I had a surprise waiting on my porch this afternoon. The tagline, "Maplehurst: A Specialty Bakery," on the side of the box threw me for a little bit of a loop, but one look at the return address renewed my excitement: The package was a shipment from Mary's Plant Farm. My climbing rose 'Dortmund' had arrived!
Kudos to Mary's for reusing boxes... and an enthusiastic round of applause as well for great packaging. The roots are bagged up, the sturdy string that stretches through the bag around the neck of the rose keeps it from bouncing around, and the wads of newspaper keep the rootball from sliding back and forth.
I found Mary's Plant Farm a few months ago via the garden retail review site Garden Watchdog. I went there in search of a closer place to buy old roses than the venerable Antique Rose Emporium. Mary's is still a good 4 hour drive from my house, but it's closer than Texas.
When I finally placed my order last week, I had a nice chat (own root vs. grafted roses, the crazy weather we've had this year, etc.) with Sherri, Mary's daughter. During the discussion, I told Sherri that I have also been looking for two other roses: the yellow climber 'Leverkusen' and 'Buff Beauty,' a noisette hybrid. Might they offer either one some day? Sherri replied that no, they only offer roses that her mother has grown and evaluated over a number of years. I liked that idea, that there are still nurseries that offer only plants with which they have had personal experience.
Sherri also warned me that they would be digging out my 'Dortmund' over the weekend, and since it had been outside I might see some slight freeze damage on the leaves. After I freed the branches, I carefully inspected the rose. It looks perfectly healthy, and the branches stretch out nicely. I can't wait to get it in the ground, and watch as it grows. I hope it eventually covers the entire side of my porch... even if that means chancing an encounter or two with its infamous thorns.
'Dortmund' will be planted on Friday night, and I do believe that I will be drinking a bottle of my favorite local brew shortly thereafter. See, my family has a secret to success when reseeding a lawn: Have the whole family over to drink Coronas and "watch the grass grow." It works every time!
If the lowly Corona works for grass... well, then, what better way to get my new rose off to a great start than toasting it with a few sips of Great Lakes' Dortmunder Gold?