Amazing what one learns when you talk to the rose nursery
I was updating my spreadsheet of rose nurseries that sell period varieties the other week and noticed that one nursery, Palatine Roses in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, had some varieties I have been looking for. I put the roses in my shopping cart but didn’t “pull the trigger” to actually place the order until Sunday night. It seems that by the time I got around to actually processing the order, the roses I was ordering were now out of stock. I had ordered 2 York and Lancaster Damask), 2 Gros Choux d`Hollande (Centifolia), and 1 Rose de Quatres Saison (Damask); all three varieties were completely sold out. That was quite disappointing as I had no others on my list from that vendor. I called them to tell them I didn’t have any substitutes and make sure they didn’t actually charge me (because the email said that they did bill 50% initially as a hold). The lady I initially talked to was nice but new to the office and suggested I talk with Rachel, who was not in yet, but I did mention to the initial lady that I am trying to build a garden of very early roses (before 1600). When Rachel called me back Monday afternoon, she had a list of 4 roses that they still had in stock that fit my criteria. I knew of two of them (R. alba semi-plena and Kazinlik), I had just recently purchased from Rogue Valley Roses, but the other two were roses I was not immediately aware of:
- Rose des Pientres is a centifolia that was actually on my list but listed as “Rosa centifolia ‘Major'” in the “hard to find” category and I had not noticed it. One of the alternate names for this rose is Batavia Rose, which is one of the roses listed Gerard’s “The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes” (1597).
- Splendens is listed as a gallica rose but may also be called R. francofurtana. According to the Palatine website, it was introduced prior 1583.
I also learned that these roses are grafted onto Rosa canina root stock because they had a bunch of failed grafts on R. multiflora; it will be interesting to see how the well the canina root works. More interesting for the future, I learned that the roses listed on their webpages are not updated (except to be marked as “out of stock”) until the middle of August every year and their shopping cart doesn’t open up until after labor day. There is not much of a reason to check their stock in the spring. I also learned that a lot of their stock gets sold in the two weeks right after the shopping cart opens. So…. next year I am going to peruse their website in middle August and be ready “pull the trigger” if/when something I want shows up. Oh well. I did feel like Rachel wanted to help me and keep me as a customer, so that was good.