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harmonyp

Weeks Roses - What the Heck?!

harmonyp
11 years ago

So I just read after it being mentioned in another post: "Gardens Alive Purchases Weeks Roses in Bankruptcy Auction". WHAT THE HECK? In California, Weeks has been the defacto standard for moderns. Does anyone know what happened? Thoughts on Gardens Alive swallowing alive so many nurseries?

Comments (35)

  • Maryl (Okla. Zone 7a)
    11 years ago

    Gardens Alive is also part of Spring Hill and Michigan Bulb Company. Two companies that have an infamous reputation for poor quality plants. With J&P and Weeks gone now, I sometimes wonder if the English/French will be our main suppliers of new introductions. Even if the new conglomerate that bought Weeks introduces some of the roses that were on Weeks back burner, given their reputation, I'd be a little cautious about the quality of their intros. There are some small independent hybridizers (Eddie Edwards comes to mind) but their main focus is on exhibition quality roses. Not a bad thing IF they would equally concentrate on disease resistance and garden adaptability....Hopefully someone in the United States in the future will fill the gap left by the demise of these two giants....Maryl

  • jerijen
    11 years ago

    When J&P declared bankruptcy, Weeks was left high and dry. They were one of J&P's creditors, to the tune of millions. So in a large sense, J&P pulled Weeks down with it.

    Yes. We feel that we're entering into sort of a Dark Ages.
    It's not JUST who will be left to hybridize.
    We're missing something just as important: A trustworthy GROWER.

    With no one to grow them, many of the really innovative things Tom created, and Weeks released, might easily be lost to us -- just as thousands of older roses have been lost over the years.

    "Passalong" may become the main foundation of rose gardening.

    Jeri in Coastal Ventura Co., SoCal

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  • jaxondel
    11 years ago

    This news must have them popping bottles of champagne in the rose fields of East Texas as they make plans for increased production of surprises in body bags.

    Looks as tho the go-to places for roses (modern ones, at any rate) will be WallMart, Home Depot and places like the Fly by Night Cash & Carry, Joe's If We Ain't Got It You Don't Want It Emporium, etc.

    I fear Jeri's comment about a new Dark Age may prove to have been prescient, especially considering that all the major mail order retail sources have relied on Weeks to supply the bulk of their inventory.

    For those of us who can manage with Multiflora rootstock, let's hope Pickering and Palatine can hang on in Canada.

  • jerijen
    11 years ago

    I'm really glad I'm not looking to buy modern roses. I'm just not sure what people will do.

    It's like the old curse: "May you live in interesting times."

    Jeri

  • harmonyp
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    So many of the better quality nurseries in this area carry nothing but Weeks Roses. I wonder what the impact to them will be. I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Seeing such a large grower with a great reputation since the 1930's go down with so many other foundation businesses in our country is so incredibly sad...

  • landperson
    11 years ago

    Oh my gosh, I have over 200 roses and have never bought a Weeks or a J&P rose -- ever. Mine have all come from the likes of Vintage Gardens, Burlington Nursery, Rogue Valley Roses, Eurodesert and Chamblees.

    Support them!!!
    Buy unusual and hard to find roses -- from them!!!
    Keep their home fires burning and your gardens growing.

  • harmonyp
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Can we add David Austin to that list?

  • saldut
    11 years ago

    Well, here in Fla. you really need Fortuniana-grafted roses for 'Moderns' and my over-100 garden has been supplied by K & M, Nelson's, and Cool Roses for the 'Moderns', and my OGRs grafted come from Fla. Southern College in Lakeland and Cool Roses..... my own-root come from Chamblee's, Antique Emporium, Rose Petals and Angel Gardens, mostly Noisettes and China and Bermuda which seem to do well own-root, here..... I have never gotten any from Weeks or J&P.... sally

  • jerijen
    11 years ago

    Well, I am an "Old Rose Person," and have been for decades.
    But we grow a few moderns, of the moderns we grow, all but one or two came from Weeks.
    I have long been an admirer of Tom Carruth's breeding program, which (like Ralph Moore's) was innovative, and inclusive.

    But, look -- Whether Old- or Modern-Rose-Oriented, all of our rose growers/vendors have more worries these days than they did a decade or so ago.
    SUPPORT THE ROSE NURSERIES -- Whichever of them you love, support them.

    Jeri

  • Zyperiris
    11 years ago

    I'm not going to panic unless Palantine, Roses Unlimited, and Pickering go under.

  • rosereporter
    11 years ago

    As a J&P casualty and current Gardens Alive employ, I can assure everyone that Weeks is in good hands! Michigan Bulb HAD a horrible reputation, which is why our owner, Niles Kinerk, bought them out of bankruptcy, along with Spring Hill, Breck's Gurney's, and others a few years ago.This ownership specializes in taking struggling horticultural companies and injecting life back into them...as opposed to J&P's owners - an investment firm that doesn't know a thing about horticulture. Weeks is valued as a great name in roses, and is being run as such. Tom and Christian will still be churning out gorgeous roses for years to come! :)

  • seil zone 6b MI
    11 years ago

    That's good to hear, rosereporter!

  • Maryl (Okla. Zone 7a)
    11 years ago

    A quick glance at D's Watch Dg shows a less then stellar record for the past year for both Garden's Alive and Michigan bulb. Around a 40% negative rate would not be my companies goal were I trying to turn things around. They really need to try much harder........As for non-U.S. sources filling all my rose needs, that would be a shame even if their multiflora rootstock would work in my soil (which it doesn't). We need the jobs and the roses...But you gotta do what you gotta do if there is no choice left..Maryl

  • jaxondel
    11 years ago

    Rosereporter, May your rosy outlook proceed directly from your 'lips' to God's ears.

    We know that annual production cycles are planned & implemented years in advance. Please come back and give us a (re)assessment of your view of the situation in late 2012 and 2013, okey dokey? We hope that you'll be every bit as sanguine then as you obviously are now.

    There's a silk purse to be made of Michigan Bulb, Spring Hill, Brecks, et al.???

    I'm wondering if there's an 'Arbitrage for Dummies' guide out there that we can read, study, ponder upon . . .

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    Maryl, if there aren't the usual budded sources around, and if you're as anticipatory about dealing with any source with a 40% disapproval rate (as I am!), please remember the specialty producers around. Vintage, Hartwood, Rogue Valley, Long Ago Roses, Burlington, and a host of others, have much, much better approval rates and produce own root roses which have little of the suitability issues Huey, Fortuniana, Multiflora, etc. have; NO suckering problems (unless they are suckering types) and put food in PEOPLE'S stomachs instead of a conglomerate or corporation. There are PEOPLE who KNOW roses and how to plant and care for them you can actually communicate with and they are NICE people. It may take a while to get a response, usually because it's the same person doing all the work and propagation, but they need and deserve our support. Without them, all we'd have are the Home Depot and Lowe's offerings. God Bless them! Kim

  • Maryl (Okla. Zone 7a)
    11 years ago

    I agree Kim. I have done quite a bit of business with Heirloom, for instance, over the years but all they have are older roses. I'm thoroughly modern Milly in the rose department so I will miss the new rose introductions from the likes of J&P and Weeks. I know many of them ended up not being so great, but in the rose world especially, Hope springs eternal. I've often wished that the nurseries that graft roses onto Fortuniana would consider growing some of their selections own root, but as you said they are mom/pop operations and are doing well to keep up with their original goals......Maryl

  • seil zone 6b MI
    11 years ago

    Hope does spring eternal, Maryl, and I prefer to see the glass half full. That's why I'm hoping that rosereporter is speaking the gospel truth! We've had nothing but sad news lately in the rose world and we could use some good new blood. So here's hoping that Gardens Alive truly is interested in producing good new roses and improving customer service. Over the years I've bought roses from all of the above mentioned nurseries with varied results. Sometimes even the best of them make mistakes. It's how they handle it that makes all the difference.

  • phil_schorr
    11 years ago

    Tom and Christian have just submitted five new roses for registration, so they must feel things are moving forward. Weeks has been such a great company. I surely hope things keep going well for them.

  • rosereporter
    11 years ago

    Since Weeks is being run as a stand alone company, hopefully they can begin to heal from the economy and mismanagement so that Tom and Christian can keep cranking out gorgeous roses! And as for the apprehension with GA, all I can say is that it's a work in progress, and my 4 months with the company have been very positive. Here's hoping for a rosy future!

  • mamasllamas
    11 years ago

    I'm not a rose grower but just picked up a weeks rose a smelly white one :)
    but about gradens alive
    they were- still are? an organic minded small little place (only catalog sales now) in lawrenceburg indiana at the old schenley distillery plant,
    I have seen they are buying up "catalog" company's left and right in these hard times when everyone else is bellying up
    the were like a mom and pop store in lawrenceburg loved their bargains scratch and dent items and the 20. off coupon.

  • nastarana
    11 years ago

    rosereporter, is your new management committed to not spreading RMV? Do they realize that J&P and Weeks lost, if not the largest, certainly the most dedicated, portion of the rose buying public by failing to address RMV contamination of their rootstalks.

    Are they aware of differences in climate across the USA, and the importance of not selling noisettes in Maine, nor Gallicas in the southern states?

  • toronto_girl_zone_6
    11 years ago

    nastarana: "Are they aware of differences in climate across the USA, and the importance of not selling noisettes in Maine, nor Gallicas in the southern states?"

    Ummm... Personally, I have no clue why you shouldn't be selling noisettes in Maine or Gallicas in the southern states. Would anyone care to enlighten me?

  • rosetom
    11 years ago

    Thanks for the info, rosereporter! I've always liked Weeks roses.

    nastarana: "rosereporter, is your new management committed to not spreading RMV? Do they realize that J&P and Weeks lost, if not the largest, certainly the most dedicated, portion of the rose buying public by failing to address RMV contamination of their rootstalks."

    Nope, never heard that. Weeks (and Edmunds, since Weeks grow their roses) has always had a reputation of using clean root stock. Not so with Star, but that's an unjustified claim with Weeks.

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    toronto_girl, Noisettes aren't generally cold hardy enough for Maine. While you might get a few to grow a season or two under perfect conditions and with a lot of work, they won't last and will definitely freeze to death. MOST Gallicas (and Centifolias, Damasks, Albas, etc.) require more winter chill than they'd get in much of the Deep South (and much of Southern California). Yes, there are micro climates which may provide enough cold to get them to flower, and specific varieties which require minimal chill to flower, but I can tell you, there is a HUGE difference between being ABLE to grow them and make them flower and growing them WELL! Once you've seen them as glorious as they are intended to be, no amount of zone pushing and molly coddling will provide anything approaching the wonderful sight a Gallica can be when it is happy! Kim

  • toronto_girl_zone_6
    11 years ago

    Thanks for the explanation, Kim! I'm still very new to roses that are not HTs.

  • jerijen
    11 years ago

    We were told long ago that we could not grow Gallicas, Damasks, and Albas here in the La La Land of Southern California's coastal zone.

    Being stubborn, we planted them anyhow, and so learned first-hand that, while you can keep them alive here for a few years, and get a modest amount of bloom, at least at first, they will NEVER be what they can be, in places where they get real winter chill.

    There really ARE regional differences, and we'll all be more successful with roses if we keep those in mind, and select and plant accordingly.
    It might be that one part of the "fallout" from the loss of major rose-growing companies will be a return to REGIONAL growers, who produce roses for their part of the country.

    That would benefit all of us.
    So mote it be.

    Jeri

  • roseseek
    11 years ago

    You're welcome toronto_girl. There are many types, classes of roses and a number which will grow in some pretty severe environments. Were I growing roses in a severe one, I think I would focus on species and their near crosses. Most require nothing from you, other than space. Living between the desert and beach, I find my tastes (based to a large extent, on available energy) bending toward squirrel and gopher resistant xerophytes which thrive in heat, dry and benign neglect. Kim

  • roseinfo4you
    9 years ago

    All, Week's Roses is still growing & selling premium roses and will continue to do so. I worked for J&P and was there during the collapse, which had nothing to do with J&P itself, that all stemmed from new owners with absolutely no knowledge of the rose industry & drove the company into the ground with their ignorance. Now I work for Week's along with numerous ex-J&P employees, the ones that actually propped, grew & managed the rose crops. In just two years we have raised the quality of the roses at Week's to the standard that J&P were known for. We will continue to introduce new varieties each year, 5-6. Tom C. has retired and Christian (his assistant for years) has taken over the research & development area. The direction of Week's is to move forward to the future with the highest quality rose on the market. Being in the industry for over 12 years, I know the difference between a good rose & a great rose. Week's is the only one right now growing a great rose. As referred in previous posts, the Texas growers grow a sub-standard rose as compared to Week's. You get what you pay for, and the rose industry is no different. As far as J&P roses,if you see them selling roses on their website, it was more than likely purchased from Week's since we are growing a set number of roses for them annually. They also purchase from sub-standard growers...so you best bet on getting a great rose is to buy a Week's rose.

  • flaurabunda
    9 years ago

    I don't know about the rest of you, but anonymity is a poor way to gain my trust and get me to spend $$.

    Not so sure what other growers think about one of those statements in that paragraph, either.....I've bought some truly great roses in the last few years from companies NOT named Weeks.

  • jerijen
    9 years ago

    "In just two years we have raised the quality of the roses at Week's to the standard that J&P were known for."

    *** Oh, GOOD GRIEF! Weeks, under Tom Carruth, produced wonderful things. The few moderns we grow here came from Tom's research program.

    The entity which remains is not Weeks-As-We-Knew-It, any more than it is the great old J&P of ITS long-ago glory years.

    Jeri

  • roseseek
    9 years ago

    I agree with you flaurabunda, and Jeri. As for raising Week's quality to J&P standards, I'm not comfortable with that statement, either. Over thirty years of rose growing here in SoCal, I've bought from MANY sources. Not only have I received better cultivars from Week's but also consistently higher quality produced plants. Given the choice of a particular plant from Week's or J&P, I've always preferred Week's. I'm not disparaging your qualifications, roseinfo, but your post does seem to resemble those from a rather clueless gentleman who used to post here, reportedly from J&P Customer Service a while back... Kim

  • jerijen
    9 years ago

    " . . . your post does seem to resemble those from a rather clueless gentleman who used to post here, reportedly from J&P Customer Service a while back... Kim"

    *** HEE HEE HEE ... You caught that too, eh?
    Funny how email can have a recognizeable "tone," just as surely as does the spoken word.

    Jeri :-)
    Coastal Ventura Co., SoCal

  • roseseek
    9 years ago

    It is just too scripted, "press release" IHO. I pray long life and great success for Week's as I have been a loyal Week's customer for many, many years. But, I am realistic enough to know this isn't "my father's Week's" and the state of the rose industry as well as knowing all good things come to an end. I just hate to SEE it happen. Kim

  • roseblush1
    9 years ago

    I've actually checked the plants with the Weeks label at our local nursery this spring. Yes, it's a small nursery, but they were selling "bare root" plants from Weeks.

    My thought was that I was going to go ahead and purchase roses that were in the field before Weeks went bankrupt and I would still be able to get good quality plants. I was almost right.

    The bud union looked great and the top growth .. the canes from the bud union .. looked healthy and strong. Then I pulled the plant out of the sand where the nursery was keeping their bare root plants to look at the roots. I almost cried.

    The root system was nothing like the bare root roses from Weeks that I had purchased in the past. I even wonder if the roses were budded to Dr. Huey. There was ONE anchor root and a lot of very small roots growing under the bud union that were about six inches long.

    I checked several of the roses and they were all like that. I couldn't make myself pay a premium price for a plant like that. Yes, I think I could have managed to "save" the rose, but I was so disappointed in what I saw that I didn't even want to try. The quality was so poor compared to what I had purchased in the past as a Weeks rose.

    When I checked other quality nursery's stock, I found the same thing. A couple of those nurseries had already planted the roses in containers long before bare root season was supposed to be over so that customers could not see the root system.

    Now the question becomes which roses that have been tested as budded roses and previously marketed as budded roses will do well own root.

    I agree with Kim, purchase your new roses from people who really know their roses.

    Not Smiling,

    Lyn

  • kittymoonbeam
    9 years ago

    Sad that the old Weeks is gone as well. The roses they created were perfect for So. CA. I have good luck with French roses as well but they are harder to get. Palatine roses are fantastic but I have to keep them in pots and the shipping cost is painful to CA. But I do really love my Palatine roses even with all that.