I have purchased maybe half a dozen plants from Arrowhead Alpines. Only one lived, and that one will take years to reach a decent size. Most arrived--and I do not exaggerate--significantly smaller than my thumb. All of this would be okay, if the company had provided some forewarning of what I should expect, how much care these minute specimens would require and how long it would be before they reached a garden-worthy size. I was willing to pay (what I consider to be) Arrowhead's high prices, because of its extensive selection of hard-to-find plants. Had I known the condition of the plants, I probably would have made a different decision. Perhaps that's why I got no forewarning . . . .
I'm sad to say that my experience with Arrowhead was not positive. The Lathyrus aureus that I was sent as a gift arrived poorly packed and dried out. They were also quite small. One was dead on arrival. I couldn't coax any growth out of it. Another died after planting and the last lives on as a very tiny seedling. My son reordered from another company and the Lathrus aureus from this company were easily 5 times larger and fully healthy.
This is not a company I could recommend nor would I choose to do business with them again. I concede they offer a fine selection of plants. I contacted them in 2010 about some iris I wished to acquire. They responded they were all available, at which time I placed an order. The iris arrived. One was in fact not available. The rest appeared healthy but were very small and 3 of them died in short order. I assumed responsibility and made no requests or comments in that regard. I did inquire about a refund for the iris they didn't send but had indicated was availble and was told a credit had been extended to my account. When I noted I had no plans to buy any further plant stock from them I received no response. Of the remaining 3 iris one has bloomed (in 2011) and is not the species ordered. My inquiry about this went unanswered. In consideration of the fact that they might simply be busy. I waited for a response and have inquired periodically. Still no response. I am a professional gardener of nearly 30 years, grow 1200 varieties of iris and hundreds of other perennials which I have acquired from all over North America and these plant sources stand behind their product and hold to high ethical standards concerning refunds and replacement of plants when the wrong variety or species has been shipped. Reluctantly I have to state that Arrowhead Alpines is terribly remiss in redressing this error and in my case has been blatantly unethical. I discussed the matter with a friend who had a somewhat similiar experience. What an unfortunate blemish on an industry I have always known to behave otherwise. Buyer beware.
Anyone heard of Paxil. This guy is a joke. Please spend your time on anything else. I think he took a little to "much" one of those times. We all know that consistancy is crucial especially when shipping. There are a lot of other places to get those "rare" items. He will eventually put himself out of business.
I enjoy visiting Arrowhead because of the great variety of plants there. But the quality is hit or miss. Just bought three cephalotaxus in gallon pots this spring. But when I planted I saw that two of them had just just been potted up from quart size pots. All three were planted in the same area. The two that had quart size roots began to die immediately. The third is looking beautiful.
Arrowhead had a no refund rule. In fact if you read their catalog, it basically tells you to bugger off if you have any complaints. I called them about my cephalotaxus, but they didn't make an exception for me.
I had a similar bad experience with a serbian spruce in 2005.
I will continue to visit arrowhead. But if I purchase anything, it will be a low cost item that is not going to be a major feature in my yard.
On Apr 18, 2007, thecollector Farmville, VA wrote:
I hate to be negative about anyone, especially a nursery that offers so much that is unavailable elsewhere. And, despite my bad experience, I do continue to order from Arrowhead year after year. They have stuff you just can't get elsewhere and there is always something new. But that said.....One of my complaints is the highly unpredictable quality of plants recieved. For example, in last year's order I got several ferns that were incredibly large and robust plants for the price. But some of the most expensive items were disappointingly small and weak. For the price charged, they might have kept the plants for another year or two and grown them on to a viable size; then charged even more and gotten customer satisfaction. These small plants were often ridiculously overpotted and had spilled out of the pots along with plenty of partly composted bark in shipment. One plant in particular, which cost over $40 and was advertised in the catalog as "very large" and having 10-25 growing eyes, arrived in a 4" pot and careful exploration revealed only 5 viable growing points. I thought I should call about that one. Well, I was treated with extreme rudeness by the owner, which, reading the catalog, I should have expected. The acid remarks in the catalog regarding "stupid" customers and heaping scorn on those who dare to shop at Arrowhead telegraphs the attitude. I was astonished to read the comments by visitors to the nursery and others who have talked to this "Bob" person on the phone. He sounds as if he has rather serious mood swings. Finally, the catalog. Some of the "descriptions" of plants are entirely uninformative. The attempts at humor are nearly always lame and often offensive. I've written articles for gardening magazines reviewing catalogs, and the Arrowhead catalog scores very low on all counts. But "Bob" is obviously very proud of his efforts. We could put the blame on Tony Avent, the originator of the wise-guy catalog, but Tony is actually a nice fellow, who, running a much bigger operation than "Bob," always has time to be courteous to his customers. So the bottom line is--this place is only for advanced gardeners who have a high tolerance for truly awful customer service.
I live in the general area of their nursery, so I thought I would stop by an take a look around. Boy what a waste of time.
They have a great selection and their nursery is beautiful, but they really, really need to work on their customer service. I wandered around for about a half hour and was totally ignored by everyone that worked there. When I did finally find someone and asked a question, they were extremely rude and treated me like I was more of a bother than anything else.
One other thing; You had better know the scientific name of whatever you are looking for, because there are no common names on anything. Now I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about perennials (no expert by any means) but I probably couldn't tell you the scientific name of anything in my garden.
I won't be going back this summer. There are better and nicer nurseries in the area that are more than happy to answer my questions and help me out. I'll be spending my money at those other nuseries instead of Arrowhead Alpines.
Owner arrogantly refuses to give any useful hardiness and cultural information. I feel he is confortable that most plants he sells will never survive a year. 30+% of plants die immediately; because they are too small and weak to survive in the outdoors. $8.00 for a lily seedling in a styrofoam cup with a 1 1/2 inch leaf??
It would be wise to avoid ANY seller selling Pink Lady Slipper (C. acaule); as doing so indicates contempt for the enviornment and high contempt for the customers.
On the other hand some of his plants are viable and can't readily be found elsewhere. So if there is something you can't get elsewhere and you really want to, take a chance with this seller . . .for just a few things
He *is* arrogant, just read his comments in the catalog
I had placed an order with Arrowhead Alpines and received a partial shipment and billed accordingly. Then, on September 12, 2001 I received a HUGE shipment of what I thought I'd never receive because no mention of it was made with the shipment I received in May. A direct withdrawal from by bank account was made. I called the company and told the man who answered the phone that I had not been expecting this shipment and didn't want it, I had wanted it in May with the others to complete my landscaping. Since I didn't get them then, I purchased them somewhere else. He said to me, "What do you think I am, some kind of mind reader? I'm supposed to know that you didn't want them?" Mind you, this was the DAY AFTER 9/11 and everyone ELSE on the planet (everyone but HIM and the TERRORISTS) were being extra nice to people. I took a breath and decided to be nice to him, perhaps he hadn't heard of the World Trade Center, etc. incident. He told me that I had 48 hours from the time he shipped them to return these items. Well, I think it took at least 48 hours to deliver them! I decided that I did not want to deal with him ever again.
I've just received a 15% off notice and though it's tempting, I STILL would rather not deal with him. Especially after having read that it wasn't an isolated incident or he was just having a bad day. I was taking care of my neighbor's farm and animals because the day before he received a call that his brother, a pilot, was killed and flown into the World Trade Center. He had to drive to Massachusettes hauling a trailer because it was harvest time at his brother's 150 acre farm there. And now I'm talking to a JERK who, compared to a lot of people THAT day, had no reason to be so!
IT IS a good idea to keep this guy in the house and OFF the phone. This alone would raise sales and customer satisfaction for the company.
I live in southeastern Michigan and saw an ad for Arrowhead Alpines in the local paper in spring '02. I was impressed by the list of plants and noted that the ad mentioned native plants specifically, so off I headed to Fowlerville (1 1/2 hours round-trip) to look for some native plants that are on my list. I shopped around the impressive displays for a while, then sought out the fellow that was hanging around the cash register. I guess I asked a stupid question -- "I'm interested in native plants, wonder if you have them in any particular place, can you direct me?" and was met with this reply: "Native to what? This area? Michigan? The U.S.? The world?" Well I should have left right there, but I showed him a list of things I was interested in anyway (mostly berry shrubs). He declared that he didn't have anything on my list ("Jerusalem artichoke? we have that growing on the property but we certainly don't sell it"). Again, I should have left, but I'm persistent, and I looked around a little more, found some maidenhair ferns, and took them to the cash register. Well this fellow literally ignored me for 15 minutes while he poked around nearby watering some things. When he finally sauntered over to let me pay, he was terribly rude (again) and shortchanged me ("don't carry change for a $20"). What a jerk!
The plants from this company are tiny, as in minute and outrageously expensive. Many things I've received, I had to re-root, many others are newly transplanted with very little root system before they're shipped out to the customer. The company is quite arrogant about settling claims , and just does not want to hear about it. Don't beleive me?? Read their catalogue. Many things they ship out are grossly mis-named. These plants have not been flowered out to determine their true identity. Catalogue descriptions are no descriptions at all. Just to say"Brigit loves this, or grows this" is NOT a description.
Throw this catalogue right in the trash!
On Jan 22, 2003, rutholive Tonasket, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:
In April of 2001 I placed an order totalling over $100.00 including shipping to Arrowhead Alpines, 14 items. I received the order in about 2 weeks. Unpacked immediately. The Thyme plants were satisfactory. The rest of the plants were very,very tiny. The Fritillaria bithynica was dead. They state in their catalog that the plants, bulbs, etc. are grown from seed. Still I expect them to arrive alive, and the two alliums each had 1 tiny grass like leaf, and the bulb so tiny you couldn't see it. I had grown a cyclamen from my saved seed the year before and it was larger than the one they sent. The Astrantia major Ruby Cloud had 3 less than 2" inch stalks for $8.00. I wrote them , they did not answer my letter. For more than $100.00 I received 5 thymus, 1 chaemaecyparis ( very tiny) and a tiny astrantia,1 allium that lived. Today I received a new catalog, which I don't intend to even look at. rutholive,(Donna0
I am 75 years old and have been gardening most of my life and have ordered from a lot of companies. I live in desert area of Wash. State and have all my life. It is easier to order from catalogs since I live a long way from large cities and large nurseries. Some time past Arrowhead sold seeds; now they only sell plants, at least that is my understanding. I had ordered seeds from them. I early April of 2001, I sent an order for plants and bulbs to Arrowhead. The total order was $100.80, for fourteen items, ranging in price from $4.50 to $8.00.I received them in about two weeks and unpacked and planted immediately. This is what I wrote to them April 25, 2001. "Dear Sirs, I am very disappointed in the quality of the plants, except the Thymus (actually one of them was extra large) that I recently received from you, customer ID 18125, order No. 2758. I realize that you state in your catalog that most are grown from seed, but at the prices I expected plants, bulbs, etc. to be of a size to bloom this season or at least next. The Astrantia major 'Ruby Cloud' is so very tiny, 3 less than 2"" stalks and one of those broken, it surely won't bloom this season if it grows, not much for $8.00. The crocus pulchella so extremely tiny I'm not even sure if it is leaf growth or tiny grass leaves. The Fritillaria bithynica is brown and withered, I would say dead. Late last winter I planted some seeds saved from a cyclamen, and those seedlings are larger than the ones you sent. For $100.oo plus I feel I r4eceived 5 good Thymes, and Chamaecyparis. Never grew Soldanella before so don't know if the one I received will bloom this year (didn't)" I never received an answer from them. Needless to say I will not be ordering from that company again.
I have had a very bad experience with this company. I have the misfortune of living close enough to visit this company, which advertises sporadically in the local paper. I visited them on May 6, 1998, which apparently is not a time during which they are open for retail sales, although there was no sign posting their hours. It is a very untidy operation with small temporary greenhouses for the most part. The owner, "Bob", became very angry when he noticed me and sternly warned me to stay out of the way, keep out of the greenhouses, and not to expect any help finding anything.When I brought a plant forward to purchase, he took my $20 in exchange for a $19.50 plant, stuffed it in his pocket, mumbled something about giving me a special sales tax rate, and walked off. I would not want to have to dealwith this man over a mail-order problem. I have heard he resents visitors to his remote nursery and would tend to agree that this is true.