Seed Swaps

(Bare root) Roses & Asparagus received

01 Mar 2012
Storms 23°C / 73°F

I’m not a big fan of roses, but I have a special affection for Rugosa roses. They have beautiful foliage, as well as huge and brightly-colored rose hips. And they tend to be robust and healthy and trouble-free.

Over the past year I visited every nursery in my area, family-owned and big-box, and discovered that none of them carry Rugosa roses. Most of them had no idea what I was talking about when I asked, but the very knowledgeable and happy-to-talk head gardener at the most upscale family-owned local nursery (Abide-A-While Garden Center) told me that they used to carry Rugosas, but no longer do since people are almost exclusively interested in Knock Out roses now. Bummer.

So I decided to go mail-order, and found Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ and Rosa rugosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’ (two of the varieties recommended for my climate) for a mildly painful price through Roses of Yesterday and Today. My order of bare root roses arrived in the mail on Thursday, along with my order of Jersey Supreme asparagus crowns from Burpee, and happily both were left at the front door without any signing requirements.

The roses looked great, and their roots were moist upon arrival. I planted them in their bed after work, as the sun set.

The asparagus crowns looked good, but they were bone dry upon arrival, which has me extremely concerned. I posted in the Asparagus Adventures group to ask whether other folians who have received mail-order crowns had received dry ones that ended up doing okay. I also emailed Burpee customer service to ask whether shipping the crowns dry was standard practice. On Thursday night I dug a shallow trench in a garden bed, carefully separated the crowns, and placed them in two layers with moistened soil above and in between for temporary storage.

Photo #1: Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’
Photo #2: Rosa rugosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’
Photo #3: Planted out roses
Photo #4: What the asparagus crowns looked like upon arrival




I’ve not bought them, but I’ve seen asparagus crowns being sold like that at an independent and reputable garden centre. I think as long as they are not “crispy dry” (for lack of a better description) they will do alright.

Last year I did buy some purple asparagus crowns that were packed in peat moss and were pretty dry – I don’t think the peat would have qualified as damp. I only managed to get three out of five of them to sprout, but two of them were pretty small, and I did have a lot going on last spring so it may have been user error.

Posted on 04 Mar 12 (over 6 years ago)

That’s encouraging – thank you! The crowns were dry, but definitely not crispy dry. They varied quite a bit in size, from huge to somewhat small, but none of the crowns seemed tiny. I now have hope! I’d still like a response from Burpee customer service, though. It’s been about 48 hours since my email to them…

Posted on 04 Mar 12 (over 6 years ago)

I have only planted from seed, but on one site I read, “When the asparagus arrives, it will be dry looking. Soak it in tepid water for 2 – 3 hours before you are ready to plant.” I guess Burpee closes for the weekend?

What a healthy, big rose it looks like it may have been worth the price.

Posted on 05 Mar 12 (over 6 years ago)

That sounds promising! Thanks for that asparagus quote and link. I agree – I was very pleased with the size and apparent health of the bare root roses. Now to see how they grow! :)

Posted on 05 Mar 12 (over 6 years ago)

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