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Brumbull wrote (see)

I thought it was time that a thread was started (my apologies if there is already a known thread) regarding any negative or positive comments us gardeners would like to share amongst us ? this could be about a purchase of plants - good or bad ? it could be about level of service you received etc etc etc, but what it will do is identify and let others know of your experiences.

is this not similar to Ranting (Mob Rants)



Mail order is very hit and miss, probably like brides!!! I have a punt now and again but I will admit, I'm starting to go places to get my plants now, especially if it's things that are required pronto, several times I've 'missed' the season due to fruit trees being dead or potatoes and garlic not arriving for an age. Last year T&M sent me my autumn onion sets and garlic and daffs the first week of Dec, we had hard frosts for 2 weeks before they arrived. If they had arrived in october or start of Nov like advertised, it would have been significantly better.

Still, you live and learn. My New Year's resolution was for any food crops or things I absolutely need on time, I'll go find and buy rather than relying on people who can't be relied on!


Hello. Living in France, I order plug plants in spring and autumn from a French company called Jardin Express. Everything always arrives by post beautifully packed, looking green and fresh. They also often put 2 plants in each plug and you can divide them carefully and pot them up getting 2 for the price of 1. 


Must say I have had some very good, and dreadful, service and plants from various on-line sellers.  Van Meuwen has been, for me, one of the best, as has Suttons - which is now affilliated with Dobies, Parkers are, as we all know dreadful, they lie and send wrong stuff that fails -  I quite like some of the big commercial growers as you get alot of bang for your money as they say.  Near us there is a locally run and managed plant centre that has about the best basket plants I have ever seen anywhere, if you don't want to grow your own.  They also sell big sacks of moss for the baskets and hangars, and if you really don't want to do even that, or you cannot, they will plant everything for you and look after them until you can take them home.  If you design the basket or whatever they will follow your plan, or if you leave it with them, will plant to their plans - always look good.  i usually buy around 3 trays of small plants from them and the baskets do very well - except when there is no sun as last year, and I cannot blame them for that!


I know that they have a reputation for being expensive, but I really rate Crocus. They have a huge variety of high quality plants that arrive well packaged. I dont think I have ever had a problem. On the other hand with Parkers I have often received the wrong plants and sometimes in a terrible state.

PS I think that this is a really good idea for a thread. It could help us all.


Pottie Pam

I ordered plug plants (pelargoniums and trailing begonias) from Jersey Plants last year. They were very small and didn't expect them to flower to flower early but they put up a good show and I've got lots of big plants and begonia corns to grow this year. Very reasonable price and free postage.


I agree with you Potty Pam, Jersey Plants are tops, and cheaper than Crocus and P&P FREE!!My grumble is that they sell bedding plants by the cartloads..........where do people plant 100 Petunias? I wish they did small amounts.

But last year I ordered some CANNAS from them in JUNE and the plants arrived in 4 days.They were sturdy, healthy plants  of a good size. (Not like T&M with plants costing £12/= in 7 cm pots with one shoot and half a leaf!)

Some online suppliers(T&M again) also take your money and then send you an E-mail 2 days later  saying that the plants would be dispatched in 6 months time!

I think that as long as we put up with such atrocious customer service they will not improve. The supermarkets are a good example, we are voting with our feet and using our buying power. Who would have thought that  ALDI & CO would top the big boys eh?

Gardening Grandma

This is a good idea, Brumball. This information has been scattered through different threads and to gather it all into one thread is helpful. Anyway, speaking as the person who started the MOB rants thread, it was intended for more light-hearted, general moans and groans and the discussion of them. Derek is a great supporter of the thread and I really appreciate his kindness, though.

I have personally found van Meuven's OK. I don't buy with any of these firms much because - for the size of the plants - I find them quite expensive except maybe for plugs. I'd prefer to see what I'm getting. Jersey Plants are good but as someone has said, there are an awful lot of plants to deal with and you need a pretty large greenhouse if you want to bring them on in time to plant in June.



I have always been vary wary of ordering plants, etc on-line so I think this thread will be very helpful and, hopefully, will allay my fears of doing so.  It gives you a chance to weight things up as to whether it's wise or not to buy blind. 

MOB thread is for Mr and Mrs Meldrews!! I feel so at home.

i think it is all trial and error, but as a new gardener i ordered from T&m , they gave one dispatch date that then  changed, and a further order was placced, and again dispatch changed, so i have not been overly pleased with the service. I eagerly await to see what will be delivered, sometimes although garden centres are expensive at least you can touch, see the goods and know what you are buying.


I don't often buy plants via mail order, preferring to see what I'm buying.  Way back in the 70s I bought plants from Parkers and they were mostly fine, but that was a very long time ago and things have changed - I'd not buy from them now - reports are not good.  

I have ordered some strawberry plants from Ken Muir - not received them yet but I'm not surprised, and in fact I'm rather pleased they've not sent them yet, considering the weather!  I'll report back when they do arrive. 

I think it's a good idea to have our mail order experiences all on one thread - much easier to access 

Another good thread Brumbull.
Woodgreen wonderboy

I once ordered a large order of summer plantlets from T&M...disaster. Lots of delay and inapprpropriate substitutions. They knew that I had had such bad service that when I asked for a total refund they immediately agreed and I was left with a bunch of plants for free but which were a million miles from what I originally wanted and planned for.

On a second rant, this year the formulation of Roseclear3 has been changed and now makes only half the quantity it did last year, although the price hasn't changed. Beware roselovers.

This is a good thread BB. 

Checking out clematis this week saw the Crocus adverts and spent time browsing but not sure beacause of the prices..

yesterday went to local gc and found lots of varieties in the different groups (1,2 etc)...good price, friendly staff

weeather permitting on Sunday plan to visit clematis specialist in Tenbury Wells..

...haven't discounted Aldi

really enjoy this aspect of choosing plants and appreciating the advice...

The potty gardener

I often get plants online. Must say I have had excellent service from T&M. If I need to phone they are always really helpful. I also got what I thought were good plants for the money from J Parkers. I also get things from QVC the teleshopping channel, these always arrive in excellent time. The one time I wasn't happy with something I recieved when I phoned a replacement was sent straight away.


I have ordered several things from T&M, but only in their sales. apart from one they have all been very good and i got vouchers. there potted stuff comes really well packaged.

van M are their sister company, their stuff seems a couple of pounds cheaper - again no issues so far.

last year there was a thread on here about compost, which was very informative. this year i've tried aldis seed compost and peat free and i am REALLLY impressed - especially at the prices

i've also got canes, sieves and watering cans very cheap from aldi too. asda also has some great stuff. as i've only been gardening a year i never noticed they did so much gardening stuff in supermarkets - is it new?

Highland Jeannie

Fancied ordering a few good-looking sale bargains from Crocus recently, but unfortunately they don't deliver this far north.  At least their website is helpful & shows where they deliver to & if you live near the boundary you can even enter your postcode to see if you'll be "lucky"!!  Unlike the Telegraph Gardenshop who just unhelpfully "don't recognise" your postcode even though their order form looks suspiciously like Crocus.


This is a great thread Brum. I haven't use mail order much as I'm fortunate to have a huge nursery within half hour drive - it was a little too handy at last house as it was a few hundred yards away! I did buy bare root hedging about 5 yrs ago from a big supplier and it was excellent. Supermarkets are catching on -I've bought some very good, inexpensive plants from Morrisons, and Asda is good for all sorts of bits and pieces.


An excellent idea for a thread Brum.

This post isn't a rant nor am i preaching it is merely a post to make people think and decide for themselves what is important.

I notice on this thread and others, that we are buying plants from supermarkets and thrift stores, yes i say we cause i am also guilty of this, all i am asking is give a thought to the small independent nurseries in your local area who will undoubtedly go the same way as the high street bakers & butchers etc etc, sure the plants are cheaper at the supermarket, but can they give you the advice at the check-out you can get from a nurseryman? At your local nursery you know where the plants have come from, the local conditions that the plants have been grown in will be suited to you, think about where plants from the supermarkets come from, most come from the continent, Holland, Germany, Italy, think about the carbon footprint it takes to bring these plants to Britain a thing i call plant miles, im not saying these plants are of inferior quality they are more or less the same, but they have been mollycoddled in poly tunnels on the continent. You will also have less choice from supermarkets as they are only interested in profit and what sells well. IMHO the small independents who have a love of horticulture a passion for plants that you wont get from a supermarket will be a thing of the past if we are not careful, next time you are in a supermarket, thrift store check the labeling on the plants if it is just pictures trying to explain how to plant and grow the plant it means it's from the continent and for mass distribution around Europe, i for one would rather pay a few extra pence or pounds to keep my local independents in business.. Sorry maybe i should have posted this on the rant thread...just think about it please..



I hardly ever buy plants from supermarkets as in my experience they are all far too 'soft' and need a lot of hardening off - as you say Percy Grower, the smaller nurseries offer a lot of choice and often have more unusual plants in better condition - I usually find a new variety of something that tempts me when I visit a small nursery