mail order nurseries, the good bad and ugly

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by RootlessAgrarian, May 12, 2009.

  1. RootlessAgrarian

    RootlessAgrarian Member

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    Location:
    Nanaimo BC Canada
    Greetings all, from Nanaimo BC... 6 weeks after placing an online order to Henry Fields (Canada) I am still wa-a-a-a-iting for my bare root stock. This in itself is annoying but livable -- it's not like I don't have enough to do around the garden already :-)

    But what's bothering me is that inquiries to HFCA are ignored; no one answers my emails. I even faxed an inquiry, asking when my plants would ship. No response. Their 877 number is perpetually busy. So I'm starting to wonder... have I placed an order with a notoriously flaky vendor? Or is it just that all MO nurseries are overwhelmed by the sudden resurgence of interest in backyard veggie gardening?

    Can anyone recommend MO nurseries (my local options are pretty limited and I don't care to drive tens or hundreds of miles to buy a few plants), pref in the Vancouver area or at least in BC, who (a) carry a wide variety of permaculture-suited fruiting shrubs and dwarf trees and (b) are responsive and prompt? Warnings about unreliable vendors would also be welcome :-)

    Gee this is frustrating. It's getting a bit late in the year for setting out bare root stock, imho. And how can a person schedule vacation, not knowing when a crate of orphan plants may show up on the doorstep? Anyway, I'm wondering whether I've made an error of judgment. OTOH, how can I cancel the order if the company won't acknowledge my email or answer a fax?
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Garden Watchdog is a good place to review other people's experiences with mail order companies. It reported Canadian and U.S. companies going by the name of Henry Field's. Don't know if they're related.

    I have not dealt with them before but you may want to look into Fruit Trees and More. They're relatively close to where you are.
     
  3. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    If you paid by credit card, you could (a) check to see if the card has been charged yet, and (b) put a hold on payment, or report a dispute with your vendor if the card has already been debited. This should get their attention.

    Most people in the nursery business seem like good people. The only really bad experience I can recall was with a prominent vendor here in Maine, who is highly regarded as a plantsman, but proved to be absolutely terrible at running a mail-order business, managing customer relations, and all that.
     
  4. cbale224

    cbale224 Active Member

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    Location:
    Seattle,WA
    I used 5 different catalog souces this spring and I had trouble with all of them. They were good about telling me that I had ordered and when it would ship. The trouble I had was that I would order 4 or five items to make the shipping pay and then have 3 or 4 of the items not ship because they ran out of product. A $7 order could then cost me $15 in shipping. I understand that seed sales have shot up 30% over last year.
     
  5. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    I ordered some bare-root plants from Henryfields (Canada) before spring started. They charged my crtedit card more than two months ago but have not heard about my plants shipment since then. So far I have sent umpteen reminder emails to their "service@henryfields.ca" and copying "service@henryfields.com" in USA. I have never got any response to my email from HenryFields Canada from whom I ordered but do get response from the US side telling me that they can't help with the Canadian side business. A week ago I sent an email cancelling my order and asking for refund because I could not trust to wait for them when I have received plants from 3 other canadian nurseries a month+ ago bare-root that I had ordered from the same time. I hope I get refund soon. I had to buy potted plants locally when HenryFields frustrated me with no response. Someone mentioned to me that henryFields Canada is just an order reservation agent with plants coming from US and the US`business is shielded from customer complaints.
     
  6. TeresaL

    TeresaL Member

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    Location:
    White Rock, BC
    I just ordered two plants from Greer Gardens in Oregon. Two items I could not locate in the Vancouver or Bellingham areas - a Ginkgo Biloba Jade Butterfly (dwarf) and a Rhododendron Williamsianum. The service was really excellent. They phoned on Wed to say they were shipping and the box arrived on Thurs. The plants are beautiful.
     

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