Rose of the Month - Smart Rose Shopping
The rose catalogs have arrived with enticing pictures for us to buy in when spring does indeed arrive. I have started to notice the days starting to get a little longer I am also very tired of the “white” lawn as I call it. I have already started a list of roses I would like to have, and am wondering which roses will not survive this winter and need replacing.
So how do we go about Smart Garden Shopping? –
Smart Mail Order Shopping
With thousands of rose cultivars available, not even the best local garden centers and nurseries can begin to carry more than a comparative handful. Mail Order nurseries fill a critical need, since they can maintain a much larger range of stock for sale. If you buy from mail order companies, you will have access to every rose in commerce. Most mail order companies are very reliable, but even with the best, it’s important to know exactly what they are offering.
Here are some tips for getting the most from mail order and/or online shopping
Whenever possible use companies that have been recommended by other gardeners. Talk to as many people as possible, especially neighbors with gardens you admire and member of the Reno Rose Society to get as much input as possible.
Be wary o companies that make outrageous claims or have prices that are far below the other catalogs
Compare descriptions fo rose cultivars in different catalogs and rose books.
Learn to read between the lines of rose descriptions. Catalog writers are trying to sell their product. Terms like “light scent”usually means the rose has hardly any fragrance. And “exhibition quality” flowers may be great for rose shows, but the plants may not look good in the landscape. Seldom are plants quite as glorious, hardy, or disease resistant as described. If some of the descriptions are honest about the pitfalls of given cultivars, then you will know that the more extravagant claims are probably fairly accurate as well. If you don’t see “fragrant”, “disease resistant”. “attractive foliage”, “re-blooms” and other desirable qualities, it may be because the rose doesn’t have them.
For the best selection order your roses as early as possible. Many of the smaller growers have limited quantities, especially of unusual or popular cultivars.
Another good tool is the Handbook for Selecting Roses. All the roses listed have been evaluated by ARS members across the country during the Roses in Review. Recently introduced roses are evaluated in a number of different categories for three consecutive years beginning with their second year in commerce.
Excerpt from “The Rose Book" by Maggie Oster