On Buying Roses

catsrose(VA 6)May 4, 2012

There have now been several posts by people who have had bad experiences from what I will politely call "marginal vendors," including J&P, who is now into corporate greed mode.

Buy your roses from rose-only dealers with established reputations.

People who love roses buy from: Vintage Gardens, Heirloom Roses, Chamblee Roses, Hartwood Roses, Rogue Valley, Roses Unlimited, Antique Rose Emporium, Palatine. (If I've forgotten any someone here will speak up and no offense meant).

Do not buy from garden centers, generic garden catalogs, ebay-type vendors. You get what you pay for and you frequently have no recourse. Plant are often mislabeled, shipped badly, dried out, etc ad nauseum. If you aren't sure, ask here. We have all been tempted; we've all done it and will proably be tempted again. Sometimes one is luck, but often not.

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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

For whatever reason, I've had a few folks at work ask me lately about 'rose seeds' they've seen for sale online. Tempting, but there are no magic beans in real life.

Another vendor I've used & been pleased with is Northland Rosarium.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:55AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Even Amazon is selling those "blue" and "rainbow color" rose seeds (via secondary vendors). It is really sad.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:35AM
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"Buy your roses from rose-only dealers with established reputations."

Catsrose - making suggestions and backing them up with reasons/data - that's one thing. Telling people where to buy their roses - I find that inappropriate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to a prior rose forum thread: Where we buy our roses

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:58AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I wouldn't buy body bag roses but happened upon a rose from the 1930's, Betty Prior, at HD that was in a five gallon pot which was blooming so I knew it was the right rose. I enjoy this rose so much, but this was an exception. I very much want to support the few struggling on-line vendors that are still in business, and the bulk of my roses come from them. A rose from Chamblee's, Mrs. Dudley Cross, just arrived yesterday.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Personally, I can be a garden snob and will only buy certain things from places like Home Depot and OSH. The basics that they really can't mess up on or ones I know will die in a few months anyway, their life cycle.

I am lucky that if I want a cheap mini rose, I can hit the farmers market and get a pretty one for $3. After all, they are grown here.

If I want a nice bare root, the local nursery list is a double sided two column menu of roses. Shoot, for enough $$ I can get a double rose growing on a heavy welded arch ready for any fancy Montecito garden. This time of year there is a whole field of potted in 5g pots from the 2 page list.

Or a short drive gets me them potted in January for just a couple extra bucks over a bareroot.

BUT, not everyone is that lucky to have these options so close by, not everyone can afford the extra shipping, but can pick up some "body bags" for a deal and hope they work out.

Yes, supporting small businesses is the way to go, but I would not tell some one they bought from the wrong place with out understanding their situation (which is none of my business in the first place)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:54AM
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cecily(7 VA)

My local garden center sells 5 gallon potted Weeks roses in bloom (so you're sure its the correct rose) for $30. Folks interested in hybrid teas or floribundas should check around locally, get a big, blooming plant and save shipping costs. I'm an antique rose snob so I pay $15 (or more) for a rooted cutting the size of a pencil plus shipping from some of the vendors catsrose listed above. It takes at least three years before they turn into a nice sized landscape plant but I know that going in. I prefer the tiny twiglets because I don't spray. My roses, my choice.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Catsrose, thanks for that list. I don't order many roses so it's good to have the benefit of your experience with these vendors.
And I've had one very bad experience in my new garden with a grafted-rose vendor. I ordered 2 plants of Distant Drums which didn't look great when unpacked-- but didn't look or smell awful. They were, tho. One good season then they started going backwards. 30 years ago I had over 200 roses, all grafted plants, and never had a single one fail like that.
I'm pretty sure Palatine was my fave grafted vendor in those days--under a different name. My rose club actually drove up there to get roses!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Terry Crawford

Catsrose, I have a garden full of some of the best Buck roses available that came from an Ebay seller out of Texas who sent me the the biggest, healthiest bands I've ever seen...put some of the bigger nurseries to shame. Ebay is a good source IF you check the seller's reputation and feedback before you purchase.

Jungs' bareroots always break dormancy and I've been pleased with their quality. They're not as big as Palatine bareroots...but Palatine's are ginormous. It just means I don't have to dig clear to China.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:39PM
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It's still a free world. Buy your roses where you please, when you please. The no-name rose I bought from Home Depot looks more beautiful and flowers more frequently than the several I bought from the "well established" nursery for $24 each.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 2:03PM
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mgleason56(Michigan 5b)

Well to add my $.02, I buy unrooted cuttings from UC-Davis that are no longer in existence or the only known source of VID. I keep two once they have rooted, and then put the others for sale on EBAY to help cover the costs of acquiring. I'm sure there are a few folks out here that are happy they got Jennifer Hart, Merci, Pacifica, Apache Tears, etc. from me rather than never have an opportunity to acquire. If you know what you are doing, EBAY is a good source for unusual roses, but you have to at least an ounce of common sense. That's my $.02 on EBAY roses.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 2:35PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Wow, such a response. Sorry I didn't sugar-coat my advice. People can and will buy roses wherever they want. There are plenty of outlets, thousands of exceptions and it makes a big difference if you know what you are doing. I gave a list of professional rose dealers from whom people can buy reliable, identified roses with recourse if something goes wrong.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:05PM
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Campanula UK Z8

ah, dont sweat it, Catsrose. 10 years ago, every shopping street in the UK had a baker - you know, those little shops where someone gets up to prove the dough at 3 in the morning and you can knock the door on the way back from a lairy night out and get something delicious, nutritious and cheap. Now, we have supermarkets selling us 'baked' on the premises rubbish with a ridiculous smell machine as you walk through the doors (and if you are unaware of the pernicious practices of most supermarkets towards smaller traders such as butchers, bakers, dairy farms and on and on, then get your head from your ass and use your eyes). So, we lost our good cheap bread - unless you are rich and can buy 'artizan' bread from bloody farmer's (ha) markets, we lost yet another skilled trade and we are back to eating crap (compared to the nations great health when we had a universal wholemeal loaf during WW2). So yep, buy rubbish at Walmart but don't start whining when the good stuff is all gone and it is generic garbage for everyone - unless you are the 1% who are minted, of course....just saying. And nope, not inclined to sugar coatings either.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:34AM
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seil zone 6b MI

You put up a list of very good, reputable nurseries, Cat. And a lot of your advice is very sound. But like you said there are exceptions to all rules. I've gotten some wonderful roses in body bags. I've gotten mislabeled roses from a couple of those nurseries you list. And if Mike hadn't chimed in about his Ebay sales I would have!

The key is to do your homework and go into every purchase knowing what to expect from where ever you bought. When I order from a good nursery I expect it to be a good, healthy, correctly labeled plant. When I buy a body bag I know it may be anything but what it says it is and may need a lot of extra TLC to get going. Bands take a longer time to mature so I know I'll have to be very patient with them and they'll need extra winter protection to make it through their first winter here. Potted up local nursery roses in bloom are wonderful and definitely my best bet. However, they are very pricey for me so I can't afford them very often.

If you do your homework and know what to expect from each vendor you won't have any big surprises. Well...except from the mislabels...I've had lots of surprises from those, lol! And not all of them BAD!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:24AM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

Mike, would you tell us what your ebay handle is? I would love to keep an eye on your offerings.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Hey Mike, next round, propagate Gypsy and let Seil know you have it. She's posted elsewhere she'd love to find it. It's on the Davis list and you already have a built-in customer for one! Thanks for getting some of these back out there in a cleaner state. I wish more people were so inclined. Kim

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:16PM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

So, what is this "Davis List"????

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:18PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Pickering Nursery is another good source. They have many varieties and their bareroots are not that much more in cost than the band roses from other mail order sources. I got my bare roots a little over a week ago and they've started leafing out. I can already tell they will grow a lot faster than a band-size rose.

And Burlington Roses is one of my favorites; reasonable prices for band roses and shipping charges are low.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 7:49PM
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seil zone 6b MI

It's the University of California, Davis, or UC Davis, where they have a program to clean the Rose Mosaic virus from roses. I believe it's a heat treatment of some kind but I'm not certain. The roses are called VIDed or Virus Indexed. You can get cleaned cuttings of roses to root from them.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 7:53PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

One more thing is to buy from someone who plays by the rules.

Don't move plant pests and diseases from a part of the country that has them to an uninfected state. Plant inspection certificates exist for strong reasons.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:37PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Yes to Pickering and Burlington. Ann's comment about spreading pests and diseases is another good reason to be careful about buying from free-lance vendors. Suzy really defined the problem. Coincidentally, I went to tea and a rose garden viewing yesterday and we sat around bemoaning the loss of decent bread. As a friend once said about wines, "Just because you can't tell the difference does not mean there is not a difference."

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 7:41AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I'm pretty dedicated to putting my money in to small and local businesses, even if it is more expensive. I figure that it's not very likely I'm going to change other people's minds, particularly over how they spend their money, so the best way for me to try to effect change is to 'vote with my wallet' and refuse to shop at places I don't approve of. I think most of the time you do get what you pay for - whether it's a rose, a loaf of bread, or a pair of pruning shears. And I'm willing to skimp on things like vacations and new clothes if it means I'm eating better food and using higher quality products.

Lately I've been buying all of my bands from Vintage to try to support them as much as I can, in hopes that they will pull through and be able to stay open. But when I was buying bare-roots I really liked to go to Garden Valley Ranch, they have a good selection, good customer service, and it's an absolutely beautiful place to visit. They ship roses but if you live close enough to stop in it's worth it to see their gardens.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:03AM
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mgleason56(Michigan 5b)

Kim - Seil can never be a customer of mine since she would get the rose free. This years' list includes;
Beverly Hills
Hawaiian Delight
Red Reflection

I'll call them today and see if I can get Gypsy added to the list. I do a lot of research before ordering, and have not ever thought of Gypsy since HMFR says it can be purchased from Vintage, but after looking I see only as a custom rooted rose.

landylady - Like Seil said, they have virus indexed roses you can purchase as cuttings. There are quite a few restrictions, and it is very pricey to do. Figure $12.00 per cultivar with a minimum of 5 cultivars, but the part that makes this so pricey is the shipping. Since I am in Michigan I need to have sent quickly (UPS 2nd day), and shipping alone can be over $100. If the cuttings do not take, I have wasted lots of money.

I also try to donate at least two varieties to Kathy and John at the Coastal CA Rose Society for their annual auction. Hopefully something good can be donated again this year.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 10:02AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Mike, you are too kind and too generous and I don't deserve it! You spend a lot of money, time and effort to grow these sometimes very rare roses and are due your fees for them.

I wouldn't ask you to try Gypsy I my account. I'm wondering if the Fragrant Cloud I have isn't really Gypsy anyway. After reading Kim's post about how they have interchanged them sometimes and knowing that my FC is not fragrant I may have Gypsy instead.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:19PM
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mgleason56(Michigan 5b)

Seil - You are out of luck anyway, as the plant is not big enough yet to get cuttings from. I was told it will be ready next year for sure. I'll store in my memory for next spring order.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 3:31PM
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