Spring at the Rose Nursery: A visit to Otto and Sons for Rose Days

This week Ryan, Seraphina and I took our annual spring trip to Otto and Sons Nursery. Since we moved back to Ventura County, we’re just 20 minutes from the nursery so that means we’ll be making more visits to this magical place! If you love roses, there is nowhere like Otto and Sons to see the most beautiful, healthy abundance of roses!

In case you’re not familiar, Otto and Sons is the largest family owned rose nursery in the US. The Klittich family has been in the rose business for three generations, four if you count their great grandchildren that can be seen running around the nursery! Otto and Sons is both a wholesale and retail nursery; they grow roses for many large scale commercial landscaping projects and growers like us, and have a beautiful nursery retail consumers can shop. Nestled around acres of citrus trees, Otto and Sons is truly a slice of rose heaven. Their sprawling property covers many acres and is bustling with employees who tend their thousands of roses. Whenever we're asked where to buy roses I always tell people about Otto and Sons. They deliver thousands of new roses to us every spring. It’s honestly the most exciting day of the year when I see their trucks pulling into our farm loaded with potted roses!

Every April, during the height of the spring flush, Otto and Sons opens their doors for Rose Days. The event is going on now through Saturday, April 17th and if you’re a Californian, I highly suggest you make a trip to see this spectacle of roses. People come from near and far to see the hundreds of varietals of roses blooming and can purchase plants to grow in their garden. The weather right now is perfect and since this is an outdoor event, it’s safe for visitors.

This year the roses were as impressive as ever and we saw a few new varietals we will be adding to our farm! The Klittich family designed and planted a beautiful new formal rose garden at the nursery that has hundreds of roses blooming. Walking the rose garden is a great way to see how different roses look planted next to one another, and get new ideas for companion plants. Now is the time to go when all of their roses are in full bloom!

So about those new varietals that caught our eye this week... One is a white hybrid tea beauty named Shirley’s Bouquet. I was looking for a new white rose that we could use in our landscape, but we also cut from for bouquets. We are planning to plant her around the perimeter of our property to form a hedge. She blooms in massive clusters and her fragrance is absolutely intoxicating! I’m very excited about adding Shirley’s Bouquet to our farm because you all know how much I love white roses!

Marc Chagall, with its striped variations of pink, pale yellow and white, stopped me in my tracks. We’ve never grown a variegated rose and I thought it was time we added one to our crop. It is a spectacular showstopper! It’s part of the Painter’s Collection, a series of striped roses inspired by the Impressionist painters. Wait until you see this rose in our bouquets!!

Florists have been requesting we grow Marilyn Monroe. To be honest, I never really considered it, but seeing is believing! This is an absolutely stunning rose in person with strong petals that I’m sure will ship well. Her blooms are heavy and substantial with the prettiest perfumed scent. I’m so glad I finally got to see Marilyn Monroe blooming so beautifully in person because she’s going to be a great addition to our farm.

We are so grateful to the Klittich family for growing such exquisite plants for our farm. I can't imagine what we'd do without them! They give our rose bushes a strong start at their nursery before they come home to our farm. As I always stress, it is so very important for gardeners to support their local family owned nursery whether you're looking to purchase roses, annuals, succulents or perennials. Before you go to a big box store to purchase plants, look for a specialty nursery for which to give your business. These are people who are passionate about raising healthy plants, and giving their customers hard-earned wisdom and knowledge about gardening. They are active members of your local agricultural scene and provide gainful community employment to people who love plants as much as you do! 

We’re expecting thousands of new roses from Otto and Sons to arrive any day now and you can count on seeing the bounty being unloaded from their trucks. Stay tuned to see all the new varietals we’ve chosen for our 2021 roses season!


David Austin Garden Roses

The world's most loved and cherished garden roses for English breeder, David Austin.

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