Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

a beautiful box of bounteous bloom

One of the benefits of being a garden writer (aside from the incredibly lucrative work in publishing) is that I occasionally receive free plants from growers. Sending live plants by mail isn't easy, but some companies do it better than others. And while I'm not usually one to look a gift horse in the mouth, there are times when no free plants is better than some free plants.

The plants below arrived from a vendor (who shall not be named!) last month.

The three Coreopsis on the bottom were DOA. The Dicentra on the top layer was iffy but I planted it anyway. Didn't last a week. To be fair, the Euphorbia and the Dianthus are doing well.

Last year the same vendor sent similarly packaged plants which arrived in similar condition. When I called to suggest that more care was required, they claimed I was the first person who had ever complained. Either most people are too polite to complain about free gifts, or the vendor was a big fat liar. I mean, severely mistaken.

In sharp contrast to the shoddy shipping of those perennial plants is the box of exquisitely shipped shrubs I received yesterday from Proven Winners & White Flower Farm.

The packing was a thing of beauty: each plant individually wrapped to prevent soil spillage, supported with sturdy cardboard to prevent breaking stems and twigs, and padded to prevent movement within the box. The eight shrubs were in pristine shape. Not a torn leaf or a bent twig, no roots exposed or soil spilled.

These plants are full of potential, with every chance of flourishing and flowering: the landscape rose Candy Oh Vivid Red, and three different ornamental quinces: Double Take Scarlet Storm, Pink Storm, and Orange Storm. (I know, I know, the names are crazy.) I received two of each and will trial them both in containers and in the ground.

The extra cost of preparing and shipping these plants was money well spent. Not only because they arrived intact and vigorous, but also because it gives me confidence in the grower to see the care they took with their plants. The less careful, unnamed vendor not only pissed me off by treating their plants so poorly, but also because they didn't change their shipping practices despite being informed of a serious problem. Why would I have confidence in a grower like that?

Kudos to both Proven Winners and White Flower Farm for getting these flowering shrubs off to an excellent start. I'll try to do my job as well as you did yours.


Shady Gardener said...

It's hard not to give credit to people that take the care and pride to send a quality plant. White Farms is one of my favorites... as well as a couple of others that have done a wonderful (similar to yours) job!

Urban Gardens said...

The quality of customer care and shipping is very important for all products, but especially fragile things like plants. White Flower Farm has been a proven winner over the years, plus I love visiting the nursery. Their caring comes through, literally.

Frank said...

Those photos on top are unreal! Have they ever considered what happens to a box after it leaves their hands?

Ellen Zachos said...

Frank, clearly they have not! And I've spoken to them about it in as nice a way as I know how...but nothing changed.

Shady and Urban, I used to think White Flower Farm was over priced but if this is how they're spending those extra dollars, I say it's worth it!

Chris said...

I'm glad you posted this. I received an order from White Flower Farm last week. I too was very impressed with how they were packaged, but the quality of a couple of the plants they sent was poor and it took a very long time to get my order.

They did offer to reship the plants I was unhappy with. I am impressed that they are trying to make it right. Let's see what happens the second time around.

  © Blogger template Joy by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP