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A Tale of Two Collectors

Welcome to our nursery! We're so happy to see you here.

The Nursery at Grace Rose Farm has been a work in progress and labor of love for over a decade. Gracie Poulson of Grace Rose Farm and Susan Lyell Young of Restoration Rose have carried on their own individual love affairs with roses for many years. Gracie being drawn to the coffee, parchment and unique tones while Susan’s focus was on collecting the beautiful antique and vintage roses that are no longer sold by commercial nurseries.

Not too long after Gracie started her cut rose farm she reached out to Susan in search of some of the beauties Susan had collected in her travels to the public gardens, abandoned homes and cemeteries of Louisiana, Texas and California and her rose swaps with other dedicated collectors.

Both women shared the same motivation - to get beautiful roses into the homes and gardens of those who preferred the subtlety and charm of roses bred to bloom in one’s garden. The vast majority of modern roses for sale are of the hybrid tea class. They are bred for long stiff stems, upright blooms and longer vase life. These are the criteria for the modern commercial rose trade. As a result, these modern roses lack fragrance and, in our opinion, appear sterile and mass manufactured. True garden roses couldn’t be more different. They are classified as Tea roses, Noisettes, Bourbons, Chinas. There is much romantic history associated with them. Grown for generations, some with even ancient origins, they are usually heavily fragranced with cupped or open rosette blooms that look at you rather than above you. They were bred to be grown as garden shrubs with a nuance and variance in color that is seldom seen nowadays. A “peach” rose may be shades of orange, apricot, gold, yellow, parchment and pink. They are not the saturated monotones seen today in the grocery store. Some of them have a fragrance that is truly unforgettable.

Susan propagates roses on their own roots and quickly found it impossible to produce enough plants for a viable commercial nursery. Own root propagation requires that each rose requires a ten inch stem of rose from the mother plant. Even with a high success rate, this still only produces a 1:1 ratio from cutting to plant. Budding (or grafting), on the other hand, involves actually inserting a bud of the desired rose onto rootstock. Budding is a common nursery practice used for trees and vines too. To produce a budded rose, one only needs one bud, of which a ten inch stem may provide up to 10. Therefore budding has a possible 1:10 ratio.

Additionally, some roses just don’t have the vigor to grow well on their own roots in climates which experience winter. In Susan’s Zone 7, a small own root rose will require protection just to make it through, if it does. Now that we have found professional budders we are able to produce enough of these roses on multiflora rootstock to share with anyone who wants to grow them!

Additionally, we have long admired talented American rose hybridizers whose work has been overlooked by large commercial nurseries. We want to introduce you to some of our favorite hybridizers and get their creative beauty into American gardens!

Lastly, we want to assure your success. We want a rose you’ve chosen from our collection to grow and thrive in your garden. This is why we are offering them as potted plants. It’s a bit unorthodox as it requires more time and care than shipping bare roots, but we believe the investment will result in a large blooming size rose that arrives upon your doorstep, is easy to plant into the ground or larger pot and will reward you right away with blooms and fragrance. We hope you will find the roses we grow to be long-lived and much-loved residents in your garden. Please contact us should you have any questions!

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