Roses forum: Vintage Gardens closing in 2013

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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 10, 2011 8:19 PM CST

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This is the message on the home page of the Vintage site:

Times are tough for everyone today, and we know we are not the only ones with budget woes. Like everyone else, we have had to face whether we should continue in the face of substantial losses of sales. Our basic operational costs are no longer being met and our beloved rose garden has suffered the worst of it. As you know we were unable to open my garden in May for lack of the manpower and resources to make it presentable. We were faced this summer with many roses that could not be propagated because of the condition of plants in the garden.

Friends of Vintage Roses are working with me to focus on preserving my collection of roses, but at the present time we do not know if the garden itself can survive.

At the same time we must decide the fate of Vintage Gardens. After long and difficult consideration, Gita and I have determined that we must set a date to finish the work of Vintage Gardens. In order to fill our obligations to our customers we have set that closing date for the Summer of 2013. Our Import Roses will have been supplied to customers, we will have completed all custom orders and shipped them out, and we will have a final close out sale at that time.
We will be around awhile longer yet…but only to say a long goodbye.

-Gregg Lowery
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, NY (Zone 6b)
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Mike
Sep 10, 2011 8:32 PM CST
And there goes another one...
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Sep 10, 2011 8:53 PM CST
Understandable but still very sad.
Porkpal
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 10, 2011 9:35 PM CST

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I feel sorry for people who just discovered Vintage Gardens and are in the process of building a collection. I have just about exhausted their stock, however. They still have some roses I've always wanted, but they're probably reluctant to grow on their own roots because Vintage never offers them for sale. I did place an order just now for eight roses, however. Six of them are duplicates of Vintage bands that didn't make it in the past. I'll give them one more try because it isn't likely I'll ever find them anywhere else.
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
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Skiekitty
Sep 11, 2011 9:21 AM CST
Isn't that where a lot of Cliff's roses went to?
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 11, 2011 1:03 PM CST

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Just the bands, as far as I know. Not the rose bushes.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Sep 11, 2011 10:32 PM CST

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Wow, another one bites the dust. I love driving by (about 2 miles from me) and catching a glimpse of the gardens and had hoped to go to another open house.
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Name: Andi
Pocono Mountains, PA (Zone 6a)
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GardenQuilts
Sep 12, 2011 9:47 PM CST
I got an order of roses from them. They arrived in bad condition and all died. I was unable to receive a refund. They lost a potential customer with the first order.

They have a great list of hard to find roses, but if they don't survive it doesn't matter.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Sep 13, 2011 8:17 AM CST
Most of the bands I've received from them have died, too. I still have two Coral Charm (I think), one Lili Marlene, and one Geisha that are surviving if not thriving. I support their mission of preserving old roses and feel sad about their passing. I guess I need to spend some time considering my spring order.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 13, 2011 11:17 PM CST

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Maybe I won't miss Vintage Gardens when it's gone. The last shipment I received, a few months ago, was full of decent-sized, healthy, and robust roses. They were much larger than usual. I wasn't sure whether it was because Vintage had stepped up its game or because most of the bands were from Eurodesert. Today I received four more in the mail and they're deplorable. They're the tiny size and sickly color of the bands I used to get from Heirloom. Worse yet, one of them is a Eurodesert band. Living at Vintage these past few months didn't do it any good, that's for sure.

The bands I received from Heirloom and Rogue Valley about a month ago were far superior to the ones that came from Vintage today.

There's also something else. Maybe their rooting technique is not as good as it should be or maybe their mother plants are sick. There are certain Vintage roses that I've tried to grow more than once. I've bought three Tom Brown bands from Vintage, for instance. I only have one left and it's still about 5 inches tall after four years in my garden. I just assumed it was one of those roses that hates to grow on its own roots, but now Heirloom carries Tom Brown. The one I just received from Heirloom was small when it arrived, but it's already about 8 inches tall and has two blooms on it. Maybe it'll turn out to have been mislabeled, but maybe it's the real thing, in which case I'll suspect that something's wrong at Vintage.

Rogue Valley now carries Almondeen. My Almondeen from Vintage grew to about 5 inches after 3 or 4 years and is now on its way out. It kept dying back and now it's no more than 2 inches tall. The Almondeen I bought from Rogue Valley about a month ago is already 8-10 inches tall and is not a "one-cane wonder," which is what many Vintage roses seem to remain forever, never producing new basal shoots.

There's no denying that some roses from Vintage are great. I have some really big and healthy roses that came here as bands from Vintage, but there are others that seem to be just a waste of time and money. I hope other nurseries start selling more roses like Tom Brown and Almondeen. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Chamblee grew all of the roses Vintage grows? The mortality rate for Chamblee roses is almost nil.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Sep 14, 2011 9:41 AM CST
I think I know what you mean. Perhaps the advantages Vintage Gardens roses are purely hypothetical. If a rose you cannot get anywhere else fails after you buy it from Vintage Gardens, your rose collection is really not any further along than if you had not bought it from there in the first place. It's a point I'll get some consolation from as VG closes.

I keep buying Crovoisier and it keeps dying. Same with French Lace (3x), and a too many other HT's and Floribundas to count.

My bands from RVR - if I set them out after the last hard frost - tend to outperform bands from Vintage gardens. For example, from RVR this spring is an Emily Gray that froze to the ground in April, then barely endured four months without rain. Although it is now 1/2 inch high it is looking great. I continue to have high hopes for it. Also diminutive is a Yolande d'Aragon that I planted in unimproved caliche and kept forgetting to water this summer. It's six inches tall, but it looks better right now than two year old Geisha from Vintage.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 14, 2011 1:43 PM CST

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Steve812 said:I think I know what you mean. Perhaps the advantages Vintage Gardens roses are purely hypothetical. If a rose you cannot get anywhere else fails after you buy it from Vintage Gardens, your rose collection is really not any further along than if you had not bought it from there in the first place. It's a point I'll get some consolation from as VG closes.


Yes, that's exactly what I mean, Steve. Hypothetical advantages.

Years ago we used to forgive Hortico's sins because of the amazing variety of roses Hortico offered for sale, roses that were never offered by anyone else. After we ordered and paid for those, however, Hortico would put them on our back-order list and string us along for years, pretending that these "back orders" were going to be available someday. If we got angry and made demands, Hortico would pretend the roses had arrived and would put those labels on any old thing they happened to have in surplus, usualy Iceberg and Autumn Damask. I received two sets of those from Hortico years ago when I ordered Rose des Cisterciens and Cressida twice, stipulating I didn't want them if they had to be back-ordered.

So what was this extensive variety? A hypothetical advantage. Now that everyone has recognized it as such, no one forgives Hortico's sins anymore.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Oct 13, 2011 12:19 AM CST

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I've flip-flopped again, or Vintage has -- I'm not sure which.

The last order I received from them consisted of four puny and pitiful little band roses. Not one was taller than 4-5 inches. Today I received an order of 12 bands and every single one is at least 10-12 inches tall. Four were already blooming and all of them look healthy and viable. I'm delighted. I don't know what accounts for these differences in shipments. It can't be the time of year because the four puny ones arrived just last month. Not enough time in between to make this kind of difference.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Oct 13, 2011 7:18 AM CST
Repeat customers get preference?
Porkpal
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Oct 13, 2011 2:36 PM CST
I bought once from Vintage maybe three years ago. Most of the bands were larger than the ones I usually get from Heirloom, two were not and quite small. Still, I just always directly plant my bands in ground, no potting up here. So I planted them and they all grew and thrived but that is what I expected. I had bought bands from Heirloom many times and always direct planted so if those tiny things thrive here direct planted I figgured these would too.

Yes, they do have unusual roses that you can't get anywhere else but I am out of room and don't need any more roses. Even when I do need more I can find many other choices that I want from other mail order sources or just buy the roses locally around here. It is a shame to see these places have to shut down due to lack of business but it is not going to make much of a difference in my garden.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Oct 28, 2011 9:06 AM CST
Sometimes I get roses from VG that I'm very happy with. Often I do not. I think every single HT I got there died in its first season. Some of the floribundas survive: Geisha, Coral Crown, Allgold climbing. The china Nouveau Monde and the floribundas Parfait and Centennaire des Lourdes are probably the only roses of several dozen that I got from VG that seem to be doing well.

So I'm a flip-flopper on VG, too. I hate it that most of their offerings fail. And I promise myself that I'll just walk away. But I love it so much when one of their unusual roses thrives that I tend to forget the unforgivably low batting average. I'm afraid that my last order with them will be a large one, just hoping for one or two more big successes.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Oct 28, 2011 10:49 AM CST
I must be unusual, I buy bands from Heirloom and from vintage both, plop them directly in ground and have never EVER had a single problem. Everyone one grew and thrived. Even the ones that were teeny, tiny when they got here. I only ordered from Vintage one year but ordered about 15-16 roses and that year ordered from Heirloom also. Plus had ordered from Heirloom years before that and years after. If I had room I would still be ordering.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Oct 28, 2011 1:10 PM CST
You do take unusually good care of your roses.
Porkpal
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Oct 28, 2011 1:30 PM CST
But that's just it. I didn't do anything. I just plopped them in the ground, watered if dry and that is all. No special care.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Oct 29, 2011 11:28 AM CST
It sounds to me like you take extraordinary care of your roses, Rita, even if it seems ordinary to you.

Probably you have good soil. Long Island probably has pretty steady weather, too. It's not often that you get a hard freeze within days of 80F daytime weather. From what I can tell, you protect roses from blackspot which was the bane of HT roses in my garden when I grew roses in NJ. And maybe you order the right roses. I really think most floribundas are a lot more durable than most hybrid teas. They are generally more cold hardy, more resistant to fungal disease, more vigorous in root generation.

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