WHEN the Independent asked readers about their experiences with mail-order plants, many of the letters were published in this column. Few were complimentary. But Karen Liebreich, who reported bad experiences last year, says things have been 'completely different' this year. 'I thought in fairness I ought to let you know how much the companies seem to have improved,' she writes. 'Within about two weeks of sending off my orders I had received responses from all three companies. Wallace and Barr sent my bulbs (the very same species Allium christophii I had failed to obtain last year).
'Thompson and Morgan sent a letter explaining that under the terms of their quality charter they acknowledged receipt and apologised for the delay. They told us when the orders would start to be despatched and we received them a week later, with helpful guidelines on planting.
'Unwins immediately sent the seeds and told us that the raspberry canes ordered would be despatched in early November. In all cases we knew that the firms had received and processed the order and were given some idea of when to receive the plants, so we can plan our garden . . . .'