Roses forum: Potential rose disaster

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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Jun 4, 2011 4:25 PM CST

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Weeks Roses has been sold to Gardens Alive! -- the owner of these notoriously bad nurseries:

Thompson and Morgan
Breck's Bulbs
Gurney's Seed & Nursery
Henry Field's Seed & Nursery
Michigan Bulb
New Holland Bulb Co.
Spring Hill Nursery (aka SpringHillNursery.com)
Spring Garden Canada
Rockwood Gardens
Audubon Workshop
mySEASONS Garden Solutions
Breck's (Canada)
Henry Field's Seed & Nursery Co. (Canada)
Thompson and Morgan Canada
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, NY (Zone 6b)
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Mike
Jun 4, 2011 6:15 PM CST
It was being talked about at the national ARS conference today!
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
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Skiekitty
Jun 4, 2011 6:35 PM CST
Great. There goes all the really good roses. Sad Why were they sold?
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 4, 2011 6:53 PM CST
Oh, No!
Porkpal
Name: Betty
Bakersfield, CA
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Betja
Jun 4, 2011 6:56 PM CST
Maybe people can buy from them really quickly before the new guys can get in there and ruin things?
Betty
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Jun 4, 2011 8:36 PM CST

Moderator

I don't think that will be possible, Betty. When they filed for bankruptcy last year, they promised to honor their commitments for wholesale orders for spring 2011, but drew the line there.

I suspect that's why the local nurseries had so few roses in stock when Sue and I went shopping this week. They probably sold their last Weeks roses and couldn't buy any more.

Regrettably, I believe there's no hope whatsoever for Gardens Alive! to be a reasonable owner and a positive change as far as we're concerned. They almost bought Jackson & Perkins, Wayside Gardens, and Park Seed last year. They had offered the highest bid, in fact, but their bid wasn't accepted because they refused to keep the nurseries based in South Carolina. I'm afraid, therefore, that it will be like the sales of Heronswood Nursery and Edmunds' Roses. Only the name will survive.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Jun 4, 2011 8:54 PM CST

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Speaking of Weeks, Sue and I had the funniest encounter with the worst kind of rose snob (the kind that doesn't know much about anything) at a nursery on the highway in Petaluma. She told us stock was low because she thought someone might have gone bankrupt. We told her that Weeks had gone bankrupt and she was horrified, saying that was a terrible tragedy for them because there was noplace else to buy roses. I mentioned Star (where they obviously do already order roses because there were lots of different Romantica roses in stock), but she said Star was no good because they don't carry ancient roses. Sue and I asked whether she meant old garden roses, dating back to before 1862. No, she said, not old, but ancient!

She then proceeded to tell us at great length about her favorite "ancient" roses: Rosa Mundi and Quatre Saisons. You would have admired my restraint when she butchered the pronunciations of both. It's not that I think everyone should know how to pronounce Latin and French names, but if you're going to almost climb up to a podium to pontificate on your favorites, you should at least have some inkling of how their names are pronounced. She wasn't talking to us as fellow rose lovers, after all. She made it clear that we were idiots who knew nothing about "ancient" roses.

Okay, so she couldn't pronounce foreign names, and the thought crossed my mind that perhaps I was being too nitpicky, but then she mispronounced mauve (she said "mwahv'), which is a common English word, and my restraint came to an end. I laughed out loud. We walked away at that point and we never even pointed out that her initial comment, her horror of Star as someplace that didn't carry ancient roses, which had served as the cause of her condescending lecture to us, was also stupid because Weeks doesn't carry "ancient" roses either.
Name: Suzanne
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jun 4, 2011 9:00 PM CST

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It was a weird encounter, we wondered if she drove away other customers.
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Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, NY (Zone 6b)
Seed Starter Container Gardener Roses Bulbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Peonies
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Mike
Jun 5, 2011 9:39 AM CST
I've never even heard someone refer to an "ancient" rose before. OGR, sure, but ancient, no. Although I think the French refer to OGR's as "roses anciennes". Or maybe she meant species roses? But that still doesn't excuse her snooty behavior. People who wear their knowledge on their sleeve often have little of it.

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 5, 2011 11:46 AM CST
Ooooh! Ancient roses! That must be what I need: plants that have truly stood the test of time.
Porkpal
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Farmer Roses Raises cows Garden Ideas: Level 2
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 6, 2011 8:06 AM CST
I just stumbled across a site: "Rogers Roses" that referred to ancient roses...
Porkpal
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Jun 6, 2011 9:40 AM CST
Yeah. The older the better. I think I need some extinct roses. Petrified or something. No black spot.
Name: Suzanne
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Region: California Plant Database Moderator Roses Irises Clematis Garden Photography
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Calif_Sue
Jun 6, 2011 11:35 AM CST

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Rolling on the floor laughing oh Steve, you are a hoot! You got it all figured out!
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Hand sewn wares and vintage finds in my Etsy store. Summer Song Cottage
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Skiekitty
Jun 6, 2011 11:39 AM CST
Steve - Here ya go.

http://www.paleolands.org/find/time/here/C52
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
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Oldgardenrose
Jun 6, 2011 11:55 AM CST
Checking the Rogers site indicates roses from the same time frame as Barden's OGR site. Probably just a matter of terminology.

http://www.rogersroses.com

http://www.rdrop.com/~paul/index.html
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Farmer Roses Raises cows Garden Ideas: Level 2
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porkpal
Jun 6, 2011 5:49 PM CST
I still find the term "ancient" amusing.
Porkpal
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Jun 6, 2011 8:12 PM CST

Moderator

I have no problem with people, companies, and Websites using "ancient" instead of "old" as a synonym, but she definitely saw a difference between the two, informing us with great contempt when we asked whether she meant old garden roses from before 1862: "No! Not old! Ancient!"

Ironically, she was supposed to be selling us the roses offered at this modern rose nursery. I wonder if the owners ever heard any of her rants. Can you imagine a barrista at Starbucks treating you with contempt because you're not drinking authentic Turkish coffee straight from the ibrik into a demitasse (and mispronouncing every word)? So, on top of being a rude human being, she was also a bad employee.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Farmer Roses Raises cows Garden Ideas: Level 2
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 6, 2011 9:34 PM CST
It is unfortunate that people like that can't see how absurd they are to others. I guess "others" don't matter to them anyway.
Porkpal
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Jun 10, 2011 11:28 PM CST
I guess the stores will be carrying only knockouts now...wait, they do that already around here!

Are there any American companies with deep pockets financing any hybridizers? If not, we will only be seeing European roses and poorly grafted renamed varieties introduced as "new exclusives."

Maybe it will lead to increased interest in ancient roses.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Jun 14, 2011 9:41 AM CST
Sometimes snobbishness is more about identity and class identification than it is about anything else. I remember reading a book by Rosemary Verey in which she describes how the landscaper in one of her jobs for very upper-crust British clients mistook her verbal order for 150 Camieux roses as 150 "Cameo" roses. She was simply horrified by the "garish" results when the roses bloomed orange rather than red with white stripes. Absolutely horrified. She had them ripped out and replaced at his expense. David Austin still offers subtle apology in his catalogues when he offers a rose with strong orange or orange-red coloration. Yet some of the best orange roses extant were bred in England.

I think there has been some snobbisheness around old roses, with people "in the know" enbracing them while those new to rose gardening just bought whatever was on the shelves at the local garden center. Couple this with a big dose of "more is better" reasoning and you have the makings of a first class rose snob who wants only "ancient roses."

Pretending to know is so much more pleasurable than knowing. It takes a lot less work, and you get to imagine that you know so much more than you really do. I've had some experience with both.

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