The Idiot Gardener

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Sarah Raven Seeds Review

I started gardening on a drunken whim. It’s true; I genuinely hated gardening with a passion. It was when I suddenly woke up sober and realised what I had done that I thought I had better learn something about what laid ahead. In my early searches for knowledge, I went to a lecture by celebrity gardening woman Sarah Raven at Sissinghurst. I didn’t realise it at the time but it turned out to be one big advert for her seed collection!

In order to squeeze every possible penny from the attendees – something the Raven is well practiced at – there was an over-priced lunch chucked in. Over a very average stew, one lady remarked that Raven’s books were good, but that her seeds had poor germination rates. For some reason, that nugget of info fell down the back of a sofa in my mind and didn’t resurface until it was too late.

I went through the Raven’s seed catalogue in the following days. Yes, they were expensive, and yes, the seed counts were low, which made them doubly expensive, but she had the very varieties that she’d banged on about as being the best, so I ordered them. The first cracks appeared with the delivery of the seed order. Most of it was right, but there was one error. I was sent a packet of oak leaf lettuce instead of wild rocket. I telephoned them to point out their error, but instead of a friendly chat with an apologetic customer service person, I has some surly cow barking down the phone that I should return the oak leaf lettuce immediately, and once they had it back and were assured it hadn’t been tampered with, then – and only then – would they send out the wild rocket.

I’m a mild mannered man, so I said okay and hung up. Then it dawned on me. I was the customer, Sarah Raven Seeds had made the error, and they could fuck themselves if they thought I was going to be talked down to because they were shit at their jobs.

A second telephone call took place. Luckily, I managed to get the same surly cow that I’d had a few minutes earlier. I didn’t let her speak this time. I launched into a rant about the Sale of Goods Act, about Distance Selling, and about who faced the liability of returning products when the error was on behalf of the vendor. I also pointed out that I was the customer, and should be treated as a customer. Then I made my position clear. I think that the words ‘shit’, ‘bollocks’, ‘send’, ‘fucking’, ‘seeds’, ‘now’, ‘legal’, ‘pestilence’ and ‘vaginismus’ may have been used. The surly bitch quickly changed her tone and reassured me that the missing rocket seeds were on their way, and would I pretty please be so kind as to return the oak leaf lettuce. I didn’t.

The germination rates were terrible, truly terrible. In fact, of all the seeds I used (including some my friend found at the back of his shed which belonged to his mother who had died a decade earlier) the Raven’s seeds had the lowest germination rate. The whole packet of oak leaf lettuce only put up two plants, and they were tasteless, so I was glad I didn’t pay for them.

Interestingly, whenever I meet anyone who has used Sarah Raven Seeds, I get the same story about awful germination levels.

I give Sarah Raven Seeds a well deserved 0 out of 10. That’s right; nothing! Poor service, rudeness, arrogance and a terrible product. I’d give them a negative score if I could. Actually, it’s my review, so I can. Make that -10 out of 10!


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4 thoughts on “Sarah Raven Seeds Review

  1. Tom Stephenson

    Sounds like the Sarah Raven I know and love – well, I love and know her sister Anna more than her, really.

    The whole family are barking fucking mad – except for Norrie. More castles than ysou could throw a stick at.

  2. Lou

    Ahhhhhh, I thought it was just me: the Raven seeds I bought were dreadful. I bought two packets of Yellow Rattle and nothing at all happened….. I was feeling pathetic and wasn’t brave enough to complain! However I have since found that one of our fields (prob 2 acres) is filled with Yellow Rattle and barely has grass… Poor sheep. Might sell my own!

    Consider me a follower…

  3. Winnie

    Thanks for this – I thought i had done something wriong last year when I bought some sarah raven seeds as hardly any germinated. Was about to giv with a second try and saw these reviews so you’ve saved me money and disappointment and wont order!


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