It felt like Christmas all over again when I arrived at home yesterday. A large box was sitting on my doorstep. It was the first rose delivery of 2012. A rose from Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham, NC. The rose is ‘R.K. Witherspoon’, a creamy white hybrid tea. Having been notified by email that the rose was to arrive this week, I had already filled a new 10 gallon container of my soil mix, I was ready for its arrival.
I am very careful who I order roses from. I read up on a company prior to ordering. Not only from their website, but also the message boards, Facebook & Twitter postings and word of mouth from my fellow rose growing friends. It matters to me that they company selling me roses actually cares about the roses they are packaging and sending to me. I had only heard good things about Witherspoon Rose Culture.
The key to shipping bare root roses is keeping them moist in shipment so the roots do not dry out. I could immediately tell that this rose was packed with great care. Notice the wrapping of the entire rose.
When I removed the outer covering to reveal 5 beautiful canes and a carefully wrapped root system.
I unwrapped the root covering to reveal a root system covered in moist moss. This kept the roots moist in transit and the outer coverings held the moisture in.
When I removed the moss, it revealed the root system of the rose. Notice that this is a “grafted” rose. The rose has been grafted onto rootstock and has formed the ball or “bud union” from which the canes have emerged from.
Notice the larger roots are what I call the “foundation” roots” and the tiny fibrous roots are the “feeder” roots. The smaller roots actually take in nutrients that the rose needs to survive, and the larger provide anchoring and support of the upper structure of the rose. The absence of either of these root systems spells death to a rose. Notice how large the root system is and will be below the soil? This is one healthy rose!
As I do with all roses planted in my garden, I soaked the root system overnight in Haven Brand Soil Conditioner. This provides further hydration for the rose before planting.
A rose of this caliber requires a container large enough to grow in. I have six of these 8 gallon containers for new roses this year.
Now planted, let the growing begin!