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Comments regarding Violet Barn (Rob's Min-O-Lets)

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85 positives
4 neutrals
12 negatives


Negative Emilyhelene
(1 review)
On Aug 26, 2017, Emilyhelene Farmington, NY wrote:

I stumbled upon this page and I have to add my experience. I live in Rochester NY and as a houseplant collector, I was excited to learn that The Volet Barn was within 35 minutes of my home. Their website stated that they welcomed customers to visit their shop, so I was bery excited to go. As I walked in I was extremely impressed by what I saw, such beautiful plants, I saw several varieties right away that I knew I would want to purchase. . Both the owner and his wife were visible in the shop but I was not greeted. As I looked around I saw many many beautiful violets most of them with signs that said "Not for sale, do not ask." Being that I understood that most of their business was mail order I did not ask about purchasing any of the violets with those signs, however since there were several different species that I was interested in purchasing that did have those signs I did ask the owners wife a question about possibly coming back when they had more of them in stock or have propogated others. I was responded to with an eye roll and was told that they were not for sale, which I knew because of the many many signs saying so on almost every plant in the shop. I tried explaining that I was inquiring about purchasing plants in the future when they had more of the varieties I was interested in. I was treated with condesencion and it was made very clear that, although their website says otherwise, customers in fact were not welcome. It was one of the worst customer service experiences I have ever had. I love visiting local garden centers and I spend good amount of money buying new plants for my home greenhouse. I have always had good experiences with other local vendors. My advice to anyone that lives nearby The Violet Barn is do not visit there expecting to feel welcome as a customer. Be prepared to be treated as if you know nothing, even if you are a plant expert and order online if absolutely necessary to purchase from them. As for myself I will a NEVER return to, and NEVER purchase anything from that establishment, I prefer to spend my hard earned money supporting other local businesses that actually know how to treat people with kindness and care.

Negative jeanettie
(1 review)
On Jan 28, 2017, jeanettie Louisville, KY wrote:

The guy is just rude and a jerk. The experiences that I bought violets and their were no conflicts with the order or the violet dying I had no problem. I've ordered from him about 4 times. The first time was my fault for assuming his website connected the information from my reviews to my order. So I let that go, because it was my fault for assuming. But he was indifferent when I had to deal with him. Talking down to me like I'm supposed to know how he organizes orders on his end of the business. Now one of my plants I got for christmas died and I asked him if there was a way to replace it . It wasn't so much his solution that he offered but yet again. He talks down to you like I'm supposed to have known. Guaranteed only applies if you use the 35.00 express shipping option. And then he infers that I overpotted it and killed it. " Looks like was repotted in a 4 or 5" pot? In any event," then he begrudgingly talks about if I order again in the next year and they have a spare he'll send it to me. I wanted to tell him to F- off.

Negative Linnie_T
(1 review)
On Mar 7, 2016, Linnie_T Cleveland, GA wrote:

These violets are guaranteed on the Violet Barn Facebook page. Not true. Mine arrived dead and Rob refused to replace. Further more upon contacting Rob and explaining that I intended to dispute the sale with my credit card company he proceeded to yell in my ear "GO AHEAD, I DONT NEEDTHE BUSINESS ANY WAY". And promptly hung up the phone. I love plants but you can find yours at a local dealer or Amazon with far better results.

Negative xmahini
(1 review)
On Dec 3, 2015, xmahini Berkeley, CA wrote:

Hi All:
I am a newbie in violets. Seeing that my husband ordered some violets from ebay, I ordered nearly $200 worth of African Violets from (with Express shipping) as a Christmas gift for my husband, thinking that a place run by a PhD must be the best place to order. I wrote in the order request that I need big plants in bloom or near bloom to make my husband happy, and if they have small plants, they need to contact me. No one contacted me. My husband stayed at home one day to receive the package. And we both were so disappointed. They sent us tiny little plants and I am not sure if they can be nursed to grow. One is even smaller than the 2-inch diameter of the pot, smaller than the pictures in their Term and Conditions webpage. I would rather have a few that are large enough and in bloom than 14 tiny, pathetic ones. I called them to no avail. They said that they did not have time to contact me. Liar, they must have spent hours to wrap the tiny plants for shipping because it took my husband an hour to unwrap them. My conclusion: they just want my money and are careless about my satisfaction. I feel so betrayed and cheated. If you want to see the pictures of my $200 worth of african violets from Violetbarn, let me know. I just stopped by a local nursery and for $12/each I got a full size, beautifully blooming one. All the pictures about blooming violets on their websites must be fake?

Negative EaglesSparrow
(1 review)
On May 27, 2015, EaglesSparrow Allentown, PA wrote:

Ordered 5 small plants from the Violet Garden in early May 2015. While 4 of the plants arrived in good condition, one, the Sinningia Bright Eyes - ($10.00), was OVER-packed and "mashed" due to the ridiculous over-packing.

I immediately contacted the Violet Barn, as they request when there is a problem with an order, included photographs of the damaged micro-mini and was told "that is what it should look like". The tiny plant was sopping wet when received and rotted. There was not a single healthy leaf on the plant.

I wrote back and stated this is NOT what a healthy Sinningia should look like. Again I was told that I was wrong and that I received "many, many" tiny plants in this quarter sized micro-mini.

I waited a week and the tiny plant turned into a small rotted patch of dead green. I wrote back again and not wanting to deal with another micro-mini Sinningia, asked them to replace with a mini violet I ordered and that arrived in good condition. I also included more photos of the now completely dead plant.

Again I was told, "My answer remains the same. You have a clump of MANY plants of 'Bright Eyes' with many tubers. Remove the brown leaves if you wish, but keep all else and do not discard the soil/root ball!"

As an online retailer myself, I never argue with a customer and do whatever I can to satisfy my customers. However, Violet Barn's repeated denial of the plant being a lost cause, is more than annoying.

While 4 of 5 arrived in good condition, I will never shop at Violet Barn again and will never have a good thing to say about the arrogant customer service I received.

The Sinningia Bright Eyes, is gone. The entire plant is a rolled up mass of rotted green at this point. I am NOT satisfied with it and consider this throwing $10 in the trash.

The other odd thing, I can no longer find "Sinningia Bright Eyes" on Violet Barn's website. It appears this may have been the last plant that likely should have been tossed rather than sold to an unwary customer.

This leaves a bad taste in my mouth. One bad apple can spoil the bushel and that is exactly how I feel about this situation.

I would like to add that I have been practicing bonsai for 40+ years - even before it became a "popular" pastime - and have over 150 plants growing at any given time. I know the difference between "healthy" and "rotted".

Negative lengle
(1 review)
On Oct 17, 2014, lengle Kansas City, MO wrote:

I was a first time buyer a couple of weeks ago. I ordered (2) violets.
packaging was nice...plants and root system were very small. For the price I was disappointed and surprised. One plant looked fine, one not so much. After 2 weeks I have lost 1. I contacted the not so friendly Rob at the Violet Barn. Only answer was I had to do something wrong. First No Perlite (yes I did) 2nd pot too big (plant in same pot came in) 3rd I over watered. (I had only watered 1 time, putting 1/2" water in the bottom of my pot in a pot) I asked he replace and will not.. he will give me a free plant on my next order.
I think not... why would I re-order from a company that will not back his products... and only places blame. sounds like many has had good luck.. but if you are one that does not.. don't expect any service.. only attitude.

Negative sheilasouth
(4 reviews)
On Mar 21, 2009, sheilasouth Osage, IA wrote:

My previous experiences were fairly positive, although the hoyas were very small. To date, now 3 years later, they are still in the same tiny pots & haven't bloomed. This time I tried epscias & African violets...I have to go with the negative rating because they sent the order while the temps were still too cold @ night to arrive safely, even with heat packs & expensive express shipping. I explained the problem to the owners & they took the attitude that I was making this up & the plants really hadn't died. They said they had no problem with shipping to other people in cold climes, & not only one, but TWO seperate orders to my climate were unable to survive. I don't like owners that act mad @ me when the weather causes plant loss. So, they will wait till MAY to send replacements, even when I assured them that April would be fine. I just don't like this guys thanks to ordering from them again. I don't need this kind of grumpy attitude...there are others out there that don't consider me a liar. What happened to assuming the best about their customers.??..When did these guys gets so jaded??? Sorry, but they will get no more of my business.

Negative limbiclady
(6 reviews)
On Oct 8, 2008, limbiclady Lakewood, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I placed an order with Rob's, for begonias. I forget how many, but the order came to around $64. While I received them in a timely manner (from placing the order) and it was not too early in the season - June or early July, I received very small plantlets with poorly developed roots. Most of the plants did not survive, in spite of my nurturing them.

I am an experienced and successful terrarium and begonia grower. I would recommend that if you do buy from Rob's, you should request that they grow the plants up a little before shipping rather than receive a specimen that can't thrive. I am seriously disappointed and they did not respond to my emails. I will not purchase from him again.

Negative lucyscap
(1 review)
On Oct 23, 2007, lucyscap Stratford, CT wrote:

First time buyer from this company this past summer. Paid close to $60 for 8 plants. Plants that arrived were very small and packaging was really overkill. After two weeks three of the plants developed wilt and I ended up tossing them. Called the Violet Barn and left a detailed message on their answering machine, which to date, I have received no reply to. Very disappointing. Will not order again.

Negative kimskreations
(4 reviews)
On Jun 5, 2007, kimskreations Kennebunk, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

I ordered this spring for the first time from the Violet Barn.
My order consisted of 3 hoyas.
Needless to say, they were TINY cuttings. I potted them into their new homes only to discover that the Polyneura (which is why I placed the order originally) had NO roots and quickly died after moving. I called Rob to let him know and to explain that I couldn't send a picture as they no longer accept e-mail. He said that the next time I placed an order he would send me a new one. So I asked him if I bought one now what my total would be....$17.00! $12.00 of that being shipping for 1 plant. Needless to say, I felt that was too expensive for the size plants he sends. They charged me $12.00 shipping for 3 cuttings that cost them $5.40 to mail.
I hate nurseries that make money on the shipping!

So, all in all I ended up with 2 small rooted cuttings for $27.00!!!!!!

Never again!


Negative shivers
(2 reviews)
On Nov 22, 2006, shivers Rochester, MN wrote:

While I have ordered from the Violet Barn before with good success, I am not pleased now. Several months ago I placed an order with them----weeks went by and I never received it or heard a word from them. Unfortunately there is no phone number on their website where customers can call. I sent another email again asking for the status of my order. It has been about a month and I still haven't heard anything. Since they did not charge my credit card I did not lose money----but for whatever reason they do not contact their customers or keep track of their orders. :(

Negative fairclo1
(1 review)
On Sep 19, 2005, fairclo1 Fayetteville, NC wrote:

I placed an order for African violets, streptocarpus, hoyas, and chiritas. One of the violet cultivars (Crismson Ice) showed the symptoms of a virus when it first bloomed (within a few weeks after I received it.) The blossom virus, not uncommon, manifested itself as lighter streaks of discoloration in the flower. One of the hoyas had a red mite infestation. I later discovered that two of the streptocarpus had root mealybugs. I put all of the plants under lights in a separate room away from my collection upon receipt, so that I wouldn't introduce any pathogens. I wasn't too bothered by the insects and mites. I know large growers often have small popultations of pests that they mostly keep under control, but the virus is more problematic. So I emailed the company just to let them know about the problem with the virus, not mentioning the other two pests. I wasn't asking for a refund or replacement, because I have so many plants that any one cultivar is not that important. I just wanted to let them know so that they would be aware of the problem and hopefully correct it for future customers. I received a reply (I think from Rob) asking "How did you determine this?" I think it was pretty obvious. Flower viruses are not uncommon in African violets and many other plants. I did not pursue it any further, but it does seem to me that three different pathogens in one plant order is a bit sloppy for any grower.

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