Wow, I just received my package from Carter and Holmes orchid growers (Newberry, SC) - and I have to say... well... I'm extremely happy
Below, I've attached some pictures of their arrival and conditions. I hope no one minds the 5 or 6 pictures and long text... I wanted to be as complete in my review as possible so that others could understand why I am so pleased.
I chose Carter and Holmes because they're from my original home state, and because, as a high school evolutionary biology teacher (and orchid enthusiast), I'd been trying to track down Darwin's Orchid for a reasonable price for some time now. Because mature plants were going for insane prices online when I checked, I opted for a young plant and decided this could serve as my first experience raising a mature plant up from plantlet. It would cost a few years of delayed blooming, but what the hell, right?
Anyway, I bought the plant from C&H Online for only 12 bucks (yes!), plus 17 ghastly dollars for shipping (for a 2.2 lb package? Bah! But wait... keep reading). Anyway, I placed the order on April 24. Got an email from FedEx two days later, April 26, letting me know processing had begun. Another two days later, April 28th (today), the order was in my grow room, under lights. Let's review: we're talking about a grand total wait time from order placement
, to processing
, to regular/standard shipping
, to my house in suburban Vermont in ONLY 4 DAYS
. From start to finish, this could quite possibly be the fastest package I've ever
received from an internet mail order company (and yes, I order from the internet regularly
) Anyway, this isn't even the best part. Let's talk about the product.
Despite an impromptu snow storm up here (Murphy's Law, of course), the baby Angraecum sesquipedale
arrived quickly and safely - triple wrapped and cushioned in insulated packaging, shredded "confetti paper", newspaper, sealed heavy cardboard, and totally taped up and appropriately well-labeled for shipping care (see pics below). This is the first time I've ordered a plant online, and I must say these guys quelled my fears. The package arrived via FedEx this morning, and spent only 2 days on the road. The outside of the package also had a nursery growth and inspection certificate attached (see pic), outlining treatment the plants received prior to shipment, etc. I don't know if the nursery certification is standard for all businesses or not, but before I even opened the package I was impressed and more reassured. Then came the big payoff...
Bonafide and Cared For
So, I crack open the box, peek my head in, and see two tightly wrapped, cushioned objects. Wondering what the hell the second object was, I shredded the paper like a kid on Christmas morning. What was it? The Angraecum was there, as expected. But they also sent me a totally unexpected, free bonus orchid (a Rhyncostylis retula var. alba
Rhyncostylis retula var. alba
Although these are both still very young plants, you can tell they were quite well cared for and given lots of attention. Both are putting out new growth and appear to be quite happily potted in their species-appropriate, respective media. Plants came with fully-labelled name tags as well as information on which plants at the nursery were crossed to produced the offspring (my Angraecum sesquipedale
came from Angraecum sesquipedale "Dec #1"
x Angraecum sesquipedale "Dec #2"
, whereas my Rhyncostylis retusa alba
was x self
). Excellent! I've been wading through many different mislabeled or NOID intergenerics for the last few weeks, so having an assured lineage from a reputable grower in these cases has been a relief. C&H also enclosed their catalogue, care sheets, and an AOS membership application. This is better than Christmas.
Each Orchid Was Wrapped in Ample Combinations of These Materials
Bonus Materials (Color Catalogue, Care Sheets, AOS Membership)
The Final Score:
So, to recap:
1. I spent $12 for an orchid, got an extra one for free, and paid $17 for shipping, bringing my order to total only 29 bucks for two plants and their shipping
2. From pressing the "confirm payment" button on the internet to having FedEx hand me my package at the doorstep there was a wait of 4 days.
3. Plants well packaged, in exceptional health, labelled, and fully guaranteed and treated for pests and disease.
My Final Thoughts:
I really recommend this company to any of you considering ordering online. Carter and Holmes were exceptional in every way (except for the shipping cost of small plants... but they made up for that big time, in my opinion, in the other aspects of my order). There are a few other deals I've come across, as well. They pack and ship for free on orders of 10 or more orchids (online or from catalogue), and they throw in the an extra plant of their choice for every 5 plants you order from them! To be fair, I don't know if this means they messed up my order (I only ordered 1 plant) or if they were just doing good business, but it's inspired me to carry on this tirade on their behalf. There's no way they couldn't have noticed I didn't have 5 plants in that box, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
In conclusion, I'll be ordering from these guys on a regular basis. The plants are very reasonably priced, high quality from what I can tell, and are shipped quickly and securely. What else do you want from a nursery?!
Has anyone else had this type of experience with C&H? I'd look forward to hearing other peoples' reactions to their service, as well...