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Q: When is bare root season?

A: Our bare root season usually runs from November to March but it can depend on the weather conditions, we’d always recommend buying at the end of autumn rather than waiting for spring.

Q: Does the plant size include the roots?

A: No, all bare root plant sizes quoted exclude the roots.

Q: What size plants will I receive?

A: Stock size varies through the season, our ‘Plant Size’ are give as a guide and you will receive plants somewhere in that range. We are unable to specify exactly how tall the plants will be within that range.

Q: How old will the plants be?

A: Most of our ‘Plant Sizes’ include the age of the plant, this is shown as a sum e.g. 1+2 which in this case would indicate that the plants are 3 years old. The first number is how long the plant has spent in the seedbed and the second is the number of year it has spent lined out in the field. Where the sum starts with a 0+ this indicates that the plants were grown from a rooted cutting.

Q: Can I get a discount for bulk purchases?

A: We offer a discount banding on bare root plants making them cheaper the more you buy, see the table on each page for details of the price within each band.

Q: Do I need canes?

A: Bamboo canes are perfect for giving young saplings, hedging plants, climbers and other tall shrubs the support they need when they start to establish. Unless you are planting in a completely sheltered spot with very little chance of wind then we would always recommend using a cane for support.

Q: Do I need rabbit guards?

A: Spiral Rabbit Guards are the most popular, low cost tree protection for young saplings, seedlings, transplants and hedging plants from browsing animals such as voles, mice, rabbits and hares. Spiral Rabbit Guards have the ability to grow and expand with the growing tree, providing a sheltered environment for the tree. It’s hard to say for certain if you will require the extra protection a rabbit guard provides, if your are aware of a particular pest problem in your planting location then we would recommend using them. Rabbit Guards are not suitable for ‘evergreens’ please see ‘Shrub Shelters’ for a suitable evergreen protection method.

Q: What is a shrub/tree shelter?

A: Shrub/Tree Shelters are similar to rabbit guards but are designed for use on evergreens that would sweat and die in rabbit guards. We supply shrub/tree shelters as a kit which includes the shelter, 1 Stake and 2 cable ties, one kit is required per plant.

Q: Do I need shrub/tree shelters?

A: If you are aware of any specific pest problems in your planting area then we would recommend using a shrub/tree shelter to give your young trees or hedging plants that extra protection.

Plant Profiles for New Gardeners: The Alba Rose

Without a little guidance from seasoned veterans, they often choose seeds and plants that are more challenging than their budding skills can handle. These plant profiles will feature time-tested seeds and plants that are easy to grow, but produce a great show.

Novice gardeners often avoid roses because they feel that they require massive amounts of upkeep and attention. They hear stories about insect infestations, disease and rigorous pruning schedules that automatically give them pause when contemplating planting a rose bush. This may be true for some of the hybrid teas, but there are a number of roses that new gardeners (and experienced ones too) can grow with very little effort.

Some of the oldest recorded roses are the albas and they have a rich history in art and legend. According to many sources, Pliny the Elder’s (23-79 AD) description of white roses may have very well been albas. Artists have depicted roses in a number of famous works that resemble albas too. Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ is probably one of the most recognized, however a number of other notable works show roses with the same characteristics as albas. The War of the Roses (1455-1487) for the throne of England, pitted the ‘white rose factions’ and ‘red rose factions’ against each other and the White Rose of York was undoubtedly an alba. (unlike the incorrect white tea roses that actors wore in the ‘White Queen’ miniseries)

Many respected rosarians believe that Alba roses were a hybrid resulting from a cross of Rosa canina (the dog rose) and Rosa damascena (damask roses), but the facts are lost to history. Whatever their heritage is, the alba group of roses is quite lovely, have a fantastic fragrance and produce a lovely shrub that is attractive throughout the year.

My alba is known by several names: ‘Maxima’, ‘Jacobite Rose’, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Rose and ‘Cheshire Rose’ just to name a few. It is a fully double rose, having more petals than some of the others. However, all albas are noted for distinctive blue-green foliage that form an attractive, arching shrub with white to pink flowers that form substantial hips in the fall. Albas only bloom once in mid to late spring, but the show and fragrance is well worth giving it a space in your garden.

Here in west Kentucky, my alba is over 10 feet tall (3.048m) and just as wide. It takes up a large footprint in my garden. However, the same rose in my friend Kathleen’s garden in upstate New York is much smaller. Since Kathleen’s rose was the parent of mine, we can only believe that its ultimate size is dependent on climate and location. Gardeners in the southern part of its territory should plan for a larger shrub than northern gardeners. It produces copious amounts of the palest pink blossoms that turn pure white as they mature. Albas can withstand fairly severe winters, but do not do as well where winters are extremely mild (or non-existent.)

My alba is planted in full sun, but it is reported that they can grow well in conditions that are shadier. When choosing a garden spot, you should plan on your alba receiving at least 6 hours of full sun, but note that they do best with more. I didn’t amend my soil and it is planted directly in the yard in a clay-based loam. The ground drains well and water never stands when it rains. It is never fertilized and the only pruning it gets is when I need to shape it. I take out a few of the oldest canes around the first week of February, but that’s all the maintenance I do, other than remove any broken canes if we have an ice storm. It blooms during the month of May in my garden and the fragrance spreads throughout my 4 acres. It is especially fragrant in the evenings and nice for sitting outside nearby just to enjoy it.

Albas produce large, attractive hips that turn red in the fall and are considered tasty by wildlife and birds. The hips are large enough to be harvested and since rose hips contain a significant amount of Vitamin C, many gardeners grow it for this purpose. I’ve made tea from my rose hips and it was quite nice. Check out my how-to article for instructions. The cardinals that frequent my birdfeeders in the winter find them especially tasty, so the alba is a good choice for a wildlife garden as well.

Albas are trouble-free roses with the added attraction of a long historical record. For this reason, vendors still offer them today. It is also easy to propagate via cuttings or dividing side shoots, making it a perfect pass-along plant. They ask for very little and produce a beautiful show with flowers each spring and hips each fall. New gardeners wanting to try a rose can not go wrong by choosing an alba.


Photo © (unknown)

“As is so often the case with roses, the precise origin of the Alba group is much debated; possibly R. canina x R. damascena, or R. corymbifera x R. gallica, or . . . ? Albas typically make large, healthy shrubs with fragrant white or light pink blossoms, usually in few-flowered clusters. They have particular associations with the Middle Ages and castle gardens. ‘Great Maiden’s Blush’, `Semiplena’, `Jeanne d’Arc’, `Konigin von Danemark’, `Pompon Blanc Parfait’.”
– Brent C. Dickerson [email protected], author, “The Old Rose Advisor”
The Albas, one of the major groups of ancient roses, is another Gallica hybrid, possibly crossed centuries ago with a Damask. The Romans brought Alba roses to Britain. The delicate pale pink, blush and white Albas, with their bluish-green leaves, are probably the most cold hardy of the Old Garden Roses. They thrive under the most adverse conditions, are quite shade tolerant, very disease resistant and easy to grow.
Albas are hardy shrubs with exceptional form in habit and flower. All these features not withstanding, only a limited variety of Albas are offered commercially. They bloom once a year in spring. Flowers tend to be white or a variation thereof. The blooms have a delicate appearance, and sit well on a durable, tough plant. Fragrance is normally excellent, and foliage is a gray-green tint which complements the softness of the flowers and contrasts nicely with darker evergreens. Albas tend to be larger shrubs, many growing six feet tall and wide or more.
(-Adapted in part from Barrie Collins, Timeless Roses. Used with permission.

Modern Garden Roses

Modern Roses are those varieties bred after 1867. Most people imagine these types when they think of roses. Classification of Modern Roses can be complicated because many have Old Garden Roses in their ancestry, but they are largely classified by growth and flowering characteristics. Unlike Old Garden Roses which bloom once a year, Modern Roses bloom continuously. They also have a larger bloom size and longer vase life, but lack fragrance, and are less hardy and disease resistant.

Climbing Roses

Although climbing roses do not actually climb like vines do, they have stiff, upright canes that can be manually trained along a support. Some canes can reach upwards of fifteen feet. Climbing roses produce more flowers when grown horizontally rather than vertically. They are commonly attached to walls, fences, and trestles. They tend to have large flowers and are almost always repeat bloomers.

English / David Austin Roses

Although not officially recognized as a separate class, David Austin—sometimes called English—roses are highly popular among consumers and retailers. David Austin started breeding roses over 50 years ago with the goal of creating a new group of roses that featured the best characteristics of both Old and Modern Roses. The hundreds of varieties of David Austin roses have the rosette form and heady fragrance of Old Roses with the repeat flowering capability and wider color range of Modern Roses. Despite their popularity, they are susceptible to disease and not as hardy as other varieties.

Floribunda Roses

Floribunda roses are a cross between a Hybrid Tea and Polyantha roses. Each stem produces a cluster of large blossoms in the classic Hybrid Tea shape. Floribundas can be found in a variety of colors including orange, yellow, pink, purple, and white. They are generally disease resistant and tend to be hardy and easy to care for. These roses are known for their stocky, rigid shrubbery, and often used in landscaping in public parks and spaces.

Grandiflora Roses

Grandiflora roses are a class that was created in the last century to classify crosses between Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses that fit neither category. They are a combination of the graceful blooms of the Hybrid Teas and the repetitive growth cycle of Floribundas. Grandiflora roses have large, showy flowers that are produced on long stems, either singly or in clusters of three to five blooms. Their shrubs are generally larger and more upright than Hybrid Teas. Although hardy and vigorous, they tend to be less popular than Hybrid Teas or Floribunda roses.

Groundcover Roses

Also known as “landscape” roses, this type of rose was developed to fulfill the desire for a garden rose that offers color, form, and fragrance, but is also easy to care for. They tend to reach max height at three feet, though some only grow as tall as one foot, and are usually wider than they are tall. Typically groundcover roses are disease and pest resistant, repeat flowering, low growing, and low-maintenance.

Hybrid Tea Roses

Hybrid Tea roses have been the favorite of the Modern Roses, and come in a very diverse range of colors. They are known for their long, upright stems, which make them an extremely popular cut flower. Hybrid tea roses have large, well-formed, pointed blooms, which can be up to five inches in diameter. They are the least hardy of modern roses and have a reputation for being high-maintenance.

Miniature Roses

Miniature roses are miniature versions of Hybrid Tea roses. They have petite stems, leaves and flowers, and are hardy and versatile plants. Miniatures come in a wide range of colors including pink, orange, white, and yellow. Most miniature roses bloom continuously for two to three weeks at a time. They are often marketed and sold as houseplants, as they grow well in containers and are only six to eighteen inches tall. They also work well in narrow borders and small garden areas.

Polyantha Roses

Polyantha roses are known for their prolific bloom—from spring to fall a healthy plant could potentially be covered in flowers. They typically have large clusters of small flowers, and come in shades of white, pink and red. Polyantha roses remain popular due to their reputation as low-maintenance, disease resistant, and hardy plants. They are ideal candidates for containers or small gardens.

Rambling Roses

Rambling roses, or ramblers, are vigorous growers with numerous clusters of small to medium-sized blossoms, and long, flexible canes. They are often once blooming, but may be repeat or continuous. If they lack a support system, ramblers will grow along the ground and cover anything in their way, such as buildings, cars, plants, and trees. But if well trained, ramblers may be used to decorate structures such as arches and pergolas.

Shrub Roses

Shrub roses include a wide variety of roses that do not fit into any other category. Many are a cross between Old Garden Roses and Modern Roses, and combine traits from each. Generally, they are hardy, easy-care plants. Bloom style may be single, cabbage-like or anything in between, and fragrance level varies. Most shrub roses are repeat bloomers, and their growth is generally graceful and spreads easily.

Old Garden Roses

Old Garden Roses, sometimes called heritage or historic roses, are a traditional class of roses bred before the arrival of the hybrid tea rose in 1867. These roses are known for their strong fragrance, high petal count, bloom shape, disease resistance, and ability to withstand the cold. They generally bloom once a year during the summer months.

Alba Roses

Alba roses are hybrids that are some of the oldest garden roses, dating back to before 100 A.D. They have tall, elegant bushes with lovely blue-green foliage and white or pale pink blossoms. Alba roses bloom once in late spring or early summer and are among the hardiest of roses—they are disease-resistant, low-maintenance, and can tolerate shade and cold conditions.

Bourbon Roses

Most likely a cross between Damask and China roses, Bourbon roses were first introduced in France on the Île Bourbon in 1817. They have lovely full blooms in various shades of pink, white and red, and often have an intense and heady fragrance. Bourbon roses typically have very few thorns or none at all. They can be trained to climb, and are repeat-bloomers.

Centifolia Roses

Centifolia roses are known as Cabbage roses, as their blooms are closely packed with many thin, overlapping petals that resemble the head of a cabbage. They may also be called Provence roses after the section of France where they were once grown. Colors range from white to pink, and the blooms often droop or nod due to their large size. Because these roses are so fragrant, they are often used in the fragrance industry. Centifolia roses bloom once in early summer, thrive in full sun and are typically less disease-resistant than other varieties.

China Roses

Introduced to the West in the late 18th century, China roses are a complex group that have contributed greatly to the parentage of today’s hybrid roses. They are typically fragrant and have smaller, more compact blooms compared to other varieties. China roses come in multiple colors and bloom repeatedly in summer and late fall. The plants are somewhat tender and may need protection in colder climates, but most are very disease-resistant.

Damask Roses

Originating in Biblical times, Damask roses are some of the oldest roses in the world. There are two groups of Damasks: the Summer Damask, which blooms once in summer, and the Autumn Damask (also called the four seasons damask), which blooms in the summer and has a second flowering in fall. These roses come in a variety of colors from white to deep pink and have very fragrant blossoms that are often used in the perfume industry.

Gallica Roses

Gallica roses are one of the oldest species with some varieties dating back to the 12th century, and have long been prized for their medicinal properties and lovely scent. They are sometimes referred to as French or Provins roses. Gallica roses come in shades of pink, red, purple, and may even be striped. Some varieties are intensely fragrant. They bloom once during the summer, and are tolerant of shade and cold.

Hybrid Musk Roses

Although Hybrid Musk roses are not officially considered Old Garden Roses, they tend to be grouped with them. They were mostly bred by the Rev. J. Pemberton early in the twentieth century. These roses have single flowers with five petals in clusters, and have a strong musk-like scent that is light and sweet. Hybrid Musk roses also have healthy, lustrous, and bushy foliage, and tend to be disease-resistant.

Hybrid Perpetual Roses

Although they were ultimately overshadowed by their descendants, the Hybrid Teas, Hybrid Perpetual roses became the most popular rose in the world among gardeners and florists in the nineteenth century. They are known for their lovely scent and ability to repeat bloom. Hybrid Perpetuals have very large blossoms with a strong fragrance and come in shades of pink, purple, red, and sometimes white.

Hybrid Rugosa Roses

Hybrid Rugosa roses are a very hardy species rose from Northern Japan, China, Korea, and Siberia. Although not officially considered Old Garden Roses, they tend to be grouped with them. They have rich, green foliage, a lovely fragrance, and tend to be disease-resistant. Their small, simple blossoms have a limited color palette and are best enjoyed on the bush, as they’re not the classic rose blossom form.

Moss Roses

Named for the moss-like growth covering the top of their stem, Moss roses are very fragrant and come in a wide array of lovely rose colors. They are known for the pleasant scent of woods or balsam they emit when rubbed, and are cherished for this trait. Their shrub-like plants are primarily grown for their exceptional beauty. Moss roses are once-bloomers and their hardiness varies.

Noisette Roses

Descending from the China rose, Noisette roses were the first roses to be bred in America with the aid of John Champney, a rice farmer in Charleston, South Carolina. Noisettes are historically important for contributing hues of orange and yellow to Old Garden Roses. They bear fragrant clusters of blooms in a wide range of colors and have tall, bushy plants. Most are continual or repeat bloomers.

Portland Roses

This group of roses was named after the Duchess of Portland after she was given a rose that produced the whole class of Portland roses. At one time there were dozens of varieties, but today only a handful remain. Some may have a strong fragrance, and the flowers tend to have very little stem so that the leaves are closely packed around the flowers. They mainly flower in the summer, but may also continue to flower into the fall.

Tea Roses

Originating in China and one of the only parents of the modern Hybrid Tea rose, Tea roses are named for their fragrance that is reminiscent of Chinese black tea. They have a wide range of colors including white and pastel shades of pink, yellow, and apricot. The blooms are large and fragrant with a delicacy of form and color not found in today’s roses. Their petals tend to roll back at the edges, producing middle petals that have pointed tips. Tea roses are repeat-flowering and disease-resistant.

Species Roses

Species roses are wild roses that include natural species that haven’t been hybridized. They are very hardy plants that survive on minimal maintenance, and are often characterized by five-petal flowers that bloom in early summer. Many species roses grow quite large, and may even form thickets. Wild roses can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and their fossil records go back nearly 30-40 million years!

The vastness of the rose family can be overwhelming. At first glance many roses look the same, but upon further inspection you can really begin to tell the difference between the shape and structure of each bloom. For example, the Species Roses have a loose five-petal structure, while the Gallica roses have layered, tightly clustered petals. To help you understand each category and class better, we created a compendium of popular garden roses that lets you directly compare each type of rose.


Image credits:

Abraham Darby, Tamora CC Image courtesy of Takashi .M on Flickr

American Pillar CC Image courtesy of Spedona on Wikimedia Commons

Anne Harkness, Catherine Mermet, Celine Forestier, Cricket, Iceberg, Lemon Delight, Maman Cochet, Pompon Blanc Parfait, Rêve d’Or, Rosa rubiginosa CC Image courtesy of Stan Shebs on Wikimedia Commons

Aprikola, Blaze, Blush Noisette, Mme. Alfred Carriere CC Image courtesy of Anna reg on Wikimedia Commons

Avon CC Image courtesy of Libby norman on Wikimedia Commons

Ballerina, Baroness Rothschild, Blanc Double de Coubert, Buff Beauty, Bullata, Desprez à Fleurs Jaunes CC Image courtesy of Cillas on Wikimedia Commons

Blanche de Belgique, Bluenette, Duc de Cambridge, Heidi Klum, Honeymilk, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sugar Baby, Pink Star CC Image courtesy of Huhu Uet on Wikimedia Commons

Breath of Life, Cécile Brünner, Charles de Gaulle, Cramoisi Superieur, Earth Song, Honorine de Brabant, Princesse Joséphine-Charlotte, Queen of Sweden, Rose de Meaux, Rosa nutkana, Sunset Memory, St. Cecelia, CC Image courtesy of T.Kiya on Flickr

Charles Austin CC Image courtesy of Yoko Nekonomania on Flickr

Charles de Mills, Cornelia, Rosa Mundi CC Image courtesy of Amanda Slater on Flickr

Comte de Chambord, Ferdinand Pichard CC Image courtesy of Jamain on Wikimedia Commons

Constance Spry CC Image courtesy of Rosa Staropramen on Wikimedia Commons

Crested Moss, Duchesse de Brabant, Graham Thomas, Hansa, Louis Philippe, Marchesa Boccella, Mutabilis, Paul Neyron, Queen Elizabeth, Reine Des Violettes, Rose du Roi, Rosa moschata, St. Nicholas CC Image courtesy of Malcolm Manners on Flickr

Dainty Bess CC Image courtesy of chipmunk_1 on Flickr

Dortmund, Peace CC Image courtesy of Roozitaa on Wikimedia Commons

Double Delight CC Image courtesy of Marumari on Wikimedia Commons

Duchess of Portland, Felicia, Général Jacqueminot, Hebe’s Lip, Koeniging von Danemark, La Reine Victoria, Madame Pierre Oger, Parson’s Pink China, Rosa foetida, Safrano, Semi-plena, Soleil d’ Or, York & Lancaster, Zéphirine Drouhin CC Image courtesy of A. Barra on Wikimedia Commons

Flower Carpet Coral CC Image courtesy of Patrick Standish on Flickr

Golden Wings, Polareis CC Image courtesy of F. D. Richards on Flickr

Governor Rosellini, Montezuma, Pink Parfait CC Image courtesy of HomeinSalem on Wikimedia Commons

Hume’s Blush CC Image courtesy of Cliff on Flickr

Kiftsgate CC Image courtesy of Ulf Eliasson on Wikimedia Commons

La France CC Image courtesy of Arashiyama on Wikimedia Commons

La Reine CC Image courtesy of Rhian on Flickr

La Ville de Bruxelles, Tuscany Superb CC Image courtesy of Nadiatalent on Wikimedia Commons

Leda CC Image courtesy of Kleuske on Wikimedia Commons

Louise Odier CC Image courtesy of Jengod on Wikimedia Commons

Madame Hardy CC Image courtesy of VasenkaPhotography on Flickr

Maiden’s Blush CC Image courtesy of Ausis on Wikimedia Commons

Milkmaid CC Image courtesy of Eric Timewell on Wikimedia Commons

Mister Lincoln CC Image courtesy of Captain-tucker on Wikimedia Commons

Mollineux CC Image courtesy of Kelvinsong on Wikimedia Commons

Moon Shadow CC Image courtesy of Drew Avery on Flickr

Penelope CC Image courtesy of Georges Seguin on Wikimedia Commons

Petite de Hollande CC Image courtesy of Nadiatalent on Wikimedia Commons

Renaissance CC Image courtesy of Mogens Engelund on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa acicularis CC Image courtesy of Denali National Park and Preserve on Flickr

Rosa arkansana CC Image courtesy of Alexwcovington on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa canina CC Image courtesy of Roberta F. on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa carolina CC Image courtesy of D. Gordon E. Robertson on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa gallica Officinalis CC Image courtesy of Col Ford and Natasha de Vere on Flickr

Rosa laevigata CC Image courtesy of Midori on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa moyesii CC Image courtesy of Patrick Nouhailler on Flickr

Rosa nitida CC Image courtesy of Sakurai Midori on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa persica CC Image courtesy of Yuriy75 on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa pimpinellifolia CC Image courtesy of Velela on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa prattii CC Image courtesy of El Grafo on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa setigera CC Image courtesy of Michael Gras, M.Ed. on Flickr

Rosa virginiana CC Image courtesy of Alvesgaspar on Wikimedia Commons

Rosa wichuraiana CC Image courtesy of 영철 이 on Flickr

Rosa woodsii CC Image courtesy of dougwaylett on Wikimedia Commons

Swany CC Image courtesy of Noumenon on Wikimedia Commons

The Fairy CC Image courtesy of 4028mdk09 on Wikimedia Commons

Venus CC Image courtesy of Javier martin on Wikimedia Commons

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