I have been here many many times. This is a mostly one person operation with helpers and Iím sorry his mail order business was not successful from the sound of some of these reviews. The nursery and grounds should have been on anybody gardeners bucket list. I learned my love for variegated plants from the owner who always took time to educate and share stories about his plant finding missions. Sadly, I learned this Spring that Stan has passed away and his children are selling house and property.
Sent a check for payment in April 2012..contacted owner in May 2012. I was assured the plants were in process. No thank you for order.
I contacted the company again in late June 2012 to find that there a new message on the machine. No returned call...no plants. The check had been cashed in late June...no plants even 60 days later.
Since that time, I have mailed 2 letters and attempted to contact the nursery multiple times...no answer on the phone and no email of record functions....and no plants.
After 18 months of efforts, I would sincerely like other buyers to know how distrustful this company has become over the past year or so.
dave12122 East Haddam, CT (76 reviews) October 3, 2010
If I could give this "very positive", I would! Prices are very low (everything is 40% off at the time of this writing!) and there is a fabulous selection of hostas, (including minis), variegated perennials, shrubs, trees, vines, you name it. Stan Megos the owner is in his 80's but is as youthful as ever and Drew and Matt are his hard working assistants. The display gardens are educational and expertly laid out...love those dwarf conifers! Highly recommended if you are in the area, go to Woodland Trails as well, which is only a mile away!
Chills Saint Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6b) (20 reviews) August 1, 2009
I placed an order from this nursery (after perusing their site for 6 months or so...lol) back in June. Plants were well packaged and shipped the following week and arrived looking good, with one exception. Being an experienced gardener, I planted, potted (whatever) and watered well and waited. That one particular plant didn't recover (or do much of anything but yellow and then brown further).
I was heading out that way (900 miles from where I live) anyway, so I brought the plant and receipt with me looking for an exchange. Upon arrival, the owner looked at the receipt (not even asking anything further) and he handed me a much healthier replacement! I bought 3 other plants on my visit (and then kicked myself for the next 800 miles for not getting one other plant that struck me).
A good nursery to order from, but definitely a better place to visit! (I just wish we were not starting a cross country return when I had decided to detour to the nursery)
robbase99 Raynham, MA (1 review) September 3, 2008
I was at the Variegated Foliage Nursery last week and I found the owner's daughter very helpful and available. I actually found the prices to be decent and they were having a 30% off sale on everything. Some of the plants that they have I have never seen at other garden centers/nurseries. I think that sometimes we as gardeners should expect pay a little extra for things that are different or rare. I also found that everthing that I looked at was marked with name and price. I found exactly what I was looking for and was very impressed with their hosta selection. I do not think that the owners are trying to present themselves as anything other than what they are: a nice, family run, next to home nursery offering variegated plants, which are often unavailable elsewere, at fair prices. I am glad I made the trip.
I recently visited for the first time. While I certainly agree with and understand some of the comments regarding the disorganization and frustration with the place, I also agree that it is the place to go if you're looking for a variegated plant that you cannot find elsewhere, as well as to introduce yourself to plants which you weren't even aware could be found in variegated forms.
There are certainly no bargains to be had. Unexpected, given the state of the place. My biggest complaint was the poor lableing. Most were labled with at least something, but very few plants included the full name, cultivar and price, requiring me to ask one of the staff almost every time I found something of interest. After a half dozen inquiries, I got tired of having to track someone down each time, or of interrupting their work, so many plants that I was slightly interested in, stayed there unsold. I was on a budget of $300, and it took twice as long as it should have to reach my limit, due to the frequent research required for each plant. Worst, some of the plants which weren't priced, required a request to the owner, who, maybe quoted correctly, but sometimes seemed to me to make an off the cuff guess, and it was never cheap.
The owner was present, and friendly and helpful as described, but then he would disappear, off to do an errand in his car, without notifying the staff, leaving them to wonder when and if he would return. The staff was friendly and capable, and always answered my questions quite knowledgeably. IMO, the owner and his business would benefit by allowing them a bit more freedom and empowerment, and I say this knowing the potential pitfalls, as a business owner myself. The staff obviously had more work than they could handle, and cringed when the UPS driver arrived with more plants for them to receive.
The nursery is more of a backyard affair than a professional commercial nursery. It seems to be a bargain basement set up, but with fancy store prices. The gardens, apparently beautiful at one time, seem to have fallen, probably due to owner's advanced age, but still contain a nice selection of established examples to view. It's difficult to determin just where the display gardens end, and what, if any areas may be considered not part of the business. This left me anyway, cautious about intruding into an area that would be considered more of the owner's personal space rather than a display garden. As a result, I believe that I may have missed many intreresting plants in the immediate area surrounding the house.
The website mistakenly gives the impression of a larger operation, with many of the plants available, but the reality is that every plant listed when first offered, has never been removed or updated. I arrived with a long list, most of which were unavailable. Luckily I did call for two plants that were my main interest, and so knew ahead of time that they were in stock. Still, I did find plenty of other things that weren't on my list, but I would recommend calling ahead if there is anything that you need. There were also many plants not listed on the website.
They do not seem to be in any way set up to efficiently package and ship, so I would hesitate ordering by mail, but despite all of my reservations, they do fulfill my primary requirements; friendly knowledgeable service, and unusual plants that I can't find anywhere else. If you're the type who has to have everything perfect, you may be disappointed, but if you're a sophisticated gardener who can put up with some imperfections, in order to find a few diamonds in among the gravel, you might be pleased with what you can find there.
I really loved this place!! They had so many different kinds of perennials and annuals that you can not find anywhere else. It is a family kind of environment and I loved that it is privately owned. The selection of plants is amazing!!!
I love this place!!!! But...I can see why mail orders would be sporadic and less than perfect, since Stan, the owner, does most of the phone answering, packing and mailing, as well as growing, repotting, weeding, pruning, etc, himself.
The nursery itself sits on the side of a shady hill, and consists of huge groups of pots of the ground and on raised planks, with large planted beds around an eclectic, contemporary house. There's even a picnic area if you want to bring your lucnh!!
The selection at the nursery is enormous, and unique, and mostly for growing in some degree of shade. The hostas are especially interesting due to the large variety available. Stan is an interesting guy, extremely knowledgable, who can give you the botanical name of every one of the several hundred plants he has. He is also a bit of a character. During the summer he has a variety of young men and women who work for him, but you will often find him alone at the place, since the help seems, at best, sporadic.
I shop there a few times a year since I am within driving distance, and I always come away with some unique and interesting plants. Last year it was the climbing hydrangeas, which are growing this year like crazy--too early and small for blooms yet, but lots of foliage. Also some kind of a rue (I lost the name stick, so I'll have to take a leaf sample back to Stan for indentification), which had tiny, butterfly like flowers and is just started to grow this year.
The year before I bought, among other things, two "Mostly Ghostly" hostas. The small one died, but the larger one came up last year, very sickly looking and weak. Stan says they are hard to get going because they come up without chlorophyll in their leaves (hence the name) and don't get sturdy until after a month or so has passed. Must be true because the plant, although it still has pale white/cream leaves, is much more vigorous this year, and has sent up four groups of leaves.
If you can get to Variegated, it's worth the drive, especially since Eastford itself is a quaint little New England village, close to many picturesque areas and towns, and also close to Putnam, CT, the "antiques capital of Connecticut". The prices are about the same as most specailty nurseries around here, but at the end of the season Stan has a half price sale, where you can get lots of stuff for a song!
If you must mail order, be patient, and persistent, but kind. Stan responds well to niceness and cajoling, and works too hard and too long each day to respond to being pushed. If you are a regular customer, you will usually get a free hosta or two, or some other plant when you have finished shopping.
I visited this nursery and found Parrotia Vanessa which I had searched for all over Massachusetts without success. The owner (Stan) was a very nice and helpful fellow. He was very patient with all my questions (I'm new to gardening) and I was impressed by the very unusual selection that he had. I found it to be worth the trip!
Cynthiascat Catonsville, MD (8 reviews) August 29, 2004
My sister thinks that I flew up to New England last week-end to visit with her. Truth is I went up so that I could shop at VFN. And it was worth the trip. Picked out two Cornus K.Wolfeyes, and a couple of perennials and had them shipped back. They were carefully packed and arrived quickly in perfect shape. Great selection, good prices, very nice people. My sister's expecting me again in the spring. Wouldn't want to disappoint her...
There is obviously a good deal of discrepency in people's experience with this company. My own experience has been absolutely positive. In late spring 2003 I called to inquire about the availability of acer shirasawanum aureum. The plant I received within just a few days was excellent, has done very well even after last year's brutal January and was much less expensive than any other source. I ordered several more items in 2004 and was again very pleased. The owner called me to tell me that some sizes I had ordered would have to be adjusted - a much appreciated courtesy. This nursery has many things not available elsewhere and the prices, packing and shipping are excellent. I would certainly not hesitate to order again. (Two examples of plants I received this May: both cornus kousa Snowboy and cornus controversa variegata have increased in size by at least 25% since planting).
I wish I had viewed this website first. Variegated nursery would seem to be a place to visit and hand select one's plants. I did it by phone and mail order.
The phone isn't manned regularly, but when I got through at last with an order, several plants on the web site were not available. I ordered two variegated VA. creepers, one gallon size. Happily, I got them in four days.
However, far from being one gallon size, they were packed in two small plastic bags with an elastic at the crown, and a small amount of dirt--essentially bareroot. They would easily have fit into a pint container, roots and all. I was charged $20 each for these tiny plants, plus $10 for the shipping. The speed of the shipping probably justified the latter fee, but $40 for these two very small plants, is just outrageous! (Other nurseryies charge about $24 for a TWO gallon pot of similar vine.)
I dread trying to contact this man, who sounded as described--overworked, and over whelmed and not a regular phone answerer-- but will keep at it to see if he will refund some of the $40. If so, I will upgrade this review, but for now do NOT recommend ordering, sight unseen. (Their website is presently down and has been for three days.)
May 23,2004, Rockport, MAOn July 21st, 2004, troglodyte changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
After several attempts, I got through on the phone to the nursery, explaining that one of their two variegated VA. creepers had already died, after only about 2 weeks, and the other was looking very "ill"--browning main stem, shriveled leaves. A woman who answered agreed, pleasantly enough, to refund half of the $50 total order and did so. Now, after struggling for weeks with tiny new leaves only at the top of the stem, which always turned brown, the second plant has also shrivelled to naught. Meanwhile, a small regular VA. creeper that I transplanted from a neighbor's wall at the same time I planted the two from Variegated Foliage is thriving, under the same light and mositure conditions. So I will have to contact them again to report the final loss.
The vine is very striking, and if I ever drive by their nursery, I will certainly pick up some potted plants, but no more mail orders from them! On November 3rd, 2004, troglodyte added the following:
I should have added that late in August I contacted Variegated Foliage again to report the death of their second Va. creeper. This time a young man answered, and promptly agreed to refund the money for the balance of my ill-fated order.
I would love to actually visit the nursery next year, but no more mail orders!
I received my order from this nursery last week. The plants were as I ordered, well packed and in good shape. I received a phone call in advance to tell me the plants were being shipped - appreciated as I travel regularily. I will buy from this nursery again when I see plants I want (their website has lots of pictures which I appreciate).
I have been trying to contact this company for 2-3 weeks now and nobody ever answers the phone (no matter what time of day I have tried). They also have not returned any of my messages that I have left. By not answering or returning calls it gives customers the idea that they do not want our money or business. I would be very hesitant in placing an order with them because if you ever had a problem with an order no one would be there to help you. Talk about poor customer service. I know I will be spending more money somewhere else but at least they answer their phones and are happy to answer any questions I may have. If they ever contact me and if I still do any business with them I will post it.On March 8th, 2004, funkyfoliagedesigner changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I have changed my rating from negative to neutral. Today I received a return phone call finally and got some answers for the questions that I had. After talking with the owner, I noticed that some plant hardiness rating were off and I brought it to his attention. I think I will order 1 tree from them to test them out and then I will post results.On May 23rd, 2004, funkyfoliagedesigner added the following:
I will not be placing an order with this company even though their selection of rare and variegated plants are nice, they provide incorrect hardiness ratings, the customer service is very poor, and from what I have read, so is the quality for the price that you pay!
I visit once or twice a year; an hour drive each way from
the Boston area, but well worth it. They carry plants that
are hard to get elsewhere, and in a large range of sizes
and prices. Their prices are quite good for the size and
quality of the plants.
I've never mail-ordered in the conventional
sense, but I have called and reserved plants from the
catalog for pickup, in one case several months later.
I've been extremely happy, and if it was too far to drive
would not hesitate to mail order, even if the service
was more quirky than larger operations. I've only had
a single plant failure, and it was my fault; a success
ratio for me that only Broken Arrow (Hamden CT) meets.
It is a delightful place to visit, apparently his private
garden run amuck into a small nursery. I hope Stan recovers
from the fire, I already have started a list for next year.
I visit the Variegated Foliage Nursery at least 4-5 times a year. But I only live 5 minutes away. Stan is a good man and does all or at least a good percentage of work. I was there the other day and he was alone because none of his help had shown up. If anyone who has ever worked retail greenhouse, nursery, landscaping or as I have been a professional horticulturist/gardener for many years know that the work is tedious, hard and you have do be nice and help people who will argue when you tell them how to care for a plant (after they have asked you). So I am sure that he has a hard time finding people who are dedicated to working this kind of job. His plants are beautiful and well cared for. His place is quiet and peaceful. And the selection outstanding. Also this spring he had experienced a fire that put him far behind, burning a lot of the spring plants started for the coming season. As of last week I have not seen any repairs to the place. I believe that anyone's best bet is to visit in person.
I have always found the owner, Stan Megos, to be helpful but he is a bit of a character. He probably has a right as he is 75. The nursery grew far faster than he expected and it has been difficult at times. I have never dealt with him mail-order, but the place is a treasure to visit. I believe that he is going to be getting out of the mail-order end of the business. If there is a variegated something that you are seeking, I'd bet that he has it.
Visited the farm just yesterday, wonderfully stocked, lots to pick from, they fella that owns it was a lot of help, too...........I haven't tried mail order since I don't live to far from there.....I definitely would go back and get some more plants, they we just beautiful and healthy....
In November 2002 I place a fairly large order with this company because I was fascinated by their variety of unusual plants and the 30% discount they had going for end of year. Eight plants in all. I was warned that many of my items, such as the ferns, would be dormant but not to worry. I was not prepared, however, for the tiny plastic bags of dirt lumps tightly wrapped with rubber bands (no circulation - can't be good for roots), most of which were completely topless. Those that did have any stems or leaves were sickly or covered with aphids in one case. Of the eight plants received, I've nursed/ coaxed five of them to show some signs of life, although two are just limping along and I'm hoping they'll make it to spring, so I can plant them outside to revive. The aphid covered one struggled for a bit, and I tried spraying, but it finally keeled over, and the others never made it. My next step with this company is to try to get a refund/ replacement on those items that haven't made it because, we are talking about plants that I've spent a minimum of $8/ item, and, in some cases, more than that. I'll never order from them again.
I have ordered from this small mom-and-pop shop several years in a row. They have not given me any problems, and any plant that died or with which I was dissatisfied has been happily replaced. The owner is older, however, and so is sometimes forgetful, but I have found him to be kindly, honest and willing to ensure complete satisfaction. If there is an unusual variegated plant you absolutely have to get your hands on, this is probably the place where where you'll find it (sometimes the only place). Call to place your order well in advance of shipping, follow up every few weeks, be patient, and you should be satisfied. If a plant isn't listed, sometimes they are willing to obtain a cutting and root it for you (ask the owner). I recommend this nursery to patient but got-to-have-it gardners.
Ordered two hostas in March 2000 and paid via credit card. Payment was applied right away. Called compnay in early June to find out where my order was. Had trouble contacting anyone and left message. Someone finally returned my call - said hosta Kathryn Lewis now unavailable and suggested subsitution. I accepted. Called back in early July when order still not rec'd. Now Kathryn Lewis available. Order finally shipped with small bonus hosta for the inconvenience. Much disturbed by this runaround, but attempted 2001 order. Same outcome except no bonus plant this time. Customer rep said owner 'really shouldn't be running a business anymore'. Never again :-(
I placed a fairly large order with this nursery this spring, primarily because they had a lot of interesting plants in what I thought were decent sizes at a decent price. However, I am very disappointed with the sizes of plants - a quart size pulmonaria was no more than a plug, 2-gallon Cryptomeria was more like a quart size, the quart size boxwood were little more than rooted cuttings. In retrospect, I paid too much for these tiny plants compared to plants from [elsewhere] where the quart size plants were the same size as the 2-gallon plants from Variegated Foliage, and cheaper, even with the shipping to the east coast. I will stay away from this nursery in the future.
Sent $3.00 check in Oct. 2000 for catalog. Never received catalog, but check never cashed either (maybe lost in the mail). Inquiries over the net resulted in someone telling me that this place is definitely in business but is a "one man" operation, and he may be overwhelmed at the response. Interesting plants and would like to know others feedback before I try sending in another check for a catalog, or ordering plants.