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Comments regarding Bob Smoley's Gardenworld

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32 positives
11 neutrals
9 negatives


Neutral concretebrunett
(3 reviews)
On Feb 20, 2008, concretebrunett Brookeland, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

On the whole, I was satisfied with my purchase. I ordered five plants. One died promptly & a second one died months later, most likely due to frost.
The only reason I don't plan on ordering from Mr. Smoley again is because his website has no pictures of the plants (leading you to have to look them up on other websites), and the order-placing process is overly complicated for an on-line seller, including a snail-mail confirmation (?) should be much more streamlined.
If you know exactly what plant you are looking for & don't mind waiting an absurd amount of time just to know your order was received, then this is an okay seller.
I can safely say that I did NOT receive a scorpion in my package...and wonder how common scorpions are in Pennsylvania

Neutral greyduck
(1 review)
On Sep 10, 2007, greyduck Charlotte, NC wrote:

I placed an online order with Gardenworld on May 15, 2007.
Unfortunately, for me my order was too big for the online order form. So I contact Mr. Smoley that same day via email letting him know that the form was too small but that I had paid the full amount via paypal and included the transaction number with the plant material that I ordered.

On May 29, I received in the mail a reply to the online order, that I had not sent enough money and that my order was changed. Again, I sent a copy of my original email and explained what I wanted. He contacted me and stated that he would take care of it.

On August 3, 2007, contact Mr. Smoley again to find out the status of the order since it had been over two months, which I thought was outside his normal processing times, to make sure it had not gotten lost in the mail. On August 6, I got a reply that he should be shipping that week and that he was behind.

On August 31, 2007, I contact Mr. Smoley again for another status update. On September 3, 2007, I received a notice that my order would be shipped the very next day.

On September 6, 2007, I received my package of plant materials and was very excite to see what I had gotten.
The first few plants looked great and I couldn't wait to get to the bottom of the box. Of course, what was waiting for me at the bottom of the box was an even bigger surprise.

There was a small scorpion about 2 to 3 inches long in the bottom of the box. It would have been one thing if it had been dead. But no it was very much alive and very upset.
Not as upset as it was after it met the bottom of my shoe.

In North Carolina, we do not have scorpions, so I don't know a good one from a bad one. So I wrote Mr Smoley about this. This is his reply:

"Simply kill the critter !!
He must have gotten into the wrapping paper that was used for packing....I remember that day when I was packing your order along with others that I got stung by something....I thought it was a scorpion by the sharp sting but could find his is not a big deal as they are completely harmless....only a bee sting type sting. They do not eat the plants or lay eggs if this is what you are getting at....enjoy his company."

Completely harmless unless you are allergic to bees or have small childern or pets! I don't know about other folks here, but getting stung by a bee or a scorpion is not something I enjoy and look forward to.

As a consumer, I can understand the wait for a specialty product that is produced in a limited quantity. But the website should reflect that wait times in excess of three months not two are possible and likely.

As a horticulture major, I can now understand the importance of shipping restrictions on plants to protect from pests and disease. From now on all new material will be opened outside and in broad daylight to protect myself and my family. I will not rely on nurseries to follow the rules.

As a manager dealing with customers, it is important to say you're sorry and try to reassure the customer. A "Hey I am sorry, not sure how it got in there. But don't worry, it's sting is just like that of a bee. Sorry again, we will try and do a better job next time. " is better than a what are you complaining about just kill it!

Plant Material: A
Plant Selection: A+
Customer Service: D-

Neutral towers
(16 reviews)
On Jun 9, 2006, towers (Zone 6a) wrote:

just got my plants froo Bob Smoley's Gardenworld
all plants was in good shape

On August 14th, 2006, towers added the following:

Just got other order .plants are great and bob was very helpful .when i was trying to find plants .
On November 10th, 2007, towers changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:

cant seem to get any one by email
so ill look at other web sight .
On November 11th, 2007, towers changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

can some one tell me what is what with Bob Smoley's Gardenworld
im getting no one there just send a email been doing this for a good week or two .
Neutral gingerbaby2000
(5 reviews)
On Nov 12, 2005, gingerbaby2000 Brooklyn, NY wrote:

I must admit that when the plants finally do arrive they look very good and are quite healthy.
The only problem is he that you sometimes get the plants 8-9 weeks after you placed the order. But the thing that took me over the edge was that he immediately cashed the check but didn't even get back to me to give me an idea of when I was going to get my order. On the whole I would recommend him, if you don't mind the wait.


Neutral palmbob
(17 reviews)
On Oct 5, 2005, palmbob Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Had mixed experiences with Bob's place- ordered three times now- first time I was amazed at the selection.. All plants were larger than I expected and in excellent condition (didn't keep me from killing half of them, but that was my fault).

Next time took a bout two months to get the order back, but it was winter and they warned me it would take longer, so can hardly complain. Got a fern which I expected to be a joke, as it was packed with aloes... but it was in excellent condition and is doing great today.

The selection is wonderful, especially if you're into Hoyas or flowering cacti... which, unfortunately, I'm not (yet). But still a pretty good aloe selection.

On the down side, there are many mispelllings. Also some very questionable names- things that don't seem to exist, or perhaps so badly mispelled I just can't figure them out.

The last order I made has taken too long to get back... it was in early August, and it's now nearly the second week in October and still no sign of plants. They sent me the same winter warning of delayed shipping... I know it's cold in Pennsylvania in the winter... but even Pennsylvania is warm in August. And anyway, it looks like the growing grounds are in Florida. I did e-mail them and they promptly said plants would be on their way... but still 10 days now and nothing. I don't mind the wait so much as the unexpected wait... and it's getting cooler now and I am worried things aren't going to adjust as well this time of the year. Maybe I should have ordered in the spring for a late summer delivery??

Maybe I will update this when/if plants show up.

On November 13th, 2005, palmbob added the following:

Ok... it's the middle of November now and still no plants... soon it will be winter and they won't be able to deliver them until next year. Hmmm. I think 3.5 months is a bit long to have to wait for an order. NOt sure what the delay is, but I will have to e-mail them again.
On January 12th, 2006, palmbob added the following:

Finally got plants.... end of November, a lot later in the year than I had hoped. Unfornately some did not make it this time (too cool this time of the year), but the plants sent were, as usual, in good condition. Had I a greenhouse or someplace to root some of them, I might have saved them all. Oh well.. Next order, if I do it again, will have to be in spring so will be sure to get stuff before winter.
On May 22nd, 2006, palmbob added the following:

I must be a glutton for punishment... ordered more plants (why... because they have a lot of great plants...) beginning of March 06. Got an immediate reply saying shipment could take 6-8 weeks... but it's been nearly 12 weeks and it's gonna get hot soon (not the best time to plant... similar problem I encountered last time, only then I didnt' get plants until it got cold here). Not sure what takes so long, or if being a complainer has put me on their 'whiner' list and they delay orders on purpose... but it is aggravating. I was exaggerating before saying I should order 6 months ahead of when I want the plants, but perhaps that wouldn't be a bad idea ... if there is a next time.
On June 3rd, 2006, palmbob added the following:

When I wrote them this time to ask why things hadn't been sent yet, Bob wrote back saying he didn't know time was important... so from now on, if you want your plants the same season as you order them, you might request that up front. My mistake was I didn't say there was a hurry, but nor did I say take a half year to process my order. It is June and plants are still not here. And now it's over 100F. Sigh. At this point, it really doesn't matter any more when the plant will get here, as I may have to hold on to them in a cooler area until October when I can plant them. So if you want plants in the spring, probably best to order them in the fall... and if you want them in the fall, best to order in spring... I am beginning to figure it out.
Neutral dmichael619
(5 reviews)
On Jun 14, 2005, dmichael619 Murrells Inlet, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I received plants from Mr Smoley on 6/13/05 that I ordered several weeks earlier.

I have bought from him in the past and have been pleased with my purchase but this most recent one was a little disappointing.

I bought a peanut cactus collection that is offered as 10 varieties for $25. In his online catalog he has 34 different hybrids listed for sale,in a rainbow of colors.

When I received my plants one of the 10 had turned to mush in the box but this was not my problem with the order,nor was the size or quality of the plants. In fact the quality and size far exceeded what I had expected to get.

The problem I had with my order was the fact that he offers an array of colors in this cactus but my collection of 10 consisted of 4 yellow,4 reds ,1 white and 1 purpleish color.

When offering a collection of something for sale more care should be taken when choosing which colors to send. If I had only wanted 1 or 2 colors I could have ordered the plants anywhere .

I am posting this feedback as neutral because I was partially satisfied with my order and most likely will order from this grower again in the future.

Neutral hbabcock
(6 reviews)
On May 20, 2005, hbabcock Los Angeles, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I order from Bob a couple of times last spring. This was my first experience with mail order plants. It took several months to receive my order, which being a newcomer I didn't know any different. The plants were rooted cuttings, a bit small, but I was still pleased. After ordering from other companies, I realized I could get more for my bucks, so I tend to stick to other companies to order my Hoya plants. If they don't have what I am looking for, I would consider ordering from Bob's again. As long as I have a few months to hang out and wait for them.

Neutral gardengalca
(7 reviews)
On Jan 18, 2004, gardengalca wrote:

I've ordered from Bob several times over the years, and am more or less pleased with my experience. Because he does a lot of shows, orders can sometimes take a very long time to be filled. The plants are usually nicely sized but are often mislabeled.

Neutral raia
(4 reviews)
On Aug 27, 2003, raia wrote:

My experience with this nursery was somewhat perplexing. I placed an order explicitly stating that I did not want substitutions and yet I received them anyway. Also, the catalog listed a plant which is often found only as a graft. The catalog listed this plant "on its own roots". I ordered this plant only to receive a grafted specimen. I will also note that the rest of my order was fine. Plants were healthy and shipping was not too long. I did not complain to the vendor as I had limited experience. I do not understand the inconsistencies though.

Neutral IndaShade
(24 reviews)
On Jan 25, 2002, IndaShade Kylertown, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have ordered several times from Bob Smoley. His plants are healthy and vigorous, delivery time and packing is okay, but he sometimes sends misidentified plants. This is very frustrating. Still, he has alot of things that can't be found anywhere else. I will still continue to order from him.

Neutral michaelgerzog
(2 reviews)
On Dec 1, 2000, michaelgerzog wrote:

His plant list includes a huge number of hoya species plus lots of other succulents, but my experience with him was frustrating. I placed my order in the middle of March. On the web site, one is warned that can take up to 7 weeks to ship orders (on the snail mail confirmation, the 7 had become 8), so after 9 weeks but no plants and no word, I sent e-mail. To his credit (and unlike some others with whom I've dealt), Mr. Smoley responded quickly, saying the plants would go out the following week. Three weeks later they were finally sent. Along with a refund check and a note telling me that two of the plants (half my order) were unavailable because of Winter losses (which hadn't become apparent until the end of May?) On the other hand, the plants were fine. One of the two is significantly bigger than I expected and is in fine shape. The other is basically a rooted cutting, a little beat up and kind of anemic, but good-sized; I expect it will grow on fine. I guess my bottom line is a mixed review. I can live with "advance orders," but it was very frustrating not having any real idea what was going on with my order, and I suspect that if I hadn't contacted him, it might have taken even longer than it did. But if you want unusual hoyas, there aren't exactly a vast number of sources. Just be prepared to be, uh, "flexible."

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