Thursday, 26 May 2011

Last mail order review "Gardens Plus"

I was in the middle of working like a mad-woman in the garden yesterday .. all of us know what that is like right ? Total garden mode !
High noon my mail order plants arrived .. Gardens Plus from Peterborough Ontario about 2.5 hours away from Kingston.
I was a little skeptical with the size of the package and the light weight feel to it .. I was thinking .. "oh brother .. this is not going to be good" ..
I was FRIGHTENED by the limp mode of Majeste pulmonaria .. it frankly looked like a goner .. even though I received the mail alert that it was just shipped the day before .. I thought the roots would be moist and the foliage a little more resilient ?
Sorry about the dark photos but high noon here is BRIGHT so you will have to click on the pictures to get a better idea of the plants ..
They were for the most part dry in the plastic bags ... but everything was well packed along with a paper barrier to protect them .. the box was stamped all over to keep away from HEAT and FROST ..
The was paper work on how to plant "dry root" plants was the first time for a mail order that I received .. for new gardeners that would really help !
Billing paper work .. straight forward and great for record keeping .. a map of Peterborough .. Dawn says I should come down for a weekend because of all the festivities the town has .. which is a nice touch for people wanting to do that sort of thing .. and a free pen to boot ? LOL
OK .. enough of the light weight conversation here ... down to the plants and what I think ....
They were all clearly RECOGNIZABLE plants as to what they are .. even if a bit dry .. the tags were perfect .. the plants had rather mature foliage .. so the true test was to get them in the garden quickly to help them get over the stress of mailing ..
Since I was already in garden mode, away they went to their perspective homes .. and watered in.
I was worried about my Majeste .. it was the limpest of them all .. but by golly today it is PERKY and looking good in the garden .. Redstone Falls, the newest heucherella that I was drooling over, had wonderful foliage and hardy character .. too happy as well .. as so were they all ...
"Emerald Mist" brunnera in the back garden joining my collection there.
Gunsmoke heucherella was a little small but again I could clearly tell what it was .. perky today no problem .. and Pow Wow Wildberry echinacea was a good healthy division , very happy in the sunny strip of my back garden.
So .. how do I rate this company ? ... 8.9 out of 10 .. the dry condition of the roots could have used a little more water in their plastic bag enclosure .. I understand the issue of weight, when it comes to shipping and Dawn tries to keep that price as low as she can .. but a little more moisture might have kept Majeste from scaring the bejesus out of me ? wink wink
All the plants clearly appear to be what they were supposed to be .. information on how to plant dry root plants perennials was was practical information for new gardeners.
Prices were reasonable, a little less than Canning but then again the plants were a little smaller than Canning Perennials .. but then you have a little competition for varieties offered between the two companies .. so that is a good thing !
Would I order from this company again ? ..... YES ! so this was a positive experience.
The problem I have after collecting so many different plants for my garden, is that my local providers do not have the newer and varied selections that I find during the winter on the net.
So mail order is the only avenue I have for obtaining these plants for the most part.
This wraps up 5 Canadian companies .. three from Ontario , one from PEI, and one from BC.


Anonymous said...

Your reviews make me wish I lived in Canada to order from so many of the companies you've reviewed.

Vetsy said...

Joy I must agree that those plants did look heart stopping scary! I'm so happy that you had a wonderful outcome.

Several years ago I ordered a rose called the(Zephirine Drouhin) from a major mail-order company.

It had the same frightening appearance as your plants and wrapped the same... However, it smelled like mildew and old socks! and did Not survive.

Because I happened to be on my way out of town that week, I never got back to taking care of the matter..Such as calling for a refund!

Anywho..... I'm glad you shared your story because it encourages & inspires me to try again in the future..

Barry said...

You had me worried as well with the first photo of the packaging.... similar experience with TF from BC for me. Its really hard to remember that shipping near to mature plants is all but impossible without the added expense of shipping much larger packaging which is indirectly reflected in the overall price, and for the true plantaholics amongst us, the ones seeking out the rare and unusual, not to mention the ones that were only bred yesterday but we just GOTTA HAVE ONE NOW!!!! [you and me belong to a small breed] high prices are generally not a good thing!

I am happy that your latest additions have responded favourable.... see all this rain does have positive repercusiions after all! Thanks for sharing your mail order experiences. It helps those of us who are still a wee bit skeptical in making a decision once and for all!

Northern Beauty Seeker said...

Joy, other local gardeners will covet your exciting new plants they can't find. Time for a garden party to see if anyone is "green" with envy? ;)

You have the best foliage combinations of anyone - yes, that is your talent!


So how were you feeling after a day of gardening? GREAT I hope, as in not in pain from overdoing it.

I'm glad the plants perked up. This has been a fun series.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Patricia : ) Thank you so much!
I often come across American companies on other blogs that I wish I had access to .. we are never quite completely satisfied "us gardeners" ?

Vetsy girl .. it was a bit dicey for my heart ? haha .. but I have to admit, they came back no problem .. getting them tucked into the garden and well watered is key to that out come !
I too have Zephirine Drouhin and LOVE her! I'm so sorry you received a bad root stalk of her .. that is a bad experience to have to go through and some times we just give up on complaining .. but we never go back to a truly bad company .. lesson learned right ? I think I know now which companies to trust so it will be less fluster next year : ) Hope you find some that you are happy with too girl !

Barry sweetie you would have laughed if you had seen my face when I saw the box and started to open it .. but it was quite amazing to see them revive so well and YES! if I have to expand my collection this is the best weather to start them off with for sure ! But give me a good garden work day in between all of this rain too please? LOL .. I think I am clear about what companies I will use next year now, finally ?
Hey how are your garden kids doing?

You are too funny Ms S ! Wouldn't that be a HOOT if we could all get together for a bang up garden party and share our garden stories ?
Thanks girl : )

Thanks Grace girl : ) .. I had to stay in bed most of the day yesterday recuperating but it was worth it .. now on to the next garden missions ? haha

Lona said...

Joy girl it sounds like you have added some beauties to your garden. I cannot wait to see them after they have settled into their new homes and have spread their roots. Your Mail Order reviews of your areas plant suppliers have been fun to watch. I am certain the Canadian gardeners welcome the reviews and helps them in their plant buying.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hey thanks Lona girl : )
I always feel a bit strange critiquing a company close to my heart .. I have gotten to know some of the owners and they are all such nice people .. but you have to sort of step away and focus on the actual plants to be fair. There aren't a lot of plant mail order companies in Canada so it is a bit tricky to say the least .. and of course there will be more pictures to come : ) LOL