Big Dipper Farms?

cargobeanFebruary 9, 2008

Hi: Just wondering if anyone has ordered from these guys and what their experience was? I was thinking of ordering from them but figured I'd first check here. It's kinda nervewracking ordering from online places, where you can't see the plants, ya know? Any help you guys could give would be appreciated. Thanks: Cargobean

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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

If I were giving letter grades, I'd give Big Dipper a B. You could do better, you could do worse. Most of what hasn't survived is my own fault--I'm constantly experimenting. Only one plant I've received was basically dead on arrival, and they replaced that one without any argument or hassle. In the end, in those years when I don't order from Big Dipper it's because they aren't carrying enough of the plants I currently want.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 2:59AM
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Hi ljrmiller: Thanks for the advice. Where you happy with the size of their plants? I am thinking of ordering the dwarf phlox and little spire russian sage, which I have not been able to find in my area. But am so nervous about ordering from an online company; I heard that Garden Crossings was much better but their prices are very high, but I might just bite the bullet; to get the nicer plants. Thanks for commenting. Cargobean

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 3:14PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I would go with Garden Crossings over Big Dipper, if they both carry the same plants. I was happy with the plants from Big Dipper, but happier with Garden Crossings' plants. I have bought from both, but I buy what I can't get elsewhere from Big Dipper, and I consider Garden Crossings one of my preferred suppliers for plants I can obtain from several companies.

I strongly suggest that you consult the Garden Watchdog/Dave's Garden ( before buying from any mail-order company. Sometimes manure happens and the best of companies sends you bad plants, but that's very rare. If you check Garden Watchdog first, you can at least avoid the truly and consistently horrible companies.

I'd say that out of the 100-odd companies I've ordered from over the years, only ONE took my money and never sent me any plants (they went bankrupt between my order in late spring and the ship date of my plants that fall), and less than 10 sent plants, seeds or bulbs so bad that I would never do business again with them under any circumstances. I'd place about 20 of the companies in the "Absolutely! So when does the next catalog come out so I can place my order?" category. Most of those are in the Watchdog "Top 30".


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:21AM
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Ok - thought I'd toss in my two cents.

I had a WONDERFUL experience with Big dipper.

They sent very high quality plants, only one they were not able to send, japanese buttersomething. Giant Butterbur plants.

Otherwise, everything was wonderful, and they even threw in extras.

They even sent me an african blue basil free and that plant was SO enjoyed all the way through the summer - I couldn't believe it. Non-stop blooming.

I want to order from them again. Think I need a new musa bajoo - forgot to mulch mine.

And no matter how many times I yelled, all my beautiful ferns from them were trampled by construction guys.

So, that's my input - I thought they were marvelous. I'd give them an A+ rating.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 12:42PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I have ordered from both Big Dipper Farms and Garden Crossings too, and I have had a positive experience with both. I think the difference between the two is that Big Dipper's prices are a little lower and the plants are smaller (closer to the size you get from Bluestone Perennials). So if you want a larger plant to start with, then pay the extra and go with Garden Crossings. If you don't mind starting with a smaller plant, save yourself the money and go with Big Dipper. On the plus side for Big Dipper, they do usually include a free herb plant of some sort which is always a nice surprise.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:54AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If this is the place in Black Diamond, WA I've been to their physical location. Like many nurseries doing mail order quality of stock is variable, depending on how long they have been hanging onto it and if they have gotten around to potting it on. Many such operations seem to have a tendency to become plant warehouses. Problem is, plants grow and potting soils decompose over time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 5:56PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

I ordered from Big Dipper and Garden Crossings last year. My vote goes to Big Dipper. They were bareroot but wrapped well, healthy and larger plants than Garden Crossing. Plus I got a little erodium Bishop's Form with it. I wouldn't hesitate to order from them again.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:25AM
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catladysgarden(z5 CO)

I've ordered from Big Dipper several times and I've been satisfied with the plants I received. The only time I was a little unhappy was when they showed that a particular plant was available and it was actually sold out. I put together a minimum order just to get that plant.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 2:47AM
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Has anyone ordered from them recently? I placed two orders, one in December and one in February and have not received either, though many of the plants were listed as "Ready." I also didn't get a confirmation email for one order and can't remember what I ordered. I have emailed, call three times to get information and have gotten no response. Anyone else having trouble? I'm getting ready to file disputes with Paypal. grrr.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 3:20PM
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I ordered from them in the spring of '08. The plants were terribly small, most were overpriced, and several were dead upon arrival. According to the owner, they experienced a "freak freeze" and temps dropped to 20 in their unheated greenhouse(s). They replaced most of the dead plants, but it bothers me that they shipped them in the first place.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 11:06PM
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I can confirm the freak freeze last year. One of my friends that grows tree peonies in the PNW lost many of his plants to the freeze. Including one I had sent for testing in his area.

As to the dead plants I will not comment other than perhaps they looked alive at the nursery but shipping was the last nail in their coffins, as the saying goes.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:36AM
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I have to add an update: I received my plants in EXCELLENT condition and packaged beautifully. I was so thrilled that I placed another order.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 8:45PM
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