Have placed orders the last two years. Seed germination was excellent. Plants grow very well here in hot and humid southern IN, and I have 3 flushes of bloom a year. My order of seeds this time arrived faster than I would have thought possible, with germination occurring within two weeks. I know they have changed hands, and there may be a learning curve for the new folks, but I will continue to order.
Unfortunately, my experience was not as great as others. I only ever received an email stating that the seeds will be shipped soon. I tried to contact the company 2 or 3 times to ask if my seeds were ever shipped. I submitted the question on their website and in an email (emailed 1 or 2 times) Since I had no evidence the seeds were shipped, and could not get ahold of the company at all, I had to submit a claim to PayPal. All the sudden, I got a response from the company. The woman was quite rude to me. She may have been owner or wife of owner from the sounds of it. She insisted they were shipped because she remembered my order, having packed it up herself. That, in and of itself, is a little strange since it was probably 2 months in the past by the time I talked to her. I don't doubt they got shipped, but I had no communication shipping or a tracking number (which was probably not available because they are sent from New Zealand). I did receive my refund. However, the company ignored my emails until I filed a claim and was very rude once they replied. Had my email been answered in a timely manner, and they simply refunded my money, I would have had no issue.
Friendly and very helpful. I ordered 3 packets of seeds - 1 for each variety. My germination success rate was about 50% but then I've never had much luck with seeds so I was impressed. The delphiniums are beautiful. I'm hoping they survive the winter and come back again next year!
2122cedar Northport, WA (1 review) December 16, 2012
I was amused when I ordered one packet of seed and received two in about Jan or Feb, 2012! She must have thought me a bit simple to order one packet. Anyway, it was just perfect. I have a friend who is super at starting seed, unlike me. so I gave her one packet. She had all her seeds germinate and I ended up with five that grew for me. One was spectacular, Mauve, and grew in the one season all the way to maturity, blooming in August in Zone 5. A white one also caught up just at the end of the season. My buddy gave me four of hers, so I now have 9 Dowdswells Delphiniums to show off. I started some other seed as well, but this NZ seed and the resulting plants are Superior to any I have grown or purchased before. Thank you Mrs. Dowdswell!
Oberon46 (Mary) Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b) (6 reviews) March 13, 2012
I haven't had much luck with delphiniums up here so when I heard about this company I ordered a packet of 25 seeds. Received them very quickly. They even sent another packet of more seeds than I had ordered as a gift. I was blown away. I have read the detailed information on planting and can hardly wait to see the results.
itsahobby Cambridge, Canada (1 review) August 14, 2011
I live in Ontario, Canada, but 2 years ago I visited RHS Wisley in the UK and saw the Delphinium trials. I longed to know where the plants/seeds are available and now discover it is this company. I am going to purchase plants this week and order seeds for next year. If the results are even half as stunning as the ones I saw at Wisley I will be very happy.
hillfarm Quesnel, BC (Zone 4a) (36 reviews) June 26, 2011
Posted on September 27, 2010, updated June 26, 2011
First time ordering. Attractive website, very easy to navigate and order. Loved the automatic calculation for different currencies! Immediate response when I placed my order; shipped as promised and arrived here in Canada from New Zealand in under a week. Detailed cultural info sent with seeds, as well as a bonus packet - THANK YOU! Seeds are in fridge waiting to get into soil when greenhouses are fired up mid-winter - I operate a small nursery. Very much looking forward to seeing how these seeds germinate & grow, anticipating great things!On June 26th, 2011, hillfarm added the following:
Update: Excellent germination; big healthy plants. A few already making bloom spikes (from seeds started in January). Excited about seeing what these look like in a year or two!
PinetopPlanter Auburn Four Corners, PA (Zone 5a) (24 reviews) February 23, 2011
Posted on April 6, 2010, updated February 23, 2011
I'm so glad to have found this company. I ordered just one packet from their beautiful website (their packets are in the neighborhood of 50 seeds), and was treated to a pleasant e-mail exchange with Janice, one of the owners. Nice, nice folks to deal with. Within a week, I had my seed packet in hand, along with a gift packet of seed as well! I'm so looking forward to getting started with this seed, acknowledged by some as the best in the world. I may have to order more, soon . . . !
Also, their website is full of photos and helpful information regarding raising delphinium from seed.
Going forward, I anticipate ordering from them on a yearly basis. Thank you Janice!On February 23rd, 2011, PinetopPlanter added the following:
A couple more comments about this company. I ordered some more seed this year; WITHIN A WEEK, I had the seed. This is all the way from New Zealand. Amazing. Another comment: I had ordered some seed around August of last year in anticipation of planting early this year. As they suggest, I kept the seeds in my refrigerator until about two weeks ago. I would estimate at least 85% germination on the two varieties I planted, possibly 90%. Really exceptional seed, and obviously well handled from harvest to selling.
I have been ordering seeds and growing Dowdeswell's Delphinium annually for over 12 years. Their seeds have great germination rates and produce strong plants in colors as advertised. The deep blues are fabulous (my favorites). Their delphinium are better than any plants you can buy or grow from US- or English-sourced seed. Janice and Terry Dowdeswell have created a stunning website and offer the best delphinium seed order source bar none. Great products, great service, and the best blue flowers on the planet.
I haven't even gotten as far as physically ordering from Terry and Janice yet and I love them as dearly as family. I've been emailing and they always send personalized word back immediately, they share helpful tips and have a great family blog wherein you can mutually share in how they are most lovely and down to earth people. I wish all plant producers could be as fantastic as they are they really do take wonderful care of you... Can't say enough!
sandstreet Kinderhook, NY (Zone 5b) (1 review) April 2, 2009
Bought seed in summer of 2008. Excellent transaction. Stored in Freezer. Winter sowed in Feb 2009. Germinating very well in March. Love the website with the detailed information. All in all, excellent experience. Can't wait to see my "Gift" seeds that were the surpise included in the order.
francine60 San Leandro, CA (1 review) March 27, 2009
Love this company, their seeds and their website. If I ever get to NZ, I will make a it a point to visit them. I woud love to see their delphiniums in person
tobycat Gettysburg, PA (Zone 6b) (5 reviews) March 25, 2009
I have purchased seeds from this company for many years and had excellent results in New York state (zone 5) and Pennsylvania (zones 6 and 7). The germination is excellent and the plants healthy and beautiful, blooming the first year and expanding significantly in subsequent years. Their customer service is excellent and they are very pleasant people to work with. There is always a free 'gift mix' of seeds included with the order which yields many fun surprises. I grow hundreds of seedlings every year, and this is the best seed company I've found.
Catherine70 Victoria, Canada (2 reviews) February 25, 2009
I must concur with all the other posts. This company is a joy to do business with. Prices are very reasonable, shipping is prompt and customer service is attentive. And their website is a visual feast.
Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
sjms Keene, NH (Zone 5a) (7 reviews) March 18, 2008
I just love looking at this website, and ooohing and aaahing over all the beautiful delphiniums. Have ordered several times from them and always have had great luck with these delphiniums- they are just the best. Service is quick- folks are friendly...and good humored!
DRH2 Brunswick, ME (Zone 5a) (11 reviews) January 28, 2008
I've been ordering from Dowdeswell's for several years. Very responsive to questions, prices are very good for the quantity of seed. They are one of the premier delphinium growers in the world of the D. elatum types. This year they shipped seeds in a package that even had a stamp featuring one of their delphinium varieties. I've had excellent germination results!
rachierabbit Olympia, WA (Zone 7b) (1 review) January 27, 2008
Dowdeswell's is an A+ mail order company. They answered my questions via email quickly and thoroughly. The seeds arrived and where packaged very well and they included wonderful information about storing the seed and growing delphiniums. I will definitely order from them in the future. They also have a colorful, easy to navigate website.
grrrnthumb Marysville, WA (Zone 8a) (3 reviews) March 8, 2007
Great company! They have tons of really detailed info about growing delphiniums. Fresh seed; we had quick germination at a high rate. They quickly answered both my questions by email. The detailed care sheet they sent with the seed was even tailored with some anti-fungal info for my specific area (Pacific Northwest USA).
Suprisingly quick & easy shipping even though they're on the other side of the world.
I'll be a repeat customer. Thanks Dowdeswell's!