In 2013, High Country Gardens is celebrating its 20th anniversary under new ownership. High Country is now owned by American Meadows, similar to High Country Gardens, a leader in direct-to-consumer gardening products. David Salman, High Country's founder, will continue as Chief Horticulturist and be focused on developing the innovative, eco-friendly and waterwise perennials that the brand is known for. Thank you for all of your loyalty and support.
Last year, in September, I ordered three poppies, which I planted. In the spring, only two had survived. I called the company, and they told me that it was too early for the poppies to come up in my zone. When I explained that the other two had several sets of leaves, they still required me to wait a month to call for a replacement. I did so, and they sent me another poppy plant, which did not survive the summer. My other poppies thrived. I gave up, found a poppy at a local nursery, and it is doing fine in the same location.
So, I am unhappy with both the plants and the customer service.Company representative comment on October 4, 2017: On Oct 4, 2017 3:40 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
ArlynnG, I'm sorry that your poppies did not survive. They can be notoriously finicky to grow, but our customers generally have great luck with them.
As you mentioned when you contacted us, 4 of the 6 did great. I'm sorry to hear that the two replacements didn't thrive as well. We do all that we can to grow and ship plants ready to thrive in your garden, but at the end of the day, gardening has variables that are hard to control. That's why we offer our guarantee.
As for asking you to wait a month, you live in IL and as such, late March is too early to know if plants are going to emerge from dormancy. It's our policy to make sure that we give things time before giving up on them and sending replacements.
I'm sorry that you were neither satisfied with our plants or our customer service. We work hard to exceed customer expectations and in your case, we clearly failed. I hope that we have a chance to win your business again in the future.
Best, Ethan Platt | President
AmberWave Edmond, OK (1 review) September 27, 2017
The current HCG experience leaves me longing for the HCG of old. Like 10 years ago when the plants you received in the mail were large and healthy. Back in the day, customer service was top notch and the representatives had personality.
Nowadays, the plants are scrawny at best and representatives answer the phone with a negative tone of voice like I've taken away their texting time.
They sent me an email coupon back in August for $10 off a $50 order. I tried to place an order with the code they sent me and it was refused. So they emailed me another code. And guess what...it didn't work either. I tried calling them; after being on hold for 10 minutes I hung up and emailed them going into detail my disgust with them for giving me the runaround. They referred me to American Meadows who owns HCG. At last!--I got someone on the phone who had the power to make things right!!
Currently, I'm in limbo with HCG trying to cancel an order placed in July. The order hasn't been shipped yet but the girl on the phone, Courtney, said she had to reach out to someone else to see if this can be taken care of.
Here we go again with the runaround. I am done with HCG. Company representative comment on September 28, 2017: On Sep 28, 2017 8:10 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Dear AmberWave, Thank you for the multiple orders you've placed with us and I'm very sorry for your frustration.
The root of your issue was that we had a typo in a coupon code we sent you. With multiple people proofreading, those mistakes still slip through from time to time. When we tried to rectify that, our rep sent you an expired code. Again, apologies.
As for your phone call yesterday, your order had already been printed and was in the greenhouse being packaged. Courtney was simply trying to convey that she might not be able to catch it before it shipped.
We work very hard to provide a level of service that's difficult to find these days. I see that all of your emails and live chats were answered promptly and I'm sorry you had to hold on the phone - predicting phone volume is an inexact science and as a small business, we can't afford to have too many people sitting around waiting for the phone to ring! It's a tricky balance.
I hope that your plants thrive and that we'll have a chance to earn your business again in the future.
This spring I tried an order with High Country Gardens, ordering a shrub "Desert Willow". When it came, I was initially disappointed at the small size of the plant (about 5-6" tall), but it was green and healthy. I discovered the 5" pot, is 5" tall, not wide, so I had mis-read their description. I planted it in a large barrel planter with some annuals, and very quickly it gave me buds that produced very beautiful flowers. It seems to have thrived with our very hot 100-degree summer here in Idaho, and about 4 weeks ago came up with another set of buds that again produced beautiful flowers. Its now the end of the summer, the plant has about doubled in size, and I am encouraged enough that I've put in another order with this company for fall planting, a little bigger order this time (and including another of their "desert willows", but in a different color). This company does not offer much "discount", but they offer plants that I've not seen before at other on-line nurseries or in some of my area's top-of-the-line nurseries (not box stores). I am very much looking forward to my fall order arriving.
lsjogren Vancouver, WA (2 reviews) August 28, 2017
I have done several orders with HCG and have had good results. They offer an excellent variety of cold hardy hummingbird flowers. I get some from local nurseries and also Digging Dog, but HCG seems to have the best selection. Shipping is very reasonable priced, I guess because the plants (at least the ones I have bought) are fairly small and compact. But they have been healthy and packed well.
My only negative is it can be a bit hazy exactly when the plants are going to show up, and I don't recall being able to track them, they just show up on my porch at some point.
Overall I am positive because they have some really great plants.Company representative comment on August 28, 2017: On Aug 28, 2017 12:02 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Isjorgren, thanks for your kind words! We work hard to offer the kind of unique and hard-to-grow plants that you simply can't find at big box stores!
Just to clarify your comment: When you order, we assign you a ship week and communicate that to you both at checkout and in our confirmation emails. We also send emails the week before your order ships as a reminder as well as tracking emails. Depending on your email settings, sometimes those get caught in spam filters.
Posted on April 4, 2017, updated June 2, 2017
Posted on April 3, 2017, updated April 4, 2017
Posted on September 8, 2014, updated April 3, 2017
Posted on June 7, 2013, updated September 8, 2014
Posted on June 6, 2013, updated June 7, 2013
Posted on June 5, 2013, updated June 6, 2013
Posted on June 4, 2013, updated June 5, 2013
Posted on June 4, 2013, updated June 4, 2013
Posted on May 15, 2010, updated May 20, 2010
So far, I am very pleased with what I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve gotten from High Country Gardens. The Alyssum they sent me is nice and large and green, very healthy!
When I intially placed my phone order for the Turkish Speedwell and Pink Chintz Thyme, I had requested a shipping date of May 24th, based on past experience of cold Springs and frost even after Mothers Day. However, it has really warmed up these last several days, and the weather forecast says it will continue to be nice. Night-time temperatures are in the 40s, or at our elevation, maybe the very high 30s, but it no longer freezes. So High Country Gardens has now offered to change the shipping date so I will receive my plants next week. This will be great, as the sooner they can be in the ground, the better headstart they will have.
Great experience, so far. I have ordered from them in the past and shall continue to do so. On May 20th, 2010, flowermaiden2 added the following:
The rest of my order arrived today, and it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s amazing how well packed the little groundcovers were! Not a leaf out of place! I really am looking forward to the lovely pink chintz thyme when it begins blooming, which I realize won\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t be for awhile yet as it establishes its root system. Ditto for the creeping Veronica Oltensis speedwell. Yet, even as I was inspecting them, I noticed a couple tiny blooms, a lovely azure blue. I am delighted with all I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve gotten from High Country gardens this year, and will continue adding to my flowerbed in future seasons, via their catalog.
updateOn June 4th, 2013, flowermaiden2 changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
As of today, June 4, 2013, I have to rate this company negatively. They aren\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t the same company, anymore, and their behavior toward me, and apparently others here, has been atrocious.
When I tried to initially place my order, I was put on hold so long that I had to hang up and try again later. When I finally got a represenative on the phone, there was a strange echo in the phone system (either my end or theirs), which made it very difficult to hear the rep and understand what he was saying. I asked him to speak a little louder and more clearly as I was having trouble hearing him. HE HUNG UP ON ME!
I then sent an e-mail explaining what had happened and (I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ll admit, strongly) suggested they train their order takers to NOT hang up on customers simply because they\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re asked to speak a little louder!
I tried again to place my order, and this time we were able to get it done, though the echo persisted and I still had trouble understanding the rep. He gave me an order number, which I wrote down. I repeated it back to him and confirmed it was correct.
I had ordered three Agastache rupestris, which I was told would be shipped from Denver around May 26th, via FedEx.
It is now June 4th, and I haven\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t received any shipping confirmation, and my order hasn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t arrived. I have tried calling them three times about it, and nobody answers the phone. The one time it rolled over to voice mail, I left my name, order number, complete phone number with area code and asked them when I could expect to receive my order. I also asked them to please return my call PROMPTLY.
I never heard from them.
I have also e-mailed them three times, and haven\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t received a single reply, despite confirmation that my e-mails went through.
They have charged my credit card with plants they have thus far failed to deliver. They refuse to communicate with me, and I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t know if they ever will. I am on the verge of reporting them to the Better Business Bureau and/or filing a formal complaint with their state\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s attorney general. It is illegal to charge someone\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s credit card and fail to deliver the goods, and it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s also illegal to stonewall when contacted about it.
I understand that the weather in Denver has caused some glitches in their inventory, but there\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s absolutely NO excuse to dodge my inquires, especially after taking my money. I have a right to expect this to be resolved in a fair and ethical manner.
At the moment, I am in limbo and don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t know what to do next, except dispute the charge on my credit card. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m hoping the company rep will respond here and give me some means of communicating with them. I would still rather receive my plants, as our growing season is short and I need to get them into the ground ASAP. I was really looking forward to beautiful Agastache blooms!
On June 5th, 2013, flowermaiden2 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Now that I finally know that my order will be shipped within the next two days, I shall wait for FedEx to deliver it.
I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m glad , Mr. Platt, that you have taken the time to respond. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m a little puzzled as to why this has only now come to your attention, since I sent several previous e-mails and had left one voice mail message. Perhaps the difference is that I had previously e-mailed HCG from the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"contact us\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" tab on the website instead of using the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"e-mail them\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" option from this watchdog page.
Evidently, all those contacts got hung up in the system, too.
I wish to be fair about this. I will await my order and give it reasonable time in which to arrive. I really am looking forward to planting my Agastaches.
Thank you, Ethan, for assuring me this will be taken care of.
On June 6th, 2013, flowermaiden2 changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Today, I got a full shipping confirmation with correct and complete information. Looks like my Agastaches are going to arrive, afterall! Hope they\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re in reasonably good condition. I have spots picked out and set aside for them in my garden.
I think by now it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s fair to say the folks at HCG are overwhelmed and struggling to keep up with everything. They may not have realized what they were getting into when they took over the company.
I now have hope that eventually they\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ll again be the top notch mail-order nursery they once were. It looks like Ethan is making a real effort at this. On June 7th, 2013, flowermaiden2 added the following:
My Agastaches arrived today, and they look good. When it cools off this evening, they\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re going into the ground.
I think we can all be hopeful that things will get straightened out and will run smoothly again.
Ethan has delivered according to his word, and now I feel confident about ordering again in the future.
On September 8th, 2014, flowermaiden2 added the following:
This year, I am very pleased to announce that I have received my order promptly for Fall, and all my plants are nice and green and healthy. They moved up the shipping date for me to allow more time for roots to become established before it begins snowing, which is unpredictable around here. Everything I\\\\\\\'ve ordered is in the ground and doing well. It\\\\\\\'s obvious they have fixed last year\\\\\\\'s problems and are now up and going again, with great service. On April 3rd, 2017, flowermaiden2 changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
As of this date, I don\\\'t know what to think.
Every year until now, I have received their print catalog in the mail, but I haven\\\'t gotten one this year. I\\\'ve noticed a post here on Dave\\\'s Garden Watchdog that is dated February 2017, so they must still be in business.
I have e-mailed them asking about their catalog, and haven\\\'t yet received any reply..
Could it be they\\\'re only doing business online, now? Since I don\\\'t shop online, if that\\\'s the case, they\\\'ve lost me as a customer.
I would just like to hear from them to learn why I haven\\\'t received their printed catalog and when or if I can expect one soon.
On April 4th, 2017, flowermaiden2 changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I managed to find out that while High Country Gardens is no longer publishing a printed catalog, they will still take phone orders from their website. While I won\'t order directly online, I am happy to still be able to order over the phone. I just did. A very nice and courteous lady took my order for Veronica groundcovers, two varieties, which they\'ll ship in late May.
Glad they\'re still in business, and glad I now know why I didn\'t receive a printed catalog. I\'m happy to still be able to do business with them. On June 2nd, 2017, flowermaiden2 added the following:
This is nice. Although my order was a week late, my Speedwells arrived in very good shape today. Their pots were secured tightly inside of little clear plastic bags so none of the soil escaped and nothing could fall out. An added bonus is that I can now use those empty little bags to store other things in.
High Country Gardens has come through with good quality plants and good growth on them.
My rating remains positive.
Company representative comment on April 4, 2017: On Jun 5, 2013 10:13 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
flowermaiden2: I\'m so sorry for your frustrating experience. When we took over High Country on Feb 1, we inherited their existing phone, inventory and order management systems. It turns out, there were extreme flaws in these systems and we\'ve been doing all that we can to manage the consequences.
Your order is an example of what we\'ve had to deal with: You entered it on May 10, the plants you ordered are available, yet the order is just \"hanging\" in our system. Now that you\'ve brought it to our attention, we\'re manually forcing it out of the system and it will ship within the next 2 days.
I\'m very sorry for the negative experience you have my personal promise that we won\'t rest until we get all these issues ironed out.
President | American Meadows
On Apr 4, 2017 3:03 PM, High Country Gardens added:
Good to hear from you again. Yes, we're very much still here, as a matter of fact, stronger than ever! This spring we have dozens of unique new introductions and have invested heavily in our on-site resources including how-to guides and lots and lots of videos.
Although we are still mailing post cards and other inspirational pieces, we did not publish our full 80+ page catalog this year. The reality is that the catalog business model is very, very hard to be profitable with. You mail 100 books for every +/- 4 orders you receive. In addition to that being financially challenging, it's also environmentally ugly, something we take seriously.
You still can call us and place your order and for those who don't feel comfortable paying online, we do take paypal. Thanks for your continued interest and we look forward to serving you for years to come.
PinkRoses7 Oklahoma City, OK (2 reviews) May 27, 2017
The Butterfly Bush I ordered arrived dead in dry soil, had not been watered or even moistened before shipping.
In addition to it being dead & dry it was nothing more than a rooted cutting, could not have been 8 weeks old, that I paid nearly $13 for.
I was sent a replacement & requested a PLANT ready to be planted in the ground, not a cutting pulled from a tray.
I received the second plant - 6" long from top to bottom of root, minimal root system ---- yes another rooted cutting. Again not watered, soil all over box & little cutting laying on top of some soil.
One little twig with 3 very small leaves near the bottom of cutting.
Customer service "insists" it is only 1 year old plants that they ship out.
I will never purchase plants/cuttings from this company again, & want others to be aware of what you will get if you order from them. Company representative comment on June 5, 2017: On Jun 5, 2017 9:40 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I'm sorry that you were not happy with your plants. I see from the notes that we honored our guarantee and issued you a refund.
The Buddleia category is late to "wake up" in the spring. They were in fact year-old plants, but require patience. I certainly hope that you planted them and are caring for them as I'm confident that you'll be pleased with the results. When they do take off, please let us know - we always enjoy those emails!
I have to concur with negative reviewers on quality and size of plants I received. I received three very, very small plants in 2 1/4 pots with dry medium. I am just glad that I did not spend more than I did.Company representative comment on June 5, 2017: On Jun 5, 2017 9:36 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Sorry you did not feel as though you got good value. We sell our plants in 2.5" or 5" pots, as noted on each product page. Our watering cycles are designed to ensure that your plants arrive in the best possible shape for transplanting. I hope that you planted and care for your plants as directed and that you have great success.
I recently ordered about $700 worth of plants from High Country Gardens. I have used them in the past, and knew the plants would be smaller than at a nursery, but they were always healthy and grew well.
This last order contained some of the worst plants I had ever seen. If I had been able to see them in person, I would not have brought any of them home. One plant was dead, and several more are probably not going to survive. Some of the plants appeared to have been just transferred to the 5" pots because the planting compost did not have roots in it, and most of it had come out of the pot and was floating around in the plastic bag. The plants are so small I am not able to mulch around them. A lot of the stems had been broken in the packaging process. I would never use them again, and would never recommend them to anyone
Alan HastingsCompany representative comment on May 15, 2017: On May 15, 2017 3:25 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Dear Alan, I see that you reached out to us via email on Saturday regarding your order - sorry we have not gotten back to you. It usually takes us a day to get through the weekend's emails during the busy season. But most importantly, I'm very disappointed to hear that you were not happy with the quality of your order.
I've asked our greenhouse QC manager to take a look at the specific plants on your order. All of our plants should have full root systems and be ready to transplant and thrive. Some have limited top growth and at this time of year, we have to carefully monitor our watering as we don't want the plants to 'cook' in transit. We use plastic bags to maintain the dirt and moisture in the pots, but too much water is also a problem.
Please plant the varieties and care for them as instructed and our customer service team will be in touch. As always, we want to see you succeed.
Placed an order late summer 2016. Got a shipping confirmation quickly, and plants arrived a few days later. Healthy plants in 5" deep pots, great roots. This spring, they are already spreading and putting up flower stalks, despite night temps in the 40s... we even had 9" snow in the last 4 days. Great vendor for southwestern native xeriscape plants.
I had placed two orders with High Country Gardens. They shipped just fine, on time, and very quickly. However, they shipped barely live plants. I find the irony here that they tout xeriscaping, but come on. They should have been watered before they were sent.
In totally I spent over $200. I received plants that were stressed and yellowed, unwatered, and in two instances, dead. Nada. Zilch.
The company did respond to both my phone calls. The first will replace my plants free of charge. I expect four more stressed plants. The larger order they refunded me $50.
The overall advice given is plant them, they'll do fine. Also, they suggested that the plants were stressed from shipping. Over the past five years I have ordered hundreds of plants online and only one other company has sent such pathetic plants. This is not stress from shipping; these are just neglected plants from the get go. By comparison, I received an order from Bluestone Perennials a few days earlier and those plants, by comparison, are full and lush and already flowering. They're ready to go, came to me plump and watered and were obviously well cared for before shipping.
I'd like to plant what I have from High County in the beds I have prepared for them, but I'm not interested in having a limp yellow thing in my flower bed, nor in having to babysit it in hopes it survives out in the wilds of my yard.
I will pot them up in a shady corner by the back door and keep an eye on them, in hopes of getting something in return for my money. I hate to give up on a plant, but it should not be my job to nurture a mistreated plant back to health. Nor should I have to pay for what High Country should be doing on their end; growing healthy plants. Company representative comment on May 1, 2017: On May 1, 2017 8:58 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Carol, sorry that we took a few days to reply. I wanted to make sure that our greenhouse manager took a look at some of the specific plants you purchased before getting back you.
I'm sorry that you felt that the quality of our plants didn't meet your expectations. As you discovered when you called, we just want you to be successful. Each of our varieties ships in different forms - some with a lot of lush top growth, some in more of a dormant phase. What matters is that they all have vibrant root systems ready to acclimate to your garden. When we looked at the varieties you ordered, they all seemed to be well-rooted and ready to take off.
As you discussed with our team, please plant and care for the plants you received per our planting instructions and videos and I'm certain you'll be quickly pleased with the results. If you're not, we stand by our 100% satisfaction guarantee.
On January 21st, 2017 I ordered a bag of 40 hardy gladiolus bulbs from High Country Gardens. On March 9th, the company shipped them to me. They actually sent me two bags of 25 bulbs, all but one bulb of which was in excellent condition. I look forward to watching them come up this spring!
Mid12nt Stone Mountain, GA (12 reviews) April 24, 2017
I placed an order back in March, and a month later I still have not received my plants, nor a response to my email asking about my order. Also despite the fact I placed an order and am (or was) on their e-mail list, I am unable to login to their site to check the status of my order nor have I gotten an email providing assistance with my "forgotten" password.Company representative comment on April 25, 2017: On Apr 25, 2017 9:43 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Dear Mid12nt: I'm very sorry for the confusion over our order. In the live plant business when you're growing over 400 varieties, it's very challenging to hit your planned ready date on 100% of them. In your case, one of the plants on your order (Panicum Ruby Ribbons) was not ready to ship on your promised date. Since it is impractical for us to call each order that's influenced in a situation like this, we have to rely on email. You (and all other orders with Ruby Ribbons) were sent an email on 4/11 notifying of the order delay and asking that you call us if you wanted to discuss other options. Unfortunately, it gets harder and harder to ensure that our emails arrive in peoples' inboxes. In your case, it appears as though our communication was lost in cyberspace!
As for the other elements of your review, we strive for 48 hour response time to emails in our busy season. I see that you emailed us Sunday afternoon and again Monday night at 11 pm. I'm sorry that we hadn't gotten to your request yet. And finally, you chose to checkout as a guest when you placed your order, thus there's not an account for you to view online. I apologize if that messaging is not clear online.
Our Customer Service team has reached out directly to try and find a suitable solution. Thank you for your business and happy spring!
Ethan Platt | President
Alonza Charlottesville, VA (1 review) April 23, 2017
I purchased $367 of garden perennials...order 300100180 on April 9th.
I emailed through their website with a request if the order had not shipped to exchange one of the plants. I heard no response and then called customer service. Yes the email had been received and they were checking into it. I called later with a response that the order had not shipped and they could make the exchange. I heard nothing from April 12- April 18 and called again. I was assured that the order would arrive around April 21st. On April 22nd I received 2 boxes of plants bone dry and brown and shriveled up with the original order in the boxes and a tracking number that does not exist on USPS. It readily appears that the packed plants sat in a warehouse from April 11 to April 20 then shipped. The site states the recipient will receive an email with tracking number that never occurred. I am beyond displeased with this company. In the beginning, if the exchange could not be done, then fine but now I have the original shriveled up of dead plants.Company representative comment on April 24, 2017: On Apr 24, 2017 8:15 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Ohhh Alonza, there are days where despite our best efforts, we just can't win!! Your order was one of those cases. You placed your order on Saturday the 8th and called us to make the plant change on Tuesday the 11th. Unfortunately, your order had already been printed and sent to the greenhouse for fulfillment. We were able to catch it before it shipped, but that's where we slipped. I don't need to get into all the technical reasons as to why swapping out one item was complicated and why it delayed your order, but ultimately we messed this one up.
As for your comment about the plants being in a warehouse from the 11th to the 20th, that's never the case. Our plants go from greenhouse to shipping the same day and our order confirmations go out the same evening (although they often end up in spam filters). Your order was delayed due to technical reasons - the attempted exchange and resulting credit card balancing caused your order to 'hang up' in our system. Again, we're very sorry for the frustration. Please plant and care for your items per the instructions included and we know that they'll thrive and our customer service team will reach out to make sure you get the right products.
What has happened to HCG?? Here's what I received
3 Zauschneria Canum Sky Island Orange - all wilted & yellow
2 Penstemon Strictus - tiny - 2" wide x 1 1/2" tall
2 Digitalis Honey Trumpet - decent
2 Agastache Acapulco Deluxe Yellow - decent
1 Agastache Rupestris Apache Sunset - didn't order this one as I already have it. The Rupestris is pathetic; I wish I could post a picture. There are 12 leaves on 3 sticks coming out of the pot. I ordered Agastache Acapulco Deluxe Peach for my border because, like the Deluxe Yellow, it only grows to 10" tall.
To top it off, some of these plants were replacements for plants that I received last year. Well, I'm not sure there was anything planted in the pots as they were labeled "Don't worry I'm sleeping. These plants have been dormant but the roots are healthy & ready to grow." Never saw
What happened to your quality High Country Gardens? Company representative comment on April 21, 2017: On Apr 21, 2017 1:39 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Dear Joip; I'm sorry that it's taken a few days to get back to you and that you were not happy with your order. I took a look at your account and am confused as the web order you're referring to did have the Apache Sunset on it. As for the varieties that we ship dormant, each plant is different - that's what makes our High Country selection so unique. Some wake up later than others and based on our experience, some transplant more successfully in one form or another. We do all that we can to make sure our customers are successful with our products and as always, guarantee your satisfaction. The credit we issued you that you used on this order is an example of how we stand behind our products. Please plant and care for your order and let us know how they turn out once they've acclimated to your garden and once ground temperatures in your area of Denver have warmed a bit more. As always, we want you to be happy. Best, Ethan Platt, President
no_regrets San Diego, CA (7 reviews) February 24, 2017
Posted on January 7, 2017, updated February 24, 2017
I don\'t order live plants online very often, as we have so many wonderful nurseries in this area and it is not too difficult to find even rarer plants if you have the patience to hunt them down. However, High Country Gardens was running a great sale and they had a few types that really caught my attention, so I gave it a try. I ordered 6 different varieties, a few bags of bulbs, and a couple wildflower seed mixes.
The plants are mostly in extra-deep pots that allow for more room for roots, but a few aren\'t, so definitely check the product pages. They seem to ship them heavily pruned. They also tend to come rather dead-looking with a \"I\'m asleep!\" tag, but so far they\'ve all grown new leaves after planting. The bulbs gave me mixed results, but I certainly can\'t hold the company accountable for the late-season heat/drought waves that baked our ground into brick when it was supposed to be autumn. Lastly, I spread the wildflower seed mixes as directed, but then those cursed Santa Anas blew through, evaporating irrigation before it even had the chance to moisten the parched soil. I saw 0 germination. The company was actually kind enough to ship replacements even though it wasn\'t their fault. I waited until right before a winter rainstorm to spread the seeds again, and they seem to be popping up now... still very small but enough to know the seeds are good! I might sow the last of it in some pots to see how it goes.
Overall, my lessons learned were:
1. Great service. Their willingness to ship replacements even when things aren\'t their fault puts them head and shoulders above many others. They answer any questions you have quickly, too.
2. Order their plants with confidence, but perhaps only if you can\'t find them locally. Something in the shipping process requires them to cut them back to almost nothing above ground, so you won\'t get the immediate gratification you would with a nice big plant from the store.
3. Bulbs are a big question mark. I have had amazing bulbs from other sources, so probably won\'t need to order them from here again, but wouldn\'t be afraid to try.On February 24th, 2017, no_regrets added the following:
Once the weather was more cooperative, the windflower mix seed did much better, and I'm absolutely over the moon at the pockets of gorgeous color all over my yard. There are still a few bare patches, but I have no doubt they'll fill in with this dreamy winter weather we are having in SoCal this year. Perhaps if I had actually gone to the trouble of removing all the existing sod, tilling the soil, etc. it'd be even better, but that is work beyond my capability.
HCG is always super-responsive, very helpful, and stands behind their products.
I ordered some allium bulbs, a couple of perennials (Agastache) and a Caryopteris shrub from High Country Gardens this fall. I've ordered from High Country Gardens in the past, having always found their prices to be very good compared to others, and their selection of different or unique items to be excellent.
As with my past orders, everything arrived promptly and when promised, and in very good condition. I would not hesitate to recommend them.
I was very excited to have found High Country Gardens and ordered Dog Tuff grass plugs from them on Oct 6 for planting in zone 6. I was impressed by the website and its statement that they ship when it's appropriate for the zone being shipped to. The transaction posted in my account on 10/7. High Country Gardens called me to verify my shipping address within three days after placing my order. I called today (10/12) to check on the status of shipping and because one portion of their website stated the plugs could be planted in the fall while another states planting in the spring. I was told today that the plugs would be shipped to me next week ( 2 weeks after the order was placed and my account was charged). I asked about the fall/spring planting question and was told that they apologized and it was too late for planting this year. It was only because I phoned and raised the question about planting times that the shipment was stopped despite the website's statement that they ship when appropriate for the order. I've recently paid to have my existing lawn cleared in preparation for planting this fall, money I will now have to eat. My only experience with this company has been negative. Company representative comment on October 12, 2016: On Oct 12, 2016 4:16 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I'm sorry about the confusion over your order. Due to the size of our typical grass plug orders and the prep work that needs to go into shipping them, we send them to our greenhouse on Thursdays for preparation for Monday shipment. (We only ship grass plugs on Mondays) You placed your order on the 6th (a Thursday) and our address verification software kicked it back as an undeliverable address. By the time we confirmed the address with you, we'd missed that week's shipping cutoff. Your order was ready to ship on the 17th. With Lyon, CO being right in the foothills, you're on the edge regarding planting at this time of year. In situations like this, it's hard for us to have rules on our website down to the zip code level. Therefore, we have manual checks in place before we ship an order such as yours. Rest assured that your order was being evaluated from our end when you called and we discussed a spring planting with you. I apologize if you got any confusing information at any step. From your post, it appears as though we could have communicated better.
Ethan Platt | President
DaveEgbert Carpenter, SD (Zone 5a) (3 reviews) July 10, 2016
Posted on July 10, 2016, updated July 10, 2016
Posted on November 24, 2013, updated July 10, 2016
Long time fan of the catalog, placed my second order for 2013 in late October.
Plants were Penstemon punifolious, Salvia daghastanica, Phlox nana, Chrysothamnus nauseous.
Plants were very strong, green and well rooted. The penstemon were in small 3 inch liners. The others in 6 inch large liners. All were rooted very well at the bottom and garden ready. They came packed in a special box with pots wrapped in plastic bags to hold in soil and moisture.
Only drawback of the whole experience was that the customer agent on the phone was not very familiar with the stock and was reluctant to look for alternate sizes of the plants I wanted initially and urged me to shop online instead. It was at the end of the season so I had thought calling would ensure a better guarantee of getting what I wanted.
Over all great experience.On July 10th, 2016, DaveEgbert added the following:
Received two orders this Spring. One had Penstemon, marrumbium, Geum, oenothera, Yucca, and Tanacetum. Plants overall were in good shape except for Penstemon and Tanacetum. Both were in bad shape but I thought the Tanacetum would come back. Contacted customer service and received a prompt reply with both some advice and later, an offer to provide a refund. Although the Geum and Tanacetum also passed I am still pleased overall with the selections, service and support. On July 10th, 2016, DaveEgbert added the following:
Received two orders this Spring. One had Penstemon, marrumbium, Geum, oenothera, Yucca, and Tanacetum. Plants overall were in good shape except for Penstemon and Tanacetum. Both were in bad shape but I thought the Tanacetum would come back. Contacted customer service and received a prompt reply with both some advice and later, an offer to provide a refund. Although the Geum and Tanacetum also passed I am still pleased overall with the selections, service and support.
I was looking for a grass that didnt need much water as I live in Northern California and we are in a severe drought. I talked to a person at High Country Garden and because we have 3 dogs he recommended Dog Tuff Grass. I ordered the grass in May but they wouldn't be able to ship till middle of June. While I was getting my ground ready, which was very easy, I called them up many times. Each person who I talked to was very knowledgeable and service friendly. I got 5 trays of Dog Tuff Grass and the process to put in ground was very easy. The grass has been in a little over a week and its spreading a lot faster than I thought it would. Looks GREAT and so happy! I would recommend this company to my friends. FIVE *****+
Adrienneny Staten Island, NY (Zone 6b) (5 reviews) May 24, 2016
I dislike writing a negative review but my experience with High Country Gardens was negative in multiple ways. I’m disheartened to read how they respond to some of the negative reviews here too.
* They sent an email about some plants ordered not being in stock AFTER they shipped the order.
* They substituted the plants which were not in stock for plants I was not permitted to decide upon.
* When I politely inquired about this, I received zero replies in five days.
* Two of the plants were missing plant tag names.
* Every plant was tiny and harshly pruned even to the base on many of them. This is unnecessary and does not benefit the customer. Other plant sellers ship the same species of plants without doing that.
It is a shame when a business cuts corners like this. Excuses and bidding farewell to longtime customers isn’t the answer. Busy? Hire more employees. Employees not doing an adequate job? Increase the wage/training and hire better ones. Other plant sellers manage to run their business very well therefore it’s disingenuous to claim they can’t.
I’m glad there are other plant sellers out there providing better service and an equal or greater variety of plants. Company representative comment on May 25, 2016: On May 25, 2016 8:25 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I'm sorry that you were not happy with your experience with you. In looking at our communication history with you, I see that we did in fact send you an email after the order shipped. That was a technical mistake.
As for your other concerns, we work hard to set customer expectations and send plants with healthy root systems, ready to thrive in your garden. Often we cut back the top growth before shipping to ensure the plant transplants well.
Once again, sorry that we failed to live up to your expectations. We strive every day to get better - that's the only way small companies like ours can survive these days!
Posted on May 24, 2013, updated May 24, 2016
Posted on May 17, 2013, updated May 24, 2013
Well I have ordered for years from High Country Gardens, I had good success with their plants and customer service, until recently. I had a replacement plant order that was going to be shipped to me in April. I waited for my plants to arrive as promised, they did not show up. I have basically had the same experience as Magnolia92. When the plants didn\'t arrive I e-mailed and callled them (tried to call them) as they never answer their telephone. I finally got a response from my e-mail saying that due to cold weather in Denver the plants haven\'t grown like they should and that I would receive my shipment two weeks later. Well it is now almost three weeks later and of course still no plants. As in the first case no one called/e-mailed me to let me know that my plants would not be shipped to me. HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE, if I can\'t make my promised dates of shipping I let my customers know. I don\'t rely on my customers to keep calling me and e-mailing me asking me where my order is. I communicate with them. Terrible service nothing but excuses as to why I am not receiving my plants. On May 24th, 2013, utahxericman added the following:
Well more time has passed, finally received an e-mail stating that a plant was missing and that they would ship soon (whatever that means) have waited again this week, still no plants, still no phone call or e-mail saying I would get my plants this week, still no idea when I will get my plants. I am thinking about asking for my money back, I initially asked to get High country gardens credit for the plants they didn\'t have and then plant replacements on the ones they did, but I think I am wasting my time, and that I may have to eat the 100 dollars worth of plants. Nothing seems to be going right for them and the customer service after all these complaints hasn\'t improved a bit. On May 24th, 2016, utahxericman added the following:
It has been a while since I ordered from High Country Gardens, last time I ordered they were going through a change of ownership. So I decided to give them some time to work through the process. I had some store credit with them so I placed a small order 4 plants (2 of the plants I ordered I can't find locally, one of the plants is an HCG exclusive plant) the other two plants that I ordered I can find locally, I just wanted to use up my credit with them. I received an e-mail saying the HCG exclusive plant wasn't ready to ship and wouldn't be ready this year to ship, so they replaced it with another Agastache --bummer, I didn't want the other Agastache, that is why I ordered the other one..I can find the Agastache they sent me locally for 5.50-6.50 in a much bigger pot and plant. The gayfeather I ordered in a 2.5 inch pot again I could have found a much bigger plant for $5.50 locally, it really is a tiny plant about as much leaf growth on it as a .50 cent piece I would be embarrassed to send something out like that to my customers. The other two plants I received were small, but it is to be expected of the type and size of plants HCG sends out, maybe they sent me their crap plants because I used my store credit, who knows, it is too bad, this company has some neat xeric plants, but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. Company representative comment on May 25, 2016: On May 17, 2013 11:38 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
You\'re correct in saying that there\'s no excuse for not providing better communication about order statuses. I can assure you that at American Meadows, we have both the people and systems to do just that. Unfortunately the systems we inherited from High Country have proven challenging. We have tried to send email updates where applicable and make out-bound calls as well. We have not been able to stay on top of everyone.
I apologize for the poor communication and can assure you that we are working around the clock to improve the situation.
American Meadows & High Country Gardens
On May 25, 2016 8:34 AM, High Country Gardens added:
I'm sorry that we were not able to deliver your preferred plant. Many of our varieties are tricky to grow, which is why they're not available at big box stores. Sometimes, despite all of our efforts, the plants don't reach a quality that we're pleased with. In those cases, we have found that most customers prefer that we choose a replacement. Otherwise, we need to contact those customers and the resulting back-and-forth delays the shipment. It's a no-win situation.
In looking at your history, it appears as though you ordered from us last year as well. I hope those plants are doing well and we encourage you to plant the varieties that you received. If you would still like exclusive agastache, just let us know and we will set up a replacement for the next season that it's available.
The plants that I received were small and not worth the price that I paid for them. I contacted the company and mentioned that one of the items received was pretty small and probably would not survive if planted and requested a bigger replacement and/or refund. Two days later I still have not received an email response to my inquiry. It appears that their customer service is not very prompt when it comes to answering emails.Company representative comment on May 14, 2016: On May 14, 2016 9:06 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Dear Don, I'm sorry that you were not pleased with the size of your plants. We work very hard to set customer expectations through our product details, "how your plants will ship" photos and our videos. As always, everything we sell comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and we always want to see our customers happy.
We strive to reply to all emails in 48 hours but the reality of this time of year is that we don't always maintain that level of desired turnaround. I see that your email came in late on Thursday night. Our customer service department is here Mon-Sat and works through the emails oldest first. We will be in touch early this week to talk about a resolution.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and best of luck in the garden.
These guys have amazing products. All of their perennials are neonicotinoid-free and our bee hives certainly appreciate that. That is a HUGE reason to shop here. HUGE. Further, their customer support is amazing, as they are always willing to work with you from any advice to any possible issues with an order. This is our new go-to place for perennials.
I was having the hardest time finding the herb Anise Hyssop (Agastache Blue Fortune) anywhere...and especially at a reasonable price! Not only was I able to purchase it from HCG, but they also expedited it when they didn't have to. I just received it yesterday...and the herb is dark green and filled with life! I planted it the moment I got it. Can't wait to see all the Humming birds, bees and butterflies, buzzing around my garden...and that delicious licorice taste of the leaves as well!
A+ rating from me!
Lamorgan Castle Rock, CO (1 review) April 25, 2016
Without a doubt, High Country Gardens is my favorite place to order plants. I have been ordering plants from HCG every year for over 20 years. First of all, their online ordering is so easy. No problems ever ordering what I needed. Second, their customer service representatives are wonderful. I've only had to call them a few times, but when I did it was always a pleasant experience. If there was an issue with a plant, they sent me a new one right away. This year several of the plants I ordered went on sale a few days later. I called their customer service representative and was so pleased that they gave me an adjustment to my credit card.
I called last week to add a few plants to my pending order. As always I had a very pleasant experience, and now have 10 new plants coming next week.
I just want to let everyone know that I received the most beautiful plant from your company. I ordered a penstemon and when I opened the box I found a very health, nicely potted, lush plant. In addition, the planting and care instructions that were included were very helpful. Last year I ordered some perennials from a different company. When I received them they were less than an inch tall and in the smallest "pots" I had ever seen. Needless to say, they did not survive. I was hesitant to order plants again but after having the excellent customer service, the email shipping notification, and the arrival of this beautiful plant I will not hesitate to order from your company again!
I have ordered from High Country Gardens several times now and had great experiences every time. Pluses: The plants thrive in my Tucson 9b garden and have healthy root systems. They ship quickly. They have THE BEST customer service. At one point I thought a Penstemon I had ordered from them died in transit. I called after about a week of trying to revive it and not only did they replace my plant, they gave me a whole different plant per my request. Then, sitting in my compost bin, the Penstemon began to grow leaves again. They have a great plant selection, also. The only minus is the plants do arrive small, but like I said, they're tough and healthy. If you ever have a problem, seriously, just call them and they will fix it.Company representative comment on April 5, 2016: On Apr 5, 2016 1:23 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thanks, idreamofcactus (as do we!) for the kind words! Our team always appreciate the props, especially during this crazy time of year.
For the past few years I've often bought plants and bulbs and seeds from highcountrygardens.com.
Even though the web site shopping and placing an order was interrupted by two or three popups asking for email at the start and asking about a Google service when near the end of placing the order, I still like the web site. It has good pictures and descriptions of the plants. There is accurate information such as the plant's height, width, water needs, amount of sunlight, climate zone, flower time, flower color, etc. You can search by plant type such as fall-planting bulbs or xeriscaping. Also there is reviews for each plant that are helpful information about people's experiences with the plants.
The packages we received are in perfect condition almost every time. Even one time when the package was apparently dropped, the plants did ok. The plants are packed in a way to avoid damage in shipment. Each plant has a label tag so they won't get mixed up. With proper care the plants almost always do well. I've never had any complaints.
aimeej Albuquerque, NM (10 reviews) November 9, 2015
This year I took advantage of the Fall sale with High Country Gardens. I was a little hesitant at first because I live in New Mexico and High Country Gardens was started in Santa Fe and I had ordered from them with good results, but when American Meadows bought them I noticed that their availability and number of varieties decreased. However, this year they had everything I was looking for at nice prices and very reasonable shipping. The plants that arrived were very large, very healthy, well rooted and wonderfully packed. I will definitely order from them again and I recommend them highly.
Agavegirl1 Casa Grande, AZ (2 reviews) July 25, 2015
Today, July 25th, 2015 I wanted to place an order. Although I read the reviews I decided the good outweighed the bad. I was also pleased that the company responded quickly and addressed any negative comments, questions and concerns. Obviously they cared.
My problem, however, came when everything I wanted to order came up "not available", "not yet available" or "out of stock". Seriously? We're talking basic plants like succulents, Agaves, Aloes. We're not talking exotics. I thought they had a green house? Things grow in a green house.
I switched to looking at what I call "generic flowers". Mums, lilies, etc. Same thing. So what exactly do they have and what is it they sell?
I would be very leery and overly concerned about browsing their website more, contacting them, signing up for emails or giving out more of my personal contact information than necessary. Since they have been taken over by another company I don't know what type of data they are collecting or what type of consumer base they are trying to build.
I'm sure they are a legitimate company. I'm just very confused why every plant they showed was either unavailable or out of stock. Company representative comment on July 27, 2015: On Jul 27, 2015 8:06 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Thanks for your note. We have two main shipping seasons: Feb - June and Sept - Nov. Although we do grow in greenhouses, plants just don't like to be shipped or transplanted in the extreme temps of summer and winter. Ever sat in a FedEx truck for a few days in July in Arizona!!??
The way we (and most, if not all mail-order nurseries) work is that we accept advanced orders during the off-season and we will ship at the right time for planting in your zone. You mentioned agave: We're offering 4 for fall delivery http://www.highcountrygardens.com/perennial-plants/agave Note that we generally have a broader selection of plants in the spring when demand is higher. Also note that our plant selection is constantly evolving. We keep discontinued plants on our site under the 'unavailable' section so the people who bought them in the past can still come and find planting or care information.
Hope that answers your questions/concerns. If not, call us from 7 AM - 5 PM MT, Monday - Friday. 800-925-9387
I have done thousands of dollars worth of business from HCG over the past 10 years & their greenhouses are not 5 miles from my house (yet I cannot go there & select the plants - they ship them to you at significant cost). I bought 5 plants from them in 2014 & was appalled by the tiny size. I called them & the rep said "if they are alive, that's all we promise". HCG was bought out last year by an outfit from New England I will not do business with them ever again.Company representative comment on July 13, 2015: On Jul 13, 2015 9:36 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Dear tomato2, I'm sorry that you were not happy with your plants. Our 100% satisfaction guarantee is just that - if you're not satisfied, we make it right. "If they are alive, that's all we promise" simply is not our philosophy - we wouldn't stay in business long with that attitude! We looked in our records and can't find a record of anyone from Placitas calling to talk about quality or request a resolution. Feel free to call and ask for me directly if you don't feel that this is accurate.
As for your point about the greenhouse in Santa Fe, David Salman maintains that as a plant development facility and propagates a limited amount of our unique, exclusive and hard-to-grow plants. Our full line is grown and shipped from Denver.
I'm sorry to lose your business. Best of luck and contact me if I can be of any assistance.
Ordered big. Over $200 in plants. Some came that were so tiny, I doubted the survival. Two months later, all good. The soil and potting treatment the plants come with are all fine. For me, the smaller size made for much easier planting on a slope that is difficult to work. Now I'm thinking it's more up to me, God, and the environment than for the nursery. You might be able to find similar cultivars for less, but HCG does make it easier.
I was happy with the plants I got from them, neat varieties I didn't see elsewhere and an excellent selection of xeric plants. They arrived in good shape and stood up well to transplanting. I would order from them again.
The plants are expensive for the tiny size. The local nurseries have same plants only much bigger and not an high shipping charge. I have ordered every year and seem to get much smaller plants every year. The shipping is very slow. The last order was two weeks delayed because of internal computer problems, this order of seed I have not even got a tracking number yet. I have emailed them but they do not respond. I have decided to not use them anymore for the size of plants, price, and service it just is not worth it in my opinion. Company representative comment on May 27, 2015: On May 27, 2015 3:44 PM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Dear Chris, We're sorry you were not happy with your order - you've been a great customer for multiple years and we'd hate to lose you.
Just to clarify a few of your concerns, you placed your order on Friday, May 8th. As it's later in the season, we contacted you to let you know that we didn't have an item you ordered. You chose a replacement and your order shipped on Friday, May 15th.
As for your seed order, it was placed on May 25th and shipped today, two days later. You will get a confirmation email tonight when our email batch process runs. From our records, it appears as though all of your inquiries have been responded to within 48 hours. If that's not the case, please let me know.
Again, sorry for your frustration. In our business, we have a crazy busy season that lasts less than 8 weeks. It's a challenge for a small business to staff up for such a short rush, but we do our best to reply promptly to all questions and both your orders shipped within the 5 business days we indicate at checkout.
I am an experienced gardener with an extensive mail order history. This is my first negative review. I ordered from High Country Gardens for the 2014 season. One of the plants they sent was the wrong cultivar, one that will not grow in my region. They were not able to replace it with the correct plant. I requested a refund. Instead I got a credit. The remainder of the plants went into the garden. Only one has established well. All the others are slow, more so than anything else I planted that season. One of them I also ordered from another company by mistake. The other company's plant put on twice the growth and came through the winter better. This spring I decided to use my credit and be done forever with this company. The plant arrived last week, snapped off about two inches above the base, probably because the plant had been grown in uneven light and was shaped like an S, and then packed poorly. I request a refund, NOT a credit. Guess who got a credit instead? I so want to be done with this company!Company representative comment on May 26, 2015: On May 26, 2015 11:10 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
I'm sorry that you didn't have the kind of excellent experience that we strive for with all of our customers.
We looked at your account and noted that according to our records, you were given the option of a refund or a credit last spring when you reported that your onethera didn't survive, and you chose a credit. When you were not happy with the eupatorium that you purchased with that credit, the representative that you talked to simply re-activated your credit. She did not realize that you wanted a refund back to the card that you used for your order last year. I have asked our CS team to void that credit and issue a refund instead.
I'm sorry for the confusion, but we always give our unhappy customers the choice of a replacement (if available), a credit or a refund.
This is the first time I ordered from High Country Gardens. I placed 2 different orders. The 1st one was scheduled to be delivered the week of April 6. On April 2 I received an email informing me that the order was going to be delayed because one of the plants needed a little more time for the root system to develope. I was given the option of picking a substitute, but I chose to wait. The order arrived the following week, and the plants were all healthy with very well developed roots. The 2nd order was shipped the following week, and those plants were also in excellent condition. I was very pleased that they did not want to send me a plant that was not fully developed. It shows that they care about the quality of their plants. I will definitely order from them again.
High Country Gardens is a marvelous source of xeriscape plants. High altitude gardening in Telluride is always a challenge, and their plants have performed beautifully. I've had marvelous success with their Eriogonum and Helianthemum. These are not easy to find plants in my experience. Customer service is outstanding: super friendly and super knowledgable. Thanks High Country!
I am an experienced, avid (ok, addicted ) gardener who has ordered from at least 9 different online plant nurseries (though I still source the majority of my plants locally; I rarely currently propagate) over the past 15 + years. This would include roughly 500 plants now from HCG, 2nd only to Annie’s Annuals & Perennials, where I have ordered maybe 1500 plants over the same time period (but also have the ability to source from nearly year round). So I have experienced HCG through the ups & downs and believe I have “some” background with other nurseries for comparison purposes. I now wholeheartedly feel that HCG is on the way back up—perhaps eclipsing where they were before.
Since I routinely source online websites for new information (and HCG’s catalogs—both written & online—have always been among the best), I just happened upon the initial closure of HCG the day it was posted, now over 2 plus yrs ago. I shared this with several bookwriters & other nurseryfolk I occasionally converse with, and they were as taken aback by this as I was--though there was quite a bit evidence of this unraveling over the previous yr. Up until sometime in early ’11 perhaps, I had noticed that HCG plant & order quality—though I never had any major prior problems—seemed to be gradually improving. Plant size & breadth were increasing, as was shipping quality & responsiveness. But that-along with numerous technical difficulties—seemed to all but disappear over the next yr. Thought I never got the read that HCG was previously an extremely high customer oriented company, they did appear to try to address the problems that I had experienced. Then the shutdown announcement posted on their website. A notable new Mexico businessman & plantsman I have befriended helped to put this in perspective—it seemed that HCG had been hit by the quadruple whammy: 1) a downtown in the national as well as the local New Mexico economy, already a relatively poor state that relies heavily on government contractural income 2) several seasons of increased drought, resulting in some areas of more watering or planting restrictions 3) Increased competition from the local big box suppliers 4) perhaps some overextension on the retail store/trade side, at the same time these other factors were occurring let to HCG’s downfall. I had the sense the Salmon’s—who had an overall ~ 29 yr history here—likely did all they could to resolve this situation on the hope and belief they could at least salvage some of this.
I share this because I believe it is important to know that—though was a period the previous owners (and thereby customers) had experienced numerous difficulties--the entity that took over any remaining assets & runs all this now is a COMPLETELY different established, successful company (though I believe they were wise to retain David as a consultant--his many accomplishments are well known in industry circles).
I learned how different early on when I went to place my first order. I was quickly called on the phone by a service representative of the company who simply wanted to let me know I had ordered some zone 8 plants for my low desert zone 9 clime. I quickly explained that the order was intentional, I either had extensive prior successful experience with the genus or a related plant and/or had set up appropriate microclimes to increase success. He then said he just wanted to be sure, as they offered a full year, full return quarantee. I politely told him that I considerend the loss of any plant I had in the ground more than a couple days to be completely on me. I rec’d the same call by a rep on a 2nd order. Above & beyond, IMO. Interestingly, in addition, as I was writing the company, the President (as it pertains to this division I believe) himself, Ethan Platt, responded directly. We had a couple nice exchanges. What impressed me the most about him—was not only that he took his valuable time to write a customer (and at that time, they likely did not know my lengthy multi-annual order history, as nearly all their customer files had to be restored, including mine subsequent to this) but that he was very CANDID in letting me know they they had implemented many of the necessary changes and were hoping to even exceed where they were before, but that there may still be some growing pains, He politely asked for my understanding & patience, indicating most would likely be solved by the next Spring. Though I typically complete most of my planting by early Fall to increase my chances of success, I decided to place a couple more small orders. And sure enough, with each successive order, I saw an improvement in quality.
HCG is a nurseryman’s nursery. As one example, I would visit noted plantsman, nurseryman & successful bookwriter Gregg Starr in Tucson and found he was enamored with HCG plants & selection. They were the only plants he would display or provide outside of his own extensive SW native succulent stock. In his own plantings, he would attractively intermingle HCG plants. I highly believe that the more drought tolerant, more native larval & “pollinator extraordinare” style plants that HCG propagates/supplies are the gradual wave of the future. One day there may be more selective enforcement of these types of plants.
Though I hope it is the rare natural beauty these plants provide that ultimately necessitates that switch instead; once you have patience & discover the breadth of offerings and beauty these beneficial plants provide, I believe you will be hooked. I am certainly not suggesting you give HCG a shot for these reasons alone; this is a suggestion that you strongly consider (or reconsider) HCG as it is an entirely new entity that appears to be working very hard, as evidenced by their many repeated efforts with me, to once again become a top notch service company providing an array of beautiful plants that are hard to find in this quantity elsewhere.
This is an unsolicited endorsement that unfortunately has taken me way too long to free up and to write.
Company representative comment on December 31, 2014: On Dec 31, 2014 9:46 AM, High Country Gardens responded with:
Topgunja - Happy New Year! Thank you so much for taking the time to convey your experiences with us. We really appreciate your business and love to be able to provide people like you with unique plants you won't find anywhere else.
Here's to great gardening success (and maybe a bit more rain?) in 2015!
Ordered daffodils. Bulbs arrived in a timely manner and are the biggest, prettiest bulbs I've ever seen!
Liked my experience with High Country Gardens so much that I have now ordered blue grape hyacinth bulbs from them. Can't wait for Spring to see these yellow daffodils bordered with the grape hyacinths, under my white flowering dogwood trees! Should be gorgeous!
Also, got a very cordial email response from their Customer Service Representative, Leigh. So, my experiences with this company have been very positive and I would certainly do business with them again.
lopesgw Rio Rancho, NM (1 review) September 26, 2014
I had a couple of plants I'd purchased which failed to thrive; not only did wonderful Customer Service rep Leigh get in touch with David Salman to ask questions, but she also replaced the items after it was determined that was the right course to take! Leigh was consistently cordial, dealt exceptionally competently with the intricacies of my situation, and was prompt and efficient! I can't say enough about the customer service at High Country Gardens! A few years ago, when the company was sold and Ethan Platt took charge, there were some tough moments as much change and new processes were worked out. HCG is even better than before, and their highly responsive and thorough customer service is the main reason I am a loyal customer! The plants are wonderful, but the people who stand behind them are even more so! Thanks HCG, and especially Leigh, for making me feel I am a valued customer, one whom you all encourage as I stumble my way through xeric gardening!