Review of all the mail order roses

ptboiseMay 26, 2011

I added about 50 roses this year - a Rose Binge, for sure. I'm in recovery (I think) for awhile. I thought I'd pass on my experiences with the nurseries that shipped to me. I should add that I do believe in buying local - and one of our best local nurseries had some surprises such as Sally Holmes and Jeannie Lajoie (own root). Large, healthy plants. That said, here are my personal perceptions of the companies that I ordered from. In some cases only a couple of roses; in others a dozen or so. The list is long because, well, I wanted some hard-to-find roses. My orders arrived from March until this week. Something else to bear in mind - these were often shipped a long, long way (to Idaho).

Edmunds: Best of the bare-roots. Very large, exceptional plants. Very, very quick delivery.

Pickering: Very nice bare-roots. Some - which they told me on their website - were less in size than others. Quick delivery.

Hortico: The size of the smaller Pickering bare-roots. Quick delivery.

Local Farm Supply Store: a pleasant surprise. Not bare-root box store bags, but soil-in-box plants. Picked up a Hansa and Morden Sunrise - both of which are doing great.

Northland Rosarium: Smaller plants in quart-sized containers. Received them four weeks prior to my requested delivery date. Therefore, I transplanted them into gallons and baby-sat them for a month prior to planting (to miss hard frosts). Not too thrilled with all that. However, the plants were OK.

Roses Unlimited; OK plants. One gallon containers, but not a lot of root growth. They've been doing fine in the ground. Delivered when they said they would.

Antique Rose Emporium; Great, great packing. Two gallon containers with large own-root plants. No leaves upon arrival (removed before shipping or kept in cold storage), but doing very well in the ground now. Excellent root structure. A couple of them looked like two year old plants. Impressive. Pricey with the shipping. Delivered when I asked.

Chamblees; Exceptional rose plants in one gallon containers. Simply great little plants. Delivered when I asked.

High Country Roses; Exceptional rose plants in quart containers. While small, they had great root structure and strong top growth. A very pleasant surprise. Delivered when I asked.

Rogue Valley; Lost my order. Then, when we communicated, I was informed my varieties were no longer available in one gallon. Got two "bands" on quart containers instead. Tiny plants. No root structure to speak of (the root ball fell apart at planting since there were not roots to hold it together). And, very pricey for toothpick roses.


Best bare-root - Edmunds. Exceptional.

Best Small Plants - High Country. Can't say enough about these robust little plants.

Best Value - Chamblees. Great plants. Great price.

If you can afford it - Antique Rose Emporium. Just outstanding own-root plants. Large. Ready to jump-start the growing process.

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seil zone 6b MI

Great report, thanks! Have you ever tried Palatine? They have really good bare roots too, huge plants with lots of roots. Service is excellent as well.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 12:12AM
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I haven't tried Palatine. I will do so in the future, as I've read good things about them. Thanks, PtBoise

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 12:39AM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

It's great to read your review of all the mail order roses you've gotten this year, PT Boise! So howz about telling us which roses you've received from them as that is an unwritten rule on the Roses Forum. :) 'Sides we want to vicariously share in your big Rose Binge!! ;)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 12:48AM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Hi Neighbor/ptboise,
I might mention that Palatine grafts its roses on multiflora rootstock which may not grow as well in our alkaline soil here in Idaho.(I started a thread on this subject a while back, and some of us westerners concluded that multifora rootstock wasn't well suited for our soil). I've ordered quite a few roses from Palatine, and those plants have had some growth problems. I'm still reserving judgment on this, however, since Palatine does ship beautiful plants.
PS--ptboise, I'm still not sure where you live! Dry Creek, right? Diane

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 1:52AM
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Great review, thank you so much for the time and effort put into this info. I`m nosy,too, and would love to know what roses you got!! Thanks again....Lesley

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:24AM
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karenforroses(z5 NorthernMI)

Great idea - thanks!

I only ordered bare-roots from Palatine & David Austin. I continue to be very very impressed with the size and health of the Palatine roses - huge root mass which helps them take off quickly. The David Austin roses tend to be smaller (canes & root development) but almost always take off well for me. I did get a small ownroot Peggy Martin from Roses Unlimited. It was small, but seems to be taking off nicely in the garden. All three delivered on time and had excellent customer service. I had to change the delivery date because my husband had to have surgery, and all three wrote back and arranged a later delivery. We're fortunate to have such fine nurseries available.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:36AM
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Diane - yep, on Dry Creek (west of Seaman's). Thanks for the info on multiflora rootstock. Good to know!

So - some of the roses (I'm trying to toss out a representative sample):
Ramblin Red, Robusta, Jens Monk, Purple Pavement, Daydream, Seafoam, Marjorie Fair, several Ballerinas, Lavender Lassie, Lavender Dream, Caldwell Pink, Molineaux, Distant Drums, Royal Amethyst, Int. Herald Tribune, Mountain Mignonette, Sweet Chariot, Bonica, Ch-Ching (what a stupid name), Silver Star, Reines des Violettes, Buff Beauty, Dortmund, Altissimo, Viking Queen, Darlow's Enigma, Cardinal Hume, Rosarium Uetersen, Climbing Pinkie.

To name a few. Several of the above climbers will die to the mulch line every winter so are planted to fountain at 5-6 feet. I like that affect. And, I did go on a bit of a lavender/purple run. Can't help it - love that color. Got the usual suspects locally (including Jeannie and Sally mentioned earlier - that Jeannie is already impressing me) - Livin Easy, Ebb Tide, Angel Face, etc. One that I should mention that does exceptionally well in this high desert is Crimson Bouquet. Simply the most stunning red.

We live on a horse / grape farm - so plenty of fertilizer readily available. We'll see how they do - as Diane pointed out in another thread, the weather has been cold and wet. Still in the high 30's / low 40's each morning.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 9:35AM
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rosetom(7 Atl)

I don't see S&W Greenhouse listed. I would put them right behind Edmunds. Most of their roses are top-notch Weeks, but they have many others, too. I've always received impeccable service and very high-quality bare roots from them.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:32AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I wasn't happy with Chamblees, just MO, but the roses I received were small and 3 out of 8 did not make it. I was very happy with Roses Unlimited, but then again, I drove there and my roses didn't have to go through the shipping process.They took off right away and are all going great.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:05AM
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This is very helpful information. Thanks for posting!

I'd like to add that if next time you place an order, you decide to check out the ownroot bands from Vintage, you are likely to be pretty happy with what you get; there are bands, and there are BANDS. The two times I've ordered from Vintage the plant sizes I received as "bands" was similar to the plant sizes I've usually gotten from Chamblee's in one-gallon pots: they were a nice size, well filled out, with no worry about whether they're so tiny that they might expire during shipping or fail to recover from the boxed-up dark shipping experience. The plants at Vintage are plenty healthy and I've seen active growth going on within a couple of days of transferring them to a one-gallon pot. I've also seen blooming on some within a couple of weeks.

The rub with Vintage comes in if you live all the way across the country and have to pay a good bit for shipping in multiples of 4 plants, even when you aren't ordering in exact multiples of 4. (I don't blame them a bit for a policy like that, though, considering the time involved in packaging.)

The huge number of ownroot varieties to choose from at Vintage is also a big plus.

Best wishes,

Here is a link that might be useful: Vintage Gardens' website

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 9:07PM
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Thank you, Mary. I appreciate the info - and will give them a try next spring.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:54AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Mary, the times I've ordered from Vintage, I've always done the 4 packing. Usually you can get 8 cheaper than 6 because they give you one free and the shipping is the same. And it's an excuse to get more roses!!!! I usually pot up the bands and wait to plant them in the ground. Except for the time I drowned two bands in their pots, they have all done very well.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:32AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Vintage Gardens has the largest stock of roses anywhere, tho not everything is available every season. I live in VA, about as far away from Vintage Gardens as one can get. I am more than happy to pay shipping for their quality, variety and expertize! And I certainly have no problem coming up with multiples of four. They are also now absorbing EuroDesert's stock, since Cliff has had to retire, so their enormous stock will be bigger than ever.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:46AM
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What about Heirloom Roses in Oregon? I just placed my first order with them, so I can't give a review yet, but they were very helpful and I really like their website.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:28PM
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I second the rave review of High Country Roses. They are my preferred vendor for cold hardy roses.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:09PM
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I have bought from Heirloom Roses and they sent me healthy plants. They were a smaller than what you get from some other own root places, but a healthy plant is what you really want and they send you that.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 10:51PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Wanting to offer my experience this year, since I went a little nutso also on the ordering:

Palatine's bare roots were the best; about twice the size of what I received from Edmunds. Both are doing great, but the Palatine bareroots are already all 3 feet tall or more & ready to bloom.

Rosemania: Good sized bareroots, very small minis, but I never have a problem with them.

I freaked out a little bit over the wispiness of my Northland bands, but they are doing quite nicely now as well. Not the nursery's fault at all that our weather has been chaotic. A little more sun & these lovelies will be fabulous.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 5:06PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I've ordered many roses from Vintage with great success; they're also very helpful and knowledgeable. The great attraction of course is their huge variety of roses. Rogue Valley and Chamblee's have also been good sources for me. I think they all try very hard to get it right which I appreciate, given their workload and in most cases limited funds.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 8:13PM
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