Rant: The wrong plant again

hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)July 24, 2011

Hi all,

Why can't growers get it right? It's their business, for cryin' out loud. If I had an error rate this high I'd be out of a job.

I'm beginning to suspect it is deliberate, that somewhere an employee at Bonnie Plants is cackling with glee that I have waited all year for Soo Yoo cucumbers only to get nasty little pickling cucumbers YET AGAIN. How can you make a mistake like that? You can't. It's not possible. Someone put pickling cucumber seeds in the peat pot labeled Soo Yoos for the second year running.

The same goes for the lilies I have purchased from three different growers for the past three years. They grow these things in huge monocultured fields- I have seen the photos. So why are my Orange Electric lilies red? Why are my mother's lilium rubrum species lilies Orienpets in the rust and cream range? Why are my white Navonas yellow?

I now understand why the bagged Home Depot and Lowes irises are not what is on the label- the big growers sell their culled and rejected hybrids to the big box stores, which slap random names on the labels to fool the consumer into purchasing them. That mystery solved, and shame on all involved.

But I'm still stumped about the cukes. Is there really money to be made by using pickling cucumbers and labeling them as Soo Yoos? And the lilies- Orienpets are expensive. Someone lost money on that one.

I'd better not get going on the Gleditsia aurea that doesn't aurate.

If it didn't take a whole year to figure out the "mistake" I wouldn't be so cranky. But by the time something blooms or fruits, it's too late to fix it. And the same will happen next year.

Okay. I feel better now. Thank you for your time.


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Not really sure what to tell you on the lillies. I am assuming that you planted them from a bulb? We used to grow several varieties of them that were sold through grocery stores etc and got all of our bulbs directly from holland or american growers. Cant recall every having any problems with getting the wrong ones. I am wondering if the supplier buys them direct from the grower splits them into smaller packaging and relabels them for sale..... Probably doing so quite sloppily and hence all the mix ups. Random bulb left on the sorting table gets tossed into which ever bag has not been sealed etc.

As a general rule of thumb the bix box stores get what they pay for. We dont sell to them unless the its a choice between throwing thousands of plants in the trash or sending them to HD. If we have plant X which normally sells for $3.75 a pot, generally HD will want to pay $2-something a pot, and at that rate we are losing money when you figure in soil fet man hours etc, but better to recoop 2 dollars than 0 dollars, so they get the stuff that would be going into the trash. They are like walmart... if you send them good stuff 1 time they are never going to pay more for it and then when you send them stuff comparable to the price they are paying for it they will complain, so they consistently get the junk because the people doing the receiving dont know the difference if they have never seen good.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:00PM
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I would not be happy about the mixup of colors also.
But I wish I could get Lilies to even just survive without have to enclose in wire and cages to prevent the squirrels from eating them. I gave up.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:32PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

In order for a complaint (rant) to be effective, you need to contact the grower/distributor.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 10:32PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Neglected to mention:

Those companies employ people. People can make mistakes. And do. But not deliberately.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Only a year to find the mistake? With fruit trees it can take five or more years of loving care to find out the mistake. Plant tags should be secured to plants by the growers in a way to keep them from being switched. They do it with mattresses! Al

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:00AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

ggarner, that's a good guess on the lily problem. I'll bet you're right. I am going with a new company in Canada this year- I have heard good things about them from friends.

I much prefer shopping at nurseries, but Home Depot and Lowe's have driven every one of them out of business in my town. I think that's part of my frustration- HD is happy to refund my money, but complaints don't change their practices. I yearn for the days of yore, when I knew the names of everyone who worked at Ecology Nursery and Enchanted Way.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:09PM
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There are some old established lily growers out there on the web, like B&D and The Lily Garden. The stuff at HD is hopeless. Always has been. The Dutch bulbs are massively mislabelled, plus you get tulip virus and Narcissus bulb fly. Even the perennials in the cardboard boxes are screwed up. If you're a serious gardener, stick with internet and mail order.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:47PM
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I have never heard of "orienpets", so I googled it and found this page entitled "Why color can vary in orienpets", so maybe it could be a variation?

Regular Rubrum lilies are tied for my favorite flower, their smell is like gold!

Carla in Sac

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.thelilygarden.com/pages_lilies/orienpet_1.html

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:07PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I am four years into planting my backyard orchard and the thought of my trees being labeled wrong is horrifying! I bought them all from reputable sources so hopefully I will be lucky.

I have had plenty of veggies come out a different color or form than was on the label, but this year is the first time I've been faced with the problem of moving a plant in the landscape because it wasn't what the label said it was. A supposedly dwarf butterfly bush I planted last spring is now over 10' tall and way to big for it's space.

If I were you Renee, I would grow my cucumbers from seed next year. I've had trouble growing other veggies from seed but the cucurbits have usually done well for me. That way you should get what you want and not loose precious space in your garden to an impostor!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:23PM
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Hi Renee
So sorry you have been sent the wrong seeds. Maybe I can help. I have seed for Satsuki Midori cucumber. I have been told they are the same as the Yoo Soo. They are a long Japanese cucumber that climb. They are super prolific and an heirloom so seed can be saved. They are also super fast so you can still get some if you plant now.
I am in Southern California also. Message me you address and I will send you half a dozen seeds.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:11PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

My savior! Thank you, ocwormgirl. I shall grow your delicious cucumbers.
And thanks for the advice, peachymomo. I didn't know it was better to grow cucurbits from seed. I will do that from now on.
And thank you too, lilydude, for the advice on reputable lily sources in the US. I shall not order from the Dutch companies again.

I love this forum.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:45PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

ocwormgirl, your member page says I don't have permission to send you a message.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:47PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I had that feeling also over my lemon tree. I invested over two years in it, before I ended up taking a different tree. Two years of care, two of years of seeing everyday outside my window and communing with it. I could not bear to rip it out. I think it's a ponderosa.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:15PM
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My theory is they just throw in any label which sort of relates that they have lying around, since most shoppers are not discerning.

I have bought echinecea in bloom which were mislabeled as a completely different flower.

Last fall I bought a 6 pack labeled swiss chard, and it never did develop large ribs. I looked it up online and decided it was a mislabeled swiss chard ,a kind that had small ribs and kept waiting all winter for the leaves to get large. Boy was I surprised when I pulled them out in spring to find humungous beets, if i had known it was beets I would have harvested them in the edible stage.

So then I figured I couldn't go wrong with seeds. Well when I did my seed order, I forgot to order lettuce so I picked up a lettuce seed mix from HD . Two sowings so far and it is all kale!

Tropical thought, did you check to see if the the root stock took over?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 12:55AM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

And......my Japanese Eggplant is not Japanese Eggplant. I truly wonder if these are mistakes, disgruntled employees, or just sticking the Japanese Eggplant label in the pack to fill the order when they really were out of Japanese Eggplant. It's truly hard not to be a cynic.....

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 8:51PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I can't tell if the root stock took over, did you see my collecton of photos? I called the grower and emailed them the photos, but they never contacted me again. But, since I did get a free plant, I am happy. Sorry to take over this thread, the lemons are still the same, it looks like a meyer but the lemons have very thick rinds. I did see a real mature meyer, and mine does look just the same in photos of leaves and everything, but the fruits are not round orange and have thick rinds

Here is a link that might be useful: my lemon

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 1:04PM
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Once I was in HD and there was a hyper giggling kid running around and when I looked over at him, I saw that he was taking labels from the vegetable pots and mixing them all up! I told an employee who just shook his head and said it happens alot. No wonder my sweet bell peppers were all chiles!
So it's not always the growers' fault I guess.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 2:37AM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

lol...another interesting thought! Whatever the reason, for me, the mis-labeling means that I won't buy anymore 6-packs grown and distributed by this one company....and perhaps that I won't buy veggie 6-packs from HD either....

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 9:25AM
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Totally understand you being upset. Same thing happened to me this year with my peppers. Thought I bought all poblanos, only to find half of them were Anaheims. Read the stick on the plant and believed it.

Only was to fix is for the future (hopefully), and to let the grower know about their mistake. Not much can be done this year. Glad someone was able to get you the cucumber seeds you needed.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 6:24PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

And guess what? Today they sprouted! Tomorrow I shall go out and build a little slug and earwig moat until they get big enough to fend for themselves.

On the very bright side, a company that sent me two of the wrong irises sent me replacements and two beautiful new irises as freebies. I love small companies.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:23AM
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pbsjones(Sunset 14/USDA 9)

Oh, how I feel your pain! My supposed-to-be yellow with red edges gladiolas are orange and my zucchinis are patty pan, planted from from a Sean Conway seed packet. I know that I didn't make a mistake and plant the wrong seeds, because that's what I assumed with the first set of seedlings, so I planted another round and made sure that I had the right packet, but no, patty pan again. Which would be fine if I liked patty pan, but I don't; I like zucchini. :(

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 10:31PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

I just noticed in a local hardware store's nursery that they have salvia 'Costa Rica Blue' labeled as salvia canariensis / Canary Island Salvia and it finally hit me...you have a lot of workers who know how to stick labels in pots, but don't have a clue as to whether or not that label and plant go together.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I kept wondering why my Sweet 100 tomatoes were not getting red, but getting very orange and over ripe. Guess they were Sungold instead. I got them at Summerwinds, just as the plants came off the truck, so kids hadn't had time to mess with the tags. I was feeling sorry for myself, until I saw this thread. Discovering that others have waited years only to have the wrong variety would make me furious!!!


    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 3:32PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Babka! I have been looking for photos of your spectacular yard. You wouldn't be interested in posting a few for us now, would you?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 1:25AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I went to Picassa to see yours and I cannot begin to think of posting my weenie yard after seeing your photos. Thank your for the compliment, however.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 1:01AM
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