card...in March! While the credit card company has 30 days from the request to post the refund, they also advised, "We understand the situation and we would like to inform you that we have not received any refund from the merchant to your account."
Swallowtail says, "I checked with our credit card processing company and the credit has been taken from our account and applied to your card."
There's obviously a problem somewhere, as I still don't have the refund Swallowtail promised for the bad seed. The credit card company has never screwed up like this in the past, so I'm inclined to put the blame on Swallowtail. While they've answered emails and called (but only after I first embarrassed them here with negative feedback), they've not resolved the situation for which they are ultimately responsible.
Swallowtail could have contacted the credit card company to resolve the problem, or pushed their credit card processing company to resolve the issue. They could have even just cut and mailed a refund check to me. But instead, they've chosen to try to put their failure to make a refund on me. So I'm changing the rating back to a richly deserved negative.On March 7th, 2012, SeniorGardening added the following:
As SeniorGardening reports above, ďthe credit card company has 30 days from the request to post the refund.Ē We contacted all the proper sources, including the customerís personal credit card company, to find that the refund of $10.43 was given on 2/14/12 and posted to their account on 2/22/12. "
On Mar 1, 2012, excellentjohn Binghamton, NY wrote:
THE best selection (and quality!!!) geranium seeds in the world! I've had E X C E L L E N T luck with this company for 2 years now. Almost all seeds come up, quick shipping, easy to understand instructions. Wish I could say the same of Park seed with their crazy gold wrappers and generic instructions. ST is THE best and a great web site! Thank you for great products!!!
This is the second year I have ordered seeds from this company. They send the seeds promptly and they sprouted at least as well as the ones from the "big" companies, if not better. They have lemon cucumbers and annual milkweed that both grew great in Ohio.
On Feb 10, 2012, OldChurchEggery Mechanicsville, VA wrote:
I ordered seeds from Swallowtail during summer 2011. I haven't tried all of the varieties yet, but the ones I did plant have done very well thus far. I grew Valerian, Scabiosa House Hybrids, and Apache something Agastache, and Marvelous Marble Coral Bells. What matters more to me than how quickly I get an order confirmation is how well the seeds perform. I'm pleased to say that my seedlings have become nice, small plants in what I call my nursery bed. I lost a few to chicken trespassers, but the survivors are quite vigorous. I'm looking forward to seeing them bloom either this year or next. Since they're perennials, I'm in it for the long haul with these plants. I would definitely order from Swallowtail again.
On Feb 10, 2012, vitrsna Colima Mexico (Zone 11) wrote:
Posted on February 9, 2012, updated February 10, 2012
On December 31, 2011 and January 24, 2012 I placed orders with Swallowtail Garden Seeds for USPS international mail delivery to Colima, Mexico. Both times, I received confirmation of my orders and on Jan. 6, 2012 my credit card was debited for my order of December 31. On February 8 I emailed this company requesting information on the status of my orders. On February 9 they responded that they don't ship orders to Mexico (the excuse being that they have trouble with orders to Mexico), although both orders had been confirmed and my credit card charged. So, more than a month after my first order and 2 orders confirmed I learn (only because I requested information from them) that my orders are not able to be processed. I've been ordering seeds from various vendors in the USA for 4 years and have received everything I've ordered via regular mail so I am not convinced of the validity of their excuse. I think this issue goes beyond shipping international orders. I think this speaks to irresponsible business practices. Unless a purchaser is desperate for seeds that SGS has that can't be found anywhere else, I would suggest purchasing from a more responsible vendor.
On February 10th, 2012, vitrsna added the following:
I received a reply from Swallowtail Garden Seeds that said they had "proceeded to send me an email but hadn't received a response from me". In return i sent them copies of an email they sent to me and my response (both dated January 1st). They don't seem to have a clue about what is going on in their own company. I notice in other excuse responses to negative feedback, they have used this same tactic of saying the customer did not respond. It appears the truth is closer to "we don't know if the customer responded or not". This company does seem to make rather elaborate excuses for their irresponsible business practices. There are so many good seeds companies available with which to do business that i would not do business with this company again.On Feb 10, 2012, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:
We are sorry that there has been a lot of confusion regarding this customerís experience. Her situation has been thoroughly researched and below is what transpired:
On 12/31/11 she placed and order online which was acknowledged with an automatic email back to the customer. On 1/1/12 we sent her an email stating our hesitancy in shipping to Mexico. Here is a copy of our email to her:
Thank you for your order and interest in Swallowtail Garden Seeds. We do ship all of our items using the USPS however, we have had some trouble in shipping seeds to Mexico. This shipment will be at your own risk. Thus, we cannot be held responsible for any lost or confiscated merchandise. Prior to shipping your order, it is required that we receive confirmation from you agreeing to these terms. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Swallowtail Garden Seeds
On 1/1/12 we received this response from her:
Thank you for the note. Yes certainly, I understand that if the order does not arrive, it is at my loss. This is always the case and has been for 4 years now. I have ordered many seeds from vendors in many parts of the world and the shipments have always arrived in good time via airmail international shipping. Colima especially, has the most excellent mail service. I know the postal carrier here and they know me. I hope this note suits your purposes and if more is required, please let me know. Regards, xxxxxx xxxxxx
Given her acceptance, we processed her payment and shipped her order on 1/17/12, via the USPS. In tracking her order, we see that the last activity the USPS has for her package is that it was scanned in Los Angeles on 1/18/12, the last stop before a package leaves the U.S. and is shipped to Mexico.
Our number one goal is to provide every customer with exceptional service and complete satisfaction. In this case we followed the customerís wishes and she was not satisfied. We went above and beyond by providing her with the full refund of $11.42-Ėeven though she agreed to the terms of this shipment being at her own risk. We canít imagine what more we could have done to provide this customer with a positive experience and this disappoints us just as much as it does her. If for any reason our customers are not satisfied with their experience, we are always here with open ears to listen to their thoughts and resolve ANY situation to their satisfaction.
I ordered from Swallowtail Seeds in 2011 and 2012. Germination has been excellent so far. The order arrived within 5 days of ordering. I am not happy with their email responses. I contacted them twice with questions, with no response.
I have placed two different orders already this year. Both arrived super fast and complete. The best part was the free shipping! I already have some "slow growers" going and germination is good. Thank you Swallowtail for a great web site, loads of choices and easy ordering!
On Dec 31, 2011, flowerscrazed Davenport, IA wrote:
First time order with this company. Came across it online while searching for seeds. Website is easy to navigate and prices are reasonable. Fast shipping (process and delivery took less than a week). Will do business again certainly.
On Dec 7, 2011, BotanicalBoi Carrollton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:
I am giving this company a positive review for the moment. I was very hesitant after seeing the other reviews on this site. Their website was easy to navigate, prices are fair, selection is good. I places an order this year. I got most of my order on the first shipment. One item had been back ordered. It quickly arrived just after the initial shipment. I will update on germination rate in the spring. So far, so good!
On Nov 26, 2011, STxJimbo Seguin, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
I can not speak to the quality of the seeds, yet. But the web site was easy to navigate, selection was excellent, prices competitive and shipping cost reasonable. My order was shipped extremely fast and complete with no out of stocks or substitutions. Over all this was a great experience and I would recommend this company. I am already working on my next order.
This past summer (July 2011), I had bought 3 packets of their strawberry seeds. The shipping cost was reasonable, spent about 10 dollars in all. The strawberry seeds after a month of stratification in the freezer were planted. A very good germination rate. Have recently transplanted them into bigger pots. Swallowtail is a nursery who you can trust.
On Nov 6, 2011, hillfarm Quesnel, BC (Zone 4a) wrote:
Posted on December 6, 2010, updated November 6, 2011
Posted on November 6, 2004, updated December 6, 2010
Great service & a very nice selection of seeds. I will definitely order from them again -- in fact , I'm about to go to the website right now to make a wishlist for spring 2005.
Hollyhocks are fabulous. Very nice selection of other perennials. I had good to excellent germination from everything I received from Swallowtail in 2004.
On October 24th, 2005, hillfarm added the following:
Looking back on our 2005 gardening year, I want to comment that some of the most popular plants we sold through our nursery this year were grown from Swallowtail's seeds.
The heirloom tomatoes & hollyhocks were outstanding; it is wonderful to be able to get such a nice selection of otherwise hard-to-find separate hollyhock varieties in particular.
I will definitely order again & highly recommend this company.On December 6th, 2010, hillfarm added the following:
It has been several years since our last Swallowtail order, as we took a 2-year sabbatical from our nursery business. We are getting ready to go again in 2011, and the first place I went to make my seed orders was Swallowtail.
Good selection, reasonable prices. I have just received my large order of freshly packaged-for-2011 seed - only 12 days after I placed it. From the USA to Canada that is very fast - other years the wait has been much longer as seed orders often sit at the border waiting to be passed through.
My only "issue" is that the online shopping cart was extremely time consuming to use. Other times I've faxed my order and I will do that in future. My computer was tied up for several hours making my order (and I had my list written out & ready to go). If there was some way the site could be a little quicker to navigate through that would be perfect! Too much clicking!
My rating definitely stays positive. Looking forward to dealing with Swallowtail again in the future. In my experience a very good seed company.On November 6th, 2011, hillfarm added the following:
Getting ready to make my 2012 seed orders, and Swallowtail is one of the first of my regular sources I've checked that is "ready" - thank you! Great germination on most varieties ordered last year - I'm a very happy continuing customer.
Ordered multiple seed sets from them and had varying luck with germination rates. Some were notoriously difficult plants to germinate, so I'm not overly surprised at my low success. My only issue was that my tomatoes seeds where subbed, Russian black for Cherokee Purple. On the west coast that may not matter, but in the south you gotta get a heat tolerant variety.
The customer service was helpful and friendly so they get a neutral.
On May 23, 2011, iluvsweetpeas Woodbridge, CA wrote:
What a wonderful company! The website is easy to maneuver and the seed selection is fabulous! Their shipping costs are the lowest I've seen in the industry.
I talked to a very nice girl on the phone when I placed my order. She was very helpful with suggestions for my climate zone. I received my order promptly-just in time to plant! The instructions and descriptions on each packet really helped a "beginner" like myself!
I will definitely be using them for all of my gardening needs. There is nothing better in a company than the combination of low prices, accessibility, and excellent customer service. Thank you, Swallowtail Garden Seeds!
On May 20, 2011, Apachegirl Falling Waters, WV wrote:
I had a good experience with my order - it was processed in a week, took another week to get to WV from California (typical), and the growing information on the packets was very helpful. I will order from them again. (They gave me a tracking number from the Post Office, but the day the seeds were delivered the USPS still had no record of actually handling the package, so don't go by that.)
Posted on March 27, 2011, updated April 27, 2011
I ordered three packets of tomato seeds. 22 days later I received ONE packet, and an enclosed notice stating that the remaining 2 packets were on back order. Prior to receiving seeds, emailed company twice, and called once, asking when the seeds would arrive, and expressing annoyance with long wait. Never received a response. With receipt of single packet, they deducted the cost of shipping due to the back order. This is seedling time, it's almost too late to start the seeds I received, and the back ordered seeds are useless for this year. I will ask for a refund, don't want the back ordered seeds. Don't want to support this company. Seeds and plants are subject to growing seasons. All other seed and gardening catalogs I've ordered from respect gardening timetables.
On April 27th, 2011, SteffieM added the following:
To re-confirm: terrible company. Order date, March 11. Received last two seed packets on April 13. Sent several increasingly irate emails (also two more phone calls to their answering machine) asking to cancel the remaining order, refund money and NOT send the two seed packets. Also informed them that if the order wasn't canceled I'd add to this negative review. Do I need to note that I received no response? Next will write to the Better Business Bureau.
Dave's Garden provides a wonderful review service. There are so many excellent gardening companies with living customer service employees and respect for their clients.On Apr 27, 2011, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:
During peak season, we are inundated with emails that range from the simplest questions to the biggest issues--and they come in 100s at a time.
On our web site we direct customers to call us on our toll free number with any time sensitive issues because we do not want what happened to this customer to happen at all.
We are not aware of any messages left by this person on our voicemail.
We have refunded this customer the entire amount of her order.
This is the same course of action we take for anyone who contacts us by phone during our staff assisted business hours of 9:00am to 4:00pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. Our standard practice is to resolve any issues, to the customerís satisfaction, as soon as possible.
It takes a lot to push me to make the effort to go and make a comment about a business, but Swallowtail really deserves some serious criticism. First, they billed me for items that were out of stock/discontinued, no longer available - even though they let me place them on my order. Second - they sent me what they called a "free gift" to replace the seeds that weren't available - these seeds were the same except not the color I wanted - and not even close. What really gets me is - how are these free? This "free gift" is to replace the seeds they billed me for but are not available - how is that free? How about keeping your seeds and refunding the charge!! The worst part is that I spent $140 with their company and the seeds that they DIDN'T have were the ones I really needed the most..Also - other comments on here about not being able to get ahold of these people are accurate..NEVER AGAIN.
Faye Martin, Novelty Ohio
On Apr 26, 2011, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:
We are really sorry to hear this person has felt this level of frustration and disappointment. It is possible that we charged for an item we didn't have in stock, given the high volume of orders this time of year. However, it is our policy to refund an item in full, and we frequently provide a free gift as a show of good will.
We invite this person and anyone else who feels like our performance has come up short in any way, to call us on our Toll-free number: 877-489-SEED (7333). Customers who have done this have always found we fix their issues to a degree far beyond their expectations.
Our products are unconditionally guaranteed, and we are absolutely dedicated to each one of you having a positive experience with our company. If you give us a call and give us a chance, we promise to turn what may seem like a negative situation into a positive situation. We are not immune from making mistakes, but from our years of seed-selling experience, we have become exceptionally good at fixing problems, once given the opportunity.
Please, let us surprise you with our generosity and good nature. Give us a call.
On Apr 27, 2011 3:45 AM, Swallowtail Garden Seeds added:
Investigation into this order proved somewhat difficult, as the customer used a different last name than "Martin" when placing this order.
However, we were able to fully document the following:
1) Her credit card was initially declined.
2) Attempts to reach her by phone were not successful, as the phone number she provided on her order was not in service.
3) By the time we did receive a valid credit card number (approximately 3-4 weeks later), one of the 33 items she ordered had gone out of stock.
4) She was informed by email prior to shipping that one of the items she ordered was no longer available. She was issued a full refund for that item and we included a free gift that we believed she would appreciate.
We can make errors occasionally and when we do , we are quick to take responsibility and fix them.
In this instance however, it appears we acted entirely properly and professionally, and any disappointment this customer may be experiencing seems to be due to a declined credit card and an out of service telephone.
We don't expect an apology from this customer, we do believe we deserve one.
On Apr 2, 2011, 6aseeder Arlington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
i have ordered 3-4 times in the last 3 years and received good quality seeds in a timely fashion. i am always happy to see some of the flowers that i cannot find elsewhere. i generally order early in the season (Dec or Jan), or in the fall.
I placed two fairly large orders with this company this year and ($150.00 and $75.00) and both came fairly quickly within two weeks of ordering. The seeds all germinated quickly and I now have a garden full of seedlings. The only seeds that didn't grow were the five types of coleus I ordered - but possibly I did something wrong with those? Everything else looks great.
Ordered from 3 other suppliers from across the country days after ordering from here and recieved my seeds. Have not heard anything from this company other than taking my money and not answering my phone calls or emails.
DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME HERE.
On Mar 29, 2011, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:
2011 has already been an amazing season for us. After implementing major changes in the last half of 2010, we are currently on a pace to post our biggest sales year in our 13 year history, sometime this April - in just the fourth month of the year.
We have filled well over 7,000 seed orders from January 1, 2011 through the end of March, 2011. A handful of these thousands of gardeners have commented here on this site, many positive, a few frustrated.
For those who are frustrated, we are truly sorry. We do regularly waive shipping charges, give free gifts, and generally do everything we can to make your experience positive. If we fail to satisfy, it hurts us.
The posts here are anonymous, so we cannot comment on any situation in particular, but we can say that we are not aware of unreturned phone messages. I know personally, that we have talked to many of you, multiple times per week, as you plan your seed order.
And please, before you take it for granted that we are difficult to reach, call us using our toll free number 1-855-726-SEED (7333) and decide for yourselves. We are in the Pacific Time Zone, and our staff assisted phone hours are 9am to 5pm. I think you will find we are easy to reach, eager to help, and if you should find it necessary to leave a phone message with us, it will be returned promptly, during our business hours.
We don't take people's money, we are about providing a valuable service, in a professional manner. If you ever feel we have not lived up to this standard, any customer can call us, and money spent will be promptly refunded, and you can keep the seeds, as a gift from Swallowtail Garden Seeds.
We have found that selling seeds is a poor way to get rich, but a rich way to live our lives.
To all of you who have sparked our growth, and raised our optimism for the future, thank you. What you have done for us is beyond words. If it isn't always perfectly clear the way we feel about you, then I am so sorry. We care deeply about your experience with us, as well as your success and joy in the garden.
On Mar 27, 2011, tobycat Gettysburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I was angry with this company a few years ago and vowed never to place another order because I recieved what I thought was a rude response to a problem with their seeds. They were getting a number of negative comments at the time and I figured maybe they were going through some internal company problems. Then this year I wanted more Great Red Poppy seeds and I was having trouble locating them elsewhere. So I placed an order. The seeds came within the promised shipping time and contained the correct amounts of seed. The germination rate was nearly 100 % for Great Red Poppy, Origami columbine, Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy and Prairie Sun, Delphinium Astolat, Dianthus Sooty Sweet William and Black King Carnation, Painted Daisy, and Echinacea Yellow coneflower. The germination rate was not so good for Echinacea Powwow Wild Berry and Delphinium Blue Jay. However, in my experience sometimes 'blue' delphinium seed are a little bit trickier than some of the other colors and may be slow to germinate, and maybe the wild berry echinacea is the same (they gave me a few extra seeds of those). I have a large property with many different types of gardens and I propagate and grow many from seed. I would use Swallowtail again for the selection and the quality of their seed. I'm glad I gave them another try.
On Mar 14, 2011, KnittyNatty38 Nashville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
I was leary about ordering from Swallowtail Garden Seeds given the LARGE amount of negative feedback they received here on DG. However, recent feedback seems to reflect a turnaround in how this company handles their business transactions. Given this, I thought I'd take a chance, as they offer a nice wide variety and have great prices.
I ordered several varieties of seed the second week of Feb. last month. I received my order about 2 weeks later with a message that 2 of the varieties were backordered, but would be sent out in 3 weeks. Those 2 packets arrived today and all is well! Germination and quality remain to be seen (I'll update later next season), but I am satisfied with this company so far.
I will order from here again I'm sure. The seeds came pretty quickly and the few I've started indoors have all germinated and much sooner than they say they should. So at the moment I'm quite happy with this company and would recommend it to others.
I was nervous about ordering from this company due to the rating. However they have seeds that I wanted that no one else had. I ordered anyway and held my breath....
The order arrived when they said it would and everything looks great! I will be planting my seeds soon and let everyone know how it goes. I will change my rating if I have poor seed success since I am usually pretty successful in all but the trickiest seeds:)