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  #11  
Old 04-12-2018, 08:54 AM
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MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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I've bought a few things from Seattle Orchids, and my satisfaction with them has been up and down. I don't feel like I can trust them to give me good value for my money when I buy plants without seeing them first, so I don't think I'll order from them again, however if you visit in person, and you can see the plants before you buy them, then I'm sure they have some very nice things.
That's a very diplomatic way of putting it. I'd also add that if you're looking for something specific and you're planning to buy it from Seattle Orchids, then make sure you purchase it in bloom or bud so that you know fairly quickly whether it is properly labeled or not. I've gotten several (expensive for me) Paphs and Phrags from them that after a couple of years of growing would finally bloom, and then I'd find out they weren't what I had purchased. And after that amount of time, Seattle's not going to work with you on a resolution.
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2018, 11:05 AM
JScott JScott is offline
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That's a very diplomatic way of putting it. I'd also add that if you're looking for something specific and you're planning to buy it from Seattle Orchids, then make sure you purchase it in bloom or bud so that you know fairly quickly whether it is properly labeled or not. I've gotten several (expensive for me) Paphs and Phrags from them that after a couple of years of growing would finally bloom, and then I'd find out they weren't what I had purchased. And after that amount of time, Seattle's not going to work with you on a resolution.
Nor will they work with you on a resolution after even a short amount of time
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2018, 11:51 PM
s3attlite s3attlite is offline
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Nor will they work with you on a resolution after even a short amount of time
Let me preface this by saying I am in no way a supporter of any one retailer. I think capitalism is beneficial, but it is practiced wrongly (not incorrectly) in most industries.

I've only had great experiences with Seattle Orchid. Maybe it's because I keep them updated about my plants and am able to go in in-person. I think cyber communication brings out the worst in everyone.

If I were running an orchid retailer, particularly one involved in online sales, I wouldn't bother with fussy buyers and focus on those who recognize the fragility of this hobby. Grocery stores rely on the "ooo-shiny" factor to get people to buy orchids and hope they die so those "ooo-shiny" buyers will buy more as gifts. Serious orchid retailers' incentive to move product is because they take on a substantially higher cost buying each plant due ot their scale and the types of orchids they usually buy. Since no retailer can provide ideal conditions for all their plants, they try to move things out before they fail. So, they rely on experienced growers to do a better job than their generalized, intermediate conditioned greenhouses can offer.

I wish buyers could be more understanding of each retailer and what they are trying to accomplish. BOOO to the grocery store style sellers. But for small businesses selling species and collector's items, don't be disappointed when you get a sub-par plant. Especially if it isn't a common plant. But, if you order something like a Sharry Baby and it has shriveled bulbs or a crappy root system, complain away!

I understand people get upset about spending a lot of money for a plant that isn't in very good shape, but think about the cost these small companies face. And compare them to the GIANT global grocery store mega-companies they are competing against and cut them some slack.

Don't order fancy orchids that you expect to be collected responsibly from the wild if you aren't ready to accept a dip in quality.

Last edited by s3attlite; 04-14-2018 at 11:53 PM..
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  #14  
Old 04-16-2018, 01:21 PM
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Don't order fancy orchids that you expect to be collected responsibly from the wild if you aren't ready to accept a dip in quality.
If something had been (responsibly or illegally) collected from the wild, I would definitely expect it to be in rather poor shape, have difficulty adapting, and a high chance of dying. Plus orchids in the wild can look pretty terrible, simply because they have to deal with the elements. They are still fun to spot on hikes, though! Purchasing an orchid species or hybrid that has been seed propagated in a lab, grown at an orchid nursery under controlled conditions should be healthy. I don’t think that’s setting the bar too high

While the big box retailers may not be able to provide the ideal conditions and those orchids may need to be nursed back to health... The orchid nurseries that cater to us hobbyists can certainly provide exceptional conditions where it’s up to the grower to maintain the orchids health. I can think of a few nurseries that make their own hybrids and do line breeding of species from seed, grow them, and show them. For example H&R, with the work they have done line breeding C. walkerianas or C. amethystoglossa, and the beautiful hybrids they have made in the both of the Dendrobium sections Latouria and Spatulata. I’m not sure they could ever be accused of having less than ideal conditions or simply trying to move plants in iffy health to more experienced growers. Not gonna lie, though... I’ll still pick up bag babies from Lowe’s occasionally

I don’t consider myself a fussy buyer but if I order something from a reputable nursery, I do expect it to be in good shape. I can easily excuse a smaller than expected plant, I can’t so easily excuse poor heath or bad shipping practices. There are so many great orchid nurseries out there that I don’t see the need to take a chance unless it is for something very specific. I have never ordered from Seattle orchids, so this post is not necessarily directed just at them. I would actually love to visit Seattle Orchids in person. They seem like they have an interesting inventory and hopefully next time I’m in the area I will get a chance to visit the greenhouse if you can get there by public transportation. That sounds like an urban gardeners dream

I completely agree with you about things being lost in translation when only dealing through email and it’s always best to visit in person. That’s always the pitfalls of e-commerce... Unfortunately for me, there is only one small orchid nursery within about 200 miles of my home. I have to rely on getting a large portion of my orchids through the mail. There are also no large shows nearby that attract the big name or more unique vendors, so I gotta make do. SVO, H&R, and Hausermann’s have sent me some fabulous orchids. Andy’s and Louisiana Orchid Connection, both specialize in some true little oddballs, have also sent me beautiful things. Sometimes the plants may have been a little smaller than expected but they were heathy as could be in most cases. More importantly, they all have incredible customer service for the few times I have received something questionable or possibly mislabeled. Things can happen, tags switched, bugs missed, but the follow up is what will keep me repurchasing. Well, that and the likelihood of getting orchids that don’t need the ICU treatment

Edit: I am NOT meaning this to come off as preachy. I’m in the south, I like to talk

Last edited by SaraJean; 04-16-2018 at 02:59 PM..
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2018, 01:04 AM
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I will not go into detail but I will never order from Seattle Orchids again.

As for being picky, I choose my orchids for the long-term so, as long as I get an orchid that will grow and it is the right orchid, I am happy. I collect many types of plants and have been ordering plants and even orchids from non-local vendors since the catalog/order-form-and-check days. I know plants are living individuals and I don't expect perfection from them.

I agree...there are many really great vendors out there and I am happy to give my business to them as well as to recommend them over and over.
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2018, 01:08 AM
s3attlite s3attlite is offline
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Please pardon the lack of diplomacy. Since the OP was asking about places to visit in person in Seattle, online purchase dilemmas just seemed inflammatory instead of constructive for the purpose of this thread. But a comprehensive view of the retailer obviously can't hurt.

Every time I'm at Seattle Orchid, they say something along the lines of, "send us photos and keep us updated and we can work with you if there's issues with the plant." Nothing I've bought from them has died yet, but by now, I assume it's my fault! The labeling issue.... I'm sure is as much of an issue for retailers as it is for growers, greenhouse buyers, and customers... It's just hard to keep track no matter how you look at it. Mislabeled seedlings... is just what we have to deal with, right? I mean, maybe the Germans can keep them all straight, but Americans deal with a dip in quality for reasonable prices and an incredible PPP.

OP, I recently purchased another orchid from Swanson Nursery in Ballard neighborhood. Its roots were dead upon repotting. They exchanged it no problem for me the next week. The replacement I bought from them is doing great! I find their prices ridiculous though.. $15 for a tiny bigibbum type. $20-30 for 1-2 fan paphs and other small dends. $25-40 for bigger dends and even their big phals. All hybrids, most are labeled.
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2018, 02:21 PM
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I lived in Ballard in 1983. Rent in Ballard is somewhat higher now, I hear.
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