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Comments regarding Richard Owen Nursery / Exciting Gardens

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29 positives
14 neutrals
162 negatives


Positive Suze1
(6 reviews)
On Sep 22, 2018, Suze1 Dodge Center, MN wrote:

I was burned earlier this year by another mail-order gardening company, and was reluctant to order from anyone but a select few. But we had our heart set on jack-in-the-pulpits, and the only place we found them was at Exciting Gardens. The fact that I received them, they appeared to be healthy, and that the company was responsive to my inquiries, was more than I expected. I will report back next year when they start sprouting.

Positive carriegarden
(2 reviews)
On Jun 16, 2014, carriegarden Kansas City, MO wrote:

When I received the Richard Own Spring 2014 Exciting Gardens catalog early in the spring, I almost hyperventilated over the low prices!

I'm a new gardener but already addicted to garden catalogs and have started purchasing some pretty expensive items from several of the big name growers.

My first thought was "these prices are too good to be true." Then I checked the online reviews. Wow! So negative! Obviously it WAS too good to be true! What the heck...I'll place a small order and find out for myself.

All the places I order from always charge my credit card up front. The items from Richard Owen came a few weeks later, about par for other suppliers. Since I'd read the reviews the small plastic bags with dormant plants weren't a surprise. After reading the instructions on how to plant, I plopped 'em in the ground, watered them...and waited. The 12 candytuft plants I ordered are all greening up and starting to leaf out. It's a total bargain!

And they included some bonus strawberry and balloon flower plants, all of which are also leafing out.

The folks at Richard Owen should re-think their marketing. Instead of that nonsense in the catalog about "three years of labor", and is "it worth the price of $7.99?" they should explain in the catalog that their plants are a wonderful bargain...and especially let purchasers know what to expect when they open the shipment.

Turns out, my first order WAS a bargain, and now I'm going to place a much larger one!

Positive atessmer
(1 review)
On Jul 11, 2013, atessmer HUBBARD LAKE, MI wrote:

I ordered last year from Richard Owen Nursery and I had a couple plants that did not survive. Those that did are healthy beautiful plants. I sent them a letter with a list of the plants that did not make it through the winter with the shipping labels and they promptly replaced every single plant with no questions asked. I think their customer service is wonderful and would highly recommend this company. I will be placing all my future orders with them.

On Jul 11, 2013, Richard Owen Nursery / Exciting Gardens responded with:

"On Aug 3, 2013 11:35 AM, Richard Owen Nursery / Exciting Gardens responded with:

We wanted to thank you for your kind posting on Garden Watchdog. Your experience is more typical of our normal customers as we do ship hundreds of thousands of packages to satisfied customers each year. We just wanted to thank you for taking the time to post your comments!"

Positive shanae_perez
(1 review)
On Jun 7, 2013, shanae_perez Vallejo, CA wrote:

In May I ordered $150 dollars worth of plants.
Ordering tips:
-order one month before you need to plant. The site specifically says it takes 1-2 weeks just to process the order and then they try and ship based on weather. (Ordering plants that bloom in summer, in September, would be a mistake.)
-Research the plants you see in the Catalogues. Order before appropriate planting times. Make sure they are correct for your zone.
-these are bare root dormant plants, don't expect what you get at The Home Depot. Follow the care instructions.
- if you live in a very hot climate order in April or before. store spring flower bulbs in a cool DARK ventilated space until fall planting. (Research what bulbs are planted when)
- prepare planting areas while you wait for your order. The order comes in multiple shipments when you order a lot, but keep in mind how much work each plant will require and try to get as much done before they arrive as you can, that way you can get non-woody plants in the ground immediately.

I got the Pre-planned Rose Garden...all are alive and doing well. They seem to be growing fast. One was a little moldy but I pruned those parts off and it's still alive. Not growing like the others but 9 out of 10 isnt bad! For $5 dollars each I consider it a fantastic deal. I have to admit that it didn't come with the planting guide. I just went by the picture, it looks great. (Tip:plant high watch them die, plant low, watch them grow!)
I also really like the hybrid lilly bulbs! They come up fast! The hostas I got seem to be growing fast as well.
I got the Robin Hood Rose bushes, they are growing well. I also got the Mock Orange bushes and they looked like little dead twigs...they weren't! I soaked them for longer than a 4... tiny green buds appeared!
I got the perennial bargain... I got 4 mediterranean pinks (didn't know they were on the list!) 4 carnations (carnations are edible I found out) 4 creeping phlox, and 4 hybrid lilies, and 4 ballon flowers. The balloon flowers grow fast as well. The phlox doesn't creep fast!
I also got the flame and pampas and fescue grasses. They come as tiny bits of grass on soil wrapped in a bag...the flame grasses are dry roots. The flame grasses are growing. The Pampas grass will take awhile to get to be the full size. Maybe a year or two I assume.
I went ahead and ordered a couple more things. Some freesia bulbs and gladiola bulbs. I think the bulbs and roses are the best deal. If you don't mind waiting a couple years for shrubs and bushes to be established they're a great deal too. I also got some butterfly bushes and some rose of Sharon trees.
For the price I'm fine with having to do a little extra work and with waiting for my garden to establish. Plus it's really rewarding getting this tiny "vulnerable" plant and watching it grow!

Positive texas75563
(1 review)
On Mar 19, 2013, texas75563 Linden, TX wrote:

About 4 years ago, I ordered 8 trees or so, 50 strawberry plants, some shoo mosquito plants, and other things. The shoo mosquito plants were black, wilted, and dead on arrival. A few couple trees didn't make it. I contacted them and sent them the original packing slip. They replaced everything that died.

I have an almond tree that is blooming. A few days ago, I received 6 more trees, 3 seedless grapes, and a goji berry from them. All seem in good shape. Some have buds or tiny leaves.

Positive lighthouse2010
(4 reviews)
On Mar 12, 2012, lighthouse2010 King, NC wrote:

Posted on August 20, 2011, updated March 12, 2012
Posted on June 5, 2011, updated August 20, 2011
I ordered a lemon tree and they shipped to me as promised. The plant was in good shape and healthy. I have no complaints about this company. I will order from them again. They forgot to send my free gift, I emailed them and they said they would send it to me, and that were sorry for overlooking it.

On August 20th, 2011, lighthouse2010 added the following:

I got my free shamrock bulbs and planted one of the them, it has sprouted 3 growths from it and doing really well. I'm still leaving positive rating for them as the did what they said the would do.
On March 12th, 2012, lighthouse2010 added the following:

I Just receive my hydrid tea rose (Blue Moon Rose), and it had little new sprouts on it, it is healthy, and came as promissed. I highly recomend this company for ordering plants.
Positive bojay6225
(1 review)
On Jul 1, 2011, bojay6225 Denver, CO wrote:

I first ordered from Exciting Gardens this spring. I thought the low prices were amazing and slightly unbelievable.It was after I ordered that I read all the negative reviews on this site. I was able to gather from the reading that one of the main complaints was that the plants were arriving as root and stem cuttings and not potted in dirt and already growing. So read up at my local library about bare root planting. My order arrived about two months later in a small box. Everything I ordered arrived. Fortunately I was prepared for the sight of wet sticks and roots. I had everything in the ground the same day and now it is about six weeks later and I can report that almost everything is now showing green. I think my own ignorance is probably responsible for the failures.( I put the Lady Ferns into clay soil..oops) I've been giving all these new little additions extra care and I expect I will need to continue giving it through their first Colorado winter.
The freebies were interesting, too. I especially liked the Shamrock bulbs. The 4 that I got free have already sprouted and divided to 8. It's fun to watch them open and close everyday.
When I want ordinary flowers like pansies I'll get them at any local sale. When I want a common shrub I'll go to Home Depot or Lowes. When I want something special or exotic I open the wallet and order online. Exciting Gardens really is exciting to me because it opens up a whole new avenue for my gardening. I can spend a small amount of money and experiment with new things I ordinarily couldn't. It's more effort, but I'm enjoying the challenge and the results.

Positive Reaper81
(1 review)
On Jun 30, 2011, Reaper81 Bloomington, IL wrote:

I ordered from this company and everything was perfect, I agree with the way they do things for the fact that if u order of eBay or anywhere else they also take the money before they ship. I don't mind the replacement either cause I look at as there reciept is the shipping label. If u want to replace something at walmart u have to show receipt as well. It sickens me how people think a company should bend over backwards for them at all times.

Positive StellysPapa
(26 reviews)
On May 8, 2009, StellysPapa Dothan, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I can't give a negative review here, because I ordered a cedar tree from them and got it within a reasonable time span plus the tree was larger than I thought it would be and in very good condition.
My only concern, and this goes for all nurseries, customer service should advised the buyer if a plant is not suitable for their planting zone. I have discovered that different nurseries seem to have a plant listed for certain zones......for example one nursery may say that a particular plant will grow in zone 8 but another nursery may say that same plant will only grow in zone 7. I have numerous evergreens growing beautifully in my yard and I am in zone 8, but I have noticed that some nurseries will say that these same evergreens will not survive in zone 8. They need to get their facts straight, and if they know that a particular plant will not survive in a customers zone, then they should let the customer know, before the item is bought. This cedar I got, is not for my zone, and I tried to stop the order before it was shipped, but was too late. I have the cedar and will just see if it will survive. The only reason I ordered it, was because so many other nurseries are wrong about growing zones, and I figured this one would be wrong too.
But, as for the nursery in itself, I had no problem with them.

Positive llgaither
(1 review)
On Apr 27, 2009, llgaither Richford, NY wrote:

I recently received 19 Robin Hood hedge roses (1 extra), 2 Hansen bush cherries, 2 flowering almond, and 2 cliimbing roses. Everything arrived budded up and ready to grow. Some were held for a short tiime in my healing -in bed. Now everything is planted and leafing out quickly. I'll order again.

Positive dragonjr
(1 review)
On Jan 28, 2009, dragonjr De Land, IL wrote:

I would not hesitate to order again from Owen Nursery or any of their many other companies. I ordered 20 hybrid willows and actually received 21. I bought the cheaper, smaller willows, which all measured about 18" in height and arrived bareroot as expected. They took right off, reaching four and five feet in height by the end of the first year. I also purchased three of the "surprise overstock bargain" trees, which all turned out to be roses of sharon--not too bad of deal for 97 cents apiece. All three of these roses of sharon also took right off, growing well the first year. The second year, the bargain roses of sharon bloomed all season long, and definitely looked much better than another rose of sharon purchased the same time from a non-profit organization that also sells bareroot plants. We are ordering a number of trees and supplies from them this year based upon our highly positive experience with our order from them two years ago.

Positive joy112854
(6 reviews)
On Aug 1, 2008, joy112854 Crestview, FL wrote:

I love canna lilies and was doing a goggle search on them, most companies would not sell the Rhizomes this time of the year; but, Richard Owens did, I ordered 12 of them which is reasonably priced and they arrived on time and I just planted them a few days ago in pots, I live in Florida and should see soon enough if they will grow, they looked fine, I'm a beginner gardener, but have had good luck with canna lilies, I also ordered some canna lily seeds from Park's nursery of which I planted 53 seeds in Jiffy's Greenhouse with dome and peat pellets. I'm a little apprehensive now, as I was looking for shrubs to put down the sides of my yard. I had ordered some Hydrangea Bushes from Michigan bulb which will show up sometime in September or October; but, I ordered Pink Honeysuckles and Purple Leaf Hedge plants along with a Dwarf June Berry bush. I also have a cultivator coming about the same time and lots of help in planting them. I am one who plants my plants the day I get them. I thought the prices were outstanding on the items ordered, I did order some roses also, not that I like them, but have sisters who love them. Will keep you posted as to their arrival time, which I'm hoping will be a little late as I want to have the holes predug before they get here and I'm running behind schedule. Has anyone ordered or received Pink Honeysuckles or Purple Leaf Plum Hedges from them?

On August 15th, 2008, joy112854 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:

I have changed my comment from neutral to negative; due to the fact that the 12 canna lilies I planted, back in July have not done anything to substantiate a flower in bloom at all. Alas, I had also ordered over $84 worth of other things from them. Due to my foot surgery I called to cancel the order, they claimed was on the way and thus far have received only 2 of the 3 pkgs, both arrived on the same day, both were sent out the 31st of July and today is the 14th of August, so it is doubtful they are still alive, how can they even breathe in the pkgs they were sent in, waiting for tomorrow and hopefully the 3rd one will arrive so I can then mail all 3 back to them intact just as I received them from them with a note explaining I want my credit card refunded for the amount charged, they informed me on the phone that would be all that is needed, we shall see right? I was told 30 days from when they receive my note and pkg my credit card will have the $84 put back on it. Will keep everyone posted.
On September 14th, 2008, joy112854 changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:

I decided to change my rating to positive on this company as I explained that I did not need the bushes they had not sent yet; and called them and followed up with a letter. No my canna lilies did not grow; but, the free seeds they had sent with my order for Shamrocks and Windflowers have done well, I only canceled part of the order, which was the honeysuckle bushes and the purple plum hedges and dwarf June Berry bush, I kept the strawberry plants which I planted and are thriving. They promptly deposited the money back into my account within the 30 day period, and were polite on the phone. Would I order from them again in the future? Probably. Although I would not order Canna Lilies from them I would probably order bushes if I got the prices they offered this last time. I just don't plan on getting bushes for a few years, as I'm too much into my veggie gardening and canna plants right now; but, eventually I will want that honeysuckle privacy fence and a dwarf June berry bush I just know that.
Positive CCulpepper
(2 reviews)
On May 17, 2008, CCulpepper Charlotte, NC wrote:

Since this was my first order I wasn't sure what I would receive as far as quality since the prices were so low, but I decided to take a chance and placed a rather large order (over $500). I became worried when a month past and I had not received even a partial shipment. I checked here and saw all the negative comments and was prepared to chaulk this up to my own stupidity for not having researched BEFORE I ordered, and was about to contact my credit card company to charge back and cancel the order.

To my surprise the next day I received a partial shipment and over the next 10 days three more packages arrived on different days to complete my order. The root systems of everything I received was well developed. Most things were bare root, but the catalog had explained that. I was worried that some of the items looked a little molded due to being shipped in closed plastic bags, but everything was alive. I planted per their directions and everything so far is doing well and growing vigorously.

Their packing is not what I would have expected and their speed of delivery is very slow, but the prices are amazing. I would have to say that I feel I got more than I paid for. I will adjust my expectations on ship time and expect it to be slow for future shipments, but based on this experience and how well my plants have done I will likely order from them again.

My advise would be to proceed with caution but give them a try.

Positive OutlawDJ
(1 review)
On Sep 11, 2007, OutlawDJ Middleburg, PA wrote:

I have ordered plants, shrubs, and trees from Richard Owens Nursery in the past, and I really have no complaints. Yes, their packaging methods could be better. What a lot of these people fail to realize is that they get that great low price because they are ordering bare root plants. These take a bit of work compared to growing plants from a local nursery. I was very happy with the quality of the trees and shrubs that I have ordered. Give them a try with a small order. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Positive GardenD
(1 review)
On May 31, 2007, GardenD Onalaska, TX wrote:

After ordering 60 Hybrid Willows from Exciting Gardener I was worried about the order after my wife told me that a co-worker who is into gardening read bad things on the Internet about Exciting Garden. I looked up on the Internet and found this blog with all the negative comments.

One month after the order, I received my package from Richard Owens Exciting Garden. The order was exactly as discribed. The Hybrid Willows were 2-4 foot and had well developed roots. After ordering trees from Arbor Day, I can say that Richard Owens has a better product then Arbor Day. I think most of the people who are complaining fail to realize how the mail order plant business works. These new plants need a lot of care and time. YOU CAN NOT LET THE ROOTS DRY OUT BEFORE PLANTING. Since planting my Hybrid Willows, they have grown 8 inches in a month. I am very satisfied with the product I received from Richard Owens Exciting Gardener and will do business in the future.

Positive rablalock
(1 review)
On May 17, 2007, rablalock Lewis Center, OH wrote:

I must confess that I panicked when I saw all of the negative posts toward Richard Owens Nursery on this site while awaiting my shipment of plants. Much to my relief, the plants arrived today, about a week later than I had hoped. I can live with that. If I had not been familiar with dormant, bare-root plants, I would have gone into shock becuase they look pitiful. However, I have had great success with them in the past when I have ordered from other vendors. Quite frankly, my new bare-root plants look as pitiful as those I received from other vendors and they are doing beautifully in year 2. (I think Richard Owens would benefit from better warning customers in advance as to what bare-root plants are like.)

I personally like working with bare-root and dormant plants because they are inexpensive and tiny -- I've especially pleased when I'm digging smaller rather than bigger holes. :-)

I HAVE SAVED MY ORIGINAL PACKING LABEL. The enclosures clearly state that I must have this in order to invoke the one-year guarantee if I have issues.

I hope that my experience continues to be positive. If not, I will follow the process clearly outlined in my packing materials. I feel confident that the vendor will honor its commitment as outline in written materials. If not, I will file appropriate complaints and take my business elsewhere. Otherwise, I will be a repeat and loyal customer.

On July 4th, 2007, rablalock added the following:

Update - My bare root plants are doing beautifully, even the poor little clemantis that I thought I killed! (I planted the clematis in a container that wasn't getting water from the sprinkler system. When I returned from a 2-week trip, I thought the plant was dead. I moved it in hopes it would revive. It did about 3 weeks later!) The daylilies look great. I think some are actually going to bloom this first year -- I was not expecting this.

I ordered more plants approximately two weeks ago. They arrived yesterday. I anticipate that these will do well even though I'm planting them in July. As long as the customer service and the plant quality continues at this level, I will continue ordering from Richard Owen Nursery as I need (always!) more plants for my gardens.
Positive buckpatsy
(1 review)
On May 14, 2007, buckpatsy Clear Brook, VA wrote:

I have ordered from Owens Nursery two years and was completely satisfied with products,prices and customer service.The three times I ordered from two other big companies were a nightmare.The plants were overpriced,looked sickly,took forever to get (some I never did)and talking to customer service over and over never resolved anything.I should have stuck with Owens and now I will.

Positive herm65
(1 review)
On Sep 11, 2006, herm65 Emden, IL wrote:

I have purchased from several of the Owen's outlets in Bloomington over the past several years. The plants that I received were decent quality and had good survivability. The plants were comparable to those received from Arbor Foundation. Bare root stock received early in the season was the healthiest. Stock received later in the season, such as mid-late summer was poor, as was the case with stock received late season from Arbor Foundation. REcommendation: Order bare root stock mid-winter at the latest and request early spring delivery. Expect to be disappointed with bare root stock ordered from any vendor late in the season. These plants were alive at one time, but they do deteriorate as the season progresses. Many of the better nurseries have a date beyond which they will not ship. Perhaps that is the greatest sin of Owens. Perhaps ordering too late in the season is the biggest mistake of naive purchasers. We should be smarter than that.

Positive probichaud
(4 reviews)
On Jul 5, 2006, probichaud Madisonville, TN wrote:

Although my order was not huge, everything I received was in good shape and leafed out almost immediately - unlike some of my purchases with other nurseries. Maybe I was just lucky - but I am willing to use them again.

Positive dingydoo
(8 reviews)
On Jun 19, 2006, dingydoo Theresa, NY wrote:

In 2003, I ordered a butterfly bush and about 50 Naturalizing Tiger Lily bulbs. The butterfly bush bloomed right away and was really pretty, tho it died throught the winter. That was my fault I didn't notice the wrong zone on that variety. The tiger lilies are just fourishing. They have been blooming every summer since I planted them. After reading these other comments, I don't think I'd order anything else tho.

Positive green4me
(2 reviews)
On Aug 12, 2004, green4me Willcox, AZ wrote:

Out of 108 bareroot rosa rugosa rose hedge plants, I had 107 grow beautifully. Only 1 plant did not live. I was very impressed with this average. All of the plants looked dead when I recieved them. I immediatelly soaked them in a water /rooting hormone solution for about two hrs. They were planted that same day and within a week or two began to grow. Now four months later I am very happy with them.

Positive jami2177
(1 review)
On Mar 23, 2003, jami2177 wrote:

I recieved the most amazing tomato plants from this company .They grew to amazing heights and were very healthy when i got them.

Positive mariesmith
(2 reviews)
On Jun 1, 2002, mariesmith wrote:

The robin hood rose bush and tree rose and all the freebies they sent were very good condition and all are doing fine.

Positive brendalong
(1 review)
On Apr 1, 2000, brendalong wrote:

I've only ordered iris and daylilies from Richard Owen. I have bigger blooms than anyone I've seen on my iris. My daylilies are all thriving! I have ordered from other companies but Richard Owen has THE BEST iris and lilies. even after 8 years and no fertilizer the iris and daylilies are bigger and bloom better than any I have seen. I'm getting ready to order more as soon as I finish here.

Positive MassyShoja
(3 reviews)
On Jul 1, 1999, MassyShoja wrote:

In the past I have used Richard Owen for tree peonies. All the plants are doing just fine in my garden. I have no complaint about this nursery. Make sure your garden soil is well suited for the plants you ordering. Most plants need good soil, good sun, and good water.

Positive TinaMWills
(3 reviews)
On Aug 1, 1998, TinaMWills wrote:

I thought I would add my 2 cents about this company. I have ordered from Richard Owen and Burgess. These two companies plus Four Seasons are all one in the same. They all have the same Telephone number in their catalog. I have had good luck with all of my orders. The plants I have are thriving and when I tell everyone that I ordered them from a catalog they can't believe it. I am about to send another order and hope to have the same luck!

Positive dw917
(1 review)
On Jul 1, 1998, dw917 wrote:

When ordering some Daylilies Aug 12, I explicitly told them not to ship until Labor Day Sept 7. I informed them that I would be out of town until that date and the roots would set in a hot storage room at the P. O. (in Florida) until I picked them up. They were delivered Sept. 4 by the mail carrier! He said something smelled rotten! Every thing was! It seems in these "modern times" that nobody listens, not just this instance, but everyplace you go. I carried out the necessary rules laid down by R.O. Nursery, so we'll see what happens as far as replacing the order.

Positive GloriaRLalumia
(2 reviews)
On May 1, 1998, GloriaRLalumia wrote:

I ordered in March-April 1998. I ordered 24 winterberry creeper, 2 Hansen's Bush Cherries, 3 blue fescue, 18 lily of the valley pips, and 4houttuynia. Everything was beautifully packed in wet soil in plastic bags and everything is thriving! Plus, I got a bunch of free bulbs, all except 3 are doing fabulously!! I marked the catalog "GREAT!" Prices were really cheap and they all arrived within 2 weeks in perfect shape.

Positive Valhalla
(3 reviews)
On Apr 1, 1998, Valhalla wrote:

I received 5 outstanding Peony trees from Richard Owen Nursery's this spring. I was extremely impressed with their packaging and how healthy the plants are. When I received them, they were ready to leaf out and they are doing very well. They delivered them within one week of ordering. I would recommend them!