How To Buy A Rose Bush

It was a rose bush I had to have as soon as I saw it at the garden center. It was named ‘Strike It Rich’, and it was still blooming in the August heat. Its color was described as “deep golden yellow, swirled and kissed with ruby red”. Which is to say: orange. But I love orange, and this was really a magical orange which did indeed have an almost mesmerizing mix of tones.

Rose 'Strike It Rich'
A cut flower from our new rose, “Strike It Rich’.

Actually, ‘Strike It Rich’ reminded me of our late lamented ‘Westerland’ rose, a victim of rose rosette disease.

Perhaps this was an impulse buy (actually, one of several impulse buys, but that’s for another post), but I didn’t care. Plus it was on sale, given the lateness of the season. Only thing was, I couldn’t get hold of Judy to obtain her agreement for a purchase that would have a major impact on the garden (‘Strike It Rich’ is a fairly substantial Grandiflora shrub rose, about 5′ tall.)

Sure, I could call her on my mobile phone, but she was desperately racing against a project deadline from her job. I genuinely hated to interrupt her, and if I did, she was unlikely to want to discuss purchasing a rose bush. She would not understand “the fierce urgency of now”, a phrase coined by our current President concerning the need to purchase plants. (At least, I think that’s what he was referring to.)

Looking at one of the hypnotically beautiful long-stemmed flowers (Grandifloras are known for long stems), I came up with a plan.

About an hour later, I walked onto the back porch, where Judy was frantically tapping away. I presented her with a rose cut from ‘Strike It Rich’, the numerous and very sharp thorns on the lower stem carefully removed.

“Oh, how beautiful!” she said. “Thank you!”

“I’m glad you like it. I got it at the garden center.”

“The garden center is selling cut flowers now?”

“Not exactly. It was attached to a rose bush. To give you this flower I had to get the whole bush.”

She gave me a look, but not an argument, possibly because she was too busy to be distracted. Even so, I considered the maneuver a success.

'Strike It Rich' Rose
‘Strike It Rich’, newly installed in our raised driveway border.

I planted ‘Strike It Rich’ on the west side of the raised driveway bed, which gets lots of hot afternoon sun, in front of the Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) and some Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), and behind the Nepeta ‘Kitkat’.

Mid-August is not an ideal time to plant new perennials, the summer sun is not kind to plants adjusting to being transplanted. This was certainly the case for our new rose. Despite deep watering and mulching, I found ‘Strike It Rich’ to be distinctly droopy on its first afternoon. This was not surprising, since the garden center kept all their roses away from direct sun. Eventually I fitted the stems most prone to droop with sun hats made out of Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) leaves. This worked well enough, and when I got home today ‘Strike It Rich’ was standing upright, even without sun hats.

'Strike It Rich' rose
‘Strike it Rich’

Just for the record, ‘Strike It Rich’ was a 2007 All-America Rose Selection winner. It is highly disease resistant with an upright shrubby habit, and hardy to at least zone 5.  The gorgeous flowers are fragrant and long-lasting. I can attest to this personally since the open cut flower I gave Judy on Saturday is still looking quite fresh on Tuesday evening.

Have you planted ‘Strike It Rich’, and do you have a favorite rose?

70 Comments on “How To Buy A Rose Bush

  1. Oh how exciting! You bought a rose bush! Its gorgeous and that was a clever maneuver. I love orange roses. I dont have that one but I’m happy to hear it is fragrant and long lasting. I will have to look it up. Those are two very important characteristics for a rose. Good find!

  2. What a clever way to present the rose 🙂 It looks beautiful and I hope it will make it through the winter. I´m also planning new roses in late october, and I´m looking out for Odessey and Jacqueline du Pre.

  3. Nice looking rose, I have Westerland that I love for its sunset colour. Clever you to present a flower stem to Judy. Here I couldn’t plant shrubs or perennials in summer a sure recipe for disaster. When you plant do you plunge the pot into a deep container of water and let it drink until no more bubbles escape, I find this a good way of rehydrating plants bought from a nursery or garden centre.

    • I plunge into water sometimes with bareroot plants. With this rose I just did deep watering, leaving the hose at a slow flow near the base of the plant for a good length of time, and have repeated every day.

      • If you plunge pots before planting it fills the airspaces with water which won’t happen by watering with a hose, I think it is more important to plunge pots than water bare rooted plants in this way.

  4. How crafty of you! I am fortunate enough to choose ALL our plants as I am the only gardener in our household. 😉 I love orange roses too, and have a couple that have lost their name tags, with a third on my wishlist for autumn. I have used a large red umbrella to shade new plants before now… looks a bit arty!

  5. I like your approach, very cunning indeed. And a pretty rose. Our shrub roses are all unnamed ones that we rescued from the overgrown garden when we took it over.

  6. I did laugh I could hear Judy say that and see her expression – you are very cunning.
    I have decided I need more roses so have been pouring over the catalogues

  7. Very cute story, and description of the rose made it sound just perfect. This is a great time to find interesting, inexpensive plants at the store. If they survive, they tend to be quite hardy stock!

  8. That is quite a lovely color. Just one question – if red roses mean love, and yellow roses mean friendship, what do orange roses mean? “I hope you’re not mad at me for my impulse purchase”?

  9. I think your presentation of the rose was a perfect introduction to your impulse purchase. For me gardening is a solo act and I have no one to answer to for my plant selections. There are times however when I wish I did have a partner that shared by gardening enthusiasms- especially when it comes to chores like weeding.

    • Judy doesn’t weed, but I rely on her for the photography. Otherwise, gardening is mostly solo for me but I generally discuss big changes with her before implementing them.

  10. Awww…you are really sweet couple :-).

    Darn! why can’t I find these roses in our garden centers. Whatever rose they have here have absolutely no smell. NADA!!

    I am looking for garden roses with smell; I can buy from David Austen catalog, but too costly.

  11. Jason, congrats on your new purchase! This rose is very resistant and I love its color ( “deep golden yellow, swirled and kissed with ruby red”): is it a humor of seller?

  12. Oh….I do like your style!!! How very clever. I simply love the rose and think it’s a fantastic addition to the garden.xxxx

  13. Impulse buy is my middle name! Your way of introducing your latest impulsive purchase is one I hadn’t thought of before. I’m keeping that one in mind 😉
    Its a lovely rose Jason and I’m glad to see it’s finally settle in.

  14. Clever you! And yes, that impulse urge to buy is quite strong! I want to see the sun hats. And I wouldn’t have thought of an umbrella either.

  15. Jason….my man. Very smooth, bro. Need to start taking notes from Rico Suavez himself.

    My favorite, instilled in my pre-blackspot Aussie days experiences, is ‘Double Delight’. Have toyed with buying it as a large container annual as here at the nursing home have no place to plant one. Have you grown or seen in person? Creamy vanilla petals gradually turn bright crimson when touched by the sun for an effect I’ve never seen elsewhere.

    • ‘Double Delight’ sounds amazing, but I have never seen it. Glad you thought that was smooth, Patrick, feel free to follow my lead.

  16. Yes indeed, you have the moves! Very clever way to get a purchase by Judy! Favorite rose? Love so many for different reasons.

  17. Love the color, impressed by the presentation. Isn’t that something how you didn’t bother her at all plus brought her a flower to inspire. You are surely a team player!

  18. Your approach to Judy was perfect! What could she say, after you had presented her with such a lovely rose? You have certainly struck it rich with that one. I love the color. I have been thinking of planting a rose in a particular spot in my garden. If this one is disease resistant in my climate, Strike it Rich may find its way to my home, and then I will be as rich as you!

  19. If I consulted my husband every time I wanted to purchase a plant, I’d have a single pot with a single petunia and lots of grass. He has less grass but a very happy wife, which makes his life easier in the long run. But I do love your approach to buying the whole bush. It looks like a beauty. I’m hoping my Westerland recovers. It’s put out new growth but I won’t know for sure until next year.

    • It’s not that she doesn’t like mostly the same flowers, it’s that she likes to really take her time making choices. This causes my head to explode.

  20. I love this rose (and I’m not a big rose girl but you got me with the orange) and I love this post. Our president MUST have been talking about plant shopping. 🙂

  21. Clever man! It is a beautiful rose. My favorite rose, at the moment, is The Impressionist. Like your orange rose, it has those golden orangey tones I love. Though a climber purchased two seasons ago, Awakening, has many wonderful attributes.

  22. Great story, really lovely rose too, I sometimes ask my husband, it works best when i do not tell him the price!

  23. What a deliciously cunning move! I love it! And I bet Judy did too. Lovely colored rose, too. I’m not a huge rose fan (except for close-up) but if they knock me out with fragrance as well as beauty, I can be swayed. I have only two kinds of roses in my garden. One is a huge L’Etoile de Hollande which came with the house. Re-blooming, wonderfully fragrant, and with vicious thorns, it reaches way past our eaves. The other is a ‘Hot Cocoa’. The only reasons to keep that one is the color, and the unusual way it fades from fiery, reddish orange to soft, old-fashioned pink, as well as for bouquets. No fragrance to speak of, which usually would disqualify most contenders.

  24. Very interesting pictures! I congratulate you for the wonderful hand plant. great garden, thanks for sharing this with your blog! Greetings from Poland.

  25. The long-stemmed rose so special that you had to buy the whole rose bush to get it is a hilarious ploy; nicely played!

  26. Hi Jason, that is a gorgeous rose! I’ve been really enjoying my roses this year too and need to photograph them asap because I’m just falling for roses more and more each year. I dream of a dedicated rose garden actually. I just adore them! I love the colour of this one, reminds me of a delicious orange ice cream I used to enjoy as a kid!

  27. Roses can be fussy here but I do try some. I love apricot colors but have not found a rose of this color I love yet. Maybe once I get better control of my garden and make the changes I want, a space will open for another rose. I better take care of the ones I have though for now.

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