"What is the difference between bulbs I can purchase at American Meadows and the bulbs from the Big Box Store?" This is a question our customer service team gets often throughout the year. The answer is simple- our bulbs are of the highest quality, size, and are fully guaranteed to grow. Trusting our products and seeing our customer’s success season after season has always been enough for us to answer this question with confidence each time it is asked. However, this fall we decided to dig a little deeper (no pun intended) and actually measure the tangible difference between our bulbs and those found at national Discount/Big Box stores.
We chose our most popular fall-planted bulbs to compare: tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, and bearded iris. I travelled to the nearest national Big Box Store, as well as a national Discount Store, to see what bulbs they carried. As I went from store to store, trying to find the most similar varieties to compare, I could sense the difference even in the initial shopping experience. I trekked through the Big Box store for several extremely long minutes before I found what I was looking for. Even then, the Alliums were literally sandwiched between two deeply discounted outdoor patio sets. Looking around, it was obvious that there was no "garden expert" on staff. I grabbed my bulbs and headed to the checkout, realizing after that the prices were not as impressive as I had imagined. I had a very similar experience at the National Discount Store; I walked in circles around plastic pumpkin decorations and candles until I found the bin of bulbs at the center of the store. These were also more expensive than anticipated.
The next step of this process was to compare the actual bulbs. The bearded iris from the National Big Box store was only slightly less expensive than ours and less than half the size. Our alliums were significantly larger than those found at both the other stores. This seemed to be the trend throughout all the bulb varieties. We found deep rot and mushy bulbs in several of the packages, which is pretty alarming this early in the season. As you can see from the pictures we took, our bulbs were not only much larger, but much healthier looking than those found at the National Big Box/Discount stores. Larger bulbs have a better success rate; they produce healthier, larger growth and more spectacular blooms.
The third part of this comparison is the guarantee aspect of these bulbs. I, out of curiosity, emailed the customer service department found on the back of one of the other packages. They provided me with no real information except that they do not issue replacements, and could only offer me a refund. They also needed the original barcode, product number of the item, when I purchased it, and the cost. Because this was a third party organization, they had no idea who I was and could not help me troubleshoot why my bulbs did not grow. This, to me, is the most significant difference between the Big Box store's products and ours. We can, and do, pass our gardening expertise onto our customers and want them to be successful with the products they purchase from us. Our guarantee is literally hassle free; we will not only replace or refund your items but, if you choose to, work with you to understand how you can have better success next time around.
I hope you enjoy looking at the size comparison between the bulbs as much as we did. Now, at the very least, we have tangible evidence as to why gardeners should purchase our bulbs instead of those from the Discount Stores. The proof is also in the rave reviews we receive from our customers. With an average rating of four or more stars, many customers, like one in Fort Dodge, Indiana, are ecstatic about the results of our fall bulbs. "American Meadows' Darwin tulips are prime stock and have never failed to be less than outstanding in my flower beds. They bloom every year and neighbors stop to admire them on a daily basis when in bloom." Or, from one of our customers who planted a Large Cup Daffodil Mixture in Fayetville, New York: "I planted these in layers with tulips and hyacinths and the display was gorgeous." We know how delightful it is on an early April morning, once the ground thaws and the sun starts to shine, to walk outside and be greeted with the cheerful colors of your fall planted bulbs. With us, this is a guarantee! We will be planting all of these bulbs when it gets a little colder, so stay tuned for growth comparisons as well!
As always, Happy Gardening from your friends at American Meadows.