Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 Canadian Mail-order Rose Nursery List Updated

Rosa multiflora is used as hardy rootstock in Canada
   Photo by Lorraine Syratt ... All Rights Reserved

While compiling this list, I was surprised by how few actual "mail-order" rose nurseries there are in Canada ... and by how many have gone out of business (Pickering for one, which breaks my rose-lovin' heart). There are still many rose nurseries across the country, but they don't ship. Here's the mail order list thus far. I'm hoping to find more.

Before ordering any roses from Canadian nurseries or even when purchasing them at garden centers in spring, learn what rootstock was used.  See the listing for David Austin Roses to understand why.

Corn Hill Nursery  


Rosa cinnamomea
Corn Hill Nursery specializes in own-root hardy roses ... in their words "acclimated nursery stock."  I like that. Their roses will survive some extremely cold winters.  They don't have a massive catalogue, but they do have a great selection. .They have some lovely old roses such as Maiden Blush and Cardinal de Richelieu. They also have some species roses such as Rosa cinnamomea 'plena'. I found this rose in the wild, myself. (image left). The blooms are as interesting as its history. They have a nice selection of rugosa roses, too -- some you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Canada.  Prices range from $20 for a two-stemmed (caned) rose to $39 for a 3-year old potted rose. 

David Austin's first introduction, "Constance Spry"
 Photo by Lorraine Syratt ... All Rights Reserved

David Austin Roses

This is not a Canadian nursery, but they do have information on ordering from Canada. Keep in mind, the roses in David Austin Roses catalog are actually grown in and coming from the US, and as US-grown roses, they are grafted onto Dr. Huey rootstock. Dr. Huey is only hardy in plant hardiness zone 7 or at least 6 or higher. That means they will only grow well on the west coast or in southern Ontario regions such as Niagara-on-the-Lake, Toronto or even Belleville and Prince Edward County (that's the county, not the island). Most roses grown in Canada are grafted onto hardy Rosa multiflora or Rosa laxa rootstock. American bred roses will eventually fail or never really flourish as they should when grown in Canadian gardens. And that's ... well, the root of the matter ... why some roses fail for us.

The David Austin site is a terrific source for images and information, but if you're in Canada, it's best to purchase your English roses from a Canadian source who buys bud stock from the US and grafts their own.

"Complicata"  Photo by Lorraine Syratt ... All Rights Reserved

Hortico is located in Waterdown, Ontario. Many of their roses are grown on Rosa multiflora rootstock and the rootstock itself is grown from seed to avoid the spread of disease, particularly rose mosaic virus. This is a common practice among most rosarians in Canada. Hortico still has a good selection of roses, although there list has shrunk considerably.  This year, Hortico has nothing listed in their Species and Natives section which is disappointing
. They used to sell R. multiflora, so I s'pose you could call them if you're interested.   Prices have not changed since last year. Their 2017 catalogue lists them at $17.99. 


Fraser's Thimble Farms

Fraser's Thimble Farms is located in BC (Salt Spring Island) and they do mail-order. They have a small variety of own-root roses, including some species and David Austin roses. Prices range from $10 to $29. I haven't heard of this nursery before, but I like the  small selection of natives and other species roses I haven't seen elsewhere ... prices range from  $10 to $12.

Palantine Roses

Palantine Roses This is a recent discovery. Palantine's rose catalogue (2016-2017) has improved, I think. A quick glance tells me it has more old roses than than Hortico, now and a good selection of modern roses and hybrids. I've read good things about the quality of their roses and looking at their list, they seem to have some lovely gallicas and multifloras I've not seen elsewhere. Prices range from approx. $16 - $20. They are located in Ontario's Niagara Region. 

 Botanus lists only 19 roses for 2017, some David Austins and modern hybrids. Prices ranges from  $25.50 to $48.50. A bit pricey, but they may have the rose you've been looking for and can't find elsewhere. They are located in Langley, BC.  My memory suggests they are grown on Dr. Huey rootstock and originate in  the US. They would not be all that hardy in most parts of the country. 


Coral Dawn Climbing Rose. Canning Perennials
A few more additions, this year, but they are general mail-order plant nurseries and not specifically devoted to roses. You may find what you can't find elsewhere.

Canning Perennials in Paris, Ontario is a mail-order nursery and does have a small collection of roses, including a couple of old favorites such as Coral Dawn, Blaze Improved, as well as the species Rosa rugosa. Prices range from $17.95 to $39.95.

Boughen Nurseries in Saskatchewan has a small, but decent selection of hardy roses priced at $23.95. You'll find some Explorer roses, Harrison's yellow, and Rosa rugosa 'Hansa' to name a few.

Golden Bough Tree Farm is a local favorite of mine. This year, their catalogue lists only one rose, the species Rosa rugosa which is red. I list it, because if you're looking for rose hedging, and don't want to take the time to strike cuttings, Golden Bough's price is $12 or 3 for $30. So it would make an affordable hedge. 

And for seeds .... 

Rosa canina

You can purchase species rose seeds from Richters, such as R. rugosa rubra, R. rubiginosa, Sweet Briar (the Eglantine of the poets) and R. canina, Dog Rose. I had success with their Sweet Briar ... success as in one plant from 12 seeds, but it was likely my own fault. However, that one plant is a delight and grew quickly to 4 ft before I moved it out of the cottage garden. This year I expect to scratch my hands up to strike cuttings as I always wanted a Sweet Briar hedge somewhere.  


It saddens me the number of Canadian mail-order rose nurseries that have gone out of business.  We are losing such a wonderful collection of roses. What fun it used to be to open a Pickering catalogue in front of the fire and tick off all those lovely old roses, rare species', and fantastic ramblers.  I will miss them forever. 

The list above does offer a good selection; I just wish there were more. But as rose gardeners we should be propagating some of the older roses ourselves before we lose them. A little rose rustling is always fun, but I don't suggest taking cuttings like a rogue in the night. Gardeners are always happy to share. I think I'll keep a kit in the car ... just in case.

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