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Have had ten years on off experience of J Parkers dead or incorrect plants, trays of plugs of which two or three are salvageable, most of which I can compost because they were cheap. Recently used them again against my better judgement, now trying to get a refund for a dead Damson tree, they have ignored all three of my requests. Beware new gardeners and select carefully from this company, whose catalogue comes inside GW magazine. Better to use Crocus for excellent, large plants, Chilterns seeds for great choice and service, and Plants for Shade, best specialist nursery sending out great condition plants that don't need emergency treatment, just plant and watch them grow!
This is a common complaint, I am surprised that they are still in business.
I have used them mail order in the past- dont remember any real problems, but I know that lots of people on the beeb boards were very unhappy.
However, I live not too far from one of their GC & because you can examine what you are buying, have found them good value. I also buy some bulbs from them, but always go to the GC to do so. For mail order bulbs I use Avon Bulbs. J.
Like you joe4eyes we're not that far from one of the GCs - I have bought plants and bulbs from the GC and found them to be very good BUT do know of a friend whose mail order plants were dead or beyond saving on arrival and the customer service left a lot to be desired !!
Also, good to hear the positive feedback about other companies - I would certainly endorse Crocus having made my first purchase from them a couple of weeks ago. Likewise, Chiltern seeds whose seeds have done very well this year - I also like reading their paper catalogue which would be even better with pictures !!!
I haven't used Plants for Shade or Avon bulbs so will certainly have a look for them online - it's something to do whilst it's raining and too cold for me to last any length of time in the potting shed!!
i only get bulbs from them.. so have not experienced anything liek that
Must admit i get my plants, that i cant seem to grow from seed, from jersyplantsdirect.. they are great.. this year was first time i had a problem one lot of trailing geraniums.. emailed them about it and they sent out replacement 70 plants just like that.. they are great work out at 7p a plant.. that is good for my pocket..
And yet I have read as many complaints about Jerseyplants as about Parkers.
really.. i have bought from jerseyplants for that last 4 years and only that one problem.. and i buy loads.. for me my mum and and sis in law.. normally about £70 and only one.. so i cant say anything against them really.
I have used Parkers a few times as their prices are low but the way they ship plants is dreadful, as a result of this I haven't ordered any from them this year. Mind you to be fair after careful nuturing I have probably only lost a few and some of the plants have thrived.
I find Crocus to be the best though more expensive, but I suppose that's the old you get what you pay for. I had a problem with a crocus purchased plant once, sent them a photo when I received the plant and they instantly refunded my money.
I am seriously going off T&M as they never deliver when they say they will.
Have had problems with PARKERS too,poor quality plants and it was implied that it was my mishandling of plants.
T&M are bad too, i ordered VEBENA plants, waited ages and when I inquired in JUNE was told no plants till SEPTEMBER!! I wanted them for this summer!
Another firm called PLANT ME NOW send me some sad looking plants and when I emailed them they havent bothered to respond yet!! This was in May!
I am back to my local GC, pity I don't have transport but do beware, as prices of plants have gone up considerably.
JERSEY PLANTS and Crocus are excellent though choice is limited.
I am surprised that GW recomend PARKERS and T&M.
Have used Parkers and T&M a few times now for both bulbs and plants and never really had any problems maybe they took longer to arrive than i anticpated but i try and be patient.
I do get any perennials, trees or shrubs bare rooted in the autumn / late winter and grow annuals from seeds so maybe I am not ordering what other people are ordering.
I have ordered from Crocus before but found their prices and delivery costs to be quote high, i ordered a verbena (among other things) like the poster above from them and when it arrived the plant had been "Chelsea chopped" for me. When i enquired i was told it would have been too big for the box otherwise.
So i think some common sense is needed when ordering on line or mail order, if you want a tall herbaceous perennial a shrub or tree for immediate planting / effect then buying mail order or online isnt going to deliver the same size or quality of plant you could get from the GC, as it IS going to get a bit bashed in the post , and it ISN'T going to give an immediate effect.
But if you want to get bare root plants/ bulbs that won't have an effect this year but will need growing on in pots and planted in the autumn or even the spring and are usually cheaper than the potted up plants then mail order is the way to go.
As i say I have never brought bedding plants or annuals mail order so can't comment about that.
I always find Unwins to be brilliant. I had some plants on order and they were due to be delivered when I was on holiday, so I emailed them to ask if they could delay delivery and within an hour I had a reply to say no problem. My plants arrived 4 days after I got home, excellent service. They always pack their plants very well, I've never had any arrive that have been damaged.
I purchased lots of plug plants this year from the garden centre group and picked these up from my local blooms centre. If ordered early then you could get 60 plugs of various geraniums/petunias etc for £6. You pick your prefered pick up weekend and they e mail you to remind you and your order is ready for you when you go. These plugs were absolutely first class and i have some excellent plants growing today showing lots of flower and i did not loose 1 plug out of the 420 purchased.They were an absolute bargain and will order again next year.
You are lucky Mark, I had trouble with "the garden centre group" big time.
I ordered plugs in APRIL and despite several e-mails did not get any delivery time. Finally, following my stroppy email I was told that they could not fulfil my order!! Instead, could I go to there centre.If I could do that would I order on line? Besides, they are still advertising the service on line as "click and collect" or by post. Very poor customer service indeed.
Sorry to hear of your experience with the garden centre group. The main reason to order online is to get the deal of 60 plugs for 5.99. If you waited they had the same deal later on at the garden centre so i guess i did not gain much overall. The only benefit is that you get to see what you are buying and are not disappointed with small/broken plugs arriving and all the rigmarole of complaining.
Seeds and Bulbs tend to be good value from any of the on line places and the range of availalbe plants is far better then your average GC
As for live plants, no many plants like being thrown in the post, tossed in post bags, bumped around post vans, drop kicked across the sorting office and then dropped through your letter box.
I too have been disapointed with the plants from J Parker. I ordered two packs of the cheap and cheerful offers which would apparently would fill my borders with colour. Some of the plants did just about come through and I'm sure if I had planted the pots of groundsel and nettles they would have excelled. Being a wimp I didnt complain but turned to a proper nursery. Beth Chatto cannot be faulted, the plants are a good size and very healthy. Quick delivery and very reasonably priced. I cannot recommend them enough.
I have had some bad plants from Parkers too, but everything from T&M has been great.
I had been going to order from Jekka McVicar but the postage was horrendous for one plant
I am stopping using them... plants in plugs are usually too wet with flies in plus last order was supposed to have 24 plugs of busy lizzie but they have turned out to be petunias...most annoying..
I, too, have experienced problems with both T&M and Parkers. Yes, their prices are cheap, but the quality is so poor and the failure rate so high, that I consider them a waste of money. Having dealt with David Austin and Taylor's Clematis in the past I can thoroughly recommend their online dealings