dave12122 East Haddam, CT (76 reviews) June 1, 2018
I'm having a hard time rating my sole transaction with this company--an order of four plants. Guess I would have to go with somewhere between a neutral and a positive. Things got off to a bad start when I unpacked the plant I was looking most forward to first, Aucuba japonica "picturata". In an effort to fit the tall plant into the box, someone had FOLDED it practically in half. Yes you read correctly, they FOLDED it. Now I have a two dimensional Aucuba that looks like one of those old fashioned TV antennas that are going akimbo in every direction. It would have been so easy to just use a slightly larger box to accommodate the plant. After all I did pay almost $20.00 for postage. The two Agapanthius were healthy. very potbound and practically impossible to get out of their pots. Lastly, The Polygala appears a bit chlorotic, being an odd yellow/green color. Sometimes chamaebuxus and its forms are a bit yellowish, so I'll let that go.
However, I can't let go of some of the comments from a little insert in the box, "important information about your new plants". Here's a little excerpt, the capital letters are theirs: "DO NOT bring your plants inside; DO NOT put your plants under lights. DO NOT leave your plants in their crammed pots for months and send us a photo of dead plants.". When I read this for the first time, I felt like I was being scolded. I mean what are they going to do next, send me to bed without any supper?? Not to mention they are dead wrong here. Sometimes I receive plant orders far too early to be planted outdoors in my zone. In those cases, I have successfully kept the ordered items in the house for a few weeks, on a cool porch. I have also kept plant orders for short periods in the house under lights. OF COURSE, the plants Secret Garden Growers sells are not designed for "home culture", I am just saying an experienced grower could keep them inside with some care. I have also kept orders in their original pots the entire season. They need careful attention to watering, as they will dry out very quickly, but it can be done. I agree that it is not Secret Gardens problem if the plants dry out due to the buyer's negligence. However, this whole "care sheet" reminds me of "How to be a good customer" by Plant Delights Nursery, another high handed piece.
Would I order form Secret Gardens again? That's a tough one. I have a shrub which looks like a pressed herbarium specimen which may or may not recover. The Agapanthus were reasonably good value, but they are easy to grow in many gardens. Hopefully the Chamaebuxus will become more green when planted in the ground. I would ask that they use a bigger box for shipping and that the plants be less root-bound. In short, I was "underwhelmed" by my Secret Garden Growers order. Hopefully, others will have better luck.
ordered several plants this summer which arrived well packaged and super large......very happy.....just placed another order.......be patient....this is a small nursery not a factory........
Ted_B Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) (7 reviews) September 14, 2017
Plants ordered on a Wednesday were shipped at the beginning of the following week as specified on the website, and received the following Thursday via USPS Priority. Plants were carefully packed to retain moisture and were well secured within the packaging. Was the $19.50 shipping charge worth it? Considering that the flat rate for a large USPS Priority box from my zip code to Canby, OR is roughly that same price, I find no basis for complaint. Shipping live plants is always a delicate matter. This vendor was both meticulous and timely in filling the order. I am completely satisfied.
I ordered 3 plants from this company about 3 weeks go. The plants cost $16 each and the shipping was $19.50. The plants arrived packed in a standard Priority Mail medium size box. $19.50 for Priority Mail?? The plants are very small, a bit sickly looking, and only about 3.5 to 4 inches tall. One plant had 2 small leaves and the other 2 plants had one leave each. The dirt had fallen away from the roots on one of the plants, I doubt any of them will survive. I DON'T recommend ordering from this company.Company representative comment on September 28, 2017: On Sep 28, 2017 5:15 PM, Secret Garden Growers responded with:
Virginia, I wish you had reached out to me before posting a review here, but since you didn't, I would like to say that I personally chose and readied your plants for shipping. The Farfugiums you ordered had very large leaves that needed to be removed before shipping as they would have been damaged in transit. They will quickly grow new ones...such is the nature of this particular plant. These were sturdy, healthy and happy specimens in full 4" pots...with perennials, it is all about root systems! Shipping and handling costs are clearly addressed in the online ordering process so I am not sure why you seem unhappy with this. We would be happy to get these plants back if you are not satisfied and would reimburse you for shipping.
KCfilberts Dayton, OR (Zone 7b) (1 review) April 18, 2017
Because I live not far from the nursery, I asked if I could make an appointment to pick up my plants rather than having them shipped. Easily arranged and plants were waiting for me when I arrived. I also selected more while I was there. All plants looked great and were a nice size and staff was more than helpful. Will do business with them again.
Posted on July 26, 2016, updated July 26, 2016
Posted on July 2, 2016, updated July 26, 2016
I purchased a few plants from this company. Overall, the plants received were very small for the price paid. Some plants died during the winter, though they were rated to my zone. (I even lost their tulips in the winter!) I am also not happy with their communication. I found them to be a rude nursery to deal with. I would rather take my business elsewhere. I do not recommend this company. On July 26th, 2016, Canarykeeper added the following:
The company never mailed a replacement item. The tulip that died was purchased last year in 2015. I had to purchase 2 more this year (2016) to replace it. Company does not seem to be trustworthy and rather likes to humiliate people than take responsibility. On July 26th, 2016, Canarykeeper added the following:
I need to add the following:
The plant in question was planted on a very overcast day with light rain showers. The temperature at the time was in the low 70s. We had rain for the next 2 weeks, so the "full sun" statement was that I had not planted this bramble bush under a tree or something. Eventually, the area became full sun. I know better than to plant something from a dark box into bright light. At any rate, secret garden growers jumped to the conclusion that I'm an idiot, and refused to help. The ghost bramble bush received was 4" tall when sent with a very small root system.
2nd point: Notice their rude response to my rating? They think it is "odd" that my plants died during the winter? What, they don't keep track of customer records??? I placed an order with them last year, and several plants died rated to my zone, including the tulip. I guess I am an idiot for trusting them with a 2nd order. Never again.Company representative comment on July 5, 2016: On Jul 5, 2016 10:23 AM, Secret Garden Growers responded with:
It is hard to explain to a customer that took a plant (described as needing part shade) out of the shipping box and planted it in full sun the same day it arrived that its death was not a result of a defective or damaged shipment. We do enclose our 'VERY IMPORTANT' Plant Care Instructions with every order to prevent these kinds of casualties. Obviously, our attempt at identifying the problem hurt this customer's feelings. The claim that plants died over the winter is odd, since the plants mentioned were shipped in late April of this year (about 2 months ago)...and the email 24 hours before this review from this customer stated that all the other plants received were "doing very well". We had a replacement plant ready to ship as a courtesy even though the plant was lost due to customer error.
I needed to email Secret Gardens about my shipping address and got a super-fast reply. When my plants arrived, they were as fresh as if they had been shipped that morning -- and I'm in a neighboring state! The plants arrived simply packed in recyclable materials, too. Now as I watch them grow in my yard, I'll think of this nursery in Oregon -- and I wouldn't hesitate to order again.
teskopal Bethlehem, PA (Zone 6a) (10 reviews) June 9, 2016
I'm in the process of placing my second order. Based on my first, I think I have a new favorite mail-order nursery.
I've had generally good results ordering plants online, but GW certainly is helped those stats by pointing me in the right direction where before things were more hit-or-miss. This forum turned me on to another quite well rated company that starts with B and ends with e and prints slick catalogs, and I've had generally good experiences over nearly a dozen orders with that company and gotten very nice plants. No complaints.
I say all that to say this: The plants I got a couple of weeks ago from Secret Garden were a notch better which I almost didn't think was possible. They came from Oregon to Pennsylvania, emerged from the box extremely well packaged and the plants were huge. The dianthus which was the plant I was most looking forward to was full and healthy and the pot was actually bulging from the rootball. Another flowering perennial had buds on it which actually opened after transplanting, which I found remarkable. I had a brief email exchange with one of the owners or managers and found her thoroughly pleasant and helpful. All in all a great experience-- and since the selection is so good I'm sure there will many more orders in my future. Enthusiastically recommended.
Sacheverel Clinton Corners, NY (Zone 6a) (1 review) May 4, 2016
I ordered four specimens of Geum rivale (a beautiful and little-known plant that's really hard to find) from Secret Garden.
The box arrived today. I found four carefully-packed plants with lots of growth. I was enormously impressed with both the specimens and the packing. (It makes the crushing shipping charges a little less painful to bear. And of course, that's not their fault; we live in an enormous country.)
Just received my plants of Iris 'Gerald Darby.' They are the only growers of it in the US that I could find. I find it incredible that such a great plant is not more widely available.
Very nice plants at a reasonable price. Communication was good. Plants were well packed and shipped promptly. Recommended.
martin_j East Porterville, CA (1 review) September 25, 2015
Awesome customer service. Prompt and personalized. Plants were way bigger that expected for seedlings. Plants were well packaged, and arrived in great condition, even considering the high 90's temp we were having. I will definitely be a returning customer.
LindaMorita Huntington Beach, CA (1 review) April 11, 2014
First time buyer (Zingiber Mioga 'Dancing Crane'). Service was outstanding starting from the immediate e-mail confirmation that order received, when it would ship, notification of shipment and ability to track it (UPS). When my plants arrived, they were in perfect shape - well supported, enough moisture packed with plant via damp newspaper. Complete instructions for immediate care and planting were included. I am hooked! Will be watching for more interesting offerings from Secret Garden Growers.
BoiseMimi Garden City, ID (1 review) September 5, 2013
This is my first experience with mail-order plants, as we have an excellent nursery in town that carries tons of perennials that grow very well here. However, it's the end of the season, so availability is limited. Furthermore, I live much higher than my zip code would indicate, and the bed I wanted the plants for is exposed to continuous north winds; hence, I needed plants that would thrive in a colder zone number than people usually use for our valley. I submitted my order in the evening; that night, I realized I had counted wrong, so I sent off an e-mail the next a.m. to see if I could add to the order. I got an almost immediate positive reply. The plants arrived today, two days after shipping, sent priority mail. Of course, I had been careful to select a grower who is just one state away. The six plants are absolutely gorgeous. They were amazingly well-packed, with damp newspaper wrapped around the base of the stem at soil level to help keep the soil moist. The pots and the paper were encased in plastic, and the top of the plant was carefully wrapped in newspaper for protection. They were then packed in an appropriately sized carton and arrived with everything except one blade of grass (just slightly bent) in perfect condition. Can't wait to see these green babies come springtime. I would definitely order from Secret Garden Growers again.
wmc Oak Park, IL (Zone 5a) (10 reviews) June 11, 2013
Posted on June 11, 2013, updated June 11, 2013
Posted on May 20, 2012, updated June 11, 2013
I was a challenging customer, complaining about shipping costs (roughly 50% of the plant costs), receiving another customer's packing slip with my order, and the small size of two of plants that I received (platycodon grandiflora), one that was dormant and did not survive, the other is still on the intensive care list. Nonetheless, Pat was patient and persistent. She explained her shipping policy (it was my choice, after all), replaced the plant that didn't survive with one big enough to divide if the other one dies, and apologized for the packing slip mix up. The diversity of plant choices at SGG is most impressive. Problems with orders are unavoidable. Efforts to make an order right makes for customer satisfaction.On June 11th, 2013, wmc changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
In retrospect, my initial "positive" review was overly generous which is probably evident by the content of that review. Turns out that none of the platycodon grandiflora survived what was not a harsh Chicago area winter, despite being rated by Secret Garden Growers for my zone. When I asked for a refund just for those plants (not for others that are thriving and not for the expensive shipping costs), my request was declined, accompanied by a quote from their policy "for the record" and throw-away comments like "certain plants just don't perform." My experience with this vendor is in stark contrast with those who have received positive reviews from me including instances of plants being replaced or refunds provided after not surviving a winter. Instead, this vendor stated that "I do not see that the plants not making it a year after the fact reflects on the quality or health of our plants in any way." Agreed, but these plants were advertised for my zone and failed to perform accordingly, even though they were in good health "last year."On June 11th, 2013, wmc added the following:
It certainly can be argued that this vendor acted within their bounds (and they do make that argument) and that I have little or no room to complain. Perhaps, but there are other vendors who suspend "policy" in an effort to stand by their product and invest in nurturing return customers. Penny wise. . . Company representative comment on June 12, 2013: On Jun 12, 2013 8:01 PM, Secret Garden Growers responded with:
This plant order was shipped over a year ago in April of 2012. Some customers feel they can bully the vendors here on Dave’s by promising to “give us a good review” if we do what they want and “give us a negative review” if we don’t. I don’t feel that is what the review system here is all about. It would be unfair to all of our customers if we start making exceptions to our policies to get good reviews! A LOT can happen to a plant in 14 months...
ferncrazy San Francisco, CA (3 reviews) May 26, 2013
Their website is well-organized. The plants shipped were packaged beautifully and the plants were gorgeous, excellent size, terrific condition. I can't recommend them highly enough!
BrisbaneAnne Brisbane, CA (Zone 10b) (31 reviews) September 27, 2012
Fast shipping. Plants look very nice when arrived. Customer service was prompt when I inquired about the shipping date.
I received my plants 3 days after I ordered them. They were in generous pots and in great condition. They are a good size- big enough that you won't forget you planted them but small enough that they weren't cramped in shipping. Customer service was prompt and I will definitely be buying from them again.
Trinikat Cooper City, FL (1 review) September 23, 2011
I had a great experience with this company. The communication was excellent and they went above and beyond to ensure that I was completely satisfied. I wouldn't hesitate to order from them again. I highly recommend.
roberta1977 Orchard Park, NY (Zone 5a) (4 reviews) August 26, 2011
I ordered several plants that I had had problems finding locally (and in some cases online) including Japanese Forest Grass 'Albostriata" and some Epimedium. I paid extra for 2-3 day shipping as they are in Oregon and I am in New York; the shipping costs were worth it to me as I could not find some of the plants elsewhere. The plants arrived promptly and in very good shape, well packed and healthy. When one of the boxes did not arrive with the other two, I contacted Secret Garden Growers and they checked up on the shipment and the third box came the next day. I will definitely order from them again.
This company is not honest about it's plant sizes, and customer services is very poor if you try to report a problem.
I purchased 'Ipheion Uniflorum Ralph Fielder' from them. It was supposed to be a 3" pot sized plant. What I got was a plug sized plant that was hastily re-potted into a 3 inch pot (without growing out!). With practices like that they might as well have stuck it in a gallon size pot and charge gallon sized prices.
When I contacted customer service to report the problem I was told that the reason the top growth was so small was that it was going dormant, but they insisted that it had an extensive root system (with multiple bulbs underneath). They were very adamant about it and made it clear that the matter was not open to discussion.
I knew that they were clueless because the top wasn't dormant at all (it was green and actively growing), but I let it slide and hoped there really would be something underneath. Nope. When I pulled it out of the pot to plant it I found hardly any roots at all (they matched the measly top growth) and there was ONE small tuber (about the size of a marble).
The plant was a total rip off. I'm sorry I ever ordered from them.Company representative comment on June 30, 2011: On Jun 30, 2011 8:36 AM, Secret Garden Growers responded with:
I have no idea why this customer chose to make a negative post here on Dave's Garden rather than respond to my email about the plant that was purchased. I explained that there were multiple bulbs in each pot and that the tops were starting to go dormant and asked her to "please check the below ground portions of the plant and let me know if she still felt the same way". I also stated that "we wanted her to be HAPPY with her new plants" and that "we stand behind every plant we grow". I am the grower, I am the shipper. I am the customer service. I am not clueless. I am not dishonest. The plants were not from plugs. I would have been happy to replace or refund had this customer simply responded to my email that I sent her the same day I received her original complaint. I guess some people just need an audience...
Have ordered twice from this company. The plants received are lush and healthy. The shipping is very fast. This company is the best and their customer service is outstanding. Recommend Secret Garden Growers.
Heavinscent South West, LA (Zone 9a) (5 reviews) May 16, 2009
I ordered 2 plants and thought the $15.00 for shipping was a bit on the high side until they arrived today... I have never seen plants packed so well! Not even a leaf out of place. The plants themselves looked great, a very nice size for the price. I am all around impressed with Secret Garden Growers and I will be shopping with them again soon!
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the plants I ordered and the extra care taken in packaging them for shipping. It was refreshing to deal with real people that went out of their way to provide personal customer service. Their plant selection is amazing...I will definitely be a regular customer!
Got my order today...I was so excited! So many rare and unusual selections to chose from. Felt like Christmas unwrapping each plant...all big, healthy and well rooted, packed with care and absolutelty undamaged. Loved the personal touch and prompt communication; it is obvious these people really love their plants and care about their customers. I do a lot of plant mail order and dealing with these guys was really refreshing! Will place another order soon - highly recommend this company!
jdo1217 El Mirage, AZ (Zone 9b) (7 reviews) January 21, 2009
My order arrived today with all plants looking green and fresh despite having spent the MLK weekend at the post office. Plants are good sized and well rooted. Communication was great. I would definitely recommend this company.