So far, fourteen of Cliff's roses have made the trip from the desert of California to my garden here in central Virginia ... the most recent of which arrived via USPS earlier this week.
To prepare the roses for their journey, two helpers in Cliff's garden cut the roses almost to the ground, dig them up, and wash almost every bit of soil from their roots.
The roses in this box are carefully packaged, so they make their cross-country trip without damage.
Bare-root roses are usually dug and shipped while they are dormant, in the fall or early spring.
Each rose is packaged in its own heavy-duty bag.
With Cliff's roses, they are being dug and shipped as they are sold ... regardless of the weather. Extreme care is taken with preparation and packaging to insure that the roses arrive at their new homes in good condition.
The roots of each rose are bagged in a draw-string kitchen bag, and the canes on top are wrapped in wet newsprint.
One would think that such treatment would damage the roses, but roses in excellent condition in the garden (like they were in Cliff's garden) can handle the stress.
Look how huge the root systems are on these roses!!
After the roses are dug and washed, they receive a quick dip in a dilute bleach solution to discourage mold growth which can happen in the hot, damp environment of their shipping box. It works, because there was no mold at all on these beauties.
The rose on the right even started to grow new little roots!
I have no place in the garden prepared to receive these new roses, so I am planting each of them in pots for now ... BIG pots.
This pot is 18 inches across, and the rootball barely fit into it.
The pots will stay in the shade for a few weeks, until they grow some new roots, to protect them from the heat and humidity of our Virginia summer.
The roses in their new pots begin to grow pretty quickly. This is Black Ice, which arrived here in late June. It started to grow almost immediately after being potted, and now it's covered with buds!
Two of the roses I received in June (Butterfly Wings and Arpeggio) were a bit slower to begin to grow again. The canes were still green, so I knew they were alive, and I kept them watered and shaded and I waited ... new canes sprouted on them last week, and they are now growing very nicely.
Guess what arrived yesterday?
There is a part of me that wishes I could hire a moving van and go to California and bring home a whole truckload of Cliff's roses. The idea of splitting up and parting out his amazing garden is painful to think about. What helps is knowing that each of the roses is going to a loving home (like mine!), and that Cliff's garden is not truly lost. It is being spread across the country for other rose lovers to appreciate.
Thank you, Cliff. Though you and I have never met in person, I feel as if I know you. I treasure the roses I have received from you, and each of them has a special place in my rose collection.
If you would like to sign up to receive Cliff's email updates, which feature lists and photos of roses that are currently available, click HERE.
I'm going outside now, to unpack Bonnie Jean and get her settled into her new pot!
(Each highlighted rose name is a link to the description page for that rose on Help Me Find Roses ... the BEST rose reference site.)