Flowers, Vegetables, Bulbs, Plants, Tools ... and more!
Feb 4, 2004 (Updated Apr 26, 2004)
|Ease of Ordering:
I am tired of snow, ice, slush and cold weather! When the seed catalogs started to arrive at the house, I dreamed of spring planting. I want to play in the dirt. Parks Seed is one of the catalogs I received, and Ive ordered from them for years. A happy gardener, I made a list of what I wished to order. Then I thought, lets try out the Parks Seed website and save a postage stamp.
How Many Names Does This Company Operate Under?
I received two different catalogs from the same company: Parks Seed and Parks Countryside Gardens. The Parks Seed catalog is filled with pages of flowers, vegetables and gardening accessories. The Parks Countryside Gardens catalog sells perennials and shrubs. A neat feature is that Parks remembered I had ordered from them the previous year, and an insert in the Parks Seeds catalog included the list of items I had bought from them. This comes in handy for reordering.
When I visited parkseed.com, the site announced: Welcome to ParksGardens.com. Home of (are you ready for this list) ...
Each of the above stores has a link to its own website. The websites are all similar in appearance but each focuses on a different aspect of Parks Gardens. For instance, Park Bulbs offers a variety of bulbs grown in Holland. Park Tools sells seed-starting equipment, fertilizers and garden tools. I guess you can consider going to parkseeds.com an all-in-one shopping trip for gardening supplies.
Navigating the Site
Site navigation is easy with many options for finding just what you are looking for. Here is how the Home Page is presented:
Across the top of the web page are tabbed buttons reading: Seeds, Plants, Bulbs, Seed Starting, Supplies and Gifts. Below these buttons are another row of choices: Home, Free Catalog, Web Specials, Catalog Quick Order. At the very top right of the page are three small links: View Cart, My Account, Order Status.
To the Left
Starting at the top left, you can sign-up for a free e-mail newsletter. Beneath this option is a Search box to help locate merchandise by keywords. A box labeled Highlights includes: Web Specials, New Items, Park Exclusives, Top 10 Bestsellers, Karens Favorites, Gift Certificates. Beneath this is a list of departments such as: Annuals, Bulbs, Collections, Container Plants, Easy Care, Herbs, Indoor Gardens, Vegetables, Vines and Climbers (to name a few). Another box is titled About Us. From here you can proceed with Catalog Quick Order, order a free catalog or newsletter, read the Parks Gardens guarantee, read directions for a personal visit, or view a Zone map. You can also send a note to a friend and refer them to the website and earn a free gift for you and the friend.
Down the Middle
A welcome message is loaded with more navigation links to seeds, plants, bulbs, garden art, tools, etc. A section titled The News from Karens Garden is a mini newsletter filled with gardening suggestions (that, of course, promote more products available for sale). This is followed by a list of photos with information about featured products.
To the Right
A box offering a gift promotion is at the top right of the page. Todays offering is 15% off an order over $125. Despite the title Garden News, the next section offers the exact same information as the middle section titled The News from Karens Garden. Listed next are the Top 10 Bestsellers. Beneath this is a section titled Know Your Zone, which offers the same information as another link on this page.
Across the bottom of the page is some more product advertising and the same set of links that appear at the top of the page. Parks Gardens also lists their address, toll-free telephone number and an e-mail link.
Shopping the Site
I wanted to purchase seeds from the parkseed.com site, and I wanted to buy live plants from countrysidegardens.com. Both stores are part of Parks Gardens, so I could have combined orders to save on shipping. However, I didnt want to chance combining the live plant order with seeds and Jiffy Pots -- so I placed two separate orders. Also, separating the orders allowed me to enter the two catalog codes to take advantage of sales that might not appear on the website.
No problems locating what I wanted to buy on this site. I typed each item number in the Search Box, and the results displayed. All I had to do was choose quantities and add the items to my cart. On the spur of the moment, I decided to purchase Jiffy Pots for early seed planting indoors. In the Search Box I typed Jiffy Pot. The first page of results displayed seven items that suited my purpose.
I could also have used the Catalog Quick Order feature. Click this link and a page opens with 40 boxes. Using a Parks Seed catalog for reference, type the item numbers you wish to purchase...one in each box. When finished, click the Add to Cart button at the bottom of the page. A screen opens, displaying photos and descriptions of the item numbers with the quantity of one beside each item. Click the Add to Cart button to officially add those items to the shopping cart.
Each plant product page contains a photo of the item and description as well as vital statistics. The right side of the page lists great information such as: the botanical name and when an item is available to ship to your area. Other product details include: sun exposure, soil moisture, soil types & tolerance, the type of item and form it comes in (such as seed or bulb), product category, blooming season, foliage color, plant habitat, uses, additional features and plant size.
Payment & Shipping Costs
At the top of every page is a list of how many items are in the shopping cart and the dollar amount ordered. Its easy to view the Shopping Cart at any time by hitting the View Cart link in the top right corner of every web page.
When the View Cart link is selected, a large illustration of a thermometer on its side shows how far into the ordering process you are. When ready to make a purchase, click the large Check Out button at the top of the View Cart page. The thermometer monitors the ordering steps: Shopping, Address Info, Payment Info, Order Review, Finished. Step-by-step instructions guide shoppers through the check-out process. If you are ordering from a specific Parks Garden print catalog, there is a box to type the catalog code so that you receive any bonus gifts or discount offers from that catalog. Parks also offers an optional 2-year extended guarantee on live plants. The guarantee costs $5.00 whether ordering one plant or many plants. (I have never purchased the extended live plant guarantee.) Provide address, telephone and e-mail information then select the shipping method. Two methods are offered: Standard Shipping or Express Shipping. The cost for each method is shown.
Parks Garden accepts Discover, MasterCard, Visa and American Express Credit cards. If using a gift certificate, there is a box in which to type the gift certificate number. After that, review the order and you are done. (Parks does not charge a credit card until the order is being packed and prepared for shipping.)
Shipping costs are based on the dollar amount spent. Standard shipping via the U.S. post office takes between 5-7 days to arrive. Express shipping is sent via U.S. Priority Mail and takes about 3-5 days to arrive. Parks Garden will also send merchandise via UPS (either UPS Ground or via Second Day Air). Shipping costs vary between whether the order is for seeds only or for other merchandise.
Here are costs for standard shipping:
.01 - $19.99 -- Seeds only $1.95 / Other Merchandise $5.95
$20 - $29.99 -- Seeds only $3.95
$29.99 - $39.00 -- Seeds only $4.95
$20 - $39.00 -- Other Merchandise $6.95
$40 - $49.99 -- Seeds only $5.95
$50 - $59.99 -- Seeds only $6.95
$40 - $59.00 -- Other Merchandise $7.95
$60 - $79.99 -- Seeds only $7.95 / Other Merchandise $8.95
Over $80.00 -- Seeds and Other Merchandise -- 12% of merchandise subtotal
For orders shipping to Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and APO, FPO addresses, there is an additional $12.00 added to each order.
After the Order is Placed
Within a half hour of placing the online orders, I received e-mail notification from Parks. Each e-mail message included my order number and itemized the products purchased, recapping the costs and total. Beside each item was a date when the order would ship. A toll-free telephone number and e-mail address were provided.
In the e-mail order confirmation I received for the live plants, the message stated that the plants would ship after March 20, which was appropriate for my planting zone. Ive ordered live plants from Parks before and have never had problems with the plants or delivery.
A link is provided at the bottom of the e-mail to check the status of the order. Since no other e-mail is sent announcing that the order has been shipped, the link proves useful. When I checked the website, it showed the date each item had shipped. However, there was no tracking number or information stating whether the order shipped via U.S. mail or UPS.
Receiving the Merchandise
I chose Standard shipping and received the seeds and Jiffy Pots that I purchased seven business days after placing the order. Everything arrived in a large cardboard carton. The Jiffy Pots were on the bottom of the box, neatly arranged. The seeds were in a clear plastic bag, which was tucked partially beneath the Jiffy Pots. Everything arrived in good condition. All I need is warmer weather for planting!
The live plants havent arrived yet, and I dont expect them until March/April. If all goes as well as in past orders, I expect to receive healthy plants.
Update April 26, 2004 -- The live plants arrived today via U.S. mail in a cardboard carton. The carton is prominently marked with tape that says: "Please Rush! Perishable Live Plants / Keep From Heat & Cold". The plants were packed very well. Two of them already have healthy green growth and are definitely ready for planting. The third plant is still dormant (but that's expected). I'm very pleased with my order.
Shopping online with Parks Gardens has been a positive experience. Ive ordered from Parks for years using their print catalogs, but ordering online is so easy -- and saves a stamp -- so Ill be ordering online from them again. Another advantage to ordering online is that there is no delay in Parks processing my order, so I receive my items faster. Im looking forward to Spring and playing in the dirt!
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
Park Seed Company
1 Parkton Avenue
Greenwood, SC 29647
Items ordered in 2004:
Tomato - Beefy Boy - $1.95 (seeds)
Cucumber - Parks Whopper Improved - $1.95 (seeds)
Cucumber - Spacemaster - .75 (seeds)
Lupine - Tutti Frutti - $1.50 (seeds)
Jiffy Pots - 3" / 100 pack -- $12.95
Daylily - Rainbow Candy - $25.90 (for 2 live plants)
Verbascum - Caribbean Crush - $9.95 (live plant)
Fountain Butterfly Bush - $12.95 - (live plant)
Please read my other reviews.
The Butterfly Place
Johnnys Selected Seeds (online store)
The Cooks Garden (online store)
Cooking.com (online store)
Kitchen Etc. (online store)
Braun Coffee Grinder (and flax seed)
T-Fal Perfection Saute Pan
Calphalon Professional Non-stick Sauce Pan
Le Creuset Bean Pot
GE Top Freezer Refrigerator
Maytag Gemini Oven
Copyright 2004 Dawn L. Stewart
What product did you purchase or try to purchase? seeds, live plants, jiffy pots
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