Ordering plants online can be a risky business. Although I find gardeners as a whole to be a reputable bunch, I’m sad to say that most disreputable growers have always been in the mail order plant side and now online orders. Just as easy as it was to hide behind a PO Box, these less than ethical business people can hide behind a domain name. For this reason, I was thrilled to find there is a place to sleuth out these thugs on the Dave’s Garden website. Dave’s Garden was one of the first gardening community sites that I signed up for and I still continue to use it. Although in desperate need of a face-lift, it is still my go to spot for when I search for unusual plant information, sources and then reviews on those sources. The portion that I use the most is the Garden Watchdog section. There you can find a review of hundreds of mail order and online plant suppliers. Reviews are written by actual Dave’s Garden members with the option for companies to write a rebuttal. (I like this portion as well, because it can tell you when a reviewer is just being persnickety or show you the true demeanor of the supplier.) This information has thankfully stopped me from wasting a lot of money over the years and directed me to some really great suppliers in the industry. It has also served as a source of entertainment as I trolled the site reading the reviews for companies with the worst rating. I find that to be a sort of guilty pleasure much akin to watching a daytime talk show. Lots of drama people, lots of drama.
With the availability of such a review forum, you would think that companies would mend their ways and at least try to do business well. Sadly, that is not the case. In some cases, what once were wonderful nurseries have now become extremely lack in their customer service. (Read about )Heronswood nursery here.) Perhaps they feel that they can do business on a name alone. And some extremely shoddy companies continue to do business poorly because they know that unbelievable deals can tempt many a gardener on a budget.
The photo above is of my actual order from Annie’s Annuals that I received last week. To be honest, I have never seen such a well packed box of plants. I asked for the order to be shipped on Monday and got it Tuesday. The plants were all in great shape and were clearly wrapped with care. Each had been taken out of its pot, wrapped in a damp paper towel and plastic bag and then placed back in the pot. The cardboard collar kept the plant upright and stopped them from jostling around during shipping. Each plant is in great shape with an amazing root system (no root bound plants here). In the week that I’ve had the plants, the vine has already grown a bit. I’d like to show you how they look in the ground, but the order arrived sooner than I expected (yep, I expected a long ship time, silly me.) and I ran into a massive tree root smack dab in planting area. So for now, they wait in the wings for their new home.
I first heard about Annie’s on Twitter. The buzz was amazing even before Annie’s Annuals started tweeting themselves. You clearly got a sense from the tweets that these were plant people, my kind of people. Before I ordered, however, I checked out Garden Watchdog just the same and found the only recent complaint was about the cost of shipping. Yes, the shipping and prices are slightly higher than I would like to pay. To be honest, however, it still costs me less to have them shipped than to drive up to Annie’s and get them and these are plants that I cannot attain locally. So the cost, to me, is worth it. The rest of the reviews I found, however, were glowing. When I received my package I could instantly see the reasons why. My experience with Annie’s Annuals was great and my wishlist on their site continues to grow. Would I recommend Annie’s to my friends? I already have.
FTC note: I paid for the order I reviewed and have no connection with the company I purchased them from other than now I am a very satisfied customer.