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Mail Order "A Lottery"?

royd63kroyd63k Posts: 63

Hi all

I have just received 2 Clematis from a well known firm, when I opened the box the labels had come off (so I have guessed at which is which), some leaves are damaged also and not quite the quality I was expecting.

Having ordered plants from different companies some are good some are not.

What do you think.

I will probably stick to garden centres from now on so I can see what I am getting,sad to say.




  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489

    I only buy if the nursery shows customer feedback and, so far, have had no disappointments.

    SW Scotland
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,978

    You can't beat Taylors  for buying clematis online.  Superb choice, sturdy healthy plants, well packaged and delivered on the day they state.


    You can also have a look at recommendations on this thread

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    It can be a lottery Roy. I'm lucky that I have a very good nursery not too far away from me where I generally buy my plants. They supply most of the big outlets in Scotland and farther afield. I therefore know how the plants are produced, grown and kept which is important to me. They're not imports from abroad like many of the DIY and bargain stores use, so there's less chance of disease etc,  and I'm also supporting my own country's industry  which is a big plus factor  image

    We do have a thread which has recommendations from forum members, so I'll see if I can find it and bump it for you.

    If you bought the plants from a reputable supplier  though - it's worth contacting them. Take some pix and email them and usually they will sort it out for you by refund or replacement. There's always a chance that plants can be damaged no matter how much care is taken, and good companies will always strive to look after their customers  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • royd63kroyd63k Posts: 63

    Dove from above that is the company I had them from

  • The company that you mention are the best of the clematis nurseries in this country at present, such a shame that you choose not to contact them before making a public statement that could harm their business.


  • royd63kroyd63k Posts: 63


    The plants are not a write off,just not the quality I was expecting from a reputable company.

    I imagine that 99% of the plants they send out are good.

    Thats my point about buying without seeing really.

    I will be contacting said supplier to see what they say.


  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949
    Roy; did you take plenty of photos? What you will find when ordering online is that the good firms will offer a refund, alternative plants, or at very least discount off your next purchase.

    Especially if you're firm when talking to them.
  • Well, I would imagine that 100% of the clematis leaving this nursery are in excellent condition and I would imagine that the labels came and some of the leaves were broken due to the handling in transit, they would not dispatch plants without labels.

    I also imagine that much of the stuff for sale at some of the garden centres and ' sheds ' is wrongly labelled imports, not watered regularly and handled by staff who are not very knowledgeable.

    Last year a very large garden centre near us had a fresh delivery of monardas, huge pots with massive coloured labels ECHINACEA, no-one working there noticed.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,501

    There was a programme on TV a little while ago, about a well-known  parcel delivery company. It showed the staff (contrary to the stated rules) hurling parcels across the warehouse onto moving belts. Of course, sometimes they missed and the boxes crashed to the floor. Labels saying 'fragile' or 'this way up' were of absolutely no consequence.

    Not surprising then if even carefully packed plants sometimes arrive damaged, when such lack of care can happen anywhere in the delivery chain. This example was clearly a management failure, but it may only be the final driver or van packer, not easy for management to monitor, the damage still gets done.

    I complained at my usual SM, when I went in after Mother's Day. There was a stand of left over  standard plants,  jasmines,azaleas and others, all priced £15 or £20 and all dried to a crisp, still on sale at full ticket price.

    I told customer service it was both cruelty to plants and bad business practice. There was a total of several hundred pounds worth of plants on the stand. They could have been sold off at half price, if only someone had bothered to water them.

    In fairness, I have to say this was unusual, as the plants sold there are generally in good condition, unlike some other stores I know.

  • I'm an obligate mail order gardener--no car, so little opportunity to go to plant centres/nurseries/fairs. 75% of my experience, I would say, has been positive, and beyond that some 20% of companies really go the extra mile,  sending extras as a thank-you! The most passionate plantspeople often send the most wonderfully healthy plants, though the packaging may look a bit rough and ready compared to swanky big mail order companies. For a low price you can still get very healthy, robust plants, but smaller. So it depends what you want. If I have a bad experience I will complain, and if I get proper treatment (replacement/refund) I will go back. Non-appearing plants, companies that package really poorly, very slow delivery--I don't go back. I do have some favourites but if I want one thing in particular I am prepared to try a new company. To avoid the 'plants stuck in Post Office over bank holiday' I usually tell them to leave by my front door, and have never had any problems with that. It helps too to know which companies are best for which kinds of plants, e.g. shrubs, climbers, perennials. Most of them are really good at communicating and will happily answer any questions and take good care of you as a customer. 

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