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On Jul 26, 2013, BlissfulGarden Baton Rouge, LA wrote:
In 2009, I received a wonderful order from Blue J. The rhizomes were small compared to many other growers, but that is to be expected due to the location of this garden. In that shipment, the rhizomes were mature and ready to be offered commercially.
This year (2013), my order from Blue J was not satisfactory. Unlike other orders I received, the rhizomes arrived dirty. Several of the rhizomes showed clear signs of previous rot (the areas were dry, so the rot did not occur in transit) or other significant stress. Some were not only tiny (no more than marble-size), but obviously immature. One was snapped right below the foliage.
-- On Saturday, July 13, I sent my first email regarding the problems with my order to Sheri Arevalo (manager, hybridizer's daughter) at Blue J.
-- On Monday, July 15, I sent a longer email to Leonard Jedlicka (hybridizer at Blue J).
-- On Thursday, July 18, Sheri wrote back in response to the email I had sent to her dad (which he had forwarded to her). In her response, Sheri described how many hours she works, said Blue J had hired new personnel, sent excerpts of emails of praise from other customers, said she wanted to address my problems, and said she would write back either that night or Sunday (July 21) to discuss resolution. She explained she had an emergency that would require her attention for part of the weekend. Sheri ended her email to me asking how many of the rhizomes I would want refunded.
-- On Thursday, July 18, I wrote back to Sheri with my requested resolution. Here is what I wrote: "You asked how many rhizomes are unsatisfactory. I would say that I would not have purchased half of these rhizomes, due to quality issues. However, if I subtract out the cultivars that I cannot find elsewhere from the unsatisfactory rhizomes, then I'm left with about 1/3 that I would want refunded."
-- On Wednesday, July 24, Sheri sent a short email to tell me that I was "not forgotten"... In all fairness, Sheri was also not timely when I added on to my order. The first time I added on, it took Sheri 11 days to confirm the addition and invoice the additional amount. The second time I added on, it took Sheri 12 days to confirm the addition and invoice the additional amount. So, a quick turnaround on correspondence does not appear to be standard with Blue J.
-- On Thursday, July 25, I sent an email to Sheri with a specific request for refund. I asked for a refund of 1/3 of the rhizomes ($84.00/3=$28.00), plus part of the shipping ($6.80 of the total $22.50 I spent in shipping), for a total requested refund of $34.80.
-- On Friday, July 26, Sheri refunded the requested amount ($34.80) via PayPal. She also sent a letter asking me to plant the unsatisfactory rhizomes to see how they performed. I wrote back explaining that I would prefer to not expend valuable time and garden space on rhizomes that did not appear to be viable.
-- On Friday, July 26, Sheri also sent a followup email in which she explained that, by Ag regulations, up to 1/2" of dirt is permitted on rhizomes that are shipped. I didn't realize that before her email. I had never received dirty rhizomes from other growers, so I thought that it was not permitted. I learned something new!
So, that leaves me with a neutral review. I've had one very good experience (2009) and one disappointing experience (2013). However, in time, Sheri did work to resolve my concerns.
BOTTOM LINE: Blue J offers many cultivars that cannot be found anywhere else in commerce, and their prices are low. In this regard, Blue J is providing a valuable service... preserving hard-to-find cultivars much like Vintage Gardens did for roses in the past. How many times have we, as gardeners, accepted a plant that is struggling, simply because we were happy to find that particular cultivar?
Posted on October 26, 2012, updated November 14, 2012
This was my first year ordering from Blue J, I was very unhappy about some of the tiny rhizomes that they sent me although they did send two and three of that variety but it will be two years before they bloom and that is unaccepable. I sent a e-mail and let them know about these small iris and never received a answer back. My order was quite sizeable and put in early order#55 but shipment came in mid Aug. which was okay but I would have thought a early shipment would have priority in size, regardless the rhizomes were freshly dug and very healthy looking, the end of Oct. is now upon us and all are still alive. Will I order from this company again? Yes, but I will have confirmation before hand on the size or will send them back for a refund.
On November 14th, 2012, Dakota_Works added the following:
Recieved a e-mail from Blue J shortly after posting my previous comment. She informed me of the bad growing conditions in Neb. this year and that was the reason for the small rhizomes. She also stated that she has been very busy and was sorry it took her three months to answer my e-mail. She also offered to refund if I lost some of them which is fine with me. I would suggest that they drop the part about having rhizomes to offer that are the size of golf balls.
I had two problems with this company on my 2007 order. First, I had a large order which required 6 boxes. They were sent taped together in a tall column. The weight crushed the bottom of the lowest box and iris were missing. I reported this by email and there was no offer to replace. Also, about 1/3 of the iris rhizomes were minute...less than 1/2 inch. So, my expectations that they have survived a very cold zone 5 winter is doubtful .Also, I had no reply when I emailed about the size of so many of the rhizomes. With a few of the small ones I received 2 very small ones instead of just 1. Frankly, I would preferred not to receive any that size.My order was placed early....in February and iris were sent out in July...so no problems with the time of the order . Price is good but it is not worth my time and effort to receive such. She is a very pleasant person so I did not give a negative.
On Sep 14, 2005, Terri2 Roswell, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:
I have withheld comment on Blue J. for several reasons. To see how the iris fared and to see if mine was an isolated incident...
When I recieved my iris they were covered in mold , I do not know if it was the packing or growing conditions. I did inform Sheri of the problem and she stated that she would replace them if they did not survive..Most of them have done ok...Some of them have been very slow to put on any new growth, and I have lost a few, but I have not informed Blue J of the problem.I was happy with the size of the rhizomes, some were very small, but several were sent if that was the case. In time, I believe that Blue J will be exceptional source of iris for an inexpensive price.
I also give this garden a 10+ rating!!! I ordered 144 rhizomes and was very pleased with my order--
Sheri is wonderful to work with!!!!!
On September 2nd, 2006, Nancymo changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
The first order I received from them last year was great---so I decided to send in another order (05). The second was packed in the straw, the rhizomes were moldy and much smaller. I figured the size was due to ordering so late in the season. I had about a 50% bloom on the ones that lived and out of those around 10 were not correctly named. I ordered this year mainly to get be able to get the correct ones from last year.
The order this year was not much better. So next year I will pass.