I suppose you could call me an impatient gardener. When I plant a rose, I want to see flowers and I want them STAT! Remove all buds for the first year? Sorry, I just can't do it, which is why I've always ordered grafted roses instead of own-root. The grafted plants are large when they arrive at my doorstep and they establish quickly, leaving puny, own-root seedlings in the dust. At least that's what I used to think. In addition to being impatient with my roses, I am also demanding. I not only want blooms, I want fat, gorgeous, fragrant, take your breath away blooms. To that end, I have been searching for a good supplier of the famous noisette rose Marechal Niel for as long as I can remember. Marechal Niel is a repeat blooming, strongly fragrant, deep yellow climber with very large, very double, globular blooms that nod on dainty stems. Bred in France by Henri and Giraud Pradel, the rose was introduced in 1864 and named after a French general, Napoleon III's Minister of War. Paul Barden described Marechal Niel as being "one of the first truly deep yellow repeat blooming.... and much adored as such." The image below is a photograpgh of the 1919 painting by Massachusetts born artist Childe Hassam, entitled "Marechal Niel Roses", owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D. C. I have loved this rose from afar for many years, but it wasn't until this Fall that I had any hope of ever acquiring her. That was when I discovered a new own-root rose nursery called A Reverence For Roses.
Based in Florida and owned by husband and wife team Don and Jan Rogers, A Reverence For Roses is committed to preserving and distributing these historically significant beauties so that future generations will be able to enjoy them. Among their offerings are many rare varieties not sold anywhere else, along with many desirable modern varieties. A quick internet search produced excellent reviews, and when I sent an email asking for advice, Don and Jan were quick to reply with thoughtful recommendations. I decided to give them a try. Online ordering was easy, and my roses were shipped via USPS 2-day priority mail. The plants arrived perfectly packed, and they were the biggest, healthiest own-root plants I have ever seen.
Now that Rose Rosette is in our midst, many rose lovers think twice about purchasing plants grafted to Rosa multiflora rootstock. If you are considering own-root plants but don't want to sacrifice vigor at the outset, give A Reverence For Roses a try. I think you'll be glad you did.