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My friend Linda over at Each Little World has been doing an excellent series on mail order plant purchases this spring and it inspired me to do the same.

My first mail order plants arrived last week Friday from Digging Dog nursery. I don’t think I’ve ordered from them in the past, but they have excellent reviews on Garden Watchdog, which I routinely consult before buying from a nursery for the first time.

When I opened the box and saw that the plants were packed in shredded paper I immediately do what I do with all such boxes: took the whole enchilada over to the compost pile. I just open these boxes on top of the pile so the shredded paper goes immediately into its final resting place.

All of the plants were nicely nestled in the paper, plastic bags around the pots to help keep them moist. My invoice and the planting information was right on top of the box so no digging was needed. Each bag of plants (not necessarily each plant) had a great plastic printed label, which I really appreciate so I don’t have to make a plant label right away.

Before I go on, I should add that I had placed my order online but one of the items I wanted wasn’t going to be available for another month so I opted to cancel it. Then I ended up added a clematis and the very nice folks there called me to confirm they had gotten the addition and all was well. A-plus for customer service on that one.

I’ll admit that the size of the plants was somewhat underwhelming, but I think it’s fairly typical for what you can expect from mail order nursery. All are extremely healthy with oodles of roots in those little pots. So many roots, in fact, that I need to get them in the ground or potted into something bigger ASAP.

If there’s any disappointment, it’s with Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxurians’ ($17.50). It’s really tiny and I’m not loving that because there are clematis nurseries that send huge plants these days. On the other hand, Digging Dog clearly explains their sizing on their website so it’s not like I didn’t know it was going to be a little smaller than other clematises that I’ve ordered and they were one of the few nurseries that actually had it in stock.

I also ordered Hakonechloa macra ‘Nicolas’ ($8.50 each) and Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Red Thunder’ ($7.75 each). My main frustration is that when I ordered that Hakonechloa I’m positive I had a specific place in mind for it and now I can’t remember where that was.

Check out Linda’s mail order reviews of Plant Delights Nursery, Odyssey Perennials and Far Reaches Farm. I’m enjoying this series so much that I can’t wait to see what Linda gets next!

4 Responses

  1. Please think carefully about ordering from Digging Dog Nursery. Although there are positive reviews, there are also a lot that refer to a lack of communication, lack of updates and refusing to send plants. I had such an experience. Although I try to buy from local nurseries, I wanted some plants that I could not find near my home in New Jersey. I found what I needed online at Digging Dog Nursery. However, once I ordered, the frustration and aggravation began. It seems that if a customer inquires about why something has not shipped, that customer never sees the order. I ordered a number of plants in March, and immediately received an email that I would hear back from the nursery in 5 days to 2 weeks regarding my shipping status. Never happened. I emailed them about 2 and a half weeks after I made the order because it was getting closer to prime planting time. I did not get a response. I continued to email and politely ask when the plants might come–I wanted to resolve it on good terms. Finally, I get a response that tells me some of the plants are not available and they were going to ship in late May–too hot for where I live. I asked for two substitutes–I ordered nine plants originally and did not hear back for another few weeks. Then I received notice that the plants would ship. It is getting close to two weeks since that shipment notice and I can’t get any updates. It has been very warm in my area and I had hoped to get the plants quickly. No one answers. Finally, I asked to be refunded for my order if I were not going to be able to get an update on shipping. No response, no plants and no refund. I have maintained a polite tone but I am terribly disappointed as it was a significant order. Be careful. I can’t replace what I didn’t get. Use other nurseries with better reviews.

  2. I'm always a bit disappointed with the size of the plants when I place an order by mail. I recently ordered from Vesey's (a Canadian distributor) and was actually suprised by the size of the plants except the amsonia (sp) which I ordered on your recommendation. But I' sure it will fill out.

  3. My plants from previous Digging Dog orders have all done well. The Thalictrums I ordered this time were small given their final size but they are growing amazingly fast once in the ground. I ordered a Clematis last year and it was small but this spring it came up and is zooming along. I try not to let the size and price bother me since I am only ordering stuff I have mot seen locally. Also I think writing about these orders makes one more picky than we might be otherwise.

  4. Erin, I'm glad you had a positive experience with this nursery. There are so many horror stories out there, which is why I always consult Garden Watchdog before ordering from a new place too. Happy planting! -Beth

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