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Anyone ordered from Hilltop gardens dahlias in Cashiers NC?

April 7, 2012

I was looking for a few certain varieties of dahlias this year, and I went to the "Big List" from Colorado dahlia society, but none of the suppliers listed had all the different ones I wanted in stock, and I didnt want to buy single tubers from 3-4 different sources and pay $7-$10 shipping for each tuber.

But then I got to hilltopdahlias.com on the bid list, and they had all the tubers I wanted in stock, so I ordered from them, and they linked to Paypal, so I paid there.

Then I decided to go back to the hilltop gardens(hilltopdahlias.com) website to get their phone number just in case I had questions, but I couldnt find a number or any real contact info other than 1 email address. I found that odd.

Plus I checked my email later, and saw the automatic receipt from paypal, but I still have not seen or received any email or receipt from hilltop, even though I emailed them. I ordered and paid on 4-1 and its now 4-7.

Also, after I picked each dahlia from their catalog and added it to my cart and paid, I then went back and saw on another page entirely, that you are supposed to tell them when to mail your tubers. It didnt say anything about that on the ordering page or on the description page.

So I emailed them letting them know to send them in 2 weeks from 4-1.

I just hope I have better luck here than from Dan's dahlias a few years ago! I had a good experience with Swan Island last year, and will be ordering a few more this year from them in a week or so, and so I recommended them to friends and people I met at a dahlia show I attended in September '11. I hope I can recommend hilltop too.......

Anyone bought from them?

Comments (20)
  • cgdahlias

    Hilltop Gardens is owned by Buddy and Kelly Dean. They are top notch dahlia growers well recognized in the Southern States and Eastern seaboard dahlia community of the American Dahlia Society. If you ordered from them you will receive quality dahlias, on time.
    In addition to their private business Buddy manages the Great Smokey Mountains Trial Garden as a volunteer service for the members of the American Dahlia Society to test their new dahlia varieties prior to introduction.
    You have linked up with a top quality supplier of dahlias!

  • highlandernorth

    ^Well thats good to hear. I wasnt extremely worried yet, it's just that a few years ago I ordered from Dan's dahlias, and was supposed to receive about 7-8 tubers, and there was no mention on the ordering page that any of the tubers I'd ordered from them were not in stock. It was also early in the season, like late march, early April. I also received an email receipt from them which had no mention of any problem with my order, but when I actually received the order,literally half of the tubers were NOT what I'd ordered.

    It wasnt until then that they set a note with the order saying they were out of stock of 1/2 the tubers I ordered. Whats worse, was that they replaced the ones I ordered with cheaper, less desirable tubers, without ever asking me to choose other tubers. What was worse yet, was that when I planted them in late April(warm outside), only 3 actually came up! Plus, 2 of the 3 that did come up weren't the ones I'd ordered......

    I shouldve sent them back, but it wasnt worth digging them up, then paying for shipping and everything(maybe thats the plan!)

    I bought from Swan Island last year, and aside from 1 tuber being weak and dying early on(Tutti Frutti), the other 85% of the order was fantastic. I'd expect maybe 1 bad tuber. I didnt bother sending it back either, and I'll pay for another Tutti Frutti this year. No Biggy......

  • jpgoldsmith

    This seller does not acknowledge orders or answer emails and provides NO phone number for contacts. I will not order from them again!!

  • Roy Martin

    can anybody please confirm if hilltop dahlias nc actually exists as am having same problem as in previous post dated 2012. no reply have tried phone and e.mail. really wanted this order but due to paypal policy may have to raise a dispute.i

  • cicivacation

    Roy, are you saying that you put in an order and are now wondering why the tubers haven't been shipped? That's what it sounds like... please correct me if I am wrong. When did you put in your order?

  • cicivacation

    The original poster said he ordered tubers on April 1st, and expected
    them shipped two weeks later. This expectation is totally unreasonable,
    if you understand how dahlia sales are conducted.

    Most dahlias are
    typically sold by specialty dahlia vendors between December through
    February. By March, the premium selections are typically all sold out. Substitution lists
    are highly recommended, as well, since tubers are a perishable item that
    may not last through winter storage.

    Vendors typically start packing
    the earliest orders first, and substitute tubers for the ones they are
    short on. Each vendor is different in how they do this. Some just do it
    randomly, some take care to make sure the same color/form is
    substituted, while others offer the buyer the choice of refund or subs.
    My store policy is to check with the buyer if a variety is not
    available, and offer specific subs or refund for the variety I can not
    fulfill... I don't have high volume, so at the time of this writing, I can afford
    to take the extra time/effort, and enjoy chatting with folks. However, most vendors don't do that, due to the time required to
    reach out to individuals. Again, a substitution list or a request for refund for unavailable varieties is highly recommended, sent with the order or a separate email.

    Most dahlia vendors pack up boxes
    and send the majority of the tubers mid-April every year, to avoid
    freezing temperatures. You can see how the original poster's expectation of a two week turnaround is misplaced, as he would technically be 'line-jumping' all the previous orders. A few vendors offer early delivery in March, for experienced
    growers that pre-start tubers to take cuttings for backup plants,
    however, that needs to be communicated at time of order to the vendors
    that are willing to do that.

    dealing with any small businesses selling perishable items out of season, it is
    always a good idea to email or talk to a live person to make sure what you want is still
    in stock. Just because there is an online store does not mean inventory
    is maintained. In fact, I have found that small one-person dahlia
    businesses don't update their inventory very often, especially outside
    the Dec-Feb frantic dahlia buying season.

    Hilltop Dahlias is
    indeed a legitimate business, but it is a sideline business that is not
    high priority for the owner. Buddy Dean, owner & hybridizer, is
    self-admittedly atrocious with communicating via email or updating his
    site, but has first-rate varieties and is a master grower. If you can
    get him on the phone, he is the nicest gentleman that knows his dahlias
    inside and out: problem is he doesn't have much time outside his normal

    Bottom line- with the majority of us, dahlias are a passion first, and a
    business second. The business part comes as a byproduct of having extra
    tubers that would be composted without buyers. The funds from dahlia sales are typically rolled right back into growing dahlias. There's not much profit in dahlia selling, so often our day jobs have to come first.

    Hope this helps, as casual gardeners smitten with
    dahlias are often perplexed with how the specialty dahlia vendors work.

    -CiCi from Dahlia Vacation

  • Roy Martin

    Hi.thanks for the reply have seen new brochure from hilltop for 2017 so can only presume that they are a legitimate business however my order was placed in Oct.2016 with a specified delivery for April for the tubers and June for the plug plants.i can appreciate the delivery process and how it operates.from a customer point of view really would appreciate a confirmation of any kind because I cannot order any replacement plants till Dec and that will set me back a full year plus in the event that the orders I have placed do not arrive PayPal has a 180 day time limit to raise a dispute.one simple email could sort all this frustration out.thanks Roy.

  • cicivacation

    I hear you, Roy. Sorry you're in this pickle.

  • Alexander Rowland

    I’ve visited Buddy @ Hilltop Dahlias and received great service. For over 4 years we order annually 100-200 rooted cuttings. Every year we are able to plant fresh new varieties above and beyond my own cuttings and existing tubers. I’ve shopped around and although some places may have better service systems Buddy has been absolutely crucial and instrumental in helping me keep my summer and fall sanity by providing top notch Dahlias carefully delivered in extra special tagged packages. I look forward to growing my Dahlias and Dahlia Business / Personal gardens with Buddy for many years to come. If you need to reach Buddy I’ll be glad to assist and pass along any Special Requests. 910-904-3140 Call/Text Anytime.

  • Jessica Duers

    Hello, I really appreciate this post. I ordered from Hilltop Dahlias on 4/02/18 and haven’t gotten anything yet, which is not unusual. But my alarm bells started ringing when I have been having an impossible time trying to reach anyone by phone to inquire about my order. I want to trust and believe that the Dahlias will arrive, but would love a different contact number if you have one.

  • miner_gary

    Jessica, April 2 is a bit late to order dahlia plants from dahlia specialists (tubers might be OK but most suppliers would be sold out of many varieties of tubers....), but still acknowledgement would be nice, just to know that 'THINGS ARE WORKING OK' ...... I have ordered from Buddy Dean - HILLTOP GARDENS for the past 3 years. In fact i usually make 3 orders, one in November, another in late December (when his Web site has usually be somewhat updated ...) and again in early February (when surely his website ha been updated, usually ) ........... Buddy and Kelly seem to "automatically combine these orders" as I have received all in one shipment .. .BUT never get an acknowledgement, although the first year they did phone me with a question on my order. I ask for April 15 delivery, as need that in i Rome, GA so that the plants get well rooted and growing well before hot weather comes along in mid-to-late May ... BUT 2 years ago thought they had 'forgot" and then surprise the box of plants arrived the first week in May. Last year the box of plant arrived about April 17. THIS YEAR I AM STILL WAITING and WONDERING - as it is MAY 10, and I should have had these no later than May 1, so that they could have been potted in 4" pots to develop a solid root ball, before transplanting out to open garden. BUT I have gotten QUALITY - DISEASE FREE ( Virus Free) plants from HILLTOP and some varieties that just cannot be found anywhere else these days. Specialty Dahlia Growers do it as a "labor of love" - normally as a "hobby" while supporting themselves with another regular full-time job. BUT - the other 3 dahlia plant suppliers I order form (think the only ones currently shipping plants) all COMMUNICATE and honor SHIP DATES or let one know if a variety is having difficulty rooting in a particular year- so COMMUNICATION is IMPORTANT in EVERYTHING ...... This year I've spent several hundred $$$ on plants order from HILLTOP, but if they do arrive withing the next week or two, I'm afraid it will be "too late" for our hot weather and will have to toss them, as too late for the growing conditions of my climate in Georgia ..............

  • Jessica Duers

    Thanks for the tips. I realized that I was ordering a bit late, but here in Connecticut we cannot plant Dahlias yet (though I started all my others indoors and in a hobby greenhouse). I am still crossing my fingers that my order will be fullfilled. He sounds reputable, so even if I grow them just to have the tubers for subsequent years, I will be satisfied. I was just starting to worry that my money was gone. Thanks for the information though! My next question is how does one judge a Dahlia for show quality? I am such a newbie, I don’t even know what all of the abbreviations mean!

  • trvllr96

    I ordered from Hilltop Dahlias for the first time on October 30th. I have not yet received my order (it wasn't that large). I have not been able to reach anyone by phone, and no one has responded to my email. It's starting to get a little bit past prime planting time here (Kentucky). Any tips on how to proceed would be appreciated!

  • miner_gary

    Yes, trvllr96, I have the same problem, but have received orders the past 2-3 years. Yesterday I "Private Messaged' on FaceBook to the CAROLINAS DAHLIA SOCIETY page, asking "are there issues / problems with HILLTOP THIS YEAR...", and got a message back early this AM that "there have been some health problems but they are still in business .." ..... so I suspect we will get our orders within a week to 10 days .... BUT as you say, it is past the "prime planting season" here in Rome, Georgia" - I needed them Mid-April in order to pot them in 4" pots and grow 2-3 weeks to develop large / get good root ball before transplanting into open garden. They never send an email acknowledgement, all you get is the PayPAL Receipt when placing the on-line order............ and then the order arrives at a time that has "always surprised me" -

  • trvllr96

    Thanks, miner_gary! I appreciate your insight!

  • Shirley Grobbel

    I have ordered the 3 oh May and have not received my order yet I paid through PayPal. They do not send a e-mail I have contacted Pa pal so will see hope I get those tubers. No way to get in touch with them.

  • Jessica Duers

    Update on my order: I did receive my order about a week ago, and everything looks top-notch!

  • trvllr96

    I received my order this week, along with a note that explained that Hilltop has had a really challenging year. Wishing them the best!!

  • Jessica Duers

    Not sure if you saw my comment, but I also received mine, and everything looks tremendous! I wish them all the best as well. They have an excellent reputation for quality Dahlias.

  • Shirley Grobbel

    Well it is now June 21 and we do not have our tubers yet. A little concerned. I do not understand why we get response. Hope I will still get them they ave our money!!!!!!!!

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