The Accepted Industry Plant Guarantee
The February 2008 Issue
of Garden Gate Magazine actually addressed the issue of plant
guarantees directly in an article entitled "The Best and Worst Mail Order
Nurseries" written by Dave Whitinger of famed 'Dave's Garden',
"Check guarantees, substitutions and
refunds. Make sure that the company guarantees the plant to be true to
name as well as healthy and viable when it arrives. Nurseries can't be
responsible for the health of the plant once it's in your care. But if
there are problems within the first 48 hours, most companies will work with you
to correct the problem."
This is, in fact, our
1. That our plants are true to
2. That they are healthy when they leave
here and arrive safely.
We must know immediately if any plant is damaged during shipment or
arrives in poor condition. We reserve the right to request the return of
the material but are generally willing to accept a photo of arrival condition. Often we can salvage them even if damaged
and it can possibly be worth our paying return shipping.
What we cannot guarantee:
1. The purchaser's gardening abilities and/or plant
2. Drought, Tornadoes, Floods, Etc. or Acts of God
3. Lawn Mower or Weed Eater use in the area of your
4. The behavior of your neighborhood's male dog.
5. The behavior of moles, voles, rabbits, deer and other
6. Your soil and/or the conditions in your planting area, for
example drainage or soil Ph
To put it succinctly, once the plant leaves here,
too much is out of our control for us to guarantee itís survival. Our plants are
routinely inspected by the Va. State Department of Agriculture because we are truly
a nursery -- not a garden center or a broker -- so we feel confident about their health. But
once they go to your home, they are in your care.
We can not replace
plants that arrived in poor condition unless notified via E-mail with
photograph of plants within 3 days of arrival and prior to being planted.
Once in the ground there are factors beyond
arrival condition that can cause the demise of a plant.
Jefferson on gardening (and plant loss):
"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the
earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. Such a variety of subjects, some
one always coming to perfection, the failure of
one thing repaired by the success of another, and instead of
one harvest a continued one through the year."
Thomas Jefferson, 1811
Plant Replacement at
the Big Box Stores and Building Supply Stores.
There are businesses, such as
lumber yards, who do guarantee their selection of plants.
One such chain lost 17% Nationwide in 2001 on itís plant department as reported
in an industry trade magazine, but since
they use it as a 'Loss Leader' (a marketing strategy) to get you in the store to buy other things, that is
their chosen marketing technique. (Their surveys show that even when you come to
return a dead plant that you buy enough other things to make up for the
replacement plant.) So they gladly take a 17% loss on their plant
department because consumers more than make up for that buying other things
while they're there.
Because these stores
replace dead plants, many people have come to expect that. And for awhile
many vendors tried to follow suit, (and a few still do) but most gradually
realizing that Lowes and Home Depot can operate under the Loss Leader Marketing
Strategy, taking losses on plants because it's made up for by other purchases.
Nurseries and Garden Centers simply can't do that.