Posted on May 15, 2015, updated May 30, 2015
Received 6 bare-root roses which were fine. The tree-rose however had 3 canker sores. I submitted pictures and emailed them to Angie and to US customer service. Never heard back.
Subsequently I emailed the service center in the UK, received an answer within 24 hours, confirming the canker spots and offering help to resolve this matter.
Until we have received a replacement Tamora tree rose- a healthy one this time- we will block our credit card for this transaction.
On May 30th, 2015, lientje changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I received a new tree-rose, Tamora was not available but Lady Hamilton is a good substitute. The rating was changed to neutral and not positive due to the slow communication process.
I ordered 3 Austin container roses this month, Eglantyne, Sharifa Asma, and Young Lycidas. The packing was great - super big, super sturdy cardboard boxes which were secured strongly, yet easy to unpack. So far, Eglantyne and Sharifa Asthma look pretty good. Young Lycidas, however, is light pink (almost white in the sunlight) as opposed to dark pink with tiny blooms 1 1/2 inch in diameter. I sent a photo to the Austin representative who explained that sometimes roses fade in the heat and I should let it acclimate to my climate and write back. I doubt it is the right rose but we'll see.
On Jul 27, 2012, Tomlyn20 Princeton North, NJ wrote:
I have been buying David Austin roses for 16 years. The original ones seem to have been of better quality than those purchased over the past three years. Colors not true to the catalog, incorrect plants received have plagued recent orders,but Angela Folse has been very good about correcting these issues. Failures have been few,but my main problem is with weak canes that cannot hold up the flowers. I am having to support Silver Jubliee and others.
I cannot fault their willingness to put things right, but I have not been happy at losing a year in my new and very successful rose garden. Part of the problem is that DA has stopped selling through all our local nurseries in Princeton and bare root is my only option. I used to buy the roses in pots from baumley's nursery and can no longer get them. So I have switched to other growers with great success.
On Jul 27, 2012, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
"On Aug 16, 2012 1:33 PM, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
Most of our roses gradually change color as they open and mature. Colors can be lighter in full, strong sunlight and may also vary at different times of the year. We try to make this clear in discussions with customers, in our terms of business online and in our catalog (see p118) but will review this to see if we can make it clearer. Varieties with larger flowers such as Jubilee Celebration often nod gracefully on arching stems, especially when young, but we can recommend varieties with a more upright habit for customers who prefer this look in their garden. We offer free advice on all aspects of growing and selecting roses and are happy to advise customers personally if required.
We continue to offer roses to local nurseries across the US, although we have not had enough stock of many varieties to meet demand in recent seasons. We maintain a list of nurseries who stock our roses on our website and can also advise garden centres where to obtain stock if required."
On Jun 27, 2012, nitric_acid Lathrup Village, MI wrote:
I recently ordered 4 bare-root roses from David Austin. No problem ordering. I got what I ordered and it arrived when they said it would.
However, the roses had a lot of mechanical damage, split canes, canes torn off, chunks taken out of canes, etc. The roots were ok. Packing was not good. 4 roses put in a bag inside a box. Nothing tied together and nothing to keep the roots hydrated. These were the lowest quality bare-roots I've received out of the 70+ roses I have growing in my garden.
After two weeks of growing indoors in pots (due to 90+ degree weather), one is leafing out. One might leaf out. The two others aren't doing much.
On Jun 27, 2012, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
"On Aug 16, 2012 1:31 PM, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
We are sorry that the roses were supplied with mechanical damage and are currently checking our records and quality procedures to try to make sure this does not happen again. We cannot trace this customerís order from the details supplied and would be grateful if he/she could contact us directly to resolve the issue."
Posted on December 27, 2011, updated April 3, 2012
It is disappointing to read the most recent reviews given that I plan to order at least 8 to 10 roses from David Austin this winter. It should be noted that most of the complaints center around customer service and shipping and this mirrors my past experience last year.
In late December of 2010 I ordered 9 rose standards and in the order gave specific comments that the plants must arrive on or before February 12 as I would be leaving the country on the 14th. I do not recall the specific chain of events but I repeated my delivery deadline in a follow up email and received a confirmation. Then it came to pass that the shipment was not made in time to insure delivery by standard shipping. In telephone conversation, they agreed to ship by 2nd day air and the plants were indeed received one day before my flight.
The holes were already prepared and the standards went from box to a willow water soak to the ground within hours. Reading the other negative reviews, the plants were indeed bare roots in a plastic bag with no moisturizing media but they were certainly in quite elegant boxes.
They performed beautifully: planted on February 12, they were in full and very glorious bloom by the 2nd week of April and re-bloomed profusely throughout the year. They bloom lightly even as I write and would likely be in far more generous bloom had I not been over a month late when I pruned then in November. Other than a quickly terminated bout with thrips, there have been no diseases or pests and the same thrips infested other non-Austin roses in the same border.
Itís a great gene pool, a fine product. I doubt every product within the range is stellar - I have a friend who says that Wm Shakespeareís canes are too weak to support itís heavy blooms and my Winchester Cathedral (as a standard) perhaps produces too long a cane for that form but these standards are by far the most satisfying roses I have in a collection that includes quite a few old roses from other sources.
Itís the worst possible situation when a company has a good product but insufficient means to deliver and service the inquiries of its customers. Provided their US operationís culturing is up to par, their deficit lies in the steps from order to shipping and customer service communication and I hope they are aware of the comments made on this site and will make steps to improve their service. I will still order from them in the next few days and then be sure to closely monitor the promised delivery dates.
On April 3rd, 2012, DyslexicMot added the following:
I thought I would follow up after my post of December 27th. On the 29th of December I placed an online order for 35 plants and the charge was posted to my credit card the following day. Knowing that order confirmations were sent by mail, I decided to wait and see what would happen and continued to dig and prep the beds.
By January 25th, Iíd not received a confirmation and worrying that something might be amiss I called to check the status and learn the expected shipping date. After a little checking, I was told that they had shipped the day before and would arrive at my house on Friday, January 27.
I was surprised to find all 35 plants packed into one not-that-large box but they were all well layered within one another and although the box received significant wear and tear from UPS, there were no more than 4 broken roots. They were bare in plastic, the interior of the bag was still humid and all were planted out the same afternoon. They broke dormancy quickly and now 9 weeks after planting most have entered full bloom. (Week of April 2)
It was a good experience in that I received sturdy, healthy looking plants which I expected to perform well even in their first year. However, I donít feel properly thanked - in fact I was not thanked at all - and 35 plants is not an insignificant order. I purchase quite a bit online and in all other cases there is a near immediate reply with a confirmation and a ďThank you for your order.Ē Thatís not much, certainly not a handwritten note from the managing director but that little email is sufficient to make me feel that there has been an effort made to express that my business is somehow appreciated.
On Jun 15, 2009, CountryRefuge Grinnell, IA wrote:
I have/do/will order roses from David Austin because of the type of roses they carry. With that being said, I placed an order this spring. Like others, I had to post a question on their website asking: 1) if they received the order; 2) if I could get an order number; and 3) if they made note that I wanted the plant delivered the fourth week of May. They replied that they had received the order. I wrote back asking that they please give me the order number; I never got a response. My rose arrived in perfect shape...just 2 weeks earlier than I had asked.
Double delight is one of the roses I always want. Last week, I received their email about their half price sale. DD is on the sale list, so I placed my order. I know it was almost the end of the planting season in my zone, but I really wanted to have it and I planned to plant it in a pot. I received the bare roots about five days later. I was so excited until I opened the box. I ordered two totally. One has a big split in the middle among three canes, a break on a major root and some black end canes. Another one has a lot of black spots on two canes. I called right away and could only leave a message. I sent them a email after. Luckily they responded my email right away. They sent out the new roses for replacement right away. Now I only hope they will arrive in an acceptable and better quality condition. Someone already warned me since it is the end of planting season. I may still receive bad roses. I hope not!!
I am very surprised at the quality from such a well-known rose vendor. I thought they were good. This was not my first time order from them, either. I had good experience before. If they think half price sale is equal to cheaper quality, then they should have made it clear. I would not place my order at all.
Now I am hoping I will receive good quality roses and I do not need to fight for refund again.
On June 12th, 2009, mieow changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I received my replacement yesterday. (No Double Delight available though.) Fortunately, no obvious big splits. However, unfortunately, there are still black spots here and there all over the canes. I emailed them right away and received the response this morning. They told me I was never charged for this order.On June 12th, 2009, mieow added the following:
I received my replacement yesterday. (No Double Delight available though.) Fortunately, no obvious big splits. However, unfortunately, there are still black spots here and there all over the canes. I emailed them right away and received the response this morning. They told me I was never charged for this order. I would prefer to think this way: I just have bad luck for this order. I do appreciate that they respond my request promptly.On Jun 9, 2009, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
"On Jun 10, 2009 8:26 AM, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
All roses bought direct from David Austin Roses are covered by our guarantee. We are proud of our reputation for high quality and have an exceptionally low level of complaints from our customers overall. We monitor the quality of roses very closely and analyse the reasons for any failures to help improve service, but with living plants, some problems do occasionally occur.
As we have explained, we are happy to replace the roses under our guarantee and are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to you. We hope that the replacement roses we are promptly sending (which in this case exceed the value of the roses that were unacceptable) will help to restore your faith in our service.
On May 22, 2009, figaro52 Oak Lawn, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
Quite frankly I'm not "blown away" by my experience with this company. I expected much, much better. I ordered Port Sunlight. Then, a few weeks later ordered Benjamin Britten. Getting an order confirmation was like pulling teeth. Each time I had to send an email to ask if they had received my order. A company representative has provided an explanation elsewhere in this listing, which I can appreciate.
Now, the roses. I was not overly impressed with the quality of these bareroots. While they were moist upon arrival, many of the roots were badly broken. On Port Sunlight, one of the thicker canes was broken near the crown.
I planted these roses properly by "sweating" them in mulch for about 3 weeks. Benjamin Britten is leafing out nicely, but I fear I could lose Port Sunlight. The new growth that occured during the sweating process is not at all vigorous, and there is evidence of rose canker (may or may not be the fault of DA). I will appy some Neem oil and hope for the best.
Over all, while I love David Austin roses and will continue to grow them in my garden, I will hesitate to order directly from the David Austin Company in the future. I've had better experiences ordering the potted DAs from Chamblees. I'll stick with Witherspoon for the bareroot, as they, too, sell David Austin roses.
On June 5th, 2009, figaro52 added the following:
I would like very much to give this company a positive rating, but at the rate things are going I don't believe that's going to happen. The people at David Austin (US) are wonderful. Amanda graciously offered to replace my ailing Port Sunlight. When I received the replacement earlier this week it was bone dry! Not one bit of moisture in the plastic bag. There was also a bit of white mold on the roots. I had to trim a broken root and part of a cane that was broken. These have been among the worst bareroot roses I've seen. I know I said I'd think twice before ordering directly from DA (US) again, but I was lured by their recent half-price sale. I ordered Shakespeare 2000. While I've not yet received it, I did receive an immediate on-line confirmation. If Shakespeare comes through in perfect condition, and if my Port Sunlight replacement begins to grow, I will seriously consider changing my rating to positive -- since I believe these folks are honestly trying to do their best under current conditions. The Benjamin Britten I planted in April is looking great and will likely set flower buds very soon!
On Apr 28, 2009, heartopensky Beacon, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
I ordered $138 worth of roses, with shipping on 4/16 (Thurs). I received an order confirmation immediately, but no notice of shipping in the ensuing days.
Wanting to ensure they went out by Monday 4/20, I e-mailed on 4/19 asking when they would be shipped.
I received NO REPLY until 4/27, six business days later. No apology, just, "Shipped April 24th. Tracking number UPS: XXXXXXXXXXX(etc.) Many thanks!"
WHAT? They shipped bare root roses on 4/24, a Friday?!? So they can sit in a UPS warehouse over a weekend? What responsible nursery does this?! Not to mention they are in Texas (hot) and we are having a heat wave right now in downstate New York (85+ for four days running).
By the time I receive these on 4/30, the Thursday following shipping (according to tracking info), they will have been in transit for *7 days*. I will receive my order *two weeks* to the day that I placed it, having lost a critical week in the northeast's planting window for bare root roses (as an aside, their policy is to only guarantee the roses if you shipment falls within your region's ideal planting window...cutting it a wee bit close here, I'd say).
Regardless of the condition in which they arrive (which I will post upon receipt), the entire experience has been so poor, I had to report it.
I am incredulous; I guess all their operating money went into the glossy, *amazingly* beautiful catalog with a cover almost equivelant to a paperback book!
On May 3rd, 2009, heartopensky changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
What a sad situation, for both company and customer. They clearly made amends, for which I am appreciative.
They are correct - in spite of my incredulity, all five roots arrived still-moist, and with only minor breakage. They clearly know what they are doing; I seems I was premature in critiquing their shipping timing, for which I apologize.
The fact remains that it was an unpleasant experience; however I am changing my rating to neutral, as the US management did the best they could in a bad situation. Hopefully, the UK "home office" will be able to manage whatever business issues drove these budget cuts, restoring/enabling the level of customer service the US team clearly wishes to provide.On Apr 28, 2009, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
I am indeed sorry for your experience with this order. We do, however, dip our plants in a solution that seals in the moisture for 7-8 days for the shipping process so that no matter what day we ship, they should arrive alive and healthy. We do customarily ship every day of the week as the number of orders we have requires it.
The level of customer service we are able to give is not satisfactory to us, either, believe me. We are on skeleton staff as the home office in England is cutting costs and we are struggling to keep up with hundreds of orders and emails and phone messages and we do apologize.
Your credit card has not yet been charged as we are behind on that as well. We will not charge the card for, as you have noted, less than stellar service.
Again, our apologies.
800 328 8893
On May 27, 2009 11:18 AM, David Austin Roses (US) added:
I was concerned to learn of Joís comments via this forum. Our American business is very close to our hearts. We will take immediate action to make sure the team in our American office have the support they need to enable them to provide a high standard of customer service. If you have any comments, please e-mail
I ordered 12 roses from this company this spring. All the roses I picked were available when I placed my order, at least that's how the website showed. I waited two weeks and didn't receive any notification of shipment, then I e-mailed them several times but never received any response. 3 roses arrived a month after the order was placed. They were in great condition and they looked healthy and definitely much better than the roses I had ordered from Jackson & Perkins two years ago. However, I was very disappointed in DA's customer service. If the roses I ordered were out of stock, they should let me know about it. I was planning to plant a beautiful rose border, but now the plan has to be postponed.
They already charged my credit card for the full amount, but I have no idea when my other roses will arrive. Probably next spring?
On Jun 16, 2008, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
"On Feb 3, 2009 10:53 AM, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
Please phone or email me with your order information so I can investigate what was done. I apologize for the late reply; I only just now saw your comment. Our policy is to send a statement letting the customer know if something is out of stock. If this was not done, I need to follow that trail and get it corrected. My apologies for the lapses on our part.
I have ordered 3 times from this company for a total of 12 rose plants. All of the roses arrived in fantastic shape. If there was a substitution, then it was one I specified as acceptable. I have had 1 rose that didn't make it, but I believe it was due to animal damage, so I didn't file a claim.
All of the rest far exceeded my expectations for growth in the first year. My mother has ordered from them over the phone and says that she prefers this because the people are so nice. I will never buy any other kind of rose, and I will never order roses anywhere else!
On April 1st, 2008, mudpiegirl changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
As of spring 2008, I am afraid that I am having to downgrade my rating to neutral, due to negative experiences with the company that I an my mother (who lives on my property) have had. I ordered 2 roses this year, and they arrived in poor condition. They appeared less vigorous than other roses I have received to being with, but more disturbing was that about 1/2 of the root system was broken off of one, and 1/3 of the roots off of the other, due to poor packing. The box they arrived in was in perfect shape, but there was nothing at all in the box to cushion the poor roses during transit. When I called the company to complain, I was surprised at how unpleasant the customer service rep was--I had never had a bad experience with them before. She told me that there were no more of the rose I had ordered available, so I could either put them in the ground and hope for the best or take a replacement rose of a different variety. I felt she had no interest in my satisfaction as a customer, which especially irked me after all of the roses I have bought from them and all the roses I have encouraged other to buy from them. In my mother's case, her roses arrived 2 weeks earlier than she had been told to expect them, so she was unprepared. On top of that, they sent her a bright fuchsia by mistake instead of the white one she ordered. Although the other 4 roses she ordered seemed in good health, and they at least did not require her to send the unwanted rose back. I really hope that this is a momentary lapse in their high standards, and that is why I am marking it neutral rather than negative. The roses I bought in the past are still doing extremely well, and I really do hope the company refocuses on the service side.On April 19th, 2009, mudpiegirl added the following:
I regret that I did not see the company reply until after my replacement rose was sent. I do appreciate the sentiment, but alas the company's standard practices have not changed, at least in my experience. Neutral really does not reflect how torn I am with this company. On one hand, I have a gorgeous, 8ft, 9 year old Graham Thomas (David Austin) rose. The roses themselves are beyond beautiful. My problem is with the shipping, which seems to reflect a complete lack of respect by the company for their own product. My replacement rose was shipped in nothing more than a single plastic bag, in a box big enough to easily hold four more roses. Without any effort made at protecting the rose from damage during shipping, of course it arrived to me with partial and completely broken roots, and roots with significant damage to the root bark. This time I was sent a much healthier and larger plant to begin with, so it is my hope it will make it despite the damage. A little newspaper and a few plastic packing pillows could have completely prevented all of the damage. I hope that the company will consider re-evaluating their practices. I don't plan to give up David Austin Roses, but I guess I will have to find another source for them, because I am tired such disrespectful treatment of such a thing of beauty.On Jan 6, 2008, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
On Apr 2, 2008 10:54 AM, David Austin Roses (US) added:
I agree that this appears to be shoddy service and I do apologize. This is not the high level of customer care we have always aspired to. We have a couple of new trainees and it appears I haven't gotten across our standards to one of them for some reason and I will certainly work on that.
We will also pass along the broken root info to the warehouse manager. Something like this should not have gone out as a grade one rose.
If you will contact me personally at 800 328 8893 I will be most happy to make this right for you and for your Mother as well. We would not like to leave this situation hanging as an unappetizing experience for you both. Alternatively, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, our apologies for the poor service.
David Austin roses"
After pouring over my David Austin catalog for several months, in April, I finally decided to purchase 3 Tradescant roses, to plant by my deck. The roses arrived in fairly good condition, although the box was a little damaged -- the carrier's fault, obviously -- and a few of the roots on one plant were broken as a result.
The plants looked to be in fairly good shape. Due to heavy rains in Tennessee in April, it took me two or three days after their arrival to get them into the ground. They started leafing out and looked very good, initially, but then I noticed some black growth on the canes of each of the three plants. After getting on rose forums on gardenweb.com, I determined that the roses had cankar and set about cutting off the diseased parts of the canes and applying Daconil and then sealing the cuts with Elmer's glue (suggested by many of the rose forum members).
It seemed to take care of most of the problem, however, there are still black spots down low next to the crowns on all of the plants. There is still one strong cane on each of the plants and I have beautiful growth on them and the first flush is coming on strong. The buds are pretty and they're opening up well. Although, the color is not as crimson as it looks in the catalog, it's more of a light red...I don't know if it's really Tradescant or not? They plants are in full sun until about 2:00pm every afternoon and then they're in shade, so I don't know if the blooms fade in direct sunlight or not. The catalog said that this cultivar does not readily burn in the sun...we'll see if they get deeper crimson as it ages.
The first flowers are beautiful and the fragrance is lovely. I shall have to wait and see if the cankar continues to grow now that the daytime temps are consistently above 80 degrees here in Nashville. I did email DA customer service and got a response back in a day or two, but they didn't mention anything about cankar. They just suggested that I deep water more often (every 4 days) in hot weather.
All in all, I am fairly satisfied with the roses, but am concerned for their long-term success. Even so, I am determined that I will purchase more DA roses for next year.
This is a great site and I appreciate the feedback from everyone. Thanks!
I ordered 2 roses this spring. When they arrived, they looked to be dehydrated. After a few weeks, one was leafing out heartily and the other was just as it was when it arrived, and I was certain it was dead/dying. I emailed the company and they promptly send me a replacment without question. Now, the rose I thought dead has begun to leaf and is catching up to the other. I simply was not patient enough, but because I wasnt completely happy, they sent me another. Very pleased with the customer service, and the roses Ive received are all healthy and showing the promise of buds. Excellent vendor.
On May 5th, 2006, sugarlump changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I have ordered two additional roses this spring, and both arrived in good condition. The complaint I have about this company has to do with lack of communication. I received the roses about 2 weeks after I ordered them. A couple of days after I ordered, I emailed them to get an idea of a ship date; these are bareroots and it is late in the season, I want to know what day they will be here to intercept them. No response. Another couple of days, I email them again. No response. So I call. The lady I spoke with, while very pleasant, seems to have no clue when they will ship, other than it will be soon.
Even if there is not a set ship date, its only courteous to reply to an email. The only reason I will order in future is if I cannot get the rose elsewhere. Other vendors offer excellent plants, let me know when I can expect to receive them, and actually communicate with their customers.On Apr 30, 2005, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
On May 9, 2006 1:06 PM, David Austin Roses (US) added:
We do apologize profusely for the email slipups! Due to a server problem we lost several days worth of emails and also lost phone messages when the system got zapped by a lightning storm. As recovery was impossible on these, we can only wait til someone contacts us again. We have also been experiencing a very high volume of calls the past couple of weeks and people are finding it hard to get through. We do appreciate your patience and are working to remedy the staffing issue for next season, so this will not recur. Once again, we appreciate all our customers and thank you very much for your business.
On Feb 23, 2004, Nigella Wilmington United States wrote:
I am not 100 % sure that I can state that I dealt directly with this company since my roses arrived from Wayside but all had David Austin tags on them. I will also post these remarks on the pages dealing with Wayside.
I received 8 plant grown and harvested by David Austin LTD, Texas. I had never seen or received roses so substandard and with so severe infestation all over. 3 of the 8 plants were tiny twigs that would not qualify to be called grade 1.5 and as far as I know it is not customary to sell lower grades in the USA. But I am sure it is unheard of calling them garde 1. They would not make the cut even a 'dollar' store.
Neverthleless receiving some substandard twigs was the minor problem. All plants had crown borer tunnels all over in every single plant and when we cut back the canes to save the plants it turned out that the tunnles were deep down in the crown, and that means that they would disintegrate and die in 1-2 months.
Not only these plants are unacceptable but to plant them in a bed with other healthy roses would mean to infect the rest of those plants in the garden. These Austin plants should have been destroyed, burnt, and under no circumctances should have been forwarded to vendors/distributors and later to customers.
I simply do not understand how a company bearing the name of David Austin could and would risk its reputation by selling plants that are close to death and would endanger a whole rose garden if th purchaser does not notice the brown tunnels and decay inside the canes.
I assumed 'noblesse oblige' means something for a company bearing the name of David Austin. After seeing this wretched plants, I came to the conclusion that it does not mean anything.
On February 21st, 2007, Nigella changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I apologize for attributing those roses to your company, the tags confused me: I assumed that roses grown only by David Austin Texas roses could come with those tags. By now I am aware of the fact that this is not the case.
Wasyside has an excellent customer care /replacement policy I just wish one were not forced to use it that often.
As to strict virus indexing done by David Austin Texas, I think there is still place for improvement. On Feb 23, 2004, David Austin Roses (US) responded with:
"I'm afraid those plants were not grown by David Austin's in Tyler, but were propagated by the licensee. Unfortunately, we only have strict control over the plants we sell here, but I will make sure the home office in England hears of this.
Does Wayside have any sort of guarantee? I would think some sort of recompense would be in order here.
I'm very sorry for your experience. It's certainly not something the company wants to see at any time. The roses we sell here are two-year, healthy plants that are subjected to the strictest virus indexing program available. We only ship grade 1 plants and those such as you describe would definitely have gone on the burn pile. We try very hard not to ship anything out of here that we would not have in our own gardens.
Thank you for your feedback, however. We respect all customer opinions and experiences and hope that all of it can help us to improve service and licensee issues in the future.
General Manager, US Office