WHY WOULD ANYONE PLANT SOMETHING that looks like a bundle of sticks set out on trash day? Because with a little care, the leafless roses sold at this time of year (for the uninitiated, they're called bare-root roses) will be bursting with blooms in fewer than four months. Not only that -- these thorny, lifeless-looking plants are a lot less expensive than roses sold in nursery containers later in the year. Roses that cost $17 in a container in spring or summer cost $7 right now, if they are the older, nonpatented varieties. Patented roses, including this year's newest, cost between $10 and $15. Discount chains sell them for less, but they usually stock a lower grade of smaller plants. It's a special once-a-year opportunity and, for a gardener, better than the after-Christmas sales at department stores.
If you are like me there are many wonderful nurseries in the area. Green Thumb Nursery in Ventura is my favorite. They have an amazing variety of roses to choose from. I prefer the Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras. I will be branching out a little this year and looking for a couple different types of roses. The roses I have chosen have received high marks from the South Coast Rose Society for their performance in cool, most coastal areas wehre roses can get mildew.
This year I am looking for:
Queen Elizabeth - a pink grandiflora
Blue Nile or Paradise - both are a lavender rose
Joseph's Coat - an orange climber
Angel Face or Deep Purple - a lavender florigunda
Every year I plant about 6 new rose bushes. Each year a lose about two bushes to the dogs or to the gophers. This year we are going to try some things to prevent loss... I will let you know how this goes.