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The scoop on 'Fraser's Thimble Farms'

  Company Profile  
Fraser's Thimble Farms

Mailing Address:
175 Arbutus Rd
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia V8K 1A3 (Canada)

Phone: 250-537-5788
Fax: 250-537-5788

Visit Fraser's Thimble Farms at:

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Recent reviews:
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Positive 0 0 0
Neutral 0 0 0
Negative 0 0 0
This company offers a variety of plants.

  Feedback History and Summary  
14 positives
1 neutral
3 negatives


Positive nelumbo74
Atlanta, GA
(1 review)
December 4, 2010
The plants I received were of excellent quality. The communication was excellent. I will definitely order from them again. They have the most incredible selection of hardy orchids. I experienced none of the complications noted above, particularly regarding ordering from the U.S.
Positive juanwillis
Winchester, MA (Zone 6a)
(28 reviews)
May 13, 2010
I was initially nervous about ordering plants from Canada for bare-root import into the United States. However, Fraser's catalog proved impossible to resist, so I took the plunge this spring. The plants I ordered were very well-packed and in terrific health, and they have all prospered in the two months since I planted them. I am very pleased with the experience and will be ordering from them again!
Positive Hostafarian
Etna, CA
(14 reviews)
November 4, 2007
I recieved two orders from this company this year. It was the first time I've ordered from them. I found their catalog descriptions to be very accurate regarding the size/age of the plants I was ordering. All my plants arrived appearing healthy or had well developed root systems if shipped bare root. The plants I received in the spring all grew well and the Cypridpediums listed as blooming size all bloomed.

I got a laugh reading some of the negative comments about Thimble Farms. They grow a lot of rare plants. The plants are labeled 'rare' because they are more demanding than other plants. If you don't do your homework regarding temperature zones, sun exposure, soil conditions, chilling or drying periods, and nutrient requirements you're going to have poor results and/or kill some plants. Plants die unexplainably all the time. I expect to lose some of the plants I ordered. I'm not going to blame them for the loss, I'm going to figure out what I did wrong and try again next year and the year after until I get it right or conclude that maybe that species is just too tender for my area. Thats part of the satisfaction of growing plants. If some of you don't like their plants...........well, that leaves more for me.
Positive crazy_gardener
Wainwright, AB (Zone 2b)
(42 reviews)
August 27, 2007
I've ordered twice from them now.

Great selection of unique plants to choose from and wonderful customer service. I live in a small town and our nurseries don't carry perennials like they sell.

Although the plants look kind of rough after shipping, they rebound in to time. They also send their plants in plastic bags replacing the pot to reduce shipping costs.

They got my business again next spring!

Positive Cretaceous
El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b)
(32 reviews)
May 17, 2007
About a month ago I checked on the availability and pricing of a number of ferns via e-mail, and then printed out the order form and sent it via snail mail. (Fraser's Thimble Farms do not have secure online ordering). The cost of the order included the required phytosanitary and CITES certificates for export to the USA, plus shipping.

Yesterday, a large box arrived on our doorstep containing ferns and tree ferns (Cyathea brownii, Cyathea smithii, Dicksonia fibrosa, and Dicksonia squarrosa ). Two of the smaller ferns I had ordered were not available. The plants were all in good condition and are also well sized for the price.

I'm absolutely delighted with this purchase !
Positive blue_cherry
Vancouver, BC
(3 reviews)
April 29, 2007
I haven't had a full-blown experience with this company--YET. I have sent out a cheque and: 1) with the ever-vascillating quality of The Postal Service--globally--there's no telling when they'll receive it; 2) when I receive the plant items, I'll be able to comment on whether my experience goes one way or the other.

I'll return with further commentary following my receipt of the plants I ordered!
On May 10th, 2007, blue_cherry added the following:

I have mixed feelings about this company. They undeniably have a huge, and uncommon selection of plants--a BIG plus. They telephoned to inform me that they didn't have one of the plants I'd ordered (Parma Violets), insofar as their plants were reverting back to 'standard' violet form, and they were discontinuing the product altogether; they called also to remind me of the option to either accept credit, or choose--in this case, $15--a substitute. The phonecall was another big plus.

The plants arrived in OK condition; I'm an optimist in situations like this--my position is usually 'TLC' will go a looong way; i.e., 'the plants will perk-up in time'. On the other hand, the plants literally looked like they were stepped-on! [a BIG MINUS].

Another MINUS here--for 'me'--is what in other scenarios might be called a lack of 'Bedside Manner': I found--the woman at any rate--to be clipped and cold in her 'interactional' skills. In my book, 'pleasantness', particularly in service-providers, 'matters'---it's one of those 'you attract more flies with honey than vinegar' things!
On May 13th, 2007, blue_cherry changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:

Yesterday, May 11th, I sent the company an email detailing my disappointment in the condition of one plant in particular (of 3 that had been shipped). I received a reply today--May 12th--that not only politely addressed the problem I'd described, but included a statement that they'd send a duplicate plant, gratis.

Although I'm very happy to be receiving a replacement plant, I'm most impressed with the communication process here. The company didn't let the complaint linger; it was dealt with immediately, and without rancour--at least none that I detected in the return email!
Positive RichardMH
Chemainus, BC,
(2 reviews)
September 29, 2006
I ordered three hard-to-find shrubs. They were shipped promptly by express mail, arrived in good condition and were full 1 gallon size, as advertised. I checked the availability of the plants using email, then printed out their order form and send it in by snail mail.
Negative Vaughn8381
Coatesville, PA
(2 reviews)
August 4, 2006
In my past few dealings with this company I'd say I've only ever been about 25% satisfied. Mostly I've order Cypripedium orchids and found them to be well under blooming size despite being listed as 'Blooming sized'. The only nice blooming sized division I ever received was a Cypripedium henryi. The parviflorum i received surprising managed to bloom on a very very small plant (growth achieved about four inches), but was obviously not a pure parviflorum and looked more like one of its hybrids (which would also explain how it managed to bloom on such a immature plant). The Cyp. formosanum was a very small division about three inches long with four roots the longest of which was two inches long. The bud on this quickly rotted off shortly after growing about half an inch.

My email correspondences have always been unsatisfying. Questions and concerns about the plants I've received were typically curt, while trying to pass off poor health quality as just the plants "challenging to grow" status. Their insistance on having my US social security number to pass customs is questionable as well. In my dealings with Planteck, another Canadian orchid company, I have never been asked for my social security number and the plants made it through customs without a problem.

My overall assessment; A company with a wide variety of very interesting plants, but lacks consistant health quality, does not consistantly deliver in regards to advertized plant size, lacks good customer service, and has questionable procedures in dealing with US customers. Only use if you simply can not find that particular rare plant anywhere else and at your own risk.
Positive Escarpment
Sheridan, WY
(6 reviews)
April 11, 2006
I live in northern Wyoming and ordered orchids from Thimble Farms. The orchids showed up looking great and have survived now for two years in the garden. Prices seem quite reasonable when compared to other nurseries which sell orchids. I plan on ordering a few more this year.

My only concern is that they did not provide any instructions for planting and care of the plants.
Positive jcroutch
(4 reviews)
February 11, 2005
This site would come up when I was looking for unusual plants (that I couldn't find at my local garden centre). They have a huge list of interesting plants. Just like anywhere else, you have to compare on pricing, but I found some very good deals in the catalogue. In both of my orders, the plants were packed well, all labelled, and were healthy. I'd recommend dealing with Fraser's Thimble Farm.
Positive theplantsman
(1 review)
January 14, 2005
Initially I placed the smallest order I could for the plants I wanted as many where rare the order added up to much more than I had originally intended. The plants arrived in two days, tightly packed (more or less bare root) in good condition. I have since ordered several times and have been pleased. I have found that a quick phone call has yielded great cultural information on the more challenging species. So far I have ordered, Cypripediums, Bletillas, Tree Ferns, and numerous other treasures. I would recommend and reorder from them.
Negative trillium11
Kansas City, MO
(2 reviews)
June 6, 2004
I ordered five species of trilliums, 16 plants total. With one exception, all rhizomes (roots) were tiny, one quarter to slightly over half an inch, what I would expect on a two year seedling. So tiny they need to be brought on four to five years in a greenhouse which I don't have so mine will probably die. One species had a soft growing point, meaning that it will be another year before they even make a leaf if they don't complete rotting before then. Packing consisted of plants twisted in a few scraps of dry newspaper and very loose in the box; all stems broken and all leaves crushed. Prices are a little on the high side for mature, blooming plants. Fraser's response to contact is that the plants I received are blooming size. Packing and damage were not addressed. The email was curt almost to rudeness. Guess my $278 US is down the drain.
Positive Twrosz
(8 reviews)
December 4, 2003
Lots and lots of interesting and rare plants are offered by this place! All received were healthy and of good size ... and prices not too bad either! Certainly can't beat them for their selection of ferns!
Positive bono
Pender Island,
(1 review)
August 21, 2003
I have dealt with Thimble Farms for many years. All of my transactions have been VERY satisfactory. The plants are larger than many other companies(I bought the same kind of plant(different varieties) from several nurseries). Most of the plants have thrived(I think that the weather and I killed the others). I have no complaints about this excellent company. This fall, the only nursery I am ordering from is Thimble Farms.
Negative dave12122
East Haddam, CT
(79 reviews)
June 5, 2003
USE EXTREME CARE IF YOU ARE ORDERING PLANTS FROM THIS NURSERY AND YOU LIVE IN COLDER ZONES (1-7) !!! I ordered $800.00 worth of Cypripediums, Arisaema, Helleborus, Bletilla, and other hardy orchids last fall. Had fabulous snow cover this winter, 2 ft. deep for months. Despite this protection, $200.00 worth rotted or never came up. Other plants appear much smaller than the listed size or maturity level. The owner (who has never seen my yard) insists the plants were being grown in wet soil, and thus rotted. Hmmmmm, that's strange, I wonder why my 7 other species of Cypripedium, 10 other Arisaemas, and various other Bletillas and Orchids are up and blooming just fine?? Did Nature have a special pair of x-ray glasses that saw the little red message "kill me" on the Thimble Island plants?? Don't you just hate it when the owner of a nursery insults your intelligence? When the plants arrived, one Helleborus had very bad roots and was clearly dead. The one tree peony I ordered looked dead on arrival and proceeded to just make growth from below the graft in the Spring. The owner supposedly sent a refund for these 6 weeks ago, but so far I haven't received it. Will update this review when it arrives. The "skinny" on this nursery is that it is virtually in a subtropical climate when the average winter low is 20-30 degrees F and temperatures below 15 degrees are exceptional. The plants are "wimpy" and clearly are not used to the cold. Do yourself a favor and avoid a lot of misery.....THINK TWICE BEFORE ORDERING FROM THIS NURSERY IF YOU LIVE IN COLDER ZONES!!!
On August 12th, 2003, dave12122 added the following:

I would like to report that refund check for Helleborus that never came up and tree peony that grew from below graph was sent about 2 months after initial complaint. However, company is avoiding the major issue of MANY Cypripediums that were supposed to be mature blooming size plants and turned out to make 1-4 inches of growth, with no blooms. I do not buy their explanation that the "plants are hard to grow". Other Cypripediums I purchased as blooming sized plants from different nurseries came up and bloomed this year...I consider that "normal'. If the Cyp. species Fraser's has are THAT hard to grow, perhaps it is irresponsible to sell them. Based on the small root system on the Cypripediums I received, it is much more likely that plants were smaller than the catalog listed size, and I should be compensated for the difference in the cost of the blooming sized plants and the cost of the smaller plants I received. But the nursery doesn't want to hear I'm stuck with plants that will probably take 2-3 more years to reach blooming size, yet I paid top dollar for them. Does that sound like good business to you?
Positive Dawn_BC
(16 reviews)
April 2, 2003
Nice selection of harder to find plants.
I ordered hellebores from them this year. Pretty good prices for what I recieved.
Royal Hertiage was a nice 1 gallon size, the spotted hybrid fits into 4" pot.
Emails were answered promptly, & although they shipped when we unexpectadly got cold weather, they had insulated so well that the plants were unharmed.
Neutral littlebird
(4 reviews)
June 23, 2002
The farm has many plants I would like to order but they request my US social security number to ship to the US. I have purchased from other Canada suppliers and have never been asked for my Soc. Sec. Number.
Positive Chooch
Chatham-Kent, ON (Zone 6a)
(1 review)
December 1, 2001
Best plant selection ; best plant quality ; and best prices in Canada .

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