Q) I am unsure what plants will be suitable – can you help?
A) I do try to give an honest appraisal of each plant’s habits in its description, but I am very happy to offer specific advice with no obligation. It’s not much help for you to email to say “I have a small pond and I’d like some plants; what can you suggest?” as it’s a bit like going to Tesco’s and asking “I’d like some food – what can you suggest?”! Please first read all the plentiful information on the site, but if you are still unsure why not purchase an appropriate pond pack. https://www.devonpondplants.co.uk/product-category/pond-packs/
We have put a lot of thought into their contents, ensuring that they are comprised of easy, non-invasive and straightforward plants that suit everyone and give a wide range of seasonal interest and wildlife value. Some amendments to packs may need to be made outside of their stated period of availability. Minor changes to components can be accommodated if there’s something you really don’t want, but if there are a lot of subs it’s best to order “a la carte”. Pond packs don’t contain lilies, as everyone fancies something different, these can be added to the order. Native pond packs contain only plants native to the British Isles.
If you have specific questions rather than general ones, I do ask that you phone me, as it is very time consuming for me to type out long lists of possibilities on an email, and in my busiest periods there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. If you fill in the Contact page and send a brief message, you will receive a brief response including my telephone number. PLEASE FIRST READ THE PLENTIFUL INFORMATION ON THE SITE! The more information you can give me the better advice I can give; I need to know: geographical location, depth of pond and shelves, type of liner, overall size, edging detail and position/aspect of pond.
Q) Why is there such a variation in the price of the different options?
A) The most economic format to purchase is bare root, this is our speciality. These plants are grown in open ground and harvested as needed, so we do not have the time and expense of potting and de-potting or the increased labour of watering pots. Potted plants need a lot more looking after than open ground grown plants, they are much heavier and so need more packaging and cost more to send. There is also generally quite a lot more material in a 1 litre pot. Details of the various options can be found on the Ordering and Delivery Information page.
Q) How big will the plants be?
A) Please refer to the Ordering and Delivery Information page for a detailed description of each option.
Q) Will the plants be in pots?
A) Potted plants are available as an option for most plants. Cost will be higher due to increased maintenance, packaging and carriage costs.
Q) Can I order pots from you?
A) Yes, please look at the “Baskets and Sundries” section under the “Plant lists” tab.
Q) When is the best time to order and plant?
A) Any time when the plant is actively growing. I am busiest in April and May, and this is a good time to plant, but plants also establish well in September, after flowering, when there is less stress on the plant. It’s best to avoid very hot or very cold periods. Water lilies can only be successfully established from bare rooted plants from April to August. After August and before April I will only send them in pots. Choice may be more limited out of season. I generally don’t advise buying plants in the coldest months of December, January and February, even potted ones; they will get going better from March onwards.
Q) When will this plant next be available?
A) The default situation is that plants are available unless shown out of stock when selected. Please note that this applies only to the option selected, other options for that plants may still be available, eg x10 may be out of stock but x3 in stock, or bare root may be available but 1 litre pots not available, so please check all options. From about October onwards, if a plant is not available it probably won’t be until the following March/April.
We get many people asking “When will such and such a plant become available?” A guide to availability appears just below the main plant description, e.g. from Month 3 (March) to Month 10 (October). In many cases, even when the plant is shown as unavailable, they do exist here, and can be looking really good, but would be unsuitable to uproot and send for re-establishment in your pond. A good example is Ranunculus aquatilis. This oxygenating plant is grown here in flowing spring water coming directly from the ground at 11 degrees centigrade and is currently looking green and healthy, albeit the low light levels mean that the fine side branches are absent. However, if this was transferred to a pond at 4 degrees it would simply die back before roots form, and fail, so we list it as unavailable to prevent disappointment. Once Spring temperatures lift sufficiently we will make it available once more. Other plants like Houttuynia and Stachys exist only as fragile white roots in winter, these tend not to establish well if broken up in winter. Still others like Primula chungensis and P vialii retreat back to a tiny rosette or bud and are very vulnerable to rotting or damage if moved too early. Some, like frogbit (Hydrocharis) form microscopic overwintering buds in the bottom sediment and don’t become even visible until they germinate in Spring. Even then they are very tiny and it takes a few weeks for them to be big enough to sell. Others, like Cotula, regrow mostly from seed shed in late summer and the old plant will die off. Most of the other unavailable plants fall into the category of “too ugly to sell”, like Alisma, which is now just a squishy brown mass from which, improbably, tiny new shoots grow rapidly in late Spring.
If what you want is not available you will be given the option to receive an email when it is next listed. If you wish to be notified when a plant becomes available, select it from the shop and click on the “Notify me when available” link. All through the year there will be plants that will come and go, so it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase all your plants in one hit, though in May to July typically everything will be available subject to stock remaining. Our low carriage charge means that it will not be too painful to make several purchases at the optimum time of year for the plants concerned.
Q) How do I pay?
A) Please select your items and proceed to the Checkout page where payment options are given. If you cannot pay by these methods then please contact me as I can accept cheques or direct payments under certain circumstances. Cheques for small orders will be subject to a small surcharge to cover the cost of paying them into our account.
Q) Do I have to be at home for the delivery?
A) Smaller bare root orders are sent by Royal Mail so are not generally a problem. If your postman is well trained he/she will know where to leave parcels for you. Larger orders are sent by carrier and a signature is not required. However if nobody is at the delivery address to receive delivery and there is no obvious safe place to leave the parcel, there is the possibility that the parcel will be returned to the depot. There is nothing I can do about this and delays caused by failed delivery attempts are not my responsibility. If you are unable to be present then please when ordering, in the Notes box, briefly state a place where the parcel can be safely left. I cannot guarantee that the delivery person will read it or act on it and I cannot be responsible for parcels left in an insecure location.
Q) How do I deal with the plants when they arrive?
A) Please look under the “Information/Planting tips” page. https://www.devonpondplants.co.uk/information/planting-tips/
Q) When will I get my plants?
A) Plants are generally harvested and packed on Monday to Thursday and delivery will therefore be Tuesday to Friday. They are sent out in the sequence of receipt of orders, there is no such thing as emergency pond plants so please don’t expect us to prioritise your order over somebody else’s. We don’t send just before Bank Holidays in case the parcel ends up stewing in a warm depot for several days. You should receive the plants within five working days of payment. Please check the Ordering and Delivery Information page for updates before ordering.
Q) Can I reserve plants by paying now for delivery when they are available?
A) No, we cannot accept forward orders. We only accept orders for plants that we actually have in stock; the website will only accept orders for plants that we have. Once the order has been completed they will be sent within our normal despatch targets.
Q) Can you delay despatch until a later date?
A) No, if you don’t want us to send the plants straight away then please don’t order them without contacting us first. Notes on the order regarding delayed despatch or acceptable times or days of delivery will be disregarded. It is simply not possible for us to look after groups of plants set aside for dozens of different customers.
Q) Can you deliver on a Monday?
A) There’s no foolproof way of organising a Monday delivery. We can send on Friday, whereupon the parcel will sit in a warm depot all weekend and should arrive Monday, but there’s no mechanism for a guaranteed Monday delivery. If you have to have them on Monday then I suggest you order them early in the week aiming to get them delivered on Friday, unpack them and stand in a cool damp place, they will be fine.
Q) Do you send plants abroad?
A) I have previously sent plants to many countries, but due to increasing carriage charges and regulations and too many problems with delayed delivery I regret that I no longer send out of the UK. This includes Eire, sorry.
Q) Can I come to the nursery to buy plants?
A) We regret that the nursery is now not open for visits, we are mail order only.
Q) My pond has a rubber/PVC liner which slopes steeply down from the water level. How can I position my plants?
A) This is a similar issue to that described below. Some success can be had, if the slope is not too steep, by filling sandbags with soft sand and wriggling them into position to give a reasonably level planting platform. Alternatively plants can be planted direct into hessian bags containing soil. There is however no substitute for wide, flat shelves 15-20cm deep.
Q) My pond has no shelves/shelves that are too deep. How can I plant marginal plants?
A) Dig another pond! This is an old chestnut and I am always being asked this question. The vast majority of marginal plants like to be covered by no more than a few centimetres of water; 1cm is far better than 15cm in most cases. Similarly, many people seem to think that water lilies need to be a metre deep or more; in fact most prefer half that depth. The way to get around this (if the differential is not too great) is to place a large basket full of gravel on the shelf and stand the planted basket on top to bring it up to the desired level. This is better than using an empty upturned basket as a stand, as it is more stable. If your shelf is really deep, and they sometimes are (what were they thinking?!) then I don’t advocate using a wobbly pile of bricks or baskets as it will probably end in disaster. Sometimes the pond was built as a swimming pool or koi pond and it is then very difficult to plant it successfully. I have seen upturned barrels and large terracotta pots, Dexion shelving and all sorts of teetering piles of material used as supports, but the only real solution is a partial or total rebuild, or to not use marginals at all. Alternatively the excess depth can be filled with sand or other inert material without needing an additional liner. Floating plant baskets are available but I don’t stock them, as personally I don’t like them and think they create more problems than they solve.
Q) One of my plants is not looking well and seems to be struggling. What is likely to be the cause?
A) The single most likely error is that it has been put too deep in the water. Please refer to the plant descriptions for the ideal depth and if possible err on the shallow side. Other possibilities are:
1. Leaving the plant in the sun or heat in a polythene bag prior to planting – even in less than a minute, plants can cook this way. Damage isn’t immediately apparent but they wilt and fail within a few days.
2. There is too much foliage for the roots to support after they have been damaged by the cleaning and packing – I do cut back plants for despatch but if the weather is hot this still may occur. You can’t do any harm by cutting the leaves back some more – it will help the plant to establish.
3. Too much movement during establishment – if there is a strong current or ducks/amphibians are present then the plant can struggle to establish due to disturbance.
Q) What if I am not satisfied with the plants?
A) We have a no quibble money back guarantee on return of goods but we do ask that complaints are notified within 7 days. There are several thousand variants, all constantly being updated, so occasionally availability and prices are incorrectly entered, please excuse us the occasional error which we strive to correct immediately.
Very rarely, parcels are delayed or damaged; we have no control after they leave the nursery, and even we occasionally make mistakes, so if there is a problem please let me know immediately. We pride ourselves on sorting out the inevitable gremlins as quickly as possible. Of course, a very small percentage of plants do fail for no good reason – that’s in the nature of gardening. This particularly applies to plants bought very late in the season, and I do encourage you to plant from Spring to early autumn only for best results. Plants should be in top condition on arrival but if they are not please let me know straight away. Plants aren’t guaranteed for life I’m afraid, but you will find us very reasonable if there is a genuine problem.
Q) What is your refund policy?
A) You may ask for a full refund at any time prior to despatch, and after despatch you have 7 days from delivery to notify us of problems and/or return part or all of a consignment in good condition for a refund of those items. After 7 days from delivery, refunds are at our discretion. We only send out healthy plants, but all plants are living things which can be affected by all sorts of external factors and they need to be looked after. Any pest or disease problems must be noticed and treated promptly; we are always on hand to give advice. If none has been asked for, we cannot accept responsibility for a deterioration in the plant’s health or indeed its death from neglect. If there is a problem which is demonstrably our fault then there will be no quibble, however at some point the responsibility for the health and condition of the plant passes from me to you. Occasionally I get a request for a refund six months, or in one case eighteen months after the purchase “because the plant has died”, having heard nothing in the interim. In these cases I regret that I will consider it your problem.
Q) I require a plant passport, can you send one please?
A) I regret that I am not a wholesaler and cannot offer a regular delivery service to shops and garden centres. My plants are sold on the basis that the customer is the end user and as a result I have elected not to join the Plant Passporting scheme, which is a monumental waste of time and money creating a huge amount of extra paperwork and nuisance. I therefore am not authorised to issue plant passports. I am registered with the Animal and Plant Health Authority number 129111.