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Why did I order from Spring Hill Nursery? WHY?

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

I swear. I have never seen anything so pitiful in all my life. They have sent me 4 shipments and I now have 3 out of the 4 plants I ordered that are alive. I don't like to rant about a company, but they are pathetic! The Delosperma I ordered were either rotten, dried up, or broken all to pieces! I have taken cuttings of these outside and rooted them in a week in the blazing sun in JULY, yet they can't seem to grow them well enough to get me a live order. Sorry. I just had to vent!

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

No problem, I have ranted about a company shipment before also. It helps to get it out and make a note, never again from that company. I have one that they send nice plants, but the price is so high that I can get the same 1 gallon plant from a nursery at the same price.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It's happened to me as well with various companies. It's always so disappointing.

(susie) Hastings, MI(Zone 5a)

Well i have placed two orders with them so far this spring & both have been very nice plants so far anyway one died but they replaced '
it right away & all are looking good . sorry you all had a problem with them .

Hobart, IN

It's always frustrating when that happens. I ordered from Spring Hill years ago but was disappointed enough times to not order from them again. Sometimes I wonder if some mail order companies count on customers not asking for replacements when they send out sub-standard plants.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

This is why it's always good to read reviews on the Garden Watchdog before buying anything--Spring Hill is one of those companies that seems to have about equal amounts of positive & negative comments so you've got about a 50/50 shot of a good experience Not the sort of odds I'd go for! (unless they were the only ones that carried a plant I wanted, then I'd give them a try)

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

That's why I did it. Nobody had the plant I wanted. I'll just wait and see if High Country Gardens adds these.

Lake Stevens, WA

I thought Mama Jack had a Co-op on those? I could be wrong.

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

I thought she did too. It's like pulling teeth to find out what she's doing. She cancelled one and started another. We were supposed to know yesterday but nothing was revealed. Anything beats Spring Hill though. They must have some blind people packaging those dead plants. LOL.

Hanceville, AL(Zone 7a)

My experience through the years is that several mail order nurseries are as bad as Spring Hill. Interstate and all Plantron nurseries are not to be trusted for all the reasons you gave. So I ordered a Weigelia from a differfent one, Mc Minnville, in Tennessee. They sent a flowering Almond. I kept it and am still looking for an old fashioned pink weigelia. Luciee {;^)

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

LOL. I remember the dead Clematis I got from Wayside Gardens. They sent it bare root. It was dead as can be. LOL.

Lake Stevens, WA
Can you get money back, this company is getting lots of nice PR on ATP perennial forum. My order has not come from them so no personal experience yet.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

Why dont you try trading for it on DG. Most people on here know how to pkg a plant for shipment. Ive had only one disappointment with trading and it was with seeds, not plants.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Did you vent on Garden Watchdog?
I go there first to see rateings.SpringHill is awfull rated.

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

I did. I just wanted everyone to know how bad their packaging and plants were. They actually sent some of these dead. I had seen bad plants before but this was very bad.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

That was my experience with American Meadows 4 years ago. I never went back.There are too many companies that have excellent records.
Offering a discount is one way SH and AM hook their customers. If the plants are substandard and in some cases dead,whats the saveings?

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Many 20 ago, I had a similar problem with SpringHill Nursery. My order was exactly the way you described how yours was received, except all the dried soil was all over the inside of shipping box. I got my money back and have never ordered from them again.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

My eatliest orders were from Wayside. They shipped the wrong colors of bulbs (blue and white turned out all yellow) and the most horrible grasses imaginable. They sent lilium regale album (a cheap bulb) instead of lilium candidum (an expensive bulb). And you can't get a refund, only more of their products! YUK! The exception? The greedy people were trying to sell Judith Freeman's Silk Road for $14.95 each. No takers. So they reduced them to 3 for $12.00. I bit. They came from Judith, so they were perfect.

Pretty catalogs (arriving frequently) do not a good provider make! The good thing is that they drove me to nurseries, where I could examine the plants. Until I found REALLY good companies (Munchkin, Plant and Gnome, Forest Farm) I wouldn't buy a plant I could not see.

You know what's scary? They've been around forever!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Those companies will live on long after we're gone, too. That's even scarier. People believe they've done something wrong and don't complain, then give up gardening.

My earliest orders were from Busse, printed daylily catalogs sans photos, and Crownsville nursery. All plants were fine and all dealings were honest. Then I, too, fell for Wayside. What a shocking experience. The very rude reply when I called about a plant not growing was the final straw for me with Wayside.

At least the fancy catalogs can provide ideas and thoughts but that's where it ends for me.

I'll stick with companies I've found reliable like Greywood Farms and Eartheart Gardens for Japanese irises. They can't be beat. Silver Star Vinery, Brushwood and Garden Crossings for clematis.

If I ever end up buying a Donahue's clematis again you all have permission to shoot me!

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Yikes, Pirl, I've got 3! Already one didn't make it, and the co-op is replacing it, but so far the other 2 are ok. My Brushwood order should arrive tomorrow. I'm very curious to see the difference.


Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Always check Garden Watchdog.It saves a lot of heartbreak.
I found DG from a Garden Gate mag article about 5 Worst Mailorder nurseries. Sure enough
White Flower Farm
American Meadows
on the list. I had dead plants to prove it.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

And wow, ratings can change as companies deteriorate. White Flower Farm used to be a top 20. I went to them for mail order after Wayside produced such junk. They used to be excellent, and their bulbs and peonies are phenomenal - if you got the right ones.

Does anyone remember (many years back) when WFF's catalog stated that it had a bumper crop of Festiva Maximas, so it was selling 3 for the price of one? $19.95 for three! That was what sold me on peonies. I thought FM was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and pictured a trio of them in triangle formation. It took two years of growing to realize that I had 3 different peonies. One Kansas, one Ann Cousins, and one Festiva Maxima. Except that I did not know what the other two were, and I'm anal about plant identification. I pulled out my old catalog and called them, asking for an ID. They could only guess, but they guessed correctly. The problem is that I never would have bought either one. Ann Cousins is just a big white peony that requires substantial staking and attracts thrips. It's very nice, but that's all. And I was looking for a white peony, not a red one. And AC bloomed completely out of sync with the other two.

So a couple of years later, I asked for the FM I was supposed to get. I was shipped a Lady Alexandra Duff, which of course I didn't know for two years. I called them and I got my $19.95 back, but being shipped three incorrect peonies out of four made me decide that, nice as they were, I would never order from them again.

Sometimes good companies, that should know better, blow it. I have a friend who ordered numerous peonies from a renowned and respect vendor, and they are duds. Which reminds me that I ordered three from the same company, and two of them never appeared. The company's name begins with an A. I wish I'd gotten my money back.

Whereas, with Bluestone so expensive, I went to Forest Farm. They have adjusted things so that their shipping is cheaper. As you put things in your cart, you get information about the size of the box they are being shipped in, and it lets you know how many more tubes or gallons you can get into the boxes you ordered without additional shipping. And their plants were actually larger and much cheaper than Bluestone. Every one is a gem. The best plants I have ever seen. Better yet, I order a gallon of a fern that they ran out of, so they sent me two gallon digitalis grandifloras instead of the two tubes I had ordered. THEY get it!

Hobart, IN

Donna - How recently did Forest Farm change their shipping? I mean, I knew about trying to get as many tubes, etc to a carton but have the actual shipping rates come down at all? I do like their selection but haven't ordered from them in a few years due to shipping costs and I only managed to come up with a big enough order to fill a box only once or twice. I did have one sort-of-problem with them in that they chose to sub a different clem for one that I had ordered because they didn't think it would be hardy enough for me. Sadly, in 10+ years, I've had one flower on the poor thing.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


It's got to be the last few months, because I started to order last year and decided not to because of the cost. I hadn't ordered for a while because of the shipping, but everyone else got so expensive. I used to order only things I couldn't get here, and I was quite fond of 5 gallon shrubs. The prompting each time you add something is marvelous. It will tell you how many tubes or gallons you can add to fill your box. It's new.

Their packaging is also lighter (less of a struggle to get things out - it used to take half an hour), but so sound that one of the two boxes was delivered upside down and there was NO LOOSE SOIL! My impression is that they have lowered the price of their superb plants to compete. The fern I ordered for $8.95 from FF was $12.95 at Bluestone. Campanula Bernice was $6.95 from FF, and $16.95 from Bluestone. My gallon miscanthus was $9.00 from FF, Bluestone's very small one was $9.95. I could go on. And the plants are just phenomenal. They almost look fake, they're so perfect. I actually wrote the owners a thank you and updated my review on GW. And they took the trouble, at this busy time, to write back and thank me. When does the owner take the time to do that?

Also, I am establishing a new garden and was able to do a good job of filling a large and a small box. I wouldn't order just one thing, although I have in the past. And the ONE plant that didn't work out over the years was cheerfully replaced.

I used to drive 45 miles to Milaegers and 45 miles back, but I moved 32 miles in the wrong direction, and with gas in the $4.00 range, as well as their price increases, made me hesitate to drive there.

They've got me for the foreseeable future.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

My bad plants from WFF were over 20 years ago. They get their bulbs from a wholesaler so how can they make a mess of that except to send the wrong variety or color.

I did get a Lavander munstead and it was still at my old house when I moved.I had it 20 years.The Lobelias and Penstemons were half dead and never revived from the roots in the nexy season.
People who like WFF and cheer their great plants ,go to the nursery in Conn and pick what they want. Orders are filled with anything.

Hobart, IN

Donna - Thanks for your input. I usually do comparative shopping but my budget has been pretty low the last few years due to not working. I do agree that FF's plant quality is top notch so will have to go through their online catalog again. They don't print one anymore, do they? Used to swear by BS for anyone new to gardening because the prices were pretty low on their 3-packs - easy to fill up new space - but they rarely offer those anymore.
I think the only thing I've ordered from WFF might have been a mixed naturalizing daylily package 25 years ago. Have a few left (can only blame the resident gardener here) but their prices always seemed a bit on the high side. Pretty pictures though - eye candy.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Forest Farm does print a catalog. I'm surprised you don't get one. I get them for spring and fall, despite the fact that my last order, at least according to my records, was in 2005. Have you moved? I did send them my change of address. I'll bet if you tell them that you have purchased from them before they will waive the $5.00 charge for each catalog.

BS was great. I got SOOOO many plants from them, Nepeta Dawn to Dusk. Nepeta Snowflake. Nepeta Souvenir D'Andre Chaudron. I divided and spread those plants all over my yard, Campanula Bernice. Primroses. I used to order three Verbena Appleblossum, three Verbena Homestead Purple, three Verbena Canadesis every year despite the fact that they were annuals here. I could get a billion plants for about $75. The most expensive plant I had previously ordered was Campanula Bernice. Three for $12.95. ONE for $16.95?

I have to be careful with money, but this is my treat. No manicures, pedicures, hair dye, professional blowout, and stuff I've alway thought was weird, like waxing. I drive a great 8 year old car. I make my own breakfast cereal. I grow many of my own veggie and herbs. Of course, having to be careful is relative. I consider myself fortunate.

I used to order my excellent tulips from WFF. I would actually get a spreadsheet and do cost comparisons by bulb with McClure and Zimmerman, WFF, Brent and Becky, Scheepers and Van Engelen. But they got more and more expensive. The fact that B&B dropped their $35 minimum was huge. McClure and Zimmerman has no minimum. Their bulbs are a B plus to the others' A's, but they have an incredible assortment of species tulips, amongst other things.

I realize that not everyone is as ridiculously anal as I am. And I really am. To get ridiculous abundance, I grow from seed.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Kudos to Forest Farm. Another great Oregon nursery.

Hobart, IN

Donna - more in common than last names then. I do price comparison spreadsheets for mail order plants based on my "want" spreadsheet. I also put my seed inventory on a spreadsheet and then pull from it to make a seed-starting spreadsheet with all of the special germination instructions and scheduled start dates. I also have a "current" plant list but I sometimes forget to move the "dearly departed" to a different part of the spreadsheet.
kosk - OR sure has more than their share of great nurseries. :)

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

You might try Ebay - I have been a seller there for about 10 years with a current feedback of 2552. Sold some on DG Marketplace til they closed it, that was a big disappointment.. I have heard some horror stories about dead plants and lousy packing from some big sellers. I pride myself on good packing and fast shipping. I must admit, I learned my good technics right here on DG with a lot of trades before I started selling.

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

Donna, thank you for being so anal retentive =) I'm the same way when I do my hosta pre-orders in the spring. But I especially love your comments on the bulb suppliers. Sadly, I just placed an order with American Meadows because they had a specific tulip I wanted. Guess I will see what happens when they arrive this fall and bloom in the spring. But I will definitely be trying the others in the future!

Forest Farm also sounds like a great source. I bought from BS twice and did notice that my first order was MUCH better than the second I got last summer. Poor plants arrive completely dried out; I'm amazed they even survived the summer.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Cindy! Is your last name really Mack?

What you say is interesting. I know every vendor that I ever bought anything from because it's in my excel spreadsheet, or in the word document. My 2 word documents has the day to day week to week have comments back to 2000. And when someone complains about a well regarded vendor, I can go back and see if I had a bad experience too.

How nice of you to say that, Eleven. You'll notice that I didn't mention Old House gardens because in terms of cost the are by far the most expensive. That being said, my heirloom tulips from them (Mt. Hood and Mrs. Backhouse) expand every year. I only planted five of each. I must have 50 Mt. Hoods. The double hyacinths are great. The peony prices look incredibly low - way below market for the quality. Festiva Maxima for $14.75? And I got Silver Sunburst from him, which is interesting because he can't find a grower. I must have 50 bulbs between my old house and new. And odd bulbs like leucojum Gravetye Giant is wonderful. His bulbs do tend to expand at a rate that leaves the others behind. It's almost scary. But I was afraid to order the tulips before I found the daff solution. There is a $25.00 tulip, and a $14.95 tulip. That's for one. One rabbit chop and you want to shoot yourself.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

What is the daff solution? I looked back to the beginning if this thread and didn't find it. I'm afraid to order tulips because of critters, particularly rabbits. There is a solution?!

Thanks, Pam

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I apologize, Pam. I shouldn't assume. And yes! there is a solution, and a cheap one.

I was having a terrible time with rabbits (beheading lilies and tulips) and voles (50 lilies disappeared in a single season). I tied thiram based sprays, which work if you reapplied, and Permatil (expandable slate) that worked on voles but not rabbits, and finally found a really good solution.

Daffodils are poisonous. That's why people with the scourge of dear can grow them. Animals (including voles and rabbits) instinctively avoid poisonous plants, which their little noses can sniff out. So I looked for the smallest daffodil I could find, with unobtrusive foliage that blooms early and fades (my favorite is the inexpensive Division 1 miniature trumpet W.P. Milner) and throw in a couple around each clump of lilies or tulips.

I have not lost a single lily or tulip since. When I moved to my new house, I was careful to bring some with me.

Oh, and for squirrels, which we didn't have at my previous house, I found solution. Those dummies burrow into any freshly turned earth in pots or the ground. Having put in about a zillion plants, they were becoming a problem. Solution: freshly ground pepper - black pepper. After I plant I take a pepper grinder and give it a few turns over plants. It's so much better than cayenne (which didn't work for me, is bright orange and forms a crust) because it's black, and invisible!

I no longer go out and scout for damage, because there isn't any. Yes!

Lunenburg, MA(Zone 5b)

I'll chime in with the complaint thread. I ordered a lot of plants from them this spring. Most are doing well, except for the aster. I ordered eight and they keep dying, one after another. The foliage just dies off! Only two of them are really healthy, three are completely dead and three more are struggling to survive. This has developed slowly, so it's now past the time to get refund. Yurg.

Then again, MOST of the plants I ordered from them are in good health. I hope I've learned from this to be patient for nursery stock to arrive and toss the catalogs in the recycle bin as soon as they arrive!

Yurg again.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Thanks! So obvious once you know... Clever solution for squirrels, too. They drove me half cazy last year.


Hobart, IN

I have squirrels and chipmunks/ground squirrels and they don't seem to cause much damage here. They're more interested in the seed on the ground under the bird feeder. My biggest digging culprit is raccoons with newly planted items. I generally have to go out on patrol after planting for several days to make sure the critters haven't dug anything up and left it on the side to dry out.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

If the chipmunks dig in your pots, a tiny sprinkling of Milorganite when you first plant will eliminate their digging for ever.

Now raccoons, I've never experienced. I think they are impossible - but if I ever get them, I'll start experimenting!

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Sorry to hear so many have gone through the same thing with shoddy service!

Averill Park, NY

I've ordered a lot from Lazy S Farm and never been disappointed. Their plants are incredibly healthy and well packed. Last year they had a Big Box sale, which made buying even more fun!

I've also ordered a lot from Bluestone Perennial. Their quality isn't as good but is generally acceptable. Their plants are tiny, but since we've got rocky soil, they were perfect for me. Last year they stopped stocking those tiny plants, and their prices have more than doubled.

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