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Direct Gardening review: Don't ever order from them!

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12:00 am EDT
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Don't ever buy from or These 2 companies are affiliated.

I purchased 4 different types of shrubs about 2 weeks ago - Winter Hardy Boxwood, Forsythia, Purple Smoke Bush, and Spicy Sweet Shrub. Yesterday I got a package (a green bag) outside of my house. I opened the bag, and I found some single thin branches in it, and they just look like dead wood single branches but with roots. I was wondering who was playing a joke with me and put dead wood branches outside of my house. I then look carefully at them, they have loop white stickers w/names of the shrubs. I then thought "NO WAY"! These are not the shrubs that I ordered, right? In Burgess' catalog, for example, for the Spicy Sweet Shrub, it says "1-2 ft shrubs sent", but what we got is 1-2 ft "STICK" sent. For the Hardy Boxwood, in the catalog, it says "3 year plants shipped", not "6 inches tall herb like plant shipped"! or is a SCAM! Don't ever order from them! I have never been this unsatisfied before!

** Just a reminder, if you want to get a refund, you have to ship all the "sticks" back to them at YOUR OWN EXPENSE!


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Jul 13, 2017 10:20 pm EDT

I ordered almost $200.00 worth of plants from this company and have been totally satisfied, other than them sending lollipop lilies that turned out to look like Dolly Madison lilies. (Free? I'm not going to complain!) I got "sticks" and don't think people understand what they are buying or getting. Or how to take care of the plants once they arrive. All mine were planted this past May and are doing fine. My trumpet vine I ordered came as "sticks" people are describing. You can't just stick these in soil and expect them to grow. They have to be soaked on water for at least 3 days. I don't think people ordering these plants are being careful or know what to do with them once the arrive.

Jun 01, 2017 4:59 pm EDT

Yep I just learned the hard way. They shipped me dead plants and are now asking me to send them back at my own expense! What a horrible company. I should have read the 100's of review ...

Jul 10, 2015 6:14 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

These two companies are cheats from the word go!
It took twice thier advertized time to deliver; past the planting and growing season... When I refused the order; they took another month to credit my card minus $15.03. They only charged me $9.99 for shipping in the first place...They are crininals!; hiding behind a business... I guess that standard for Illinois since most of our natorious criminalls have been from that state...
WW klink Pis..d off in Alabama

Jul 02, 2015 10:28 am EDT

Every year I used to purchase plants from direct gardening on line. I get plants in small containers or as dormant sticks. EXCEPT IN ONE OR TWO INSTANCES all the plants have come back to life and or thriving. THEIR seeds have not failed any time. Of course, I too had the experience of some plants going dead. I used to send the original packing slip and intimate them which plants have died. Within a fortnight they send replacement at their cost.
10 days back I had been to their nursery at the address given by them in Bloomington. The name of the nursery is owennusery. I purchased palnts for around 80$. They put all plants in a green bag and told that everything is properly labelled and availablel inside the bag. After coming home to my surprise i found the sub zero rose collection was missing. I sent an email to them. THIS IS THEIR REPLY

Re: Webs: Form Response
Owen Nursery ([email protected]) Add to contacts 6/24/15 Keep this message at the top of your inbox
To: [email protected]
[email protected]
So sorry about not having the rose collection in the package we had ready for you. We would be happy to mail this to you at our expense, and will get it out to you asap. Again, our apologies for the mishap. Owen Nursery and Florist

---- Original Message ----
From: [email protected]
Sent: 6/22/2015 6:31:32 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Webs: Form Response

I PROMPTLY RECEIVED REPLACEMENT AND I have planted them. Except one rose plant every plant has green leaves and thriving. Even that rose plant may wake up from dormancy and come to life within a week. Otherwise if I write to them they may send replacement.

We get what we pay for


May 21, 2015 6:39 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I believe this company is fraudulent. They took my money but did not send my order. It is going on 2 months! Now it is too late to plant and have the plants survive. I can not contact them by phone -the line is always busy and they do not respond to my e-mails. I am beyond disgusted and am exploring what legal options I have to get my money back. Do not order from this company! They are a scam.

May 23, 2014 8:05 am EDT

Follow up from previous post
Well they shipped the order UPS and did not require a signature upon delivery. Seeing that no proof of delivery for this shipment I have no idea where they could have been delivered? So I called my credit card company and had them reverse the charges for the order. And it was successful.Direct Gardening sent me several nasty letters trying to get me to pay for the items that my credit card company reversed charges on. Well without proof of delivery Direct gardening could not force payment. And I have heard that the products that Direct Gardening does sell, like lily bulbs, is garbage when you get the m. If you purchase items from them don’t plan on planting them, plan on burying them funeral style, because that’s what you do with dead items. Direct Gardening is the worst place to purchase anything. The work very hard and are good at screwing the customer. And they also have several affiliated companies that they go by such as: Burgess, Four seasons, Richard Owen, Inter-State, Kelly, Royal Dutch, Honey Creek, House of Wesley, Farmer Seed, just to name a few. I would imagine they need to do this to keep the public fooled as to where you are purchasing the dead crap they sell.

Jun 05, 2013 12:08 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I ordered $135.00 worth of plants and seeds on Sunday, May 26. I received an email confirmation on May 27. It's June 5th, planting time in Minnesota, and I haven't received anything. I called today and the woman said "your order shipped yesterday". I asked for tracking number, they don't have any. Then she said, "oh, wait, only one package shipped yesterday - your live plants, but you have 3 more packages of seeds that will ship in the NEAR FUTURE" ?. I ask "can you give me an estimated time of arrival so I have planting help ready?" "No, no I can't."
I'll keep you all posted but it's been 14 days since I ordered and what is so difficult about sending seeds?!?!?!
I'm now nervous after reading these reviews.
Letty in Western Wisconsin

May 09, 2013 11:45 am EDT

I placed an order with Direct Gardening for Lily Bulbs. They state on the website orders will be shipped out in 1 to 2 weeks. Well almost 4 weeks and nothing shipped. Sent them an email and asked when my order will be shipped. I received a very vague email about processing and the plants coming in from the field, and not really explaining what the status of my order was. So I wrote back and told them to cancel my order. I get back “Our records do show that the orders have entered the shipping department and are scheduled to be shipped at any time” again a very vague statement of order status.
This is the first and last time I visit Direct Gardening. I will use Blooming Bulbs, Michigan Bulbs, or Tulip World to name a few that I have used with wonderful results.

Oct 27, 2011 5:36 pm EDT

This company has HORRIBLE customer service policies. They believe it is okay to charge a credit card a different amount than was on the e-mailed receipt from a web order. PLUS they expect me to mail back the shipping label before they will correct a mistake that THEY made.

Two problems with my order.

One: I ordered almost 300 bulbs... 120 mixed mini daffodils were in my order which I placed in August. And was billed for in August. When I received the order it included 120 lavender mtn lily instead of the daffodils. Not as a subsitution, just an error. I have been told that I must mail back the original shipping label for the replacement warranty to be valid. But I am not asking for a replacement of my purchase, I simply want to receive the correct product that I ordered and paid for.

Two: After the error with product, I reviewed my e-mail receipt and noticed that the "total charge" when I place the order was $5.94 less than what my card was actually charged. I have been told from their customer service that I was charged the correct amount. Really? This is not an acceptable way of doing business...emailing receipts with one total and charging another? How many orders have a similar error? How many dollars does that add up to?

Jun 08, 2011 5:09 pm EDT

I have two orders with Direct Gardening and it was a positive experience and I am satisfied. Strawberries were in excellent condition with very healthy roots. Flowers were wonderful. I ordered several berry bushes. Yes, it came as a "stick" with roots. Soaked for a day in water and then planted it. They already gave new fresh leaves. Asparagus was top quality. Most complains here that they received "dead sticks". People need to understand what dormant is. If you want a tree with green leaves and do not look dead, better shop at your local nursery, but price will be according to "appearance of life" as well. Yes, shipping took about a month, but considering prices DG offers and unique plants that i cannot find anywhere else, I am very happy with them. Also, got all my flower bulbs as free gift. Love them too.

Jun 03, 2011 1:40 am EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

This is by far the absolute worst of any online nursery I have ever in 15 years dealt with. I ordered a blue climbing rose vine. They sent a pink shrub. Even though I sent a photo. They have in their database my credit card information, amount of purchase and date they REFUSED to replace it because I did not have the original packaging slip. They want my credit card statement to prove i made the purchase. Even though they produced their own evidence they still want me to produce one of my "paperless" statements.
I really wish I had read the reviews before I dealt with this company. I posted a picture. Does this rose look blue to you?

May 27, 2011 6:20 pm EDT

Just received my Mothers Day gift from my kids from this company needless to say I was waiting on pins and needles for the roses they had ordered me. I love roses and they are the only flower I will plant. I live in Michigan and wanted the special north growing roses because one can't find something like that and of course we all know Michigan is a very cold state and I have the backyard all ready filled with roses so I needed something for the front of house which sits of course toward the north! So of course one can see why I couldn't wait to receive these roses well needless to say I to wish I would have read the above mentioned complaints because I too received dead broken sticks and the north rose I was so desperately waiting for was replaced with a different dead stick rose all together which according to internet needs full sun what a ### never again will I order from this company. Hopefully they send me more catalogs because I have a new puppy that needs some good ### training paper because to me that is all this company is worth wouldn't recommend to even the worst of neighbors.

Jul 17, 2010 9:42 am EDT

I agree that this company is a BIG RIPOFF! Our order looked like sticks without roots! Planted & they still look like sticks(without roots no doubt!) Save yourself some money & order from Michigan Bulbs and get plants that dont look like old sticks with NO ROOTS! Hey direct gardening Ya need identifable roots to grow don't Ya know! They must be smokin their good plants! They sure as **** aren't sending the good ones to us paying customers! Just say NO & order from ANYONE else!

Jul 17, 2010 9:36 am EDT

We ordered, we received sticklike plants, that we didn't which side had roots too! Still waiting for our sticks to grow! BIG RIPOFF! Just say NO & don't order. Try Michigan Bulbs they have been around forever & I hear they even GROW!They don't send you STICKS with no apparent roots!

May 16, 2010 10:08 am EDT

It is absolutely beyond me how this company can be defended. I have never seen any plant company sell anything like they do. I ordered about $60 of plants plus fertilizer, etc from them. I was so astonished at a pear "tree" that I called them at once. I told them that the stick was broken and appeared long dead. I could see no evidence of any root system -- no roots, no hairs, etc, unless they were on the broken off end. They told me that that was the way it was supposed to look. They told me just to plant it. I asked if I should use a root hormone. They said No, it would burn the roots. I asked, What roots? They said they were dormant. I asked, How do I know which side to plant? They said, Try the side that wasn't broken. As it happened this stick actually produced leaves this spring. The problem was they weren't the leaves of a pear tree.
All the other plants I ordered, Cherry Trees and bush, apple tree and several grapes, have never shown any signs of life. Even though I followed the directions and used the fertilizer they recommended and sold me.
Of all the plants I planted last fall, this company's plants were the only ones to show no signs of life. (Except for the pear tree and I have to see what the plant that is growing there is.)
And while it has now been nearly 3 weeks, there is no sign of the guaranteed replacements (they don't refund -- it would bankrupt them). And no sign. Frankly I wouldn't expect any replacement to have any more vitality, but I do want them to spend money and effort, and I can use the stuff they send as kindling.

Apr 09, 2010 11:52 pm EDT

I have ordered plants and trees from eburgess for years now and have been very satisfied. Like PP said, my trees arrived looking deadish but came to life once planted and most have flourished. I would have paid 5 times as much if I had bought at local nurseries. The plants made it all the way to Alaska in decent shape, I wonder if the plants people are complaining about went to hot arid places and sat out for a while. I will continue ordering through eburgess and recomending it to friends as it was recomended to me. Products are as described.

Jul 13, 2017 10:12 pm EDT
Replying to comment of fin5ak

I agree Tiffany. I live in Pennsylvania and my plants arrived end of May in 85 degree weather. I got almost $200.00 worth. I immediately opened them and they also got planted in a timely fashion. If you leave any plants sit out in the heat they will dry out, rot, or get moldy.

Mar 31, 2010 6:51 am EDT

I purchased over 50 trees and several flowering shrubs from them a few weeks ago. Our order arrived and all of them were the size they had stated in the catalog. Many of them were $2.00 or less. I'm not sure what people were expecting to get for the prices that are offered in the catalog. We planted about two weeks ago and many already have leaves growing and some already have blooms. I had a great experience and will use them for future orders.

Aug 13, 2009 5:38 pm EDT

I have had very unsatisfactory dealings with both-NEVER AGAIN

Glenn T Clark

Jul 01, 2009 7:25 pm EDT

my first order from direct gardening contained dead walk-on-me thyme so brown and moldy i would have done better to hunt for something dead in the woods.
trying to be cooperative, i gave directgardening the benefit of the doubt and against my better judgment did not return the "plants". i planted the dead junk, cared for the withered, tangled, crumbly whatever it was and of course nothing close to an actual plant developed, they just disappeared completely.
still not expecting a transaction this atrocious again or that this insult would actually be repeated by direct gardening, i ordered again. this time they rewarded me with molded irish moss, dead blue light clematis, and dead pink salvia (as labeled on the bags, i could not even tell by looking at the brown
things what they were supposed to be). i mailed a detailed letter explaining why i am entitled to return shipping. their policy does NOT say "if we send dead plants the return is the customer's cost" or anything to that effect. i spoke to several customer service reps trying to get my return shipping cost ($1.75)
refunded, most recently on 07/01/09. while they didn't uphold their representation to not sell dead plants, they did consistently uphold their policy that return shipping is the customer's cost. the bottom line is that their policy causes customers to lose money for them not fulfilling an order as implied. i
asked them if their policy was to send dead plants, they said no. i told them i have pictures and asked why they didn't uphold that statement, yet upheld the return shipping policy. the response i got was that its only a dollar and some change. this has been the most horrible customer service experience i have
ever had. how can they think they should be allowed to do business this way? (i tried to post the pics here but got a 404 not found error)

Mar 02, 2009 12:18 pm EST

I have ordered several items from Burgess for the past several years and have always received good products. It is usually shipped in a dormant state and in a green (light blocking) bag for a reason. I always received sticks and stuff that appears dead (it is not), planted according to directions, added well fertilized gardening soil (not potting soil or original dirt from the hole I dug), watered and now have some beautiful and healthy trees and plants. I also wait till all chance of frost and/or freeze at my home is past, completely! before I even order (learned that lesson the hard way). I am no gardener, have no green thumb and wonder what all these complaining people are or are not doing. I would highly recommend Burgess and will order from them again. To those who have had bad luck, don't give up! If you need help, don't be afraid or to stubborn to ask for help. All garden/nursery stores, some feed and seed stores, Lowes and Home Depot all have master gardeners that are glad to help or they always have been in my case. I wish all of you good gardening in the future. Thanks for letting me share my views, Kenn.

Feb 20, 2009 3:42 pm EST
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I ordered from Burgess in 2006 and also recieved a green bag filled with sticks with roots. I went ahead and planted the dormant shrubs and trees and the next spring/summer they all burst into life and are growing very rapidly now and have surpassed the growth of larger nursery purchased items that were planted the same year. I only purchased very inexpensive items, so I feel that I got my money's worth.

Feb 05, 2009 12:35 pm EST

Hey, people at "Burgess"!

Do You have any comments back for statements above?

Is there guidance/help for folks that do not understand system of your shipping. I believe that you are sending bare-roots dormant on purpose, in order to prolong the life of a plant while in-route to the customer? Or?

Pretty satisfied customer; Charley Savnik at [email protected]

Jul 13, 2017 10:08 pm EDT

I don't think people understand planting methods for the plants they are shipped. I ordered trumpet vine which also was sent as "sticks". They immediately went into water and soaked for a few days, with the water being changed daily. I then planted them out and they have done well - but I didn't expect them to leaf right away as it takes time for plants to establish themselves and get their root systems going. You have to have patience with plants like these, and sometimes they will not do much the first year planted.

Sep 02, 2008 12:26 pm EDT

Horrible company. I ordered plants for 210 Dollars, all groundcovers (Irish Moss, Red Sedum, Yellow Sedum and Periwinkle). What arrived at my house was an overstuffed green plastic bag, filled with rotten, molding plants that were semi-liquid, they actually resembled thawed spinach. So I returned them and I am now waiting for my refund. To be on the save side, I included the shipping label and also tracked the return. They received the package on August 21st - I just called and learned that "it usually takes 7-14 days for them to process a refund, you have to give it more time"! Well, the 14 days are up in 2 days and I either expect to the refund or will dispute the charges. Stay away from this company.

Jul 15, 2008 11:17 am EDT

I was very disappointed with my order from these companies also. I ordered over $100 worth of what I thought were going to be nice plants and all that I received were some sticks. I planted them and after 4 months all I have now are wet sticks they don't even grow. Soooooooooooooooo

DON'T BUY ANYTHING FROM THESE PEOPLE EVER! and if you want to return them you will have to try and remember which stick belonged to which bag and then return everything in the original package at your own expense.

Jun 17, 2008 5:13 am EDT


Jun 13, 2008 9:21 pm EDT

We are very disapointed with our order I have never seen such a scam in my can they get by with this? Our order was about $180.00 of ### (sorry)- deadwood, granted some of the grape vines made it, but only (2), oh...
wee I could go to my neighbor and get free grapes-but that's not the point if I spend $180.00...I expect $180.00 worth of product. HOW DO YOU PEOPLE STAY IN BUSINESS...IT'S BEYOUND ME. All I have to say is "YOUR DAY WILL COME".


May 09, 2008 12:08 pm EDT

I too wish I had seen this site before I ordered from them. I received my order in March and was stupid enough to believe the note that said they were dormant. I planted the dead looking roots and expected to see them flourish. Well, the joke is on me...they are still as dead as ever. I have to say that I did order some daylily bulbs that were really quite nice for the price. I also ordered some elephant ear caladium and they seemed pretty good. If you're going to order from this company...DON'T ORDER PLANTS...THEY ARE A COMPLETE RIPOFF! I spent $108.00 for a few bulbs. I'm going to complain to my credit card company.

May 08, 2008 4:13 pm EDT

I agree 100%! Wish I would have seen this complaint before I ordered. I got over $62 worth of stuff and it came in a green plastic bag which was stuffed into my mailbox. One of the things that I ordered was a red tree peony at the price of $12.95. What I received was a stick about 10" long that was broken in half! I also ordered a potted weeping cherry tree. What I got was a tiny twig in a 1" pot. I paid $5.95 for that! These people are a TOTAL RIP-OFF! DO NOT BUY FROM THEM!


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35 complaints
3 resolved 32 unresolved

Direct Gardening contacts

(added by reviewer)
Phone number
1704 Morrissey Dr., Illinois United States