Firstly, I need to point out that I regularly purchase Thompson & Morgan seed packets from Garden centres etc and I believe them to be of a very high quality however this review is based solely on my experiences of them as an internet retailer/mail order/catalogue company.
I regularly receive the T&M catalogues and I must say even if you do not go as far as to purchase anything from them I would definitely recommend ordering their free catalogue as there are lots of very good pictures as well as information which will give anybody who wishes to do some amount of gardening/growing some ideas whether it be growing a veg they hadn't considered or looking at what colour flowers would look good together.
For this the catalogue is great, a bit like trying to choose the colour of paint or armchair using swatches at home rather than getting your mind boggled by looking at the racks of hundreds of different seeds in the shop.
Price wise they are expensive but you are constantly assured that their quality is the best.
Well this is my experience from ordering online -
I placed an order for £50ish for some plug plants (baby plants) pertunias and trailing geraniums for my containers. I used Top cashback which is a bonus and I ordered at the end of march. The guide on my automated email said I should expect these by the end of May.
There was then lots of waiting and I finally received my petunias (but no geraniums)in a lovely condition at the start of May. I did find this a very long time, I am not the most patient of people but when you are staring at your empty containers for over a month you are hoping that they had better be worth it! As it was getting close to the end of May I emailed T&M and received no reply, I emailed again but still never received a reply. Just before bank holiday at the end of May I phoned and after waiting over 10 mins for someone to answer customer services the lady (who was lovely and understanding) said they always allowed a further 2 weeks delay on to the advised last date of delivery. I thought this was ridiculous as I saw no mention of this anywhere, the idea of allowing 2 1/2 months for some little plants to arrive was crazy!
I asked for a refund which she did very courteously and I went off to B&Q and bought my trailing geraniums at almost half the price I was being charged by T&M.
Will I purchase live plants from them again? probably not.
I've just been reading through some of the reviews for Thompson and Morgan and I'm shocked by some of the comments people have made. I'm fairly new to gardening, a few daffodils in the spring and some pertunias and busy lizzys in the summer was about my lot.
This year I thought I'd have a go at growing my own, I made my first online purchase from Thomson and Morgan earlier in the year, since then most weekends I've received e-mails with all their special offers, including reduced prices and free p&p, I've taken advantage of the offers and hope to grow most of my own fruit and vegetables this year and also have some lovely colourful flower beds.
All my plants have been delivered safely, after the packaging has been removed and the plants have been watered, I've examined the plants and they've all looked good and healthy, each plant has come with its own instruction leaflet which I have found really usefull.
The few plants I've purchased in the past have come from places like Homebase and BandQ, I have found these to be fairly expensive and the intstructions have been very limited, sometimes theres been someone around to answer my questions, but not always.
I just hope this nice warm weather continues and I have a bumper crop this year.
Venture into any Garden Centre and you'll spot row after row of Thompson and Morgan seeds perfect from growing flowers, vegetables and grasses. This is the pinnacle of the Thompson & Morgan empire whose far reaching retail arm includes a mail order department complete with seasonal postal catalogues and an enormous website selling everything from seeds to live plants.
The website changes with the seasons and its current offerings are "living gifts for Christmas". These range from extortionately overpriced hyacinth basket at £13.99 for five bulbs in a basket to the farcical fine food hamper containing 16 British Apples and Pears at the bargain price of £24.95 plus £4.95 delivery. It might be a hassle way of getting gifts to far flung relatives but its certainly not cheap. As a bit of a consolation prize for ripping consumers off in such a blatant way P&P is free if you spend over £30 and they'll even give you a £5 discount voucher off future purchases from their subsidiary Rainbow flowers and gifts. Their generosity is overwhelming.
For the more organised gardeners amongst you its possible to place an order now for fruit bushes, potato tubers and onion sets although these won't be available for dispatch until the spring.
The website is very easy to navigate and is segmented by product type meaning that vegetable gardeners don't need to wade through flower seeds to reach the products that interest them. For those who prefer to browse a paper catalogue these can be ordered from the website although once you're on their mailing list you'll be inundated with catalogues and promotional offers. If you provide your e-mal details you'll be e-mailed promotional codes too for anything from free P&P to money off vouchers and free goods.
There are always plenty of promotions advertised on both the home page of the website and the latest offers section although these invariably require you to spend in excess of £50 to benefit. All orders are delivered by first class Royal Mail which is great if you've got a helpful postman and not so great if you're not home to take delivery and have to trek to your local sorting office to collect your plants before they wither and die.
If you want to order from this company and you are happy to wait 21 days or more for your order.... then you'll be a happy customer.If I were you I'd give these people a WIDE berth, they promise the world and deliver.... err... well actually they don't deliver.Go to your local supplier and save yourself the stress.... if I ran my company like these people I'd be out of business in a month.
I ordered Orchids (the Bletilla striata Collection) at the beginning of April 2008 for delivery by the end of May, since the beginning of June I have phoned 4 times each time to be told they were packed and would be delivered in the next 5days. On the 25 July three bulbs out of 10 arrived (too late for this year's flowering) and a piece of paper which was suppose to be a gift voucher for the remaining monies (expiry date 31-12-08). I phoned the next day to be told they were sorry and would refund my money.... nothing happened! I phoned again on 08-08-08 to be told that nothing had been done and that the refund would be hurried through in the following couple of days........ I still don't know if this is going to happen. Think seriously first before placing an order with this Thompson & Morgan!!!
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I have been a T & M customer for a number of years. I looked upon them as being one of the best Mail Order Companies. This year the quality & service has been appalling. I ordered shallots & garlic, on arrival, they were rotting. I telephoned and was told 'hundred of other customers had complained'. Another batch would be sent. The reason given for the poor quality was a bad years harvest in 2007. When the replacements arrived they were almost as bad but were planted. there has been no growth at all so, for this year, I have no shallot or garlic crop to store. I also ordered an apple tree, on arival, there was vitually no root system and it looked dead, however I planted it. After a few weeks, with no signs of life, I telephoned and was told a replacement would arrive in October. It arrived in June. Another dead stick. It was also planted and still no growth. My wife placed a good sized order with T & M at the end of February. A clematis which should have arrived in June was delivered a few days ago, it could not be recognised as a growing plant. She sent a detailed e. mail letter to them and received a cavalier, standard response which did not address concerns raised in her letter. I have written with photos and am awaiting a reply.
T & M have lost a very good customer, I have spoken with friends who have had similar experiences and they feel like me, We will not order from T & M again.
Anyone wanting Fuchias/Geraniums should use Vernons in Sutton, a family firm and superb.
R.T. - H.I.
I ordered plants from Thompson-morgan in April 2008, to begin with most of the plants took 3 weeks to arrive and when i recieved them quite a few were in a sorry state. I was refunded for some of the dead plants and had a few plants re-delivered, 1. The Fuchsia Carmel Blue standard whip which was meant to be a rare blue and white flower. Having waiting weeks for it to flower it turned out to be a plain red and blue just like a normal Fuchsia. I am not impressed with Thomson-Morgan and i won't be ordering from them again. Has anyone else has similar problems?
My latest order with thompsonand morgan was for egret bulbs which i ordered and paid for on o/no web-233174 this was in the first week of february , when they did not arrive i got in touch and was told that they would be with me at the end of feb this came and went .I got in touch again and was told on the 19th of march that they were running about six weeks late so expect delivery in mid april.Under thier own terms and conditions they clearly say that in the event of delays of over a fortnight they will write to give you a new expected delivery date the gent on the end of the phone said they had not done so this time.three emails later a letter head with hand written will be dispatched 7/04/08 now middle of april still no bulbs t&m get your act together you take the money NO GOODS NO SERVICE Phil Worley
Thompson and Morgan (T&M) are a seed company, based in Ipswich. They sell a large variety of flower and vegetable seeds, and a smaller variety of plants.
Each autumn, T&M send out their beautifully illustrated seed catalogues. These are clearly laid out, and easy to use, giving you a wealth of information about the many seeds on offer. The range is really extensive, meaning that just about any gardener of any level of experience can find something to grow here.
As with all seed catalogues, you do need to exercise a bit of caution and read between the lines - "a vigorous grower" may turn out to be a triffid-like thug that overtakes your garden two months after planting, a "delicate plant bred from a South African variety" may wilt at the first shower of rain you experience.
Recently, T&M dispatched a DVD with their catalogues, giving advice and tips and showcasing their new products. Though clearly produced on the cheap, with some hilariously nervous and stilted performances from the T&M gardening team, it may draw your attention to things you overlooked in the brochures!
The website is very old-fashioned in its design, and difficult to navigate. It seems to have been created with the view that it is a replacement for the order form in the back of their free seed catalogue, rather than an alternative to the catalogue itself. However, it is reasonably searchable. You can filter results by alphabetical name, by hardiness, by aspect, by purpose or by award winning variety (useful if you want RHS medal winners).
One useful feature that is conspicuously absent is the ability to search by ease of propagation. Many new gardeners might find it helpful to have the annual varieties that do not require special propagation, but are instead sown straight into the soil picked out for them. Equally, those planning to garden with small children would find this helpful.
The website is illustrated with pictures of the plants, but it would be helpful to have more pictures from different angles. Equally, for some varieties, there's a worrying lack of information online. It would be simple for T&M to put mock-ups of the back of the seed packet for each variety online, so that purchasers could see growing instructions before buying.
T&M offer some terrific special offers, including the most expensive packet of seed you buy free when you spend over £10, and regular '3 packets for 2' offers. For the last few years, when you place an order worth over £10 during the winter (classic seed-buying time!) you will be offered a cheap bedding collection for around £5. This is a mixture of about 14 plants: fuschias, diascias, lobelia, busy lizzies and is by far the most inexpensive way I have found to fill hanging baskets
If you shop online, however, you may miss some of these deals. The worst thing about the website is that it is incredibly poor at pointing the viewer towards the many special offers that T&M offer. Though there's an 'offers' section, it's neither helpful nor up to date: it would be far better to have the 'three for two' deals and the 'free packet' deals flagged up in a well-illustrated section.
In an age of inflated delivery times, it's nice to have a company that delivers for no more than cost prices - and T&M do this, with delivery costing a modest £1.99.
The seeds are packed and sent reasonably promptly (I have never had to wait more than a week). However, it can be much slower for plants. This is because T&M sell these often months before they are actually grown: so you can purchase your summer bedding collections in December, for delivery the following April. Though this is noted on the order, I suspect that not enough attention is drawn to it, hence some of the bad reviews on this site which accuse the company of not delivering orders!
Seeds come securely packaged in a Jiffy bag, and arrive in pristine condition. I'm reasonably impressed by the quality of the seed itself, though I have had a few failures with 'moderately difficult' varieties. I think Suttons may have the edge in this department. Be aware that you do need to pay careful attention to the growing instructions, and be patient if things don't happen instantly. Last year, I had a packet of seed that was supposed to come through in six weeks that took three months to get going!
Plants, on the other hand, aren't of such high quality. They are posted in plastic pods, secured with an elastic band. This is not the ideal way to treat young seedlings, and they can look a bit etiolated and wimpy when you get them out of the packet. You will need to plant them within a few days of arrival if they're not to wilt further. For some of the cheap collections, it's worth buying them, but for more expensive items, you are likely to get a much more vigorous and healthy plant at a garden centre or even your local market than you will receive via this mail order service.
Customer service is pretty slow, but you will get a response to emails in 2-3 days. It can be difficult to reach T&M on the phone (they are a small company), so a little persistence may be needed. However, their customer service reps are unfailingly pleasant and helpful.
T&M invite customers to annual open days in the summer. You can see the varieties they are trying out for the next year, and there are plenty of freebies on offer. It's probably not worth traveling to, but if you're in sunny Suffolk and are keen on gardening, they are well worth a visit!
A decent seed company, with a no-frills service and some great special offers... just don't rely on the website to find them!
I have used Thompson and Morgan for the last three years spending in excess of £700.00 per year and have had very good service and the plants were excellent BUT THIS YEAR they have been nothing short of awful and trying to get them to reply to by emails is fraught with frustration. They no nothing about customer service - it is appalling as are their plants. Even the managing director cannot be bothered to respond to my letter. I will never ever use them again and will recommend to other gardeners the same. Every order I have placed and I have placed over 10 different orders have either been delayed, different plants , not sent or all of the above. Do not trust Thompson and Morgan use Crocus!!
Thompson and Morgan fruit - poor quality and dreadful delivery and customer service.
Ordered strawberry runners and Blueberry bushes in March on-line. Orderign porcess straightforward and information available on plants on-line reasonable.
After much chasing up of order and several weeks strawberry runners eventually turned up - dry and limp. These have been slow to take off so I have claimed for refund under quality guarantee.
Still no sign of blueberries by early May so asked for refund this am.
Many emails to customers not responded to. Tried placing comment re the process on their on-line guestbook but but funnily enough critical comment wasn't published.
To ring them you have to go to the seeds site as there are no telphone numbers on the fruits site and use that number, first time I tried that I was told it was the wrong number and that each separate part was run as a separate business.
To Thompson and Morgan,
I received a bare rooted standard magnolia on 12th March. The roots had been hacked off until they were only a couple of inches long, the main stem at the point whrer it should become a standard left with two short stems.
I am appalled, I am an experienced gardener and have never received anything before of such disgraceful quality.
I have tried your phonelines and only get recorded messages. no-one answers the phone in person. There is no facility for registering a complaint, either by phone or email.
I hope someone at T&M reads this and has the courtesy to reply.
I ordered 100 Sweet Pea Sugar & spice plan ts these came last Saturday Many with no leaves others with leaves which had turned to pulp I contacted them by email expecting that some urgency would be given to sorting things out I offered them the opportunity to inspect same - nothing my order was about £60.00 had I shopped at a local garden centre I am sure that this would have been sorted by now. Having been in business for many years i always installed a sense of urgency dealing with customers complaints - and in fact had quite a success of creating business friends with people who had cause to be dissatisfied. What a shame 4-5 years a customer and now nobody seems interested
Further emails have now been sent (the last today Tuesday still no answer I need to complete my "summer" I have 8 hanging baskets all ready but cant even get a reply -
Now the 23rd May many e-mails only an electronic acknowledgement but no interest in the problem I would say if anybody wants garden plants or seeds be sure that you are able to get a reply to problems once you have paid your money
Today 24/05/06 a long awaited reply money will be refunded what a pity a company like this has lost a customer of 4/5 years because of poor service but I now thank them
I have been a satisfied customer of Thompson and Morgan for several years but now find that the easiest way to order from them is by going to their website www.thompson-morgan.com. I have always found them to be extremely helpful and the plants and other goods always arrive in perfect condition.
My first experience of their website was very pleasurable. It was nice to be able to look up the plants in which I was interested and find clear photos of all the colours and varieties.
Shopping there is very easy; just add to your shopping basket and on to the next item! The basket will be held open for two weeks if you choose to spend time making up your mind over your purchases. There are several different departments: for seeds, young plants, vegetables, etc. and specialised ones for things like Clematis, Fuchsia, Geranium and Lily. There is even a special one for wildlife, supplying nesting-boxes, bird-tables, squirrel feeders, seed and all manner of things for the wildlife garden. One that seems new to me is their fruit catalogue and Im sure I shall be paying another visit soon. They have a separate plant list for each catalogue that they supply through the post so if you want further information on something that you have already seen it is very easy to find.
I find that shopping from the website is much easier than by post as it is so much quicker. You get confirmation of the order immediately and this is followed by another email detailing the order. This is then followed by post with approximate delivery dates.
T & M have a regular newsletter which is well worth signing up for as this often contains special offers for the week plants at half price being quite a normal occurrence. They also often offer free gifts and special reductions on their orders. I have been fortunate enough to receive several gifts of Oriental Lily bulbs not only a beautiful display of flowers but exquisite perfume as well. I have these planted in large containers as I need to protect my six cats because lilies are poisonous and have caused the deaths of many cats. I regularly buy Busy Lizzies and have always been delighted by the displays they have produced. The plants are sent from the nurseries in Guernsey and are beautifully packed and sent by first class post.
The garden this spring has shown many of our recent purchases. There was a grand show of assorted daffodils including some rather special ones we grew in containers that were another free gift! The Japanese maple is resplendent in its new spring growth of leaves this was also a special offer last year.
Each year they also send an invitation to the open day at their seed gardens in Ipswich. This is well worth a visit if you are in the area. We went on a beautiful day and thoroughly enjoyed our day out viewing the lovely flowers and the masses of butterflies that also visit.
I would thoroughly recommend this website to anyone who is interested in gardening, but it is well worth a visit - if only to see the beautiful photos of the flowers.
Thank you for reading I hope it will be of interest.