Roses forum: Rose Nursery Reports -- 2016/2017 Season

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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
May 16, 2017 9:37 PM CST

Moderator

My report is unlikely to be of any use or interest to our members in other countries, but it's my hope that they will post their own reports to recommend nurseries to their compatriots (or to warn their compatriots against buying from some nurseries).

It's highly possible that I might insult someone's favorite nursery in my report, but we all have different experiences, and my opinions are based solely on my personal history with various nurseries.

I'm adding a photograph because I've noticed in the past that threads without thumbnails attract less attention. There are many different roses in this shot, but the two prominent ones are Puerta del Sol and Baronne Edmond de Rothschild.

I'm reporting on the new roses I bought for 2017, but most were purchased and planted in fall 2016. I have waited until all of them have bloomed because a nursery's ability to send the correct rose has to be appreciated these days. Not one of my new roses this year was mislabeled.

I'll split my report into several posts because I'm probably not the only one who's turned off by excessively lengthy posts.

Thumb of 2017-05-17/zuzu/4b3370

Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
May 16, 2017 9:55 PM CST

Moderator

I bought bare-root grafted roses from three nurseries.

Palatine: This is the gold standard. The eight roses I ordered arrived in perfect condition. Palatine is always a reliable source. Prices and shipping rates are reasonable, and the roses are grafted onto multiflora, which does not appeal to gophers and therefore saves me the cost of gopher-proof planting baskets.

Hortico: Anyone who knows about the checkered history of this nursery and my own horrible past experiences with it will be surprised that I ordered from Hortico again. The reason is that I've always wanted a grafted Cressida. It doesn't grow well on its own roots, and I had tried to buy it from Hortico twice before many years ago. I received a rugosa one time, and the next time I received another of the blasted Autumn Damasks Hortico used to send instead of the elusive rose a person had ordered. This year Hortico promised it had the "real" Cressida, so I ordered it and seven other roses. The shipping was a little higher than Palatine's rate, but the rose prices were a little lower, so the costs were approximately equal. To my surprise, Hortico not only sent me all eight of the roses (without putting any of them on their once infamous "back-order" list), but also sent the right eight roses. I'm very pleased and I will order from Hortico again next year.

Witherspoon: I had avoided buying anything grafted onto Dr. Huey for this new season because the roses I'd been buying from my local nurseries and Rosemania had been duds for the last few years. When I saw that Witherspoon had put all of its roses on sale for $15, including some Austins I'd been planning to buy, I ordered five of them. It was my first purchase from Witherspoon and I'm very pleased with the quality of the plants they sent.
[Last edited by zuzu - May 17, 2017 12:01 AM (+)]
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
May 16, 2017 10:17 PM CST

Moderator

Every year I promise myself that I won't buy any more own-root roses, but every year I break my promise. Never again will I pay the inflated prices Rogue Valley Roses and Heirloom charge for tiny, often leafless sticks that are highly likely to be mislabeled, but I did purchase own-root roses from three other nurseries.

A Reverence for Roses: This nursery sells mostly OGR's and modern shrubs, so I wasn't worried about their ability to grow on their own roots. I ordered twice from this nursery, buying eight roses in all. The combination of sales and special offers made these roses the least expensive of all. Shipping costs were low and the roses arrived within 2 days. These were the largest band roses I've ever bought. I transplanted the band roses into 2-gallon containers when they arrived in July and planted them in the garden when the rainy season started in November. They are all growing well. Here's a photo of one branch of the magnificent Meredith Bohls I bought from this nursery.



Chamblee: I bought three Kordes roses from this nursery because Palatine had not offered them this season. The roses are growing well. Chamblee's prices are ridiculously low, but the shipping costs are ridiculously high -- almost the same price as the roses ($36 for the three roses and $32 for shipping).

High Country Roses: I bought four roses from High Country because I needed a replacement Hula Hoop and this is the only nursery carrying it. They are band roses, but they currently are growing well in 2-gallon containers. This was my first purchase from this nursery. The prices were reasonable and the shipping was low.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
May 16, 2017 10:38 PM CST

Moderator

I never did place a second order from Ludwig's. There was a mad rush to buy all of the remaining roses when the nursery closed, but I decided against joining the crowd. I am not that pleased with the roses I received in my first order. There were problems from the start. I explained in an earlier post that the packaging techniques were inept and caused some damage in shipping.

The worst thing, however, is that the roses were supposed to have been grafted, but three of the four I ordered were budded instead. The two terms are used almost interchangeably now, but they actually refer to two different methods of propagation. In grafting, the entire top of the scion, or at least a symmetrically balanced branch of the scion is inserted into the center of the rootstock plant, usually in a v-shaped incision. Budding, which takes less time and less skill, entails the insertion of buds into the rootstock. Ideally, the process should involve the insertion of more than one bud to produce symmetrical growth.

Unfortunately, three of the four roses I received from Ludwig's had grown from one bud on only one side of the rootstock, producing lopsided and weak growth. All three are growing more horizontally than vertically. They are all one-cane wonders. New basal shoots grow a few inches tall and then die back. The Arctic Ice (aka Le Petit Prince) I purchased from Ludwig's in February 2016 is only a tiny fraction of the size of Palatine's Le Petit Prince, planted in my garden 9 months later, in November 2016.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Plant Database Moderator Region: California Cottage Gardener Roses Irises Clematis
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Calif_Sue
May 17, 2017 1:55 PM CST

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Good detailed reports Zuzu! Funny how things seem to change from year to year, either the available vendors or the quality (or lack of) with the products or customer service.
Last rose I got was local but my best mail order has of course been Palatine, but I haven't ordered from other places in years, not as big of a collector as you. nodding
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[Last edited by Calif_Sue - May 17, 2017 1:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
May 21, 2017 12:21 PM CST
I ordered from Edmunds Roses because over the last several years most of my HT roses have left the garden and (but for Selfridges) the ones remaining came from Edmunds. (My observation is that Dr Huey rootstock retards leafing out in spring just a bit as compared to multiflora rootstock. With our late freezes this can sometimes be the difference between survival and failure with many HT roses.)

The results were mixed. One instance of Fragrant Plum was well developed, large, dense, and noticably green. It leafed out quickly and already is forming buds. Were every rose in the order this good I would declare victory and move on.

But no other rose was. Another instance of Fragrant Plum was materially smaller, and it was noticeably dried out to the point of being wrinkled. It happened to be planted at the end of a gopher tunnel and by the time it was in the ground for three days all the desiccated Dr. Huey roots had been chewed off and the canes were uniformly brown. I can think of no rose that has perished so quickly in my garden.

Results with other roses in the order fell in between. An Olympiad and a Kardinal had three dead canes each, but they did eventually sprout leaves from the bud union. Two very small New Zealands sprouted quickly and easily. Slightly larger Madame Anisette, Dick Clark, and Neil Diamond did, too. Two gimungous and noticeably desiccated Papa Meillands took at least a full month to rehydrate to the point that they were willing to even start setting leaves.

Not three of thirty in this order are stone-cold-dead, yet. I ordered many of the same cultivars from Rosemania last year, for a total of something like a dozen plants. By the end of August, all of the roses in that order were dead. One difference has been that this year I've been a maniac about watering. In warmish weather I do it daily. Another is that we've had no frosts since about mid March. A third is that I'm being a lot more active this year at controlling gophers.

This said, I do think that the uneven care that the Edmunds roses evidently got this last season may have been somewhat better than what Rosemania's roses got the season before. Or maybe the 2015 growing season was even worse than the 2016 season for drought. I will probably order from Edmunds; I will probably not order from Rosemania.

I ordered from J&P this year. Two own-root gallons and two budded roses. I was surprised that they did not ship until the first week in May. But the roses that arrived were in surprisingly good shape - much less dried out than the Edmunds roses. Brigadoon is still waiting to make an attempt at rose leaves; but it's not been in the ground for two weeks. Mardi Gras is already leafing out. I will order there again.

I ordered a number of roses from Rogue Valley Roses and the bands that arrived had growth fully eighteen inches high which, in my experience, is a generous size for a band. Viable, we hope. All went into larger pots where they seem to be doing well. I note that these plants seemed to be hardened off: not so much of the soft new growth that plants vigorously growing in greenhouses at 82F with 14 hrs of bright sunshine per day might have.

I ordered a few roses from Northland Rosarium. They ship roses in square pots that appear to be close to a gallon in size. The roses arrived growing vigorously and they were not hardened off. They seem to be adapting to the garden fairly well despite our rather coolish (40F) nights, but only after some of that soft new growth died.

I ordered three or four roses from High Country roses. I was pleased with the results when they came in. I think I have removed most of the hope from Rose of Hope, which is remarkably quick work; but it happens to be in a spot that makes my hand watering efforts difficult. Mr Nash (possibly Doubloons) is in this order and I'm still figuring out where, exactly to put it.

I'm afraid I fell for one or two of the rose sales at Heirloom Roses. Even if they were to have a 66% -off-sale their prices are high, but I'm afraid I'm still buying the dream of the nearly perfect high-centered hybrid tea rose growing on its own roots and thriving for decades. A rose that actually could turn into an heirloom. I'm old enough that I should know better.

Belle Epoque was in that order. ( I think I got the last one since I was unable to order two.) So were Peace, Chicago Peace, Joyfulness, and Rose Rhapsody. Some of the roses arrived with some of the leaves stripped, but the plants did seem better developed than the bands I got from RVR: they were consistently larger even if not always very much so. And their root systems did bind a full gallon of soil. Arriving in mid May probably will mean that that soft new growth will not be too seriously set back by the still coolish nights.

My spring Antique Rose Emporium order arrived in late April. Several of the two gallon rose plants were pruned pretty tightly to within about 8 inches of the soil. The rest are stripped of leaves. Because we've had unseasonably cool April and May weather, they are just leafing out. They seem very promising. Most of these roses are being planted "Outside the Fence" where they have to fend for themselves against marauding deer and javelina. So batting averages here must be calculated differently.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
May 21, 2017 1:46 PM CST

Moderator

I've never ordered anything from Antique Rose Emporium. Years ago, when other nurseries had reasonable shipping rates, I was put off by their flat rate of 40% of the rose price. Now, after paying almost 100% shipping on Chamblee roses, I no longer find that rate unreasonable.

I've received many duds from Edmunds' Roses in the past, but some of my garden "stars" (Music Box, Whimsy, Koko Loco, and others) also came from Edmunds'.
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
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
May 21, 2017 5:49 PM CST
I do not mail order roses because our post office is so incompetent that the survival rate would be sad. It does not even help to ask for delivery by Fedex or UPS as they often just drop stuff off at the post office where it tends to vanish into some black hole. However many of my roses come from The Antique Rose Emporium, via local excellent nurseries, and I am generally very happy with their health and ability to tolerate my lax gardening practices. They are all own root in gallon or larger pots.
Porkpal
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
May 28, 2017 11:04 AM CST
I did not realize how fortunate I am to live in a zip code with competent mail and UPS service!

I think there is a pair of Camelot roses in my garden from a local Lowes. And one Chris Evert from a local garden center.

The rest of the roses in my garden arrived in cardboard boxes. There's a lot more risk in it; but most of the roses in my garden would be absent otherwise. I'd truly miss the colorful Europeana and South Africa roses. And the generous Gourmet Popcorn. Not sure I'd be able to find even the wonderful Graham Thomas anymore.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
May 29, 2017 6:13 AM CST
I too find the majority of my roses through mail order sites. Some of the nice garden centers in Lexington offer a good selection of potted roses, but I'm too cheap to pay $40-$50 per rose.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
May 29, 2017 8:54 AM CST
That's what the local garden center charges, here, too. Except for clearance sales near the end of the planting season.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Roses Zinnias Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover Bookworm
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: United States of America Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pepper23
May 29, 2017 1:32 PM CST
My store got a huge shipment of roses in recently and there are some really good ones. Grimms Fairytale was one that I remember especially well. Big 2-3 gallon pots and really nice sized plants for about $30. I've come close to snagging one then I smack my hand away because I really only need one grafted rose in this yard and that's my bag baby Peace. Hilarious!
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
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
May 29, 2017 1:34 PM CST
Admirable restraint!
Porkpal
Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Roses Zinnias Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover Bookworm
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: United States of America Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pepper23
May 29, 2017 1:50 PM CST
Grafted roses always die back to rootstock here. Penny Lane is the major exception and I've had her for several years now. I only have Peace because they knocked the prices down to about $3 and for 3 bucks if it dies I don't care. Hilarious!
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
May 30, 2017 5:10 AM CST
Our local Lowe's has been offering various Kordes potted roses the last few years and I've picked up several of them- most started out around $30, some I found on sale. I can't tell if they're grafted or not, but I assumed they were because of they are nice big plants. They have shown great hardiness here. Could be that they have developed roots above the bud union and that has helped.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi

Sanjoy
Jun 14, 2018 5:06 PM CST
I am a new member but have been growing roses for 20 years now. I have a zone 6a garden in Kelowna , BC Canada. I agree with zuzu. Hortico is a completely different organization now. Nicole at the front desk and Fatima in production are doing fantastic jobs. This year (2017_ 2018)..I ordered 25 roses. They all rooted nicely and appear to be the true varieties..the budding was great ( smooth and no crack s). I did order from them in 2005 and 2010. Both experience s were horrible before ( weak plants; wrong plants etc.) I did not order again for 6 years..until last year when I took a chance. And yes..I have been ordering from Rachel at palatine for last 8 years ..so I know about the Canadian 'gold standard'. This year's hortico stuff comes close.

lisa100467
Jun 16, 2018 2:45 PM CST
zuzu said:I bought bare-root grafted roses from three nurseries.

Palatine: This is the gold standard. The eight roses I ordered arrived in perfect condition. Palatine is always a reliable source. Prices and shipping rates are reasonable, and the roses are grafted onto multiflora, which does not appeal to gophers and therefore saves me the cost of gopher-proof planting baskets.

Hortico: Anyone who knows about the checkered history of this nursery and my own horrible past experiences with it will be surprised that I ordered from Hortico again. The reason is that I've always wanted a grafted Cressida. It doesn't grow well on its own roots, and I had tried to buy it from Hortico twice before many years ago. I received a rugosa one time, and the next time I received another of the blasted Autumn Damasks Hortico used to send instead of the elusive rose a person had ordered. This year Hortico promised it had the "real" Cressida, so I ordered it and seven other roses. The shipping was a little higher than Palatine's rate, but the rose prices were a little lower, so the costs were approximately equal. To my surprise, Hortico not only sent me all eight of the roses (without putting any of them on their once infamous "back-order" list), but also sent the right eight roses. I'm very pleased and I will order from Hortico again next year.

Witherspoon: I had avoided buying anything grafted onto Dr. Huey for this new season because the roses I'd been buying from my local nurseries and Rosemania had been duds for the last few years. When I saw that Witherspoon had put all of its roses on sale for $15, including some Austins I'd been planning to buy, I ordered five of them. It was my first purchase from Witherspoon and I'm very pleased with the quality of the plants they sent.


Well, I tried to just quote the part about muliflora not appealing to gophers, but somehow I ended up with the whole thing quoted. I'll learn.
I have never heard of this before! I notice you're in No CA, Zuzu. I'm in So CA, San Diego County, actually. I have a horrendous gopher problem. I'm so tired of planting in gopher cages! I'm wondering how suitable multiflora rootstock is for my climate. I would love to use it! Thanks, Lisa
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 16, 2018 3:18 PM CST

Moderator

I don't know about the suitability of multiflora for your climate, but I do know that fortuniana grows well down there, and it doesn't appeal to gophers either.

I learned this after years of losing own-root and Dr. Huey-grafted roses to the gophers. Some would try to grow back, but they never got very big before the gophers came back to them. It reached the point where all of my large roses had come from Palatine, Hortico, Pickering, and K&M. About 10 years ago I started planting all of my new roses in gopher-proof cages and I dug up hundreds and hundreds of existing roses in my garden and replanted them in the cages. I didn't have to do this for the roses grafted onto multiflora and fortuniana.

lisa100467
Jun 17, 2018 12:05 AM CST
Thank you! I had no idea! That's great information to have. Lisa
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 17, 2018 12:20 AM CST

Moderator

It could save you so much money and so much grief! Those cages are getting pricey and they don't last forever.

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