Re: "Plants Delight"...NOT!! (Long rant) was Re: [gardeners] Catalogs (
Sun, 11 Jan 1998 15:18:50 -0500 (EST)

>Cheryl wrote:

>> All my bulbs are from Dutch Gardens...<snip>

>Dutch Gardens are excellent. I've been 100% delighted with everything
>I've ever gotten from them.

>I haven't received the new Plants Delight catalog. Can't say I miss
>it.  <snip>  Mother ordered from them
>for the first time last Fall and got half-dead (roots, not top
>growth) and totally dead plants. She wrote  <snip>  she got a really nasty
>letter from Tony
>Advent's wife accusing Mother of being both and incompetent gardener
>and a liar who was just trying to get "free" plants.  <snip>   I now place
>Delight 10 steps lower than Michigan Bulb Company in the scum

>Catharine/Atlanta, zone 7b

Hi Catharine;

May we borrow your soapbox for a moment?

We too, ordered from Plant Delights last Spring (1997)--we believe it was 6
plants in total.  5 of the 6 were really nice--beautiful, healthy
specimens.  The 6th, however, was a joke.

Before placing the order, we spoke to PD about the size of the Asarum
asaroides they were offering at the hefty price of $25.00...We decided to
order it.  When it arrived, it was nothing more than a single leaf with a
root nub attached--a far cry from the 'large' plant we expected, based on
the conversation we had with the nursery.

After a lengthy conversation with Tony, we found out that the 'full size'
stock of that particular cultivar had been sold out, and what would have
been distributed as the Spring/Fall 199*8* (remember this is still Spring
1997) plants, were now being used as substitutes.  Now, we wouldn't
necessarily have minded *if* they had called and asked us if we would
accept this deal--and at a lower price.  Nope, they just sent it.

We went through quite a bit of correspondence before PD would offer a
refund, but they eventually relented, and sent us a check.....sans shipping
fee.  We once again contacted them about the postage, and eventually got
that refunded too.

We are not completely unhappy with PD, but we would now order with a bit of
skepticism --hoping for the best, and if not, making sure we got a refund.

Of course, situations like this occur all the time, *hit happens.  Some
vendors are better than others--Forest Farm, and even Mellingers come to
mind.  Whenever there has been a problem with an order prior to shipping,
or following its arrival, they have been accomodating above and beyond the
call of duty.  There seems to be some 'growing pains' going on in the
specialized mail order plant industry, and how individual companies deal
with these problems will determine who survives and who doesn't.

Our other 'gripe de jour' is with the 'first shipped, first served' policy
at Heronswood.  Unlike Forest Farm, they *do not* maintain an active
inventory on their computer system, and it's some 10 days before shipping
the actual order that they will know if they have stock of anything a
customer orders--this can be weeks or months since the order was placed!

To compound an already flawed system, they make matters worse by telling
you there are no reservations, and that the best way to get the selections
you want, is to take the earliest possible ship date--a bit of a problem
for those of us in colder climes.  Case in point:  Last year we took an
ungodly early ship date on an order to get a Nandina domestica
'Aurea'.....the order arrived--everything was in it *except* the Nandina.
We called, and were told it was sold out, too bad, that's the policy, and
again, no, they cannot reserve plants.  We said they checked the computer
at the time we ordered and the inventory showed 12 available......their
response:  "Yes, well, this is an old inventory, sorry".

A friend who also ordered the Nandina, and who *also* took the early ship
date had the same problem.  We, and the friend, each wrote to Heronswood
about the problem.....she not only got a (reasonably) pleasant response,
but they replied to her twice!  We didn't get a letter, postcard or phone

We think, as a result, they have implemented the new policy which can be
seen in their 1998 catalog, where they talk at great length about not
reserving plants, and the reasons associated with that.  They touch briefly
on the early ship date issue, and sum it all up with a statement that they
*do not* respond to complaint or praise letters, but would rather integrate
solutions of said problems into new policy.  That may be well and good, but
shouldn't the customer have *some* idea that there's a human there that
read the letter, and may perhaps even give a damn?  Apparently not--an
unsatisfied customer must wait to see if there are policy revisions in the
*next* catalog.  This is poor managment if you ask us.

Rant done.....thanks for listening.

Bill & Harvey
SKID Plants Zone 6 CT USA