Have ordered three times, and have always been delighted with the bulbs and service I received. My last order was for 100 daffodils and 12 oriental lilies. The daffodil bulbs were the LARGEST I've ever seen, and provided me an almost two month season of continuous bloom. Lilies did great also, but the daffs amazed me!
I am a new gardener. I excitedly ordered 50 different daylilies and 100 daffodils from White Flower Farm in September. I was told they would arrive by October 15. I called on the 20th when they still hadn't arrived, and was told they were being shipped that week. I heard this story every week, until I finally called to cancel in disgust on NOVEMBER 30!!!!!! Funny, once I cancelled the order, I had my plants 5 days later. Of course, at this point it was December and FREEZING here in Delaware. I refused the shipment, and am still trying to get my money back. STEER CLEAR OF WHITE FLOWER FARMS!
Like most people on your site, I was dazzled by the catalog for White Flower Farm. I have ordered several items from them, with varying degrees of luck. The viburnum X burkwookii that I ordered began to die immediately after Iplanted it. I called CS and the woman offered to ship me a new one. Then she patched me thru to their horticultural expert who told me that the plant was dying from too much rainfall, and that if I left it alone and did not water it, it would be fine. She then cancelled the replacement order (though I asked her not to cancel it, as I had little hope of the originalplant surviving). The plant never recovered. I called CS again and again was patched thru to the Horticultural expert who again told me not to water (this was during the drought!) and that the plant would bounce back. By this time, the plant had black tips and no leaves, and everyone who saw it told me it had a fungus problem...but the woman would not believe me. I went to their web site andsaw why I was having such trouble with CS. This item was completely sold out, and they had no replacement to send me. Eventually, after several more calls and chats with the optimistic horticulturalist ("This is an x-shrubbery!!!" "Oh, no, it's just RESTING!") I was able to get a refund, and bought a MUCH less expensive (and larger) specimen from a local nursery.The new one is thriving!In addition to my Viburnum woes, I also had trouble with their Clerodendron Trichotum (sp??). It arrived DOA. I had a chat with the horticulturalist about this one as well, and she told me to just let it go, it would be fine.It never came back. They said they'd send a new one. They never did. I called to see when the replacement would arrive (I always plant bareroot plants immediately and try to make sure I know when they're due) and they told me that they are out of stock. I eventually got a refund, and the item is not being sold again this year.The other items that I've ordered have all been exquisite (especially the roses and irises).
I have created massive perennial gardens at the last 6 of my homes. WFF has been one of my sources for years. They do some things well, and others not so well. I would hesitate to order bare root stock from unless it was a rose. WFF's daylily prices are outrageous. Gilbert Wild is the best source and sells to WFF. So does Kleim's for peonies. On the good side, all potted plants are lush and better than most. Their bulbs, while expensive, are often unique. Lilies are the best. I highly recommend their Strawberry/Cream combo. I have over 1,000 and every one a thrill. The best thing about WFF is their catalog. It is truly the bible. I have used it for years as the benchmark and often find better prices elsewhere, especially with the original growers. In exchange for this, I have always ordered about $500 worth of stock from WFF each year.
Alas, I had a very disappointing experience ordering (for the first time) from White Flower Farm. My order arrived several weeks later than expected and two items were not enclosed. When I called them, they reported that one type of allium I had ordered was "sold out" and that I'd get a refund. No one contacted me to inquire if another item could be substituted for them. Another item, 50 narcissus bulbs , were also not shipped and when I inquired about them, I was told they'd be shipped the next week. Guess what??? They never arrived either and I, once again, had to call THEM to find out what had happened. Now I was told I would not be receiving those bulbs at all and that I'd get another refund. But, again, no one called or E-mailed me to ask if I wanted to make a substitution. Well, I won't go back there again. The worse on-line service I have received to date.
I am probably one of the few who can say they have visited the nursery and ordered from the catalog. It's a fabulous place to visit any time from late spring through summer! I was very disappointed in my first and only order from the catalog. The 50 daylily collection, described as each plant unique and covering the entire color spectrum of daylilies, turned out to be about only 10 different varieties, so I had multiples of the same plant. After they had bloomed (several didn't make it) and I called to complain about the lack of variety, the customer service rep brushed me off and said the best she could offer was a credit equal to about 20% of what it cost me. Take it or leave it, basically. Their catalog is beautiful, but unless you can buy in person at the nursery, don't waste the considerable money it will cost you to order by mail.
In early September, I ordered The Works, about 300 other bulbs, and a heavy duty bulb planter. My soil is very difficult, and I am unable toplant big bulbs without a good planter. I wrote them email immediately after specifying that I need the order no later than October 15, becauseI would be leaving town for November. They replied saying that all would be delivered late September to early October. I ordered largebulbs from a number of other sources because of the planter. Early October came and went. My mother, who lives in a higher zone and had asimilar order, received her bulbs around October 1st. October 16th I called. They announced that they would deliver at the end of October. When I explained that was not possible, they said they would "see what they could do". I also wrote them another email asking for an explanation for the mishap; they did not respond to that email. They called the following Monday and said the bulbs were being sent out and would arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. They didn't. I called Wednesday; they would arrive Thursday. I called Thursday; they would arrive Friday. They did finally arrive Friday, Oct 21st. While the company had paid for 2nd day delivery of their own expense, they never offered any explanation or real apology for the goof -- which it clearly was. I am very hesitant to order from them again.
Since I started gardening, approximately 8 years ago, I fell in love with their catalogue. I am a Canadian gardener in a zone 4. Every order I placed was at least $300-400 U.S. I was never disappointed. The bulbs were huge, the plant roots healthy and absolutely no problems. Their customer service was excellent. I had one occasion with a Kalmia shrub that was shipped that didn't look overly healthy (2 weeks at the border due to problems on our side of the border). When I called WFF, they insisted I plant it and soak it well, and if it didn't make it, they offered to replace it. It survived. Everything is thriving. My one and only grief now is they no longer ship to Canada! If you happen to be a "new" customer or thinking of being a "new" customer of WFF, I can't recommend them enough.
I have to put in another good word for Whiteflower Farm. Their bulbs were the largest, up to twice as big as other bulbs I received, and I didn't have a single bad bulb in my entire box of 100+. Their mixed collections -- the pastel tulips and pink daffodils -- were an excellent value, and I can't wait to see what comes up next year. I won't waste my time with other bulb companies in the future -- I'm going to be going directly to Whiteflower farms. I ordered via the website, and had no troubles whatsoever.
I just recently requested a catalog via e-mail for White Flower Farms catalog. It came within three days and I was so excited at their complete line of perennials. Got ready to place an order and read that they don't ship outside continental US. Since I live in Alaska, that includes me. So why did they send me a catalog? What a tease they are!
I have ordered the Blackmore and Langdon named begonias for several years and they have exceeded my expectations. Tuberous begonia quality is not determined by the size of the tuber. Anyone knowledgeable about begonias is aware of that. Antonelli Brothers in California stress that. Last year my plants were over two feet (grown in pots). I'm happy with WFF with their perennials also.
Looking at [the 1999 catalog], you'd swear it was Daffodil Mart - illustrations, catalog text (although they've expanded it a bit, mostly by insisting the descriptions use complete sentences), pricing structure -- but "Daffodil Mart" is never used, and the Daffodil section is now a Narcissus section. This is now "White Flower Farm: The Bulb Book 1999". The website lists both companies, and has the title of "The White Flower Farm and Daffodil Mart Bulb Book". It claims that the entire bulb book will beonline as of April 11, 1999; other than that, all that's there now are links to the White Flower Farms and Shepherd Seeds web pages.Incidentally, I can find no mention of a minimum order amount in the 1999 catalogue, so it may well be that the $50 minimum is no longer in place. As a tradeoff, the 800 number for faxes is gone Another change: the catalogue is four pages shorter, and cultivar lists seem a bit shorter -- Amaryllis and Iris reticulata are down three, Erythronium is down four. I also couldn't help but notice that every single Amaryllis went up exactly a dollar for single bulbs.I don't know if you'll want to combine the Daffodil Mart and White Flower Farm entries or leave them separate with a pointer from WFF to DM for the bulb book. Obviously, WFF believes that their name has more pull than DM.
I also had trouble with White Flower Farm's customer service. I'd ordered a Phlomis plant, and a plant was indeed shipped to me. The only problem was that when it bloomed months later (that same year), it was a tall spike withsmall yellow flowers on it, not a stem with whorls of yellow flowers. It basically looked NOTHING like a Phlomis blossom. When I called WFF customer service, they said I must have been mistaken, that, according to their records, they'd sent me a Phlomis plant. I insisted that the blossom was a spike, not a whorl, and that I had photos to prove it. They asked me tosend them one of the photos, and if they deemed it was not a Phlomis plant, then they would return my money. I was in a good mood, did what they said, and a few weeks later received aletter from WFF with my photo enclosed. They said my photo was of a common Mullein, and that I must have killed the Phlomis plant they'd sent and that the Mullein plant was a weed that had sprouted and grown close to where I'd planted the Phlomis. OH PLEASE!!!!! Gimme a break!!! I'm an experienced gardener in southeastern North Carolina, and had not once seen Mullein in or near my gardens. Besides, I know my garden well, and that was the exact same plant they'd sent me, not an imposter weed! When I called WFF back to get a refund, I mentioned that I'd never seen Mullein growing in my area, but that I appreciated them identifying the plant in the photo for me. Interestingly enough, the customer service rep who was helping me remarked that they had a lot of it growing in the fieldsnear WFF. I just kept my trap shut, accepted my "store credit", and silently vowed never to order from White Flower Farm again. Gee, I wonder if the WFF horticulturalist who wrote that "encouraging" note to me ever considered that Mullein seed from THEIR area might have gotten in with their plants and sprouted. Both plants have "fuzzy" leaves, so it's a shame I had to wait till it blossomed before I figured out the mix up. Otherwise, I might have been able to get my credit card reimbursed instead of receiving "store credit". Sorry, y'all - I'll have to agree with the opinion that dealing with some of WFF's reps is sort of like being put through the Inquisition!
As a novice gardener, I have enjoyed hearing feedback on WFF before using them for the first time. Sticking with bulbs, they were wonderful, as advertised. I am interested in trying roses this spring. My primary issue with WFF is their website - it times-out frequently. Every time I go on-line to order, their website cannot be located, is timed-out, or (when it finally appears) loads very slowly. I HATE this and it frustrates me enough to look elsewhere since I know what I want and plants are commodities.
I have periodically ordered plants from WFF. Nothing I've ordered has ever done well; much never even came up. WFF customer service made me feel like the problems with the plants were all my fault. I've been gardening here for nearly10 years, have ordered from numerous nurseries and have rarely had problems. The WFF catalogue is attractive, but so are many others. I won't be ordering from them again.
I have had wonderful, large healthy plants from WFF that have always grown well. My only complaint has been shipping dates. This spring, my plants arrived very late and this fall when I explained upon ordering that these were for a summer home on an island that I couldn't get to after a certain date, I was assured the plants would be there on time. Not only were they almost too late, but several times I was told they had been shipped and upon calling two days later was again told that the plants had been shipped "today". Just don't lie to me!
I also felt like I went through an inquisition when I called WFF for a refund for a 28.95 Double Bloodroot that never appeared in the spring. First the woman on the other end insinuated that I did not mulch it enough and then when I reminded her that we had just been through the warmest winter in recent memory she decided that I rotted it with too much mulch! Grudgingly, she gave me a credit after much back and forth. The catalogs are great and I save them from year to year as well. I figure the prices are inflated because of their guarantee but if the stuff I put in this fall doesn't make it and I have to go through another hassle I won't order from them again.
I have ordered lilies (oriental and asiatic) from White Flower Farms when I lived in Alaska. The customer service and products were beyondexpectation. Any Alaskan knows there are few companies who will ever ship to Alaska…White Flower Farms has always been accommodating with my orders. I gladly paid the upscale price for the products (as well as twice the cost to ship to Alaska) because of the quality of bulbs Ireceived. Even in Alaska, the not quite so hardy oriental lilies came back year after year. I was barely in zone 4 (zone 3 was actually moreaccurate) but by planting the lilies in a protected area and mulching in the fall, they somehow survived. Winters are very long and dark there and a person anxiously waits for summer and the blooming of flowers. The lilies were such a treat and the fragrance a delight. With the cool days, the blooms remained for days. I too have many back issues of their catalog and going through them still helps get me through winter months. I didn't know until today that Amos is fictional. I always knew if I ran into insurmountable gardening problems I could call him for a quick fix. I visualized calling him at midnight with a crisis and he would answer his phone in soothing voice and patiently walk me through the steps to plant recovery. Good bye Amos, I'll miss you.
I have ordered small quantities of plants and bulbs from White Flower Farm for years now, and my experience with their customer service is afar cry from what many others have reported. This past year, for example, I had ordered some begonia tubers from them. I gave one to my mother for Mother's Day, and when it bloomed, it wasn't at all what had been ordered. I called customer service, and they were most apologetic. They asked about the other tubers, and I told them I hadn't seen any blooms yet, because they had been through a tornado at my house before they could bloom, and had not yet come back from the tuber. They offered to replace all of the tubers, even though they obviously had no control over the tornado! There was no interrogation, just a willingness to set things right. I'll definitely keep using their service.
I agree that White Flower Farm is the Rolls Royce of mail-order gardening. If you don't mind paying the prices and aren't afraid of bare root plants, you will not be disappointed. Everyone should place at least a small order so they can get the beautiful and informative catalog.Last fall I placed an order late in the season. The salesperson was knowledgeable and made recommendations that actually saved me money (which is kind of relative since everything is expensive at WFF). My order of Columbinesand Violets arrived in about two weeks and I received a postcard to let me know they were on their way. The bare roots were huge and lush - much bigger that you'd get in a 3" or even a 5" pot and all were carefully packed. The plants established well over the fall and winter and have really taken off this spring.I have just received my Spring order (Phlox, more Aquilegia, Nepeta, Liatris and some Lilies) and all the bare roots are big and gorgeous.
I think that the service may differ depending upon where you live. So if you live in a Zone that doesn't see the end of winter until well into April, read on. Three years ago, I lived in Zone 2 in Montana and dreamed all early winter about what to order from each catalogue. I finally narrowed down my choices and ordered two different plants from (the pricier) White Flower Farm. I keep a gardening journal, so I can tell you exactly what happened. WFF was so-so. The Malva Zebrina was beautiful, but the foxgloves had already bloomed and gone to seed. Could have been due to the fact that WFF did not send my plants until May 25!!!! WAY TOO LATE. Even for Montana.
On Nov 1, 1998, MarcBMeijer Crown Point, IN (Zone 5a) wrote:
I have spent about $1500.00 at this place and I find them the best. For instance, I bought 15 different Paeonia from them in the last 3years. The roots are big and each plant has 5 to 10 eyes on them. They flower the next year. I have tried others and don't think the quality is as good as White Flower Farm. Their catalogs are a good reference and have great pictures. The price I find acceptable. 90 percent of my plants in my garden are from White Flower Farm and I've never had a problem. It is the only place I shop.
Check out my postings in rec.garden for the full story. Do not order Amaryllis from WWF unless you enjoy the challenge of Red Spot. They regularly ship diseased Amaryllis and admit doing so. They have done it to me with two different orders over in the last two years. Every one of the four plants I received has been infected. I have finally learned my lesson. I will not do business with them again.
I had mixed results with a White Flower Farms order. They mislabeled a Hosta and sent me a couple runts and some ferns that never made it. But I was impressed with their customer service. They were apologetic and willing to replace the runts if I was unsatisfied with them at the end of the year. Given the number of factors that can go wrong beyond THEIR control after it leaves their gardens, it seemed a fair way to handle matters.
I have ordered from WWF 2 years in a row, and for the most part am satisfied. Their prices are certainly high, but some of the plants I got from them were among the best performers I've ever had. However, I wasn't happy with their replacement guarantee. When I called to get 2 items (out of a $150.00 order) replaced, I felt like I was in the Inquisition. I don't mind explaining myself, but repeated questions along the line of "what did you do to kill them" are ridiculous. I will pay top dollar for plants if they are top quality, but I will also seek a refund if I didn't get my money's worth.
I have only placed two orders with White Flower Farm, but I have been very pleased with both orders. My first order was for Cum Laude daffodils. They were priced at 5 for $9.95, which I thought was kind of pricey, but I wanted to try this company out. When the bulbs came they were bigger than a baseball; almost the size of a softball. I would have paid $3 or $4 for the size of bulb that I received. No other company that I had ordered from at that time had daffodil bulbs close to the size of these. My next order was for a begonia tuber, and when the tuber arrived it was almost twice as big as a begonia tuber I had ordered fromanother mail order company, and the begonia tuber from White Flower Farm had started growing about 1 week before the other begonia bulbs, even though I planted them at the same time. I realize that this company is more expensive than most other mail order nurseries but I feel that I have gotten my money's worth so far.
Nice catalog! Ordered a clematis and got a wonderful plant that grew vigorously from the outset. Also received a Japanese iris that is growing well. Had always considered them too high, but if all their plants are of this quality, I'll have to rethink. Will order a tree peony next.
I ordered 6 Campanula from White Flower Farm, in the spring/summer of 96. The next spring none of them came back (novice gardener--I wasn't sure if the fault was mine, theirs or both). I called them and they were GREAT!! They replaced all 6 plants and gave me tips on the phone for helping them survive. I'm happy to report that they are doing beautifully and blooming like crazy as I type. I'm anxiously awaiting my latest order from them. I've been very pleased with their service.
I "signed up" to receive their catalog because of their GREAT pictures. I've kept every single one of them over the last 4 years and evenordered plants and bulbs. The daffodil bulbs I received were almost as big as baseballs and the tulip bulbs weren't far behind, but I sure didhave to pay for them! The bareroot plants I ordered came way too early in the spring. They sent about 10 bareroot plants to me in EARLY April, shipped to Zone 6. I'm in Zone 5. It's really not that hard to look on the "Chart" and figure out what Zone people are in. C'mon WWF!!! Anyway, what was I going to do with about $150.00 worth of plants until I could plant them? I thought of a few creative things Ishould've done, but decided to be nice. I called and complained to the WWF Customer Service department, but they wouldn't replace the plants because they were still alive. Ok, I can play that game. I called again AFTER they died and was treated like an idiot, like I was the first person EVER to call WWF and ask for replacements! Evidently that just isn't done! It's not worth the extra price or the customer NONservice! I'll stick to local nurseries and the few reliable mail-order sources I have who replace without the hassle. However, I will still keep their catalogs because those pictures are really the best!
I ordered bulbs from White Flower Farm this autumn: 'Bell Song' jonquils and their pastel asiatic lily mix. The packaging was very pretty and the cultural instructions the best I've gotten yet. But, their Narcissus were smaller than top-size and had only one nose, and a few of the lilies were blackish- brown and squishy. They didn't find the smaller bulb size a problem big enough to solve, but cheerfully offered to send replacements for the bad lilies in spring. White Flower Farm can be unbelievably overpriced. However, they do have some fairly good deals, like their mixes and a lot of their bulbs. No where else can you get that many fairly good Asiatic lilies for that price. All in all, I felt like I paid for the name, packaging, and catalog-and dearly, too. Next time, I'll pay for the bulbs.
I have purchased plants and plant material for several years from White Flower Farms at this point I intend to continue to order merchandise from them, thought I will admit that the last two times I ordered Crambe's from them I have never had any success with them for what reason I do not know as they have been planted in different places in the garden. Anyone who orders should not be afraid to do so their stock comes in great condition and usually of decent size, but always healthy
WFF is still one of my all-time favorites. I have received excellent quality plants every spring & fall for the past several years. The only problems were from an order placed through the 1996 holiday gift catalog. I ordered 2 strawberry jars that were supposed to ship in time for the holidays with plants to be shipped in spring and a basket of 'Angelique' tulips to be sent to my mother. Only one strawberry jarshipped & I had to call for the 2nd one. They sent two! I notified them, but they said to keep it if I wanted it (of course I did). In thespring, I never received the strawberry plants or potting soil until I called them. They had to locate my order or some other nonsense and callback before they could start to resolve the issue. Hmmmm. My mother's tulips never did bloom & they were given full sun & tender loving care.They sent a refund promptly. It is strange that an entire order was unsatisfactory, but the problems were resolved. I think they still careabout quality and I am extremely happy with subsequent orders placed this past growing season.
White Flower Farm's catalog certainly is a pretty one, as most here have acknowledged. But they are in Connecticut and they don't understand gardening in the Southeast, even though they now publish a "southern edition." The southern edition offers delphiniums, heaths, heathers, and other plants that suffer a slow, agonizing death here in hot, humid Virginia. And there's plenty of gardening country farther south than Virginia. Also, I have received some plants from them that were not well upon arrival and did not live. I should have called to complain, but instead I simply stopped ordering from them about four years ago.
I have been extremely pleased with my purchases from them. They are very reliable, for example, the foxglove was supposed to be pink; it was yellow. I wrote them a letter they told me to keep the yellow foxglove, which, incidentally, looks beautiful. I also ordered daffodil and tulip bulbs this past year, and they were beyond my expectations. A super company with an outstanding catalogue.