I have placed 2 orders with this company the past couple years. Both orders have been for dwarf/miniature conifers. All plants are doing fine. Greer gardens has consistently sent larger plants than advertised and in some cases, much larger. The reason I am so happy with the sizes sent is that these are very slow growing items. I will definitely order from Greer again. Also, customer service and speed of shipment has been good.
I have purchased from Greer Gardens twice; one experience was positive, the other unhappy, but I'm pretty sure the latter was my fault, not theirs.
First, the good news : I purchased and planted a 3-4' cryptomeria japonica 'black dragon' a few months ago, and it is doing great.
Now the bad news: I previously purchased a 4-5' sciadopitys verticillata, and it died within a few months. However, I believe the reason is that, being a novice gardener, I got too anxious and asked for delivery too soon. Unfortunately we had a late snow storm the day I received it, so it was a week or so before I could plant it, and the roots were probably damaged in the mean time. Furthermore, the soil was too wet, and we had several more weeks of unseasonably cold weather and a hard frost afterwards.
Since it seemed unreasonable to ask them to take responsibility for my mistakes, I did not ask for a refund.
I really want to like this company, but I have to say I'm probably done doing business with them. The two trees I've purchased in the last few years both died. I'm willing to acknowledge both deaths might be my fault, but I'm frustrated at the customer service this latest time. I bought a columnar sargent cherry in the spring. It didn't look very healthy when it arrived and it died over the summer. I have tried to contact customer service -- sending two e-mails and leaving a phone message -- to see what, if anything, they might be willing to do about it. They have not returned my messages. I don't understand that: Perhaps I'm out of luck and just need to eat this loss. If so, I can live with that; such are the hazards of gardening. But to not get a response at all ... this is definitely one of my pet peeves: Companies that promote an e-mail address, but then don't respond to e-mails. Well, like I said, I'm probably done with Greer Gardens and would warn others, too.
On Sep 15, 2005, Greer Gardens responded with:
On Sep 15, 2005 8:47 PM, Greer Gardens added:
We truly want to help this customer, but the emails he says he has sent have not reached us. We have had some difficulty with email, so maybe he sent them, but we have not received them. Email is something that can be lost easily by email programs. We don't promote our email address, but we try to see that we answer any email received. I have also responded to him directly since I heard this complaint. I hope he has the goodness to acknowledge that we did respond.
We try very hard to provide excellent plants. These Prunus sargentii were excellent trees and we have had no complaints whatsoever about one this year, though we will be glad to replace his tree. Any newly planted tree can die even given the best conditions.
We can't solve what we don't know about, but we do solve what we do know about. My apologies if we made any mistake. We do care.
I'm a little late for feedback on an order from last June but I didn't know about this site then. I ordered a 6-8 foot yellowwood and several kinds of stewartias. I was a little worried about getting this size of trees shipped cross- country. But the shipping box was about 6 feet long and reinforced with wood. Inside were beautiful stewarties and a 10 foot (!) yellowwood with the tip carefully bent over. Great packing!
I would pay $10 (make that $20 if it was refundable) for their catalog if only it had pictures, but with so many different plants it would be difficult to do I suppose. I use it for reference now even without the pictures.
In spring of '03 I ordered a columnar Sargent cherry from Greer, paying $40 for the tree and $60 for shipping. When I received it I was dismayed to find that it had been "hatrack" pruned: what appeared to have been a 9' tree had been cut back to 7'. I was unhappy about this and contacted Greer. The owner responded promptly to my email and assured me that the tree would recover, and that he'd pruned it to make it branch more fully. What I found, though, in the two years that have elapsed is that the tree has issued forth unsightly shoots at 45-90 degree angles to the originating branches, so that the tree looks like an ungodly candelabra. I reconnected with Harold Greer and tried to explain to him that I was unhappy that he'd engaged in such drastic pruning w/out giving me a choice in the matter, as Forestfarm, to cite one example, would have. I also said that of the many columnar cherries I'd seen at local nurseries, not a single one had been pruned in this fashion, and that, as far as I knew, it was a type of pruning used on commercial, fruiting cherries only. He reiterated that the tree would, over time, assume an acceptable form, just more full. I pointed out that I'd chosen a columnar form precisely because I didn't want it full, and that I wasn't happy about having to gaze at this monstrosity for however many growing seasons it was going to take for it to calm down (if ever). He responded w/a huffy, "the customer is always right" and an offer to give me credit for the cost of the tree (but not the shipping, mind you) on my next purchase from him. So I give credit to Mr. Greer for responding promptly and for offering at least a partial refund, but be warned that you may want to make sure that he keeps his shears holstered before you buy. As for my cherry tree, I’m going to root a couple of the vigorous shoots and start over with the tree, on its own roots this time—so I’ve paid about $110 (including the rooting pot) and frittered away two years for what will turn out to be a 10” whip. Wow!
On Mar 20, 2005, Greer Gardens responded with:
On Sep 15, 2005 9:01 PM, Greer Gardens added:
I am sorry that this lady was unhappy.
Because of shipping size restrictions, had we not cut the tree, which I still say will not matter as the tree grows, she would have had to pay about 200% more. We tried to explain that to her. She quotes Forest Farm, which is a wonderful company and a friend of ours as we recommend each other ofter. However, Forest Farm limits the size of the plants they ship and they would not have shipped as large of tree.
We try very hard to please, and with the size restrictions that shipping companies are placing, we will not be shipping as large of trees as she asked for in the future.
First, I sent an email asking questions about the tree I wanted to buy that I saw when traveling in New Zealand. I was worried about the zone information because I was told in NZ that trying to grow it in USDA zone 8 was pushing the envelope. Not at all, Harold Greer personally responded and told me that he had started his from a plant purchased in NZ 20 yrs ago and was hardy to minus 20F. I ordered the tree: Toona Cedrela sinensis, It was shipped by Fed Ex well padded stems, and roots bagged in plastic with well composted soil and the water retaining gel. Arrived in 24 hours in perfect shape. I am very satisfied and will order there again.
On Jul 14, 2004, peterspaulding Contoocook, NH wrote:
I recently ordered two magnolias from Greer Gardens. They were shipped all the way from Oregon to my home in New Hampshire. Both trees were very well packaged, but one had been damaged to the point that the main trunk was broken. I called the company and they immediately replaced the damaged item. Not only was their product of high quality but the customer service is excellent! I will definitely do business with them in the future.
I ordered a large (5-6') magnolia from them and was looking for this specific variety. They were extremely helpful over the phone, informative, and attuned to personal service. The plant was shipped in its own customized container, was well-protected and in great shape, and was an excellent value for the money involved, both price of the plant and shipping halfway across the US. The catalog they sent was mouth-watering, and I will definitely buy from them again.
I just ordered a Gingko biloba "Golden Globe" from Greer, and it arrived here in California in a very timely manner and in great shape. It was VERY carefully packaged! The representatives that I dealt with on the phone were all very pleasant and worked hard to get me exactly what I wanted (for instance, I specified that I wanted a tree that had not had the leader trimmed). They do seem just a tiny bit disorganized there, but I had the feeling that is because they are set up more for buying in person rather than on the phone. In any case, they were very helpful and my little tree looks great. I am very pleased and will buy from them again.
On Mar 21, 2004, revclaus (Judith) Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:
Last year I ordered a Japanese maple "Corallinum" from Wayside, which came packed badly and broken off below the graft. They were hopelessly awful in terms of customer service. To replace it I went to Greer Gardens on the recommendation of a friend here in Denver.
Their customer service is disorganized, I agree, but the owner called me two or three times to let me know that they did, indeed, have a Corallinum in stock and he would be happy to send it. We had a great conversation, and I ordered a Pixie too.
They were delivered as promised, packed beautifully, in great shape, and as of 3/20/04 are breaking leaf. I would unquestioningly order from them again. You just have to persist in calling them if you want service. Picture this: your local garden center with several employees, busy with spring and summer customers, answering the phone ringing off the hook from out-of-town callers! That's Greer Gardens. But the owner did take the trouble to return my calls, and he was exceptionally friendly on the phone.
I have ordered a few times: Always friendly, great plants, and they pack their plants very well. A big Japanese Maple I got from them had it's own wooden frame build around it so it wouldn't bang around in the box during transit. I'm impressed. The tree and other plants I got from them came in great shape and are doing great in my garden.
On Feb 17, 2004, jesup Malvern, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I've received two orders (4 and 6 or 7) of rhododendrons from Greers purchased by my father (who collects azaleas et al, and lives in the middle of a huge laurel forest).
Both shipments were excellently packed, and arrived (in southeast PA) in perfect shape. The plants ranged from the smaller varieties to pretty huge (around 3' and almost as wide with dozens of buds). All were in bud, and would have flowered modulo deer. (The second, larger order is currently surrounded by netting and hopefully will be blooming soon.)
They definitely seem to have an excellent selection as well, given the wide variety of variants my father got.
While I was not able to order from Greer Gardens this past year (oh how I missed doing that!) I have placed several orders in years past. I must say that after receiving the plants ordered, all other nurseries I had previously ordered from paled in comparison. Ordered 2 Viburnums, a paperbark maple, and a few other nice selections. Every plant, except the maple has lived (the maple not being of the company's fault, but my own...froze in a pot when I had to move to my new residence). The Viburnums were around 2-3' tall and are now appoaching the 4 1/2-6' size and look wonderful. Ordered several western redcedar plants from them around 2 years ago and though mother nature played many cruel tricks on those poor plants their first year (frequent flooding, 2 hailstorms, and then a very dry summer) now I can walk around a five to six foot tall evergreen and they look marvelous. The plants, upon arrival, were twice the size as similar evergreens from Wayside Gardens. Healthy plants abound from Greer Gardens and I look forward to completing a new order next spring. Shipping may be high but that's the price I pay for ordering something from the West Coast when I live in the Midwest. Have had to deal with customer service only once and it was concerning a plant which was out of stock and they refunded the price without my asking, which was a welcomed shock for me. Very friendly, honest people.
I have the great pleasure of living in Eugene, home to some of the best nurseries on the West coast. So I've visited Greer Gardens personally, and I have a lot positive to say about them. Firstly, their selection of plants is enormous and includes many unusual cultivars. Every specimen I inspect looks vibrant and healthy. A visit to the nursery proper is much like a stroll through a park because the grounds are expansive, peaceful and well landscaped. I've always received genuinely friendly assistance from the staff, who are knowledgeable and willing to do a little research if they don't have the answer about a specific plant. All in all, it seems like a business that offers much to the customer, and where the employees appear happy to work there.
So why not a positive rating? The price. I recently purchased lovely, 3-4' witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’) elsewhere for $32.95. I did a little price checking afterwards at Greers and found the same specimen, also of excellent quality marked at $69.95. "It's an extra %10 off the marked price" I was told. I've found similar, huge disparities on other plants as well.
I'm not about to pay nearly double the price for any nursery. It's too bad they're so expensive, because the experience at Greer Gardens makes me want to shop there more.
We have been very pleased with the large plants received from this company. We've ordered a number of 5'-6' (1"+ caliper) ornamental trees from this company and all have done well in our north coastal New England zone. The packaging is very good but shipping is expensive (understandable) but that is quickly outweighed by the excellent quality of their stock. One 6'-7' kousa dogwood failed and they promptly credited our account over the phone. Their prices on large landscape size Japanese maples are often better than local nurseries even with shipping. Their website is of little use & we do wish the catalog would arrive sooner.
I ordered some Thuja conifers from Greer a couple of months ago, and they came as expected. The root system was nicely developed. The packaging was excellent, and so far every one is healthy. I've only ordered once from them, but I would not hesitate to order again. Now if I only had a larger yard...
This nursery has an extensive catalog, but their customer service is poor and disorganized. I ordered a 3-4 foot tree from them and was charged a sizeable shipping fee. It came packaged in a fairly flimsy tube, which Fedex had somehow managed to break in half and then taped back together. Inside was the leafless stump of the tree. This isn't entirely their fault, but when I reported the problem, the employee said that they would get back to me and I "might" receive credit. However, no one ever contacted me again nor did I receive credit. This is quite a contrast to my experiences with other mail-order nurseries.
On Oct 31, 2002, Greer Gardens responded with:
On Apr 21, 2005 10:36 PM, Greer Gardens added:
We have asked this customer to respond to the complaint so we could solve the problem, but they never have.
We try very hard to see the plants arrive in good shape, but the shipping companies can destroy anything. We would have gladly responded to his request, though we did not get his complaint.
This was the only company that had the Idaho State Flower in stock. I placed my order via email, and received confirmation the next day. Two days later the order arrived. Plant was 2 feet tall, and packaged well. Leaves were heavily spotted with brown, but having never seen the plant in person before, I did not know if this was normal or not. The plant has been planted in shade and watered daily. The brown spots are gone, and I'm thinking it was a case of shipment stress. I am very pleased with the outcome of my order.
I orderered three rhododendrons from Greer Gardens this spring. Here in Connecticut, every plant available is one of the "iron clad" rhodies in white, pink, purple or red and I wanted something more unusual. The catalog outlines time of bloom, foilage characteristics, etc. Having studied it ALOT, I took the plunge and ordered over the phone. The plants came carefully and cleverly wrapped. All three plants are simply beautiful. I will definitely order from Greer Gardens again. The ladies on the order desk were helpful, too.
On Jul 9, 2002, golddog Western, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
A wonderful family business with tons of Rhodos and Japanese maples, among many others. If you are looking for trees and shrubs that are of good size, then look no more. I bought 2 Japanese climbing Hydrangeas recently and couldn't believe the maturity of them. Stems were 2 1/2 to 3 feet long. Only gripe is the late delivery of the seasonal catalogue.
On Jan 22, 2002, Copperbaron Vicksburg, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:
Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that this site is unbelievable. Their catalog is just a sheer pleasure to read. The color photos are outstanding. The width and breadth of what they have to offer is nowhere else to be found.
There are other places on the internet such as Heronswood, Camelia Gardens, Weird Dude's Plant Zoo, Forest Farms, Mellingers, etc. that offer a large variety of hard to find plants in the trade, but none of them can compare to Greer Gardens. The plants I ordered were shipped as if the folks cared whether or not the plants arrived to me safely, which they did. I will one day visit this nursery.
I have ordered from Greer Gardens for two seasons now, and have been impressed with the large sizes and great selection of herbaceous plants and, most especially for me, woody shrubs/trees. In particular, two Magnolia stellata arrived beautifully and carefully packaged, and are now thriving in my garden. Greer has a great catalog, to boot.
I have ordered for about 5 years now from Greer Gardens. They are wonderful to deal with. The trees I have ordered were really reasonable and larger than I could get anywhere. I had a problem with a Acer japonica 'Aruem' arriving in poor condition. But when I called, was sent a beautiful replacement that is now growing beautifully. These are good people to work with.
One spring we ordered two red camellias from Greer Gardens. The two we had bought mutated so that the flowers were streaked with white. When we called to complain we not only got free replacements but Mr. Greer personally made sure these had red flowers and we got a hand written note from Mr. Greer himself apologizing. Needless to say we became repeat customers until we had finished landscaping our yard.
I've dealt with Greer Gardens for many years, both where we are now (West Virginia) and in Virginia before we retired. Their catalog is marvelous, the selection of rhodos and such marvelous, but they are not prompt in dealing with problems and their packing leaves something to be desired.
The Cercis canadensis I bought in fall of 1994 made it through it's first winter, but never flowered. The Franklinia tree is growing very slowly, but did manage 3-4 beautiful blossoms this fall. Now, if I could only get the deer to leave it alone. The Styrax japonicus bloomed beautifully, but started loosing leaves very early last fall. We'll see how it has fared come this spring. Greer has a fabulous selection with many unusual plants to choose from. I'll definitely go back.