Monday, May 20, 2013

I'm done with High Country Gardens

I placed an order with High Country Gardens back in March. The plants are intended to go in the entrance to my yard, which is currently a weedy, awful mess.


They charged my card at the time of the order, which is fairly unusual for mail order nurseries (in my experience). I should have received my plants the week of April 15th. That week came and went and my plants never arrived. I called them and was told that I was "in shipping" and that my plants would go out the following Monday. But no plants arrived.

I called again and they told me that Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' had held up the order. It would ship as soon as that was ready.

Still no plants arrived.

I got a mass email saying that their winter had been cold and their stock wasn't where it would normally be at that time of year. My plants would ship the week of May 13th!

Then I randomly received an email last week stating that they would be unable to fulfill two of my plant requests (Lonicera reticulata 'Kintzley's Ghost' and Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun') and they were refunding the money and crediting me $10 to use at the nursery.

I still have no plants. At this point I want to cancel my order completely but when you call you get put through to a voicemail box that is full and no longer takes messages. When I tried to cheat and choose the phone option to place an order I still can't get a live person. It's like they just disappeared, taking my money with them.



I've placed orders with HCG and had no problems in the past. Now that they've been sold to American Meadows the whole operation seems to have gone to shit. I don't think I'll be using that $10 credit. Buyer beware.

17 comments:

  1. I would contest it with your credit card company. Keep any and all emails that you have received and submit it as corresponding documentation. There's no reason to pay for something that you're never going to receive!

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  2. Sorry to hear that a once great mail order nursery has taken a dive. Thanks for the heads up!

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  3. How disappointing. :(

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  4. Jordan @ trailergypsyMay 20, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    I'm with Kathie, contest with your cc or if you used debit, call up your bank, they can stop payment and put the funds back in your account. Some banks do charge for that service but a lot of them don't so it's worth it to check into. Good luck! I hope you get some plants soon or a full refund.

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  5. This is just a disaster for a company that had been so great to deal with before. What a mess, and you basically have been charged fraudulently.

    I feel terrible about the financial woe, but it's your missing plants that really make me mad. My Kintzley's Ghost (from High Country before they were sold last year) is planted and doing well, and I wish yours was in the ground in your garden.

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  6. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that my plants will arrive but I may do what you suggest . . .

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  7. I would pay one billion dollars for plants that make me cookies. Why aren't the scientists working on that?!

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  8. That's what upsets me the most, too. I just want my plants! I've been thinking about that vine for over a year--I wish I had just bought it the second you posted about it.

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  9. What's with these people who buy up great companies and then bury them? Sounds like experiences like yours will be the final nails in the coffin.

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  10. I know! It's a shame, they had such neat plants.

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  11. I've never ordered from HCG, but I had understood they had a good reputation. What a frustrating experience.

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  12. Heather, as you and I "discussed" via email, we encountered all sorts of unexpected hurdles this spring when we picked High Country up after they'd been closed for 3 months. I wanted to address a few things mentioned in this blog (and the comments):


    1. It's common for mail-order gardening companies to charge at order. This is due to the nature of the business where one order could include items that ship at various times of year and often times orders are placed many months before their shipping season. For instance, you can buy tulips now from most mail order companies, even though they won't ship until September. If you didn't charge now, you'd overdraft bank cards, run into expired cards and angry customers if you tried to charge down the road. We try and make it very clear in our terms.


    2. All High Country customers either received their shipments, or received refunds for items that were not unavailable. Our issues this spring were largely around the inventory systems that we inherited.



    American Meadows has been around for over 30 years and has an excellent reputation in the industry. We're working like crazy to get High Country back on track and we will be for the fall shipping season. We're really sorry for the fact that we inconvenienced some of our loyal customers (such as yourself) this spring. We just wanted to keep the plants available as they truly are unique and not available elsewhere. High Country will be back and soon!


    Thanks,
    Ethan Platt
    President

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  13. This company has really gone down hill--very unfortunate. I requested replacement plants in March and was told they would ship in April.......in May.......now in June, I am told that the method they use to process replace plant orders was not allowing them to "pull replacement plants." Whatever that means!!! Despite being told on May 7 to "rest assured" that my order was in process....nothing has arrived. I emailed again (yes it is now June) and was told that my requested plants are out of stock!!!! But, of course they are happoy to send me whatever is in stocl----LEFTOVERS. And, it's only 90 degrees during the day where I live and I am supposed to plant tender sprouting plants?
    Not a mention from them about any additional compenstation...just sorry for the inconvenience. Sorry doesn't cut it...my garden is bare and I waited for them as I thought they were a reputable company. Don't order from them.....

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  14. I'm keeping everything crossed for you that they'll make it right. I'm frustrated just hearing about your experience.

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  15. It's Tammy from Casa Mariposa. I just came over from My Weeds Are Very Sorry. I've used HCG for years but got the same "low stock" line from them when I called this spring to say a few dormant shipped plants hadn't sprouted. I was also given a store credit. I'm curious to see what changes they've made over the summer to revive HCG back to the awesome company it used to be. However, when I cruised their site the other day, they didn't have much for sale. Total suckage.

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  16. I noticed the low stock too. I have no idea how mail order nurseries work but it seems like they really botched the transition. And gardeners TALK. I'm not sure how they'll recover from this.

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