Email Sale from White Flower Farm

echinaceamaniac(7)February 28, 2012

I'm sorry but this email I just received from White Flower Farm is the most embarrassing...Words can't express what I want to say. I will let the great "bargains" speak for themselves....

3 White Swan Echinacea for ONLY $35.85. That comes to $11.95 for each of a common seed variety of Echinacea. I have seen these for 3-5 dollars each around here. I surely wouldn't consider $11.95 a sale price!

3 Coreopsis 'Zagreb' for $31.05

And the list of absurdities goes on and on. I just can't believe this email.

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But are they discounting Wave petunias three for $20.95? You'd want to jump on that bargain fast.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 1:03PM
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growsy(8b GA)

Thanks for a good laugh!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Damned that White Flower Farm for trying to make a living!
Why don't they let you professionals set their prices? Obviously, you know as much about the business end as they do.

I have never bought from them, I understand their ratings are poor, but I don't understand this desire on the part of some gardeners to do gardening businesses harm.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 2:16PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I really don't understand your post ninamarie. I don't know how you can scold the OP for bringing it to our attention that WFF is charging prices that are higher than other garden centers and representing them as 'sale' prices. Fair is fair. I have no idea what the reason is that WFF charges more money than other companies, but anyone in business has to realize that their prices need to be competitive in order to gain a share of the market. I don't think the OP was trying to 'set' the prices of WFF, she was expressing her disinterest in purchasing plants at those prices. So how has she shown a desire to 'harm' this business?

Everyone knows that WFF always has higher prices. WFF even knows it. If they feel they are providing something different that they believe is worth the higher price, that is their right. If there are people who see something good about WFF that makes them want to pay more money, that is fine too. But some people don't see any reason to pay more money for something that is commonly available at much lower prices. Simple.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 2:42PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

if it has 4 tires.. and a motor .. it is a vehicle ...

i have no clue why one would pay for a Mercedes ...

but all the power to them ....

but i wont mock them if that is their prerogative ...

i think that is ninas point ..

but on the other hand.. i dont think that was OP's point either ... his point was they are common stock ...

the rule always remains.. caveat emptor ...


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 3:21PM
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I just thought the email was funny. They made it sound like such a great deal and that by getting three plants you were saving so much money! Their three plant discount is still way too high. It's just the truth!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 3:39PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

Using the car anthology--it's like they're trying to sell a Ford Focus as a Bentley with a Bentley price tag. Or something like that.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 6:51PM
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A basic rule of mail-order plant buying is that companies known for elaborate and lush color photo-filled catalogs have inflated prices.

WFF has gotten a reputation not only for sticker shock but for undersized and ailing plants, which is not a good combination.

For years I've enjoyed getting their catalog to see what new introductions I might want to get elsewhere (and to marvel at what they charge for dirt-common ornamentals). Sadly, as the last purchase I made from them was over a decade ago (some amaryllis bulbs as an Xmas present for my father), they seem to have wised up and stopped sending me catalogs. :(

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:19PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

from Karen:
"Using the car anthology--it's like they're trying to sell a Ford Focus as a Bentley with a Bentley price tag"... LOL, and don't forget it's a sale price on the Bentley too!

I also used to love getting their catalog. It was such a great read with stories from the farm told by "Amos", and all that snob appeal with $100 yellow clivias and lady slippers!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Considering how long they've remained in business, there must be a market for those high-priced common varieties among the more well-to-do gardeners it would suggest they aim to serve. It's not that far a drive for me but I've never been inclined to make the trip simply because their prices are not within my affordability range. I used to enjoy their fabulous catalog and can still research plants (free) on their website. I've only ever met one person who ordered from them who told me the plant was very small, very expensive but very healthy. I choose to stretch my meager garden budget as far as it will go, ergo, over-priced WFF plants aren't in my shopping cart. I don't get my tail in a knot over it.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 1:15PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

As mentioned, they've been in business a long time, so someone's buying. If those someones don't complain about the price, why should you? We're all free to shop where we like and consequently pay the price our vendor of choice is charging.

For example, I know I pay more for my groceries at the locally-owned store which is across the street as opposed to the large chain store a few miles down the road, but I gladly shop there for a few reasons: (a) time is a very valuable commodity for me, and running to the grocer less than a mile away and getting in and out of a small store is worth it; (b) IMO their meat and produce is top-notch, nicer than the chain store; (c) service is outstanding; (d) is locally owned and I feel good about supporting a local small business owner. See - I *know* I pay more, and I still willingly shop there every week - it's not about the money.

Same thing goes for plant material or whatever the heck else one is buying, so don't knock them solely on the basis of being pricey. Obviously it must not bother some folks, they perhaps place value on something other than price, which is the point I'm trying to make. :o)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Gardenweed (or anyone else who has NOT visited White Flower Farm):

People's observations are spot on: most of the catalogue items sold
through WFF are definitely overpriced. . .but, as others have pointed
out, they have been in business a long time, and have clearly found
their upscale market, for whom the price is simply irrelevant . That
said, I would humbly suggest that isn't the complete picture of WFF. . .
if you live within a reasonable distance, I whole-heartedly recommend
that you make a day-trip to this remarkable nursery. You may NOT
end up buying anything -although I'd be willing to bet you will! - but
that's not the reason to go. . .they have some of the most magnificent
perennial gardens around, (including a white "moon" garden); massive
hosta plantings that are decades old; and, if you go during a few specific weeks during the summer, the greenhouse full of their legendary (and wildly
expensive!) Blackmore & Langdon begonias will take your breathe away.
When was the last time you visited a nursery where most of the perennials
were laid out in alphabetical, (and botanical) order? Every few years, a
group of us pack a big picnic lunch and head up there for the day - yes,
there's acres of lawn for picnics and ample restroom facilities, with lovely
restaurants and coffee shops in downtown Litchfield nearby , if you prefer that route. Besides, just spending a day ANYWHERE in northwestern
Connecticut is a pleasure!

Finally, if you'd really like to learn the history of WFF - and, yes, some of it
is manufactured - try to get your local library to locate you a copy of
"The White-Flower-Farm Garden Book" (pub. 1966). which is exceedingly
rare. . .the first half is all history - they were pioneers in more ways than
one - and the encyclopedic second half is a template for the lush catalogs
that eventually evolved. I was lucky enough to discover this book in a
friend's collection in the early 1970's, and by the latter part of that
decade, I had made my first pilgrimage to CT. . .and 35 years later, while
no longer one of their customers (the competitive nursery industry has
exploded since those early days), I still look forward to those trips north.
It's a fascinating journey, on so many different levels. . .


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 9:44PM
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WFF is not for everyone. If you're going to complain about the price then it's not for you. I'm fortunate enough to live driving distance (I'm in Fairfield County) and I LOVE going there. The poster above me said it all so I won't repeat. Another thing though, the OP mentioned that the 'sale' listed over priced common varieties. Who the heck is using mail order for common varieties? Chances are the average Gardewebber isn't ordering common varieties and only use mail order for harder to find plants. Silly to complain about something you wouldn't buy regardless.
Everyone I see that complains about WFF prices also mentions they love the catalog. Yesterday I bought my usual gardening magazine and that was 9.99. Typical pricing. To get a beautiful catolog that you admit you use to plan your gardens and then complain about pricing is hypocritical. It's not cheap to put those catalogs together.
I'm not trying to sound harsh but to see a beautiful garden center be ripped to shreds when most ppl that rip it never have walked into their doors annoys me. For those that can visit please do--even if it's just to walk their grounds!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:02PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Using the car anthology--it's like they're trying to sell a Ford Focus as a Bentley with a Bentley price tag. Or something like that.


===>> yeah.. but if someone wants THAT bentley ... all the power to them.. if they will pay the focus owner.. for the bentley name plate .. lol

and i hope they get in contact with me.. because i have some good swamp land to sell them ... its got a bridge too ...

who was it.. Barnum .. or bailey.. some clown ...there is a sucker born every minute. ...

caveat emptor ...


    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 3:02PM
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I can't believe some people are trying to justify a company charging too much for plants. I don't care if they have the best garden in the world. I'm not paying that much for one Echinacea plant. They sent the email too! If nobody buys common varieties through the mail, why advertise them in the ad by email?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 4:28PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

LMAO @ Ken!


    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 5:07PM
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I didn't say NOBODY buys the common varieties by mail order. I said the average member of Gardenweb probably isn't.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 8:26PM
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It's a mail order business too. Most people won't walk into the place. I have never visited High Country Gardens either but they have a nice catalog and prices that are much better. You can get a new, named cultivar plant for less there than White Flower Farm's sale price for common seed varieties.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 4:46AM
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anitaz6(NE Okla)

I think the proper term is car analogy.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:29AM
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