On Sep 23, 2011, Eaglewalker Memphis, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:
I ordered two plants from PDN back in the late spring -- Chrysactinia mexicana and miniature hosta "Pure Heart". Because of the heat, they held shipment until this week. The quality of the plants is superb, and because of the excellent packaging, they arrived in perfect condition. The chrysactinia is still blooming and very fragrant, and the little hosta has strong foliage and a well-developed root system. I promptly placed another order -- for another hosta, and a couple more plants that have been on my shopping list, but which I haven't been able to find. (*White* salvia greggii!)
I've gotten good plants from lots of local nurseries and online nurseries, but the ones I just received from PDN are absolutely the best, and worth every penny.
On Jul 21, 2011, Kimcoco33 Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on July 8, 2011, updated July 21, 2011
Posted on June 28, 2011, updated July 8, 2011
I placed a first time order online with this company on June 19th, 2011. I submitted specific instructions that the order cannot be DELIVERED between July 1st throught the 4th, as I will not be available for the delivery.
I received a notification yesterday from FedEx indicating that my order shipped 6/27/2011, and the ESTIMATED delivery date is 6/30/2011. Concerned that this is NOT a guaranteed delivery date and that the package MAY NOT arrive in time, I contacted customer service at Plant Delights Nursery and spoke with Virginia. This is a long distance phone call that I have to pay for because they don't provide a toll free number.
In speaking with Virginia, I got the "passing the buck" attitude throughout the entire conversation. I explained I submitted specific instructions that the order CANNOT be delivered after June 30th, and my growing concerns that the plants will die if they are delivered after this date. She tells me that I should talk to neighbors and see if they can pick up the package if it is delivered after June 30th, and that I am supposed to ask them to open the package as well. This is NOT my neighbors responsibility, and I explained to Virginia I am not involving my neighbors in this matter, especially over a holiday weekend, in which my neighbors will not be available in the first place.
Virginia then went on to pass the buck with excuses that they can't be responsible that "Fed Ex has no guarantee" and then began chastising me that I didn't respond to the nurseries email (that I don't recall receiving), and proceeded to tell me that I was supposed to call them after I got THEIR email. I told her I don't recall seeing their email, and why should I have to call them after I've already given EXPLICIT instructions with my initial order at the time of placement, and then take time out of my day to call them at a long distance phone number, at my expense, to repeat the information I'd already given them with my order? So, it's the customers responsibility to keep contacting them to ensure they "get it right" the first time? Not my responsibility to micromanage the company with which I am giving my business to.
I explained that I AM contacting them, as soon as I received the email confirmation from Fed Ex, which is why I'm calling today. She made some comment that they can't be responsible, and that they couldn't ship last week because they were doing inventory. If they couldn't ship last week, why risk delivery so close to the date with which I specifically explained I would not be available, instead of waiting to ship after those dates? It is evident to me that this is a very poorly run operation.
At this point I'm upset and told her if these plants die because of THEIR error in following my explicit instructions, that I will dispute it with my credit card company. If you tell a nursery that you will not be here for the delivery, and they ship so close to the date that it's questionable whether it will arrive in time and then pass the buck that "fed ex has no guarantees" and "we can't be responsible if there is a problem with their delivery", and "we couldn't ship last week because of inventory" and "you should ask your neighbors to pick up the package and open it for you" ---- it's a clear indication to me that their internal operations are incompetent.
In a condescending manner, she now tells me that I'm getting ahead of myself and that I should just 'wait and see' what happens. "Maybe you'll get the delivery at 8:00 am on June 30th". Yes, perhaps I will. But maybe it won't. Am I being chastised for being proactive? Perhaps they should have contacted me to ask whether I'd like my order shipped after July 4th, but they never did. They shipped anyway, obviously knowing that THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES WITH FED EX.
I explained if the order is not received by June 30th, I'll have to call them long distance again, at my expense, and obviously listen to them tell me how this is the customers fault that Plant Delights can't follow explicit instructions that were provided with my order placement. In a condescending manner, which is commonplace at this point in the conversation, Virginia proceeds to tell me in a very sarcastic tone that "since you have email" then you can email us. I'm supposed to email them regarding a matter that is timely, and expect to receive a prompt reply and have this matter resolved over email? I suppose it's the customers responsibility to sit by their computer all day awaiting a response to a "timely" concern that came to be through no fault of their own.
I will NEVER order from this company again. This is a really poor excuse for 'customer service'. The 'passing the buck' attitude for their own incompetence is unacceptable. Why would any company ship so close to a date that I explained I would be unavailable for delivery, knowing in advance that there are no shipping guarantees with Fed Ex????? Extremely poor business operations.
On July 8th, 2011, Kimcoco33 added the following:
I looked back on my records. I had placed a couple orders with two different online vendors at the same time. When speaking with Virginia, I was told that I should have called after receiving their email with the ship date. Unsure of which vendor I had spoken with previously, I did not retort her comment in our conversation. Subsequently, I looked back in my records, and found that I did contact PDN immediately upon receiving that email. I have the phone call logged on my cell phone records. At that time, I called customer service and asked why they are shipping the order risking the delivery so close to the date I will not be here for the arrival. The response I received was, "Well THAT'S why we send you an email". A very snotty response. I asked that they ship it July 5th instead, and was told they would do so. So, to put this in proper perspective, they overlooked my original shipping request that was placed with my order, and also the second verbal request via a phone call to their staff.
I'd also like to make a point that I understand mistakes do happen, but the fact is this goes beyond a shipping error. The simple fact that the demeaner of this "customer service" staff is brash, I'd opt to never give them my business again. Their rude behavior towards a paying customer is outright unacceptable. I should have heeded the warnings and other negative reviews on this website -- had I read them prior to submitting my order, I wouldn't be posting here today.
Not pointing the finger at anyone, but I will say I have doubts about the validity of many "positive" reviews on this website. They come across in my eyes as somewhat 'hokey pokey' and given my own experience and interaction with PDN staff, I'm less inclined to believe they are legitimate. 100% of my interaction with PDN customer service staff was outright unpleasant. Let that speak for itself. On July 21st, 2011, Kimcoco33 added the following:
In response to PDN's unprofessional and flagrant response by Dianne, the "manager" no less, I will retort.
First, I will let the reader formulate their own conclusions based on Dianne's written response. Refer back to my original post and complaint about PDN and how pass the buck and blame the customer. What does Dianne respond with? Blaming the customer AGAIN. Is anyone surprised?
Dianne Austin responds in an attempt to "play the role of the victim" -- blaming the customer for trying to sabotage the reputation of an employee of PDN. She actually ends her post with, "shame on you". Really? Shame on the customer for communicating a valid complaint? And this is the end result? WOW. Is that what you call 'customer service' or 'customer satisfaction'? I think not. I think believe it reinforces what I've said about this company and their demeaner towards paying customers in my posts.
Dianne states, "Aside from these two posts, you have emailed me twice in an effort to damage Virginia’s employee status with PDN. My reply to your first email reads as follows..."
Dianne accuses the customer of trying to "damage Virginia's employee status." Communicating a legitmate complaint to management regarding a rude employee is the customer's fault, and then Dianne, the manager, proceeds to accuse the customer of having ulterior motives. Need I say any more?
Let's establish the facts:
A. I am not a ranting and raving customer, as PDN would like the reader to believe. PDN blames the customer.
B. Viriginia never, at any time, offered to "cover the loss" of any plants that were being shipped. This contradicts the entire premise of my initial post. Yet again, PDN blames the customer for not "listening" to something that was never said to begin with, and is not willing to take accountability for their unprofessional behavior. I am not an irrational, ranting and raving customer, and for any business to post such slanderous accusations is both unethical and unprofessional and a very poor business practice. But, be my guest PDN. You posts do nothing more than exemplify your true colors, your lack of emphasis on customer satisfaction, your lack of respect towards a paying customer, and further corroborates all the facts I've presented here about PDN's brash behavior and passing the buck attitude.
C. Dianne's claim that she was "listening" in on this conversation is what the rest of the world calls "hogwash".
D. I did not send "two" emails to Dianne in an attempt to "sabotage" Virginia's reputation or employee status. In fact, my first email never mentioned a thing about how Virginia treated me, it stated nothing more than blatant facts. My second email explained exactly why I choose not to give them my business again.
Below are email correspondence between myself and Dianne.
In response to the order confirmation and shipping notice received from the company, I replied with the following:
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 11:21 AM
I spoke with Virginia within the past hour about this order due to a shipment notification I received from Fed Ex indicating that my order shipped yesterday, with an ESTIMATED delivery date of 6/30/2011. Explicit instructions were placed with my online order on June 19, 2011 expressing that I will not be available for any delivery after June 30th. Obviously, the delivery date being so close to that date, coupled with the fact that Fed Ex offers no shipping guarantee, I became concerned and contacted Plant Delights. In the ensuing conversation with Virginia, I was told that I should have called when I received the email from Plant Delights Nursery with the estimated delivery date, even though I had already given explicit delivery instructions at the time I placed my order.
After speaking with Virginia today, I checked back on my records, as I've ordered from two online companies around the same time and wanted to verify which company I spoke with previously by phone.
I received the email confirmation of my order from Plant Delights Nursery on June 20th, 2011. I very prompty contacted customer service by phone on June 20th, 2011 at 3:24 pm. I spoke with customer service about the estimated shipping date of June 30th, as per the email, expressing my concerns with the ship date being too close to the date I made very clear I will be unavailable for delivery (no deliveries after June 30th). The person on the phone at that time told me, "well, that's why we send you an email", at which point I explained that I'd like the order delivered AFTER July 4th. I was told that would be taken care of. The phone call is documented in my phone records with my phone carrier.
I am unclear why the order shipped anyway, in spite of my explicit instructions with the intial order and the prompt phone call to your customer service department after receiving your email confirmation, and my second set of instructions, as per a verbal phone conversation, to ship the order after July 4th.
Exactly how is this email a communication an attempt to "sabotage" an employee's status by communicating the facts to PDN?
--- On Fri, 7/1/11, Dianne Austin wrote: (see Dianne's post above in which she responded to my email above)
My response to Dianne is as follows:
RE: Confirmation of Order & Shipping Date
Friday, July 8, 2011 11:21 AM
To: "Dianne Austin"
I have to say, regardless of the shipping situation, your staff is the most unprofessional I've had to deal with, with any online vendor. For that reason alone, I'd never give my business to your company again.
The entire conversation was aimed at blaming the customer when I called to inquire why the order shipped risking the arrival after my departure date. The response to this was that PDN cannot be responsible for FedEx shipping. Huh? It was your choice to ship, I expressed my concerns, and this is the response I received from your staff. No apology whatsoever, no resolutions were presented to me. I was told to search out neighbors who can be here for the potential delivery, over a holiday weekend. I was told that I should have called after I received the original email, and looking back on my records after the conversation took place, I found that I did call after the first email notification of the scheduled shipping date. I immediately called upon receipt of that email and requested at that time to not ship until July 5th. The phone call to your customer service staff is logged on my phone records. I was told they would withhold shipment until that time, but failed to do so. I gave written instructions with my order placement, and verbal instructions after the receipt of the shipping confirmation. Mistakes do happen, I realize that, but this goes beyond a shipping matter. Blaming the customer and treating the customer with such disregard and the outright nasty demeaner that Virginia has towards paying customers is just unacceptable. The first phone call was similar. I asked why the order was shipping out risking delivery close to the date I will not be available, and the response I received at that time, again in a very unpleasant tone, was "well THAT'S why we send you the email". If Virginia were an employee at my company, she'd never be allowed to interact with any customer.
Her demeaner throughout the entire conversation was brash and completely unacceptable for anyone in "customer service". Passing the buck, blaming the customer, and not accepting responsibility is not what I consider appropriate behavior towards any paying customer.
It is quite simply and unwise decision to employ such an unpleasant person who risks the loss of potential business each time she takes a call from a customer. 100% of my conversations with your customer service staff was unpleasant.
PDN makes no attempt to "resolve" any situation to customer satisfaction. They want to blame the customer and continually exert their energy on focusing the attention on the customer in an attempt to portray what the customer did wrong, how the customer reacted, etc. and it is obvious based on Dianne's responses that this "passing the buck" attitude trickles down from upper management.
This company places no emphasis whatsoever on customer satisfaction. Attempt to portray the customer as a crazy ranting and raving lunatic, so PDN doesn't have to take accountability for their actions, or lack thereof.
Refer to my original post. Blame the customer.
On Jul 21, 2011, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
Here are the facts pertaining to this negative post:
On June 20th, we downloaded an order for two hosta from Kimcoco33 along with this customer note: “NO substitutes please. "NO DELIVERY between July 1st thru 5th. Shipping any other time at your discretion for my zone."
Due to multiple heat delays, many orders including Kimcoco33's could not be shipped during the week it was received. With a break in temperatures, we shipped Kim's order on 6/27 with a Fed Ex delivery scheduled on 6/30. This was cutting it close, based on our customer's request for no delivery July 1st - 5th. Unfortunately, Fed Ex uses the term "estimated delivery" which prompted an angry call from the customer to our office.
During the time Kimcoco33 was on the line, I was listening to Virginia's side of the conversation. I have listened to 1000's of conversations between Customer Service Representatives and customers' over the years and what draws my undivided attention faster than anything else is a CSR who is not being allowed to finish a complete sentence. I immediately tuned into this particular conversation. I can say without hesitation that the rude and angry person was not on this end of the telephone. Virginia has 100's of customers to who have been the recipients of her exemplary service during her 7 1/2 years tenure and not once have I ever heard her raise her voice. Additionally, Virginia receives more commendations for her excellent customer service than anyone else at Plant Delights and is the recipient of many gifts of gratitude for her above and beyond service.
I heard Virginia's attempt to assure you that should the plants arrive after the you left town we would take care of the loss. I also heard her tell you not to jump the gun and assume the worst. Because you were so busy ranting, I'm not sure you heard her because you have not mentioned any of these details in either post nor in the two emails I have received from you to date. The plants were in route; there was nothing Virginia could do to change that fact. She offered you all she could by offering you the assurance that should your plant arrive after you left town that we would take care of your loss. Frankly, I don't know what else anyone could ask for.
Aside from these two posts, you have emailed me twice in an effort to damage Virginia’s employee status with PDN. My reply to your first email reads as follows:
From: Dianne Austin
Subject: RE: Confirmation of Order & Shipping Date
To: "Kimcoco33(address omitted for customer privacy>
Date: Friday, July 1, 2011, 7:21 AM
I am very sorry that your ordering experience with Plant Delights Nursery did not set well with you.
I have reviewed your concerns and in hindsight, I agree we should have rescheduled your order to ship after you returned from your trip. This would have been a more conservative approach to managing your order and less stress on your end as well. I apologize for any misunderstanding on our part.
In our own defense, I will say that we have been pressured by many weeks of heat delays to ship orders just as soon as we see a window of opportunity to do so. When temperatures rise above 92F in our area, we are forced to delay shipments regardless of the order destination. Damage occurs when the boxed (damp) plants sit in 93F and above temperatures on a hot tarmac waiting to be loaded on trucks or planes at the Raleigh airport. Our Customer Service Representatives simply saw an opportunity to get your plants to you prior to your departure and took it.
Fed Ex tracking shows that your order did deliver on time for which I am grateful to see; and I hope that your two plants arrived in good condition. If they didn't, please let me know.
If there is any service or promise we have not lived up to please email me and I will help you in any way possible.
Manager, Customer Service & Shipping
9241 Sauls Road
Ph: 919-772-4794 http://www.plantdelights.com
Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
In closing, I will say that this rebuttal will be the only response to your outrageous accusations and post. There is a saying "Let the punishment fit the crime". Our crime? Getting plants shipped between heat delays and accepting full responsibility for plant death should Fed Ex deliver late. My crime as a manager? Allowing an exemplary employee to endure your shouting and verbal abuse along with being called "incompetent" and not intervening on her behalf. Based on your phone etiquette, you were fortunate to have a calm and rational person such as Virginia handling your call. The owner’s of Plant Delights support Virginia and her continued efforts to provide excellent Customer Service to all of our gardening friends and customers. You have gone to extraordinary lengths to sabotage a very nice person’s reputation. Shame on you!
On Jul 19, 2011, Floralkingdom De Funiak Springs, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have bought plants from Plant Delights Nursery numerous times within the last two years. Their staff is very friendly, polite, and have great customer service skills, they email me with any changes to my order and keep me posted on delivery dates. The plants have always been packed carefully and have arrived safely and alive. I have been very impressed with the quality and selection of the plants. Their prices are fair considering all the work involved, and I feel peace of mind knowing that the plants I'm getting will survive the winters in my area and grow well in my environment. I just recently received an order from them, and have placed another order which is due to arrive shortly. The plants that have come from PDN are thriving in my yard. My yard is the envy of the neighborhood. All of my neighbors are asking me where I get my plants, they haven't seen these cold hardy exotics before, I always tell them to go and check out Plant Deligths Nursery. I give this nursery a high rating. I am very happy that they exist and are doing the work that they are doing, especially in todays economy when a lot of nurseries are going out of business and closing down. I appreciate very much that we have this great resource. Sincerely, from your loyal customer way down south where bananas grow!
On Jul 17, 2011, smurfwv Cabin Creek, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:
I placed my first order around April 2011, for Amorphophallus Henryii, and Amorphophallus Kuisanus. I am an aroid collector and wanted to add these to my collection. Although the cost of tubers are extremely high, I went ahead and ordered them. Both cost $20 (later on seen them on ebay for $5, I about had a heart attack!). So I got them and the henryii was nice and big 4-5 inches across, but kuisianus was about 1 inch across (I almost cried) and complained. But they both grew wonderfully and are still nice looking. 17.00 to ship them, both less than a pound. Shipping is rediculous. I think its because their boxes have their name on them. Has anyone told them USPS has free boxes they can order online for FREE? Yes PD you can get free priority mail and flat rate boxes at no cost to you! Blah
A few weeks later we ordered a Helicodiceros muscivorus ($20 for one very tiny tuber less than 1 inch across) Which arrived rotted and soaking wet, but was replaced, the new one was also very tiny and soaking wet, but I didn't complain as there were lots of baby tubers. And we ordered an Amorphophallus ochroleucus (Which was soaking wet as well and the tuber was on top of the soil/wood chips and not down in the pot. The leaf was broken in half but a new one grew 6 weeks later. Again another high shipping cost, but still with the water logged pots should have been less than 17.00 if they used usps boxes which is cheaper in shipping and saves the customer money.
We again placed another order for an amorphophallus and an arum. Amorphophallus yunnanensis, and Arum cyrenaicum x concinnatum. We accidently ordered the wrong amorph, so I sent it back and got another ochroleucus plant. The arum tuber (main bulbs) were rotted completely, yes the pots were once again soaking wet, however even with the 2 huge rotted tubers I got about 30 babies from that one pot so I was happy. The 2nd Amorphophallus ochroleucus I recieved to replace the returned Amorphophallus yunnanensis also had a broken leaf, however it too grew another one after I threw out the nasty wood chips it was potted in and planted it deeper in real soil. It has a new leaf growing on it also.
While their plants are less than satisfactory, I can say I did get nice people on the phone and got prompt replacement.
I want to hit myself in the head as some of the items we bought from PD we seen on Ebay 50% cheaper.
I did ask about the wood chips used to grow their plants in and was told that its very good medium for growing plants, and while the bulbs were rotted they told me (Dianne) that the person who did the watering probably overwatered some things causing them to die, and my reply was to hire someone who knew what they were doing.
When I think of PD, it reminds me of the half dead plants you often see at walmart and kmart, Its just awful. I had no issue with PD customer service as they were very helpful and polite, but I will only buy from them again if they have something I absolutely cannot find anywhere else in the world.
Oh and if I do purchase something from them i'll send them a box myself to pack the plants in so I won't have to pay those rediculous shipping charges.
On Jul 17, 2011, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
You are 100% right! We agree with the following points you are making:
1- Our plants are more expensive than you find on Ebay. The plant exploration and the research that goes into acquiring our plant collection; along with years of trialing and then the propagation of our rare plant collection comes at a higher price than the average overhead of most EBay growers.
2 - We agree that shipping is expensive, but the carrier charged us $11.63 for your box of three plants and that was our contracted price. Anyone shipping to your address from Raleigh, NC or further away would be losing money if they charged you less. The plants have to be pulled and packed as well; therefore the difference for what you were charged ($17.50) pays for labor, supplies and overhead.
3 - As conscientious as our staff are, when watering many thousand of plants with many diverse requirements, we do over-water, under-water and as a result kill plants as we attempt to care for them appropriately. That is the reality of owning and managing a nursery - at least here at PDN.
4 - We agree that we do have very nice people here and appreciate and thank you for acknowledging that.
Based on an earlier email, you requested to be removed from our mailing list. We have respected your decision not to order from us again and have removed you from our mailing list. We realize that we have been unable to provide you with plants that meet your expectations and hope you will find another nursery that better meets your needs and your budget.
On Jul 9, 2011, bellinghamroof Bellingham, WA wrote:
The Plant Delights catalog is one of my favorite winter reads. Fabulous humor, and yummy descriptions of plants far beyond my income or climate zone. I end up buying more than I can afford every year, but . . . I guess that's what gardenings all about.
On Jul 9, 2011, mkjones Aurora, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I order A LOT of mail order plants online and via catalogs for our multiple gardens. In recently ordering from no fewer than half a dozen of nurseries from which I receive catalogs and/or emails this season, I can say that I am FULLY delighted (no pun intended) by the quality of Plants Delights Nurseries offerings. Not only do they ship the healthy, robust plants that I would purposely purchase sight-seen in a physical nursery, they pack them with the care of someone who is shipping from their own garden. None of the plants were limping in health, haphazardly dropping dirt or "iffy" looking when I removed them from their packing. I honestly felt that all $300+ that I'd spent for my garden @ Plant Delights website was money well spent, and when I tend to my newly planted fare now, I smile with gratitude. Thank you, Tony Avent, for running a shipshape operation with the quality and care of a true Gardener! I will always be back to shop again.....
On Jul 2, 2011, WeeklyWeeder Polson, MT (Zone 5b) wrote:
I received a very well-packed order of Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus and citrina in excellent condition and in the time frame indicated.
I was glad that the company uses a 'rapid-transit' shipping method to my area, which enabled the plants to arrive without undue stress.
A nice experience with this company and one I hope to repeat.
I just received an order of several sinningias, punica, amorphophallus, and others. This nursery always sends the largest specimens, in excellent condition, and perfect shipping. I hope I can visit their nursery one day. They are on the top of my mail order list!
On Jun 9, 2011, Speckled_Hen San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
Posted on May 29, 2011, updated June 9, 2011
I've been following this company for years and have always appreciated their diverse catalog. However, I've also noted their poor customer service, especially in the way they've responded to complaints on this site, and their strange infusion of politics with plants and questionable comments in the plant descriptions. What this all adds up to is unprofessionalism, which has been evident especially in the snarky email replies from the company, in which the representative in several cases actually made personal attacks toward the customer. The fact that they entitle a section on their website "Hate Mail" that includes critical correspondence demonstrates their childish sarcastic attitude. I've never seen another company do this - who stayed in business. I am glad that some people have had luck with this company but I will continue to be wary and avoid them until I know they have a more serious dedication to customer service and quality over sarcastic humor and rudness.
On June 9th, 2011, Speckled_Hen added the following:
Update after response from company. This is just the sort of response I've come to expect from this company, and the way I've seen them respond to every problem in this forum - with personal attacks, unprofessionalism and sarcasm. What a way to attract and retain customers. This interaction has been a customer service experience and with their response, they've guaranteed that I won't be a future customer. There are just too many other good nurseries out there folks who won't treat you like this. Incidentally, I do appreciate and share your sense of humour sir - I just think it could use some refinement. ;) On Jun 9, 2011, Plant Delights Nursery responded with:
You sound like someone with an axe to grind. Let's see, you've never ordered from us and have no first hand experience with our customer service. You don't like our truth in advertising when we post our hate mail on our website without any editorial comments. You didn't bother to mention our good mail, which extols our excellent customer service...hmmm...sure sounds like an axe grinding episode to me. It goes without saying that you obviously don't share our sense of humor. That's fine, and if you don't want to order from us, that's fine also, but why can't you just keep your negative thoughts to yourself? I'm reminded of the old saying, better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."
Plant Delights Nursery @
Juniper Level Botanic Garden
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603 USA
Minimum Winter Temps 0-5 F
Maximum Summer Temps 95-105F
USDA Hardiness Zone 7b
phone 919 772-4794
fax 919 772-4752
"I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it myself...at least three times" - Avent"
On Apr 22, 2011, Hindernone Broadway, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:
Received my first order from PDN yesterday and was extremely satisfied. Although the pricing may be higher than some mail order businesses, the plants are healthy, quite large, packaged exceptionally well and just downright delightful. (Kniphofia, Aristolochia fimbriata, Manettia cordifolia, Echinacea 'Gum Drop' ) Hoping to plant today and tomorrow...
I've been a fan of Tony Avent & Plant Delights Nursery for over 20 years. Before opening his nursery he wrote a weekly column for the Raleigh News & Observer - and I was so upset when his column ended - not knowing what was yet to come (that's were the humor in his catalog probably comes from - but can't someone try to be a little bit different?) If you are ever in NC at a time they are having an Open House, this is a must! The gardens are interesting any time of the year. Busloads of people come from all over. He travels all over the world searching for new and exicting plants. I've never had to use the mail order catalog, but would highly recommend checking them out. Every plant I have bought there has thrived. I recently moved to a small town outside of Raleigh, so am having to start over with my garden. His next open house is coming up and I can't wait!
I have been a customer of this nursery for several years, and have always been extremely happy with the plants I received and their service. I just received 3 more healthy and unique plants that I can't wait to plant in my garden. Even though I thoroughly enjoy their website, I always look forward to receiving their catalog in the mail twice a year. I hope they can continue to do what they've been doing for many years to come.
Posted on June 25, 2007, updated April 15, 2011
Summer is here and the rush to get my garden planted has let up. I find myself planning for next Spring. I find now a good time to write comments on the vendors I used this time around. For the first time, I ordered from Plant Delights. I found the quality of their products to be superior and their selection to be one of the best. Above all, the information I have gleaned from the website has been very helpful. I have only found two other vendors (maybe three) to have reached such a high level of customer service. Plant Delights has been all that I had hoped it would be. As I came to write this, I was surprised to find all the negative comments that seem based on a perception of the politics at PDN. I guess I really never noticed anything all that offensive or even political for that matter. I like to think that most gardeners can look past political orientation when it comes to buying plants. As with any business, if you don't like the person that runs it, don't go there. To slam a business just because you do not like what it says really is not fair and is terribly misleading to other potential customers. If PDN's main fault is in the writing of its catalogue, go elsewhere, but let other gardeners not be misled by the political opinions of some. This is not a political forum. That said, I will again express my satisfaction with all the business and service aspects I have experienced with PDN. Thank you and enjoy the day.
On September 1st, 2007, boru added the following:
I might add at this time that since I last wrote I have experienced a slight problem with an item from PDN. Now I am able to evalaluate how they address a customer complaint. I will state at the outset that I always read a vendor's guarantee and understand what must be done if a problem arises before I place any order. PDN's instructions are very clear and include an admonition that customers need to adhere to their return policies in order that there be no misunderstandings. While some may feel that this straight forward approach is cold, I personally appreciate it. I know from the outset exactly what is expected of me. In my second shipment from PDN, one pot had spilled, despite what I consider a very good job of packing......these things occur in the best of situations. I contacted their customer service within the stated amount of time and asked what they would prefer I do with the plant in question. I must admit that I failed to use the listed customer service link the first time and received no response. When I went back to the instructions, I quickly noted my error and again sent the email. Once I used the proper link, my issues were immediately addressed and I had a new plant in a matter of but a few short days. The staff were very courteous and did not ever imply that what had happened was in any way my fault. I was very impressed with the reponse and I will say again that I have found PDN to be one of the best vendors with which I have dealt. Thank you and have a nice day. boru On April 15th, 2011, boru added the following:
I cannot believe that it has been almost four years since I last posted anything about PD.....I suppose I have been spending too much time out in my garden, Just thought I would update my positive impression of this company. Today, I received my most recent order. EXCELLENT! The packaging and quality of plant material has improved every year, despite already being far better than most. I do wish their prices were lower, but I wish gasoline prices would go down also (I don't suppose I will ever again see it for $0.15/gal as I did in my youth....sigh)...LOL! Anyway, my order included a Cypripedium 'Gisela,' two Arisaema, two Amorphophallus, and several Hymenocallis (a plant that has become one of my favorite summer bulbs). While I can find less expensive plants elsewhere, I trust PD to provide me with what I order (which is often not the case when buying on eBay, etc). Just wanted to say again, years later, that my experiences with PD have all been positive and I am VERY happy to see them back in Dave's 'Top Thirty."
Thank you to all the staff at Plant Delights!
and to all my fellow gardener's, may your paths be without (too many) stones
On Apr 10, 2011, bambiatthelake Streetman, TX wrote:
I order quite a bit from this company because of the variety of plants they offer. There is a lot of information about these plants on their website which makes selection easier. I know they are expensive, and shipping seems high, but the size of the plants is larger than offered by others. That is important where I live (Texas) because plants must get established before the summer inferno sets in. I have always found customer service to be responsive.
On Mar 16, 2011, plantingoaks Marysville, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:
This review is almost skirting a 'neutral' rating, but stays in the positive zone as everything has survived, and I now have plants in my garden I could not have acquired otherwise.
You have to keep in mind the target audience of this company. They are selling obscure or newly introduced plants that are not widely available or suitable for all locations. It's like beta-testing software. You have to do your own research on what you are getting, and expect a few kinks along the way in order to try something you otherwise wouldn't be able to get at all. Likewise, they are very expensive, and you are paying more for rarity than for exceptional specimens.
I placed an order in the spring of 2010 and it arrived promptly and adequately packed. The condition of the plants varied. They were all of adequate size and rooting, if not impressively large. Some appeared mildly dry and rootbound, but not enough to be concerned. A hardy hibiscus was rather tall and spindly with the tip broken off where it didn't quite fit in the box. It promptly lost all its leaves within a day of being unpacked. However, the plant itself was healthy and bounced back quickly from the trauma without any particular coddling. I would describe the condition of the plants overall as not perfect, but completely acceptable.
I suppose I will summarize as such: If you can find a plant somewhere else, you should probably get it there. It will almost certainly be cheaper, and may well be a nicer specimen to boot. However, for things that can't be found elsewhere, I will not hesitate in being a repeat customer to plant delights as often as I can afford it.
Ordered 3 Colocasias and 1 Musa Siam Ruby. Promptly received nice healthy looking plants of good size. My Siam Ruby has several pups! Two of the Colocasias were slightly damaged (broken leaves from squashing in the box), but they'll recover and overall I'm very happy. Got a free slug too!
Ordered two crinums, which were shipped promptly. I was very happy with the quality of the bulbs received. I probably could have saved some money if I had waited for a sale (which they do have from time to time), but wanted them immediately. Their shipping is a little bit higher than others when you only order one or two plants. However, if you order five plants versus just one or two the shipping is actually quite reasonable. I will order from PD again.
I ordered 3 Hannibal's Dwarf Crinum from their 20% off overstock sale during the wee hours of Oct 24th. Realizing they ship USPS and the fact that I was ordering during a special I still had the audacity to request a Oct 29 delivery date (after all, it was my birthday). I'll be danged if I didn't come home on the evening if the 28th to a rather large box on my doorstep begging to be opened (literally - it's written on the box)! Inside several editions of the Herald-Sun I found three plants that I'm sure would be considered very fine by any nursery's standards. Expecting overstock specials to resemble something from the Island of Misfit Toys I was pleasantly surprised. The first was a large bulb well leafed out in healthy green regalia. The second was even bigger and had two pips or pups or whatever you crinum people call them. The last bulb must have been a birthday present because the pot was literally bulging out on all four sides. Surrounding the main bulb were no less than eight leafy stems with the shortest one being long enough to make Tony jealous! New customer? Definitely! Customer for life? Will keep advised. I do still owe a few boxes of chocolates for the prized catalogs of such high hu-morals.
I have been ordering plants online for years, but this is the first time I felt compelled to send a thank you note to the company. Not only that, they responded immediately and thanked me for thanking them! That's a first for me.
They did a remarkable job pulling and packing my shipment. Not only did it arrive in just two days, but everything was perfect. The Spiranthes cernua was in full bloom, and not a single petal was wrinkled. That is quite a feat for such a long and relatively fragile wand. The White Ball Buddleia was similarly in perfect condition with all blooms intact. I look forward to doing business with this company again.
On Oct 5, 2010, lesliegardener Fairview, TN wrote:
I am so glad I found this daves garden so I can rate some of these companies I have been buying from for so many years; like Plant Delights. I have been buying hostas and rare things from PDN as long as I have been a master gardener and Tony and the team have always taken GREAT care of my plants. I even buy a shirt every now and then so I can show my support for PDN's great sense of humor. Thanks for being an awesome nursery!
On Sep 29, 2010, omasuziq Greensboro, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
Posted on May 10, 2010, updated September 29, 2010
Posted on May 7, 2010, updated May 10, 2010
My review is "neutral" only because I haven't ordered from them on-line. Rather, I had the good fortune to be able to visit them last Friday during their few open houses of the year. What a joy! The "demonstration gardens" are unbelievably beautiful and full of gardening inspiration. I did buy plants, however (what's the point of going if one does not?), and these were healthy and had good root growth. From the quality of the stock and the personal care I saw that day, I would definitely order from PD on-line next year. I can only hope I find a shade place for the Hellebores they exhibit and sell. Unbelievable....
On May 10th, 2010, omasuziq changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
My original "neutral" rating had only to do with my having purchased (wonderful) plant stock in person during my recent visit to Plant Delights, although not through mail order. I won't be able to make this visit every year but do intend to use PD as a preferred mail order supplier.On September 29th, 2010, omasuziq added the following:
I ordered Sedum 'Maestro" and a herbaceous peony from Plant Delights this fall. The sedums had been appropriately trimmed for shipping and transplanting, but all of them have since sent out lots of new growth and some have actually flowered. Very nice. The peony was a good-sized specimen still in leaf. I prefer these over bare-root plants, for which I have a phobia. My order was handled quickly and packed well. I definitely recommend PD.
I have had great success with plants from PDN. They are more expensive than a lot of nurseries, but as I tell all my friends, the plants are huge. I have had only one failure with a PDN plant, but it was a plant I was trying to grow (perhaps) a little too far north. However, as Tony Avent notes, zones are not written in stone. I like to push the boundaries if I like the plant. With proper placement and winter care I've had great luck with PDN plants. So--one didn't make it. I don't want my money back but I do wonder what I could do differently next year. If at first you don't succeed...
I recently ordered two "Australia" canna lilies that I have not seen in local nurseries. Although the temperatures here have been in high 100's, the plants arrived in great condition and are growing and producing new leaves. Green Thumbs Up to PDN.
It is when you have a problem that you find the worth of a company. How did the company react to a your needs? I have only respect for Plant Delights. I had a problem with a Lycoris purchase. They happily, and with humor replaced the plants--which were dormant at the time of shipping. I am always very pleased with plants purchased from Plant Delights and now the customer service accorded me matched the high quality of the plants they sell and ship. If you like plants that are out of the standard offerings of many vendors, this is the place. Take a look at their web catalog, and if you want to have a good time monthly--subscribe to their e-newsletter--although sometimes Tony shares some sad news here, it is always interesting and well-written.
On Aug 24, 2010, aboutheidi Philadelphia, PA wrote:
I have always been very happy with my selections. Living up up north I have to treat my plants with a little more care than others, so a heavily rooted plant is always welcomed and usually what I receive. Thanks PD for being an awesome place to collect!
On Aug 21, 2010, mableruth Bolingbrook, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
I just ordered three fern plants from this store and they arrived in just two days. Their packing is very good and there were no signs of dirt leaking out at all. The plants themselves appear healthy. Also they were clearly labeled, which is expecially important for gardeners like myself with very little experiance. I cannot predict the future but I am looking to have these plants a long time.
I've mainly been shopping from Plant Delights for many different varieties of ferns that I haven't really been able to find anywhere else. I've received them in all of the various seasons of the year, from the dormant pots of "dirt", to the lush full plants of late spring and summer, to the fading end of the season. All have flourished, and spread! I couldn't be happier with the plants I've received.
On Jul 15, 2010, Cville_Gardener the Highland Rim of TN United States (Zone 7a) wrote:
I just received my first order from this company. I had gotten an email from the company shortly after placing my order stating that shipping would be delayed due to temperatures around 100 degrees in their area. It has been very warm here also (95+) and I was very pleased to see they were being prudent about shipping conditions. I would much rather wait a bit than have plants shipped when temperatures are too hot or too cold. The plants arrived today in great condition, not at all dry or dessicated. I received three large specimens of unusual varieties of yucca. I was most pleased with their size and condition. This company has a very intriguing catalog with some unusal plant offerings. I can't wait to plant my yuccas but am going to wait until they've had a little time to acclimate to their new home. I will definitely order from this company regularly. They aren't the cheapest nursery, but you will discover the reasons why and if this shipment is any indication -- and I believe it is -- you definitely get what you pay for. If you are looking for the unusual and not-so-common, check them out.
On May 29, 2010, cebearden Gulfport, MS (Zone 8b) wrote:
I love their catalog! The plants arrived in good condition. They go in the ground today, so stay tuned how they perform! I will say that their packing of plants doesn't come close to the ingenius packing of "Almost Eden." The mailman could stand an AE package of plants on its head and it wouldn't matter due to packing! What PDN says about customers is true about life. You get what you give. PDN was slow to respond to e-mail queries, but eventually they got back to me with an answer to my question. It's hard to remember, but I'm not the only customer to whom they have to respond!
On Apr 25, 2010, sthinton Astoria, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
This nursery is the rare example of a business that deserves a rating higher than positive. I strongly recommend Plant Delights as a source for your online and catalog orders. Their prices are reasonable for the quality of the plants and are a much better value than the ones available for cheaper prices from bargain nurseries.
I ordered Cimicifuga racemosa ($13), Begonia grandis ($13) and Abutilon ($12). The Cimicifuga has well-developed roots and top growth of one foot! The Begonia has buds and thick fibrous roots. Best of all is the Abutilon which has a spread of nearly one foot and is hanging with buds. Five days later this gem is already flush with showy flowers.
The plants I ordered arrived promptly and were very well packaged. All were moist and showed no signs of trauma from the shipment. It is evident that care and attention were taken in the care of the plants and in the packing process. Plants were in deep quart nursery pots of thick, quality plastic that I save and reuse for propagating my own cuttings.
The Plant Delights website and printed catalog are both valuable resources for a gardener. I live in New York City (zone 6b/7a) and find that most of the nursery's offerings grow well for me, with the exception of the tropical offerings.