The cost of shipping includes packing, packing materials and time as well as postage and forwarding charges.
UK – an averaged flat-rate of £6.60 is charged on all orders, large or small. Though this works against smaller orders for one or two bulbs, such as Crocus it does however benefit larger orders or those including heavy plants such as Paeonia. It also covers all shipping charges when we have to split an order which includes both early- and late-ripening items.
EU and some European countries. As for the UK, an averaged flat rate postal charge applies to customers in these countries.
Rest of World. (Japan, Norway, USA etc) We operate a % charge which varies slightly according to your country. The charge includes packing materials, export packing, meticulous export cleaning (which takes a considerable time) as well as air-postage. It also includes the cost of health (phytosanitary) certificates when these are needed.
In turn the health certificates comprises not just the extra paperwork and form-filling, but is a year-round process of soil inspections, plant health checks, growing season inspections, export certification. This culminates in pre-export inspections by our health inspector to actually issue the phytosanitary certificate. In addition to the costs of the earlier work, the latter visits are currently priced to us at over £150 per half hour (2017). To keep our costs down and keep our charges to you to the lowest level possible, we have to pool our export inspections and get as many as possible certified at once within one visit. This in turn means that there may sometimes be a delay in getting export orders off to you, depending on when we have an inspection scheduled. We ask for your understanding on this.
Time in transit
Time in transit is beyond our control. It depends on the speed of the postal service. For overseas customers the degree of intervention by the customs authorities in your country needs to be allowed for also. As a rough guide the plants usually reach Europe and Japan within 4-5 days. Transit time is longer for France, Italy and Poland, less for Germany. Further destinations usually reach you 7-10 days after they leave us. Exceptionally it may be less or longer than this. Some countries are better than others but it is beyond our control.
Initially PLEASE check the information displayed with every species in your order. This indicates when plants are dormant and when you might expect the despatch period to be. The plants for an order placed in June may not be dormant until October. This is not us being slow or forgetting you, it depends on the dormancy of the plants!
Autumn despatch does not usually begin until September when most of our bulbs are dormant. Some items such as Lilium, Paeonia and some Paris and Trillium are rarely ready until late-October. They just do not die down before that.
Spring despatch lasts from January to March (perhaps April for some things). We only send when the weather seems unlikely to freeze. Tender items such as Pleione are not sent until we can be sure that they will not be frozen in transit. Sorting offices may be warm and heated but post vans, postal sacks and mail-boxes are not!
Shipping is by letter post, using the Royal Mail postal service. We use air-mail letter post for overseas customers and so the packages are passed to your own postal service once they enter your country. In all cases, delivery is to your door. We do not, at present, use courier services.
Packages sent by normal post services cannot be tracked. If you require “signed for” delivery this is available during check-out. We will then send you the packet number when we tell you of despatch.
Signed-for is meant as an assurance that your parcel isn’t left on a doorstep and is actually delivered (even though the postman can sign for it and leave it! – did we miss something here)? Please note that “signed for” delivery is NOT insurance.
Despite them calling it “tracking”, packets sent by Royal Mail cannot actually be ‘tracked’ using it until after they have been delivered.
We ship in small strong cardboard boxes.
* “Damp” packing is in moistened coco-peat and polythene.
* “Dry” packing is in paper bags with, or without, wood shavings.
Orders for multiple bulbs will be packed together in the same bag, please open and count these before complaining of a shortage!
Plants are packed to survive a journey of at least 4 weeks without damage.
For export to some countries (such as Australia) it is not possible to use some of these materials, in which case we will send washed-root plants in polythene bags or we will wrap the plants in damp paper, if this is permissible. We are aware of the limitations on some materials to some countries and all such packing materials and regulations for your country are checked by our plant health inspector before despatch.