I've always loved the Shumway catalogue, which features lovely drawings in lieu of photographs. We used to buy a lot of seeds from them when I was a kid. More recently my family moved to a house with plenty of garden space, so we purchase a lot of seeds, plants, and supplies online as well as locally.
For the 2021 growing season we ordered several items including their Pyramid terraced garden *with* Fifty (50) strawberry plants ([[email protected]]). Here in South Carolina we have been planting our gardens since February. We cannot, however, plant our strawberries because this item has yet to arrive, even though it was listed as "In stock" when we ordered it back in December. Strawberries need to be planted soon, as they generally start to ripen at the end of April.
What we received about two (2) weeks ago was the strawberry plants only. No Pyramid Garden to plant them in. Again, this was sold as a set, and we paid for the two items as a set. It's like ordering a pair of shoes and receiving only one; what do you do with it? Now we have to worry not only about the strawberries being planted in time but also whether the plants will even survive to be planted.
We have emailed to RHS four (4) times and received no response, not even a confirmation of receipt. We have telephoned them, and the person we tried to speak with spoke such poor English that we suspect their C/S is outsourced to some third-world country; of course they had no answer for us, just "I'll check and get back to you." That was back when we first received the strawberry plants and all we're gotten from them since then is ... crickets. No email, no telephone, no snailmail response. We're also waiting for the Meyer Lemon tree we ordered from them, but as this is less time-critical we haven't followed up on it, altho' clearly we should start now.
I found your website when I was searching for the name and address of whoever actually runs the company so I could send a paper letter to them about this; we're convinced that they couldn't care less about the problem much less about keeping us as customers, but I wanted to give it another chance and hear that from somebody ostensibly in charge of the company. If anybody knows who is the Prez or CEO of RHS and how to reach them by snailmail I'd be very grateful if you would let me know. Or do I have to write to the Jung seed company? If so, who specifically?
So that is our experience with RH Shumway. It looks like our only recourse at this point is to call our credit-card bank and cancel the charges they made against it. Apparently the company is no longer the same company started and run by the original RH Shumway -- now that the company appears to have been sold out of the Shumway family nobody has skin in the game and couldn't care less about doing business in good faith (as has happened to so many formerly honourable family businesses).
There is a growing number of catalogue/online companies whose catalogues are thrown into the trash unread when they arrive at our home. Looks like Shumway will be the next addition to this group. Very disappointed and disgusted.
I ordered a plant from R.H. Shumway online. I used PayPal to pay for it. The plant never came and I got a notification that I got a refund from PayPal. I’ve never received any communication for R.H. Shumway about the plant.
I paid $9.99 for the plant and $11.95 for shipping. All they refunded me was the amount for the plant and not also the shipping. So I spent $11.95 on literally nothing. I would highly discourage anyone from doing business with them.
Rustyfork Glenmont, NY (5 reviews) January 17, 2017
After years of receiving their catalogs, I finally decided to take a chance and place an order this year. Why the hesitation? Well, I actually dislike the woodcut pictures; when I'm looking for something new to try, I would like to see a photograph of the real thing, not an artistic rendition.
This year, Shumways was selling two vegetable varieties that are well-loved in my native England but which have been virtually impossible to purchase in the USA.
I placed the order last week, at the same time as I placed orders with several other companies. Shumways emailed at 10pm yesterday to say that my order had shipped - and the order arrived today! I have not received any seeds yet from the other companies.
Really hoping that the seed works. I will update this review next year. If all goes well, Shumways may very well be on my regular seed company list.
CUJO_13 Springfield, SC (2 reviews) December 27, 2015
I have ordered for a couple years now never had an issues with shipping and seed quality is very good also I have planted some bean seeds that where 3 yrs old and they too grew fine the only time I buy seeds from someone else is if Shumway's does not carry what I am looking for .... keep up the good work and you will have a customer for life
Bobby -- South Carolina
R.h. Shumway is a joke customer service is rude. An they don't update you on anything called to check on my order. They tell me at that time part of it didn't ship if they would have let me know about my order I could have done something different. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.
Company representative comment on August 18, 2015: On Aug 18, 2015 9:21 AM, R.H. Shumway Seeds responded with:
We sincerely apologize for your bad experience. We try very hard to keep our inventory in stock but there are rare instances when items are delayed for a short period until a new shipment arrives and the seed can get packaged. We do try to get the orders out as quickly as possible to our customers. We are always looking for ways to improve and we appreciate your feedback.
I have ordered seed for my garden 3 years in a row from shumway seeds.their price's are very competitive and I am satisfied with the service I received.
woof12 Philadelphia, PA (17 reviews) February 28, 2014
Posted on April 2, 2013, updated February 28, 2014
Can't ever seem to get their spring catalog. Calling isn't any good. They always say there's none availinle.On February 28th, 2014, woof12 added the following:
Rotten customer service. The only way to ge their "FREE" catalog is send $3.00! That's after being told they have no more.
13Shane7 Billings, MO (1 review) February 27, 2014
Horrible customer service. I have requested their catalog 4 times in the last 6 months. never recieved one, only to be told now that it's to late to get one unless I want to PAY them for it. Judging by the other comments here, I would say I dodged a bullet.
mrdoitall Moores Mill, AL (3 reviews) January 18, 2014
This is all I need to know.>>> OWNED BY MONSANTO OR SEMINIS OR SELL SMALL PERCENTAGES OF SEEDS FROM THEM.
dmanister Jackson, NJ (1 review) December 19, 2013
I get their catalog, and I was shocked to find they sell inhumane underground mole traps! Very sad, especially when there are other mole deterrents available. I will not patronize them!!!
I ordered vegetable seeds from Shumway last year. They came in a timely manner and the germination rate for most of the seeds was acceptable. The hot banana pepper seeds did not germinate, not one. I told the company about this problem and they said they would send replacement seeds. I am still waiting.
This is the first time I've ordered from this company although I've received their catalog for years. I ordered Algoflash and Stowell's Evergreen sweet corn. My order arrived within about six days, so I have no complaints.
mikerotell Franklin Park, NJ (11 reviews) March 27, 2013
The last time I ordered from R.H. Shumway was way back in the early '70's when they were their own company and not affiliated with anyone...they are now owned by Jungs. In any event a catalog came in the mail and I saw that they were offering mums at $1.99 each. A pretty good deal I thought but I needed to know if they were bare root as I expected they would be at this price. An email sent to customer service was returned a a few days later which confirmed that these were in fact potted plants..GREAT! I ordered 6 (R.H. Shumways choice of color) with only $6 shipping to NJ which I thought was a great deal. I was anticipating some nice fall colors, you know, like yellow, orange, bronze, red, rust- the colors we associate with fall and mums. Instead what did I get ? PURPLE AND WHITE! Yes, I ordered 6 plants and I received 3 purple and 3 white. I'm not even excited about planting these. I will say that I can't complain about the quality. These were nicely rooted, healthy potted cuttings that I'm sure will grow fine, I'm just disappointed in the color selection. That being said I have to give them a neutral (as opposed to negative) because the color selection was their choice and I knew that when I ordered. The plants were healthy, packed well and customer service did respond to me e-mail, but now I know why they were only $1.99-unpopular colors that no one really wants for fall.
As a child, back in the 50's, I remember looking through my grandparent's Shumway catalog. Today, like a child, I enjoy getting that new Shumway catalog every year. I continue to place orders, and the seeds I get have been producing blue ribbon-winning champions at the county fair. I have over 100 first place ribbons and a couple of "best of show" awards.
I think it’s probably just human nature that we tend to post comments about vendors when we have a problem with them. I certainly have done so here in the past. But when I put together my list of recommended seed suppliers for a Senior Gardening posting this year, I realized that I should make a positive comment here about each of our suppliers that have performed so well over the years.
We’ve used R.H. Shumay as a seed supplier for over twenty years, starting back in our farming years in the 1980s when the old Shumways still sold Reid’s Yellow Dent field corn and annual hog pasture mix. The company has gone through some hard times over the years, being moved and sold. When they became a part of the Jung Seed conglomerate, I feared their seed quality might suffer, but it appears not to.
We’ve made only one claim with Shumway over the years...for some dead sweet potato plants we received from their supplier. Since it was already late in the season, I declined a replacement shipment and my credit card was promptly credited.
I enjoy Shumway’s “retro” catalog of woodcut illustrations. I especially like that they continue to carry hard to find varieties such as Eclipse peas.
khadie Montgomery Village, MD (Zone 7a) (7 reviews) April 9, 2012
The offer of 4 free seed packets induced me to try this company. Now I feel like a fool. I was sent barely rooted plants, dried out looking strawberry crowns (compared to others I have received), and heartaches and hassles involving phone calls and post office trips. Did I mentioned the fungus gnat infestation, no extra charge--a freebie about as pleasant as the 4 free seed packets of "experimental varieties", experimental variety broccoli, tomato, bean and sweet corn.
The biggest YUCK of all is that they do not offer refunds or easily usable credits--they send a credit letter which one must use by mail or phone. Once you get the sucker's money, you have to try to keep it and keep them from easily using it-- I can only attribute such a policy to this philosophy. I am especially annoyed because I would like to end my association with this outfit once and for all, but I can't on principle let them have my money for free. I'll get seeds with my credit letters (should I send my order in by carrier pigeon?). Hope their lousy seeds are good : ).
I don't know why I decided to order from this antiquated company (not antiquated in the charming, salt-of-the-earth way, but antiquated in the oily shyster carnival barker way--get yer free seeds here...).
Why didn't I just stick to the angel companies that I know and love, that have eagerly and happily worked to make me 100% happy with a few problems or that have NEVER sent me a problem in the first place??? Oh yeah--the catalog is charming in an archaic way. If only their plants were as attractive as the catalog.
Those 4 free packets of anonymous varieties will cost a bundle once I factor in return shipping costs... and time and worry and negativity!
NB: in fairness a madeline hill rosemary looks good. so far.
suzy_qu3 East Chatham, NY (8 reviews) September 2, 2011
Posted on April 19, 2011, updated September 2, 2011
Posted on February 3, 2011, updated April 19, 2011
I ordered seeds and plants on Jan 21 and received the seeds today Feb 3. I expect the plants in the spring. My order is complete, the seed seems to be in good condition and plentiful, and I had no problem with the website.
Speaking of, the reason I finally decided to order from these folks was that they have an online garden planner. (Perhaps this seems silly, but I have been having problems planning out the amount of seed and plants needed a specific area. As carefully as I tried I always had too may or too few for the bed I laid out. So I tried something new.) I had been Googling for such a thing, but could not find one that was actually helpful, as opposed to a drawing program with cute vegetable icons. As it turns out, the planner is a 3rd party package that can be accessed directly, but I credit RHS for making it available to me, so I wanted to reward them with my business. The planner comes with a free trial and I highly recommend it.
The other factor here was the promise of 5 free seed packets with my order. Free is our friend, right? I'm not sure in this case. All of the free items are nameless - labeled only as the vegetable name with "Experimental Hybrid Variety" underneath. OK, I know hybrids aren't necessarily evil, but I would not have bought any such thing on my own. We'll see what happens.
I also ordered my plants here because they were having a screaming deal on Gooseberries and Currants. So far so good - I look forward to receiving my plants.On April 19th, 2011, suzy_qu3 added the following:
I received my berry bushes today. They were well packaged and full of life. (They have started to send our leaves and shoots.) The seeds I started indoors turned out quite well. i am very happy with this order. The garden planner continues to be a valuable resource.On September 2nd, 2011, suzy_qu3 added the following:
Two of the currant bushes ended up not making it. I emailed the company and they replied the next day. The sent out a credit voucher since it was too late in the year for a replacement. The other plants did well.
paradacrades Hilliard, FL (Zone 8b) (4 reviews) August 9, 2011
RH Shumway is a great company to do business with. Their seed prices are very reasonable, and seeds are of high quality. Shumway is one of only two mail order seed catalogs I order from, Jung being the other. Both are great companies, and I plan on ordering from them both for many more years to come.
The Pyrethum seeds came without a hitch. The lemon Grass I ordered was a tiny dried out tuft, I planted it and have been babying it ... but I don't think it will make it. The Pinapple sage that I bought was a mess! From an order of 3, 1 was wilted and 1/3 brown, 1 was a dangling wilted leaf draped over the edge of the pot and the other was a nice healthy plant. The Egyptian Top Set Onions will be sent in the fall. Fall? I don't want them in the fall, thank you. I have ordered in the past and been happy - but something went quite wrong this year. My message to them has not been acknowledged as of today:o(
I ordered seeds and 1 Hazelnut tree, plus 2 herb plants. I received all in a timely manner. The tree was a very nice size. One plant was damaged to the point it didn't live. I contacted them, and in a very short time they sent me a new one. I highly recommend this company.
Gardener5b Kansas City, MO (8 reviews) April 25, 2011
I have ordered from this company twice -- once this year and once about five years ago.
The first experience went off without a hitch. The order was for seeds only, and they arrived in a timely fashion.
This order was less satisfactory. I made a small order for Onion Sets and seeds. Unfortunately, when my order arrived, I received only the seeds and an easily overlooked notation on the packing slip that the Onion sets were back ordered and would arrive in the fall.
Given that this is the electronic age, and I ordered these online, some notice by EMAIL or even telephone would have been appropriate. These were a very carefully chosen perennial variety that I wanted to get into the ground this spring, not six months later.
I would have preferred prompt notice so that I would have had time to hunt these down from another source.
Posted on March 18, 2009, updated March 14, 2011
I have ordered from them for several years and been pleased. This year I ordered online and had the seeds in hand 8 days later. My kind of service. There was one packet on backorder--the one I count on them to have since the seeds are hard to find. Hope to see the seeds soon. Will let you know about germination.On March 14th, 2011, lilygrandma added the following:
Recieved all seeds 8 days after ordering, including some experimental seeds I cannot wait to try!
Posted on February 16, 2011, updated March 8, 2011
I ordered approx. 20 different seeds on Friday Feb. 4th, received them on Tuesday Feb. 15th - that includes 2 weekends, so I thought shipping was very quick. The garden planner they have available on site has a wonderful "when to plant" feature for my zone!! My BIGGEST screw-up in gardening has always been when to start seeds, when to transplant, what works in my area, etc. ....my timing is ALWAYS off. I really love the planner - I drug one of each seed I got onto a mock-up garden, clicked the "all plants" feature", and got a listing by month for every single plant as to when to seed inside, when to start hardening off, when to transplant....VERY helpful for an amateur garden piddler like me! Between the fast service, the online planner, and the help on each online item, I am going to have to work VERY hard to screw up my timing this year!!
No seeds in pots yet, so I can't speak for germination, but VERY well pleased with this company so far! On March 8th, 2011, shushine added the following:
Update: as of today (March 8), have to say I am WELL pleased with germination rates on at least the herb portion of my order....even on seeds noted on the package from R.H. Shumway that germination may be low!! I have started chives, oregano, basil, "mini" bush basil, chamomile, ROSEMARY and STEVIA.....(those two both notoriously bad to start from seed).
I started all in Jiffy Pot plugs in a sunny window at my work, 2 72-pod trays, so I can hand out herbs to all my co-workers as we do every year. I was hoping to get one good rosemary and was praying for 1 Stevia out of the 10 seeds I received, and of course intended to keep those for myself :-).
EVERY POD BUT 8 IS GROWING, and growing well!!! 8 out of 10 Stevia?? WOW! And the rosemary has 6 out of 18 pods that have not sprouted, but I'll take a 70% germination rate any day - I can NOT get rosemary to start from seed, and REFUSE to just buy a plant out of stubborn principal!! LOL!!!!
I also have started the artichokes, and this week will start peppers, tomatos, beans, peas, squash, pumpkins, and melons.........will get back on them.
So far I have to say I am EXTREMELY pleased with R.H. Shumway!
This company is a JOKE!!! I ordered for the 09 season. My items were finally shipped (not rec'd but shipped) 3+ weeks after I'd ordered. When I rec'd my order, my pair of elderberry plants was missing. I called to inquire about this & was told they would ship them for my dates/area. This info was not emailed to me, nor was it included in my paperwork that was sent in my first shipment. I was given a timeframe as to when my plants would ship & after that time had elapsed, still no plants. I called back & voiced my discontent, but I did so in a calm & patient manner. The lady at CS wasn't very accommodating, understanding nor did she offer any apology or sympathy. The plants were finally sent out a few days later.
I rec'd the plants, planted them per the instructions & one withered away. I decided to give it an extra year, knowing that first year transplants often may not grow but then come back the following year. 2010- still no elderberry plant. One plant survived & not the other even when planted in the same soil, the same way, at the same time, with the same water? Of course, now it doesn't matter that one survived, because without a male & female plant, I don't have elderberries :-(
This company really needs to work on customer service, which includes communication.
obscurity2 Glenmont, NY (12 reviews) February 21, 2010
Seeds ordered January 29th, all received February 6th.
Will report back in late spring on germination.
This has been a good year for me, seeds ordered from 10 companies and everything now received.
I'm really impressed with Shumway's. I placed my order (seeds & merchandise) on the 28th of Dec. and received the total order in great condition on the 31st. I would be hard pressed to find another company that has their merchandise packed and delivered in 3 days without extra charges!
They also sent 5 packs (for ordering early) of experimental seeds to try free of charge. It doesn't get any better than this!!
Just received my order from Shumway: a jostaberry, 2 elderberries and a hops vine. The plants were packaged well and arrived in good shape. The bare root berry plants are all very healthy and if anything goes wrong it will be my fault. I would order from them again.
cerridwenn Farmington, NM (Zone 5a) (4 reviews) March 20, 2009
ordered a combination of live plants, seeds and supplies this year. have not ordered from this company before. found the prices for the most part to be reasonable especially for live plants - some of the trees i want are beyond my budget but i am hoping that is because they are so large and healthy that they are worth it.
the peat pot deals are especially a bargain, and some of the vegetable processing equipment are things i have not been able to find anywhere else.
my live plants are shipping separately, i'm not sure when but will comment on their state when i get them. the seeds and supplies came very promptly. also enclosed were some "bonus" seeds which were appreciated. shipping costs were very reasonable, especially considering several other places i have ordered from.
So far so good. It's early in the season and I have not had the opportunity to plant many of the seeds I ordered yet. Our planting time is not until May. However, I started the petunia seeds inside and they germinated in 4 days. The columbine just started to germinate. The asparagus and onion startes are on backorder. They will probably not ship until planting time. I ordered from these folks last year and was very satisfied. I will post after I receive the backordered items.
Tink2U Rockford, IL (10 reviews) February 22, 2009
I actually got my seed orders in early this year (Feb) and Shumway did their part as well! Complete order, received in one week's time...I was a bit startled at how fast I got it. Have used their seeds before and they have always given me great results! I think their catalog is cool!!
I ordered for the first time based on a catalog that I received in the mail. The seeds arrived in about two weeks with very good instructions and clear information on each packet.
mersiepoo New Freeport, PA (7 reviews) February 11, 2009
I have ordered seeds from them for the past several years and was always pleased with them.
I finally ordered some bush cherries from them (first live plants I ordered from them) last spring. Years ago I had gotten 3 bush cherries from another company and only 1 had survived (the other 2 got destroyed by our township. So, I needed a pollinator. I ordered 3 bush cherry plants and one patriot blueberry.
I got MONSTER cherry bushes! They were the largest ones I've ever gotten, they looked almost full grown and were the opposite of the tiny sticks I had purchased from another plant company in the past. They were very reasonably priced and even put out flowers that same year! I was extremely happy with them and would order again if I need more bush cherries. The patriot blueberry was also extremely nice, and it survived the drought we had last summer with minimal watering.
The lemongrass plant I got was very healthy as well! It's still putting out leaves in my house. It grew exponentially last summer!
I would definitely order from them again!
joy112854 Crestview, FL (6 reviews) February 3, 2009
I decided to give this company a try as I received a coupon to use and was very delighted at the way they package their seeds, the instructions are very easy to read and understand and they were all in order. I have since then ordered pepper plants from them and I'm expecting that they will mail those at the proper time. Will I use them again? If my pepper plants show up like I think they will and in a timely manner, definately.
joy112854On March 10th, 2009, joy112854 added the following:
I will defintely buy from RH Shumway again, and again, and again. I planted most of the seeds they sent, as this was the first time I'd tried this company, they don't scrimp on the amount of seeds they send you and they all germinated, didn't have any duds in the bunch. My plants are so beautiful too, so I would buy from this company again.
pjpackrat Accokeek, MD (Zone 7a) (2 reviews) January 10, 2009
Have ordered form this company many times over the years, ordered seeds on Dec. 29, 2008 they shipped the seeds, Dec. 31 and I had them by the 5th of Jan. everything is as ordered.
bigarden Beecher, IL (1 review) September 16, 2008
I have ordered from this company before a number of times with no problems. This year I ordered 12 seed packets. 2 of the varieties I received were "Not true to name." ( A polite way of saying they got the wrong seeds in the packets.) I might have been less upset if it was just one variety, but 2? In the same order? Specifically, I ordered Muskmelon and now have small white pumpkins growing. I ordered Celebrity tomatoes and have a heart shaped tomato growing. (Celebrity tomato is NOT heart shaped. ) Well , at least it was a tomato.
I wrote to the company and they issued a credit for the price of the two packets. Gee, what about the shipping cost? And the lost season? Gosh!
I have never had a problem like this from any other mail order seed seller.
I will only order from this company to use the credit and any other business will go elsewhere.
ket0276 Aurora, IN (Zone 6a) (4 reviews) June 28, 2008
I received a catalog in the mail this winter, and I was happy to see that they offer non GMO seeds, so I placed a pretty good sized order. I have been VERY impressed by the quality of the plants that I've gotten from these seeds. I will definitely be ordering from them again this winter.
After reading the feedback about Shumway I was very uneasy about my recent order. My nieghbor had given me corn seed from Shumway last year. I really liked it and place a fairly good sized order with them. I recieved 95% of my order in under 10 days with only one item backordered. I e-mailed with a question, and was e-mailed back within a few hours with the answer. I'm very pleased so far with this company and would order from them again.
All seeds and all plants are not the same, My response to R.H. Shumways is POSITIVE. This Company will answer there telephone and e-mail and make good on there products. Early in the year (2007) I ordered Rasberry's and Blackberries all but 1 did great, they promptly repaced the one that did not come up but also sent two in the place of one. No argument at all. I later ordered strawberries and received them in a timely maner and in good shape. I highly recomend this Company. Thank you and good gardening to all. Bob & Carol
dodges7 Alna, ME (Zone 5b) (13 reviews) May 13, 2007
8 pepper seedlings ordered for $ 11.45. Seedlings had only one set of leaves and were in completely dried out Jiffy 7 plugs loosely packed in a small box (apparently wedged in two plastic pots when moist). If the dryness hadn't killed them, the bouncing in shipping probably would have. I have never received such tiny seedlings from any mail or on-line nursery. Will never do business with them again.