During this latest season, I ordered roses from Palatine, Freedom Gardens, Burlington, Northland Rosarium, Antique Rose Emporium, Roses Unlimited, Edmunds' Roses, and Jackson & Perkins.
It probably will come as no surprise to anyone that Palatine was the winner for me. I ordered nine roses, all of which grew well and bloomed the first year, and there were no mislabeled roses. Rose prices are climbing, but Palatine's shipping rates are still among the lowest for me in California -- $32.95 for nine roses.
Freedom Gardens has a rather peculiar assortment of roses for sale, but it's one that appeals to me because of all the Jerabek roses. I ordered six roses from Freedom Gardens at $20.00 each and paid $40.00 for shipping (a flat rate of $20 for each three roses). Unfortunately, the roses were smaller than I had expected and a few still haven't grown an inch since they arrived in November. Only two of the roses bloomed this year. Because of some unexplained delays in shipping, I suspect some of the cuttings weren't struck until I placed my order. All six roses are still alive, however, and do not appear to be struggling.
Burlington Nursery has a wonderful assortment of roses. I ordered 12. The plants are quite small, but the prices and shipping rates are low. I did run into an unexpected problem: Only two of the roses bloomed this year and both were mislabeled. I hope the other 10 are the ones I ordered.
Northland Rosarium has always provided me with nice plants and great service. I ordered eight roses. They were band roses, so only four bloomed this year, but all eight are growing well.
Antique Rose Emporium was a new experience for me. I had never ordered from them before because I had never found anything in their rose lists that I liked and didn't already have. Also, their shipping rates were once the highest in the business. This year I took advantage of some free shipping coupon codes and ordered eight roses in two orders of four each. Two of the roses were slow to get going and have not bloomed yet, but the other six are growing well.
Roses Unlimited is another nursery I usually avoid because of its high shipping rates. The price per rose for shipping to California is $9.00. When the nursery has its annual sale, however, the drop in rose prices compensates for the hideous combination of shipping rates, handling fee ($5), and credit card processing fee ($5). The sale roses in one-gallon containers are larger than ARE's roses in two-gallon containers and are healthy and vigorous. I ordered six roses and all six are growing exceptionally well.
Edmunds' Roses has been going downhill for years and I had stopped ordering from them a few years ago, but some of the new roses were intriguing enough that I decided to take a chance. I shouldn't have. I initially ordered five roses and then ordered six more when the roses went on sale. The roses in the first order grew well at first, but quickly developed canker and started dwindling away. One is now dead and the other four are rapidly becoming one-cane wonders. The sale order was even worse. Two of the six roses were DOA. I mean so dead that there wasn't a sign of life in any cane. Another died a few days later. The other three look iffy at best. Adding to the list of problems, the nursery sent me two own-root roses in the sale order, although both were supposed to have been grafted. Luckily, I didn't have to pay for shipping on either order from Edmunds'.
I never thought I would buy roses from J&P again after having so many problems with the nursery in the past, but they put lots of roses on sale for $10 and free shipping, so I ordered five that weren't being offered by any other nursery. All five had cane canker issues at the start, but they seem to be growing well now.
Special coupon codes and offers gave me free shipping on the orders from ARE, Edmunds', and J&P. The rates charged by the other nurseries ranged widely. Burlington was the lowest at about $2.28 per rose, followed by Palatine at $3.66 per rose, Northland at $4.16 per rose, Freedom Gardens at $6.67 per rose, and Roses Unlimited at $10.67 per rose (for shipping, handling, and credit card processing).
Rose prices also ran the gamut. The highest prices were at Palatine, followed by Freedom Gardens, Edmunds', ARE, Northland, Burlington, Roses Unlimited, and J&P.