Where we buy our roses
This is a topic that has been hashed through in a number of prior threads. But comments in recent threads shows it is still a very emotional and current issue. So - for those of us who need to beat on it a little more, and indeed I feel compelled to do so, lets do it in an appropriate place - in a nice tidy thread of it's own.
Big Box stores - Lowes, Home Depots (that I consider a higher quality), Walmarts and Big Lots (perhaps a lower caliber, some may disagree), grocery stores. Taking away business from the mom and pop growers, and then the quality, loving caring growers who are struggling in this horrible economy. What are our obligations as rose enthusiasts to keep these businesses going, versus our own personal quality of lives (convenience, selection, and very importantly price).
I've been battered and have seen many others battered in this forum for admitting to buying from cheap outlets for roses. I've taken it personally, but then realize it isn't personal at all. I've thought - well here we go, these uppity rose people with money. But - it's not that either. Something about "rose" people equate with intensely passionate people. One of the reasons hanging out on this forum is so cool.
Bottom line, there are the non-real-rose people (not of this forum) - people who aren't motivated to learn about roses. No one is going to change their habits. They'll buy one or two roses from wherever they walk into first - big box or nursery. Roses either will or won't survive. They aren't reading this forum, and they cannot be reached here. But the people of this forum - this is a group of people who endeavor to learn as much about roses as they can. I doubt anyone on this forum outside of an accidental visitor, doesn't understand the issues of the rose industry. And of us - we have really a single motivator. And it is money. If we have the money to buy quality roses, we do. If we don't, we don't. Although sometimes we just fall into a whim - and pick up a cheapy just for fun or convenience - but that's the exception, not the norm.
When I started buying roses (and actually my first endeavor in my life into gardening), I was in a really bad place. My property had foreclosed. I was super lucky to have a great place to go, but I was so buried in debt I couldn't see my way out. I was wondering around a Lowes with a $20 bill in my pocket - a pretty rare occurrence at that time, looking pretty pathetic and lost, trying to figure out a strategy for looking forward to getting up in the mornings instead of doing so out of obligation. And stopped at a huge group of 3.75 gallon roses marked $17.xx, on pallet, with a sale sign: $5 each. I was staring and staring. None had blooms, I didn't know a HT from a Floribunda, or have any idea what it took to take care of a rose. A woman working in the garden department took a look at me, and kind of sized me up. She said "you know, we have to get rid of these. Why don't you take as many as you want for $2 each?"
Boy, did I light up. I felt guilty for spending that $12 (well, plus tax), but I brought home 6 roses - 3 Crimson Glory's and 3 Chrysler Imperials. And I read and read and read some more, and then found this forum, and became an addict.
Now I don't have to buy $2 roses any more. And yes, I have started supporting the businesses that deserve it. But do I still shop at Lowes, you bet I do. I buy handfuls of body bags at a time. And each time I do, it brings me back to that place of knowing things are going to get better.