Friday, January 20, 2006

Garden Boondoggle

This time of year, if you’ve ever ordered from even one gardening catalog, you’ll find your mailbox overflowing with colorful plant photos and slick copy. I was thrilled to find a luridly bright Inter-State Nurseries catalog in the mail pile last night. However, as I began leafing through it, I immediately had a sense of something not quite right. First of all, the paper was of a lesser quality than the usual glossy stock. The plant descriptions used words like “amazing,” “enormous” and “gorgeous” a few too many times. The copy neglected to mention light or moisture requirements. Finally, the prices were truly too good to believe (1 cent plants). I kept the catalog (hope springs eternal?), but suspected that the company was not actually reputable.

This morning, with the help of Garden Watchdog, I confirmed my suspicions. Inter-State Nurseries has a 94% NEGATIVE rating. The reviews are almost all horror stories of dead (or never received) plants and uncooperative customer service agents. True, six percent of the reviewers had a neutral or positive experience and unsatisfied customers are more likely to leave a rating, but I’d rather not take that gamble.

I’ve done some stupid things gardening (pruning my new Nikko Blue hydrangea to the ground, for instance), but, thanks to Garden Watchdog, I won’t be swindled by disreputable plant merchants. After I cut some pictures out of the catalog, I’ll use it to start my next fire. *sigh* I really was excited by those 1 cent plants...

*By the way, companies like this often operate under multiple names, so be sure to do your research.

11 Comments:

Blogger Maggie said...

love your blog-your garden is really pretty. do you ever buy plants locally? can I ask where you shop? i'm just north of cinci and i'm searching for a good nursery- (i just started gardening)~maggie

10:50 AM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Maggie,

Check out the shopping recommendations on the Ohio Valley Forum (GardenWeb)

Favorite Nurseries
Source for Shrubs and Trees

I buy many plants at Lowe's and HD because they're cheap. Funke's has good prices but it is hard to find help. The staff at Moeller's is great, but their plants are spendy. White Oak seems to be inexpensive and helpful.

I am excited to try Earthscapes in Loveland this spring for shrubs and trees.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

Thanks for the mention of Garden WAtchdog. I'm adding it to the gardening information site I'm compiling. Susan

4:39 PM  
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12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Garden Watchdog is an invaluable source if a gardener likes to mail order for plants, seeds, and bulbs (which I do!)--so many thoughtful recommendations on Watchdog and also on the Forums on Dave's Garden website too.

About the garden centers here in Cincinnati area, you may want to check in on Berns in Middletown just off I-75--excellent range of inventory--and also Greenfield Plant Farm near Maineville has the best range of perennial plants in the area (I think, anyway!)and a smaller retail store in Anderson Twp.

Dave's Garden also has an interactive Garden Center locator and map and it has several places listed for Hamilton County.

3:46 PM  
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