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RIRS.ORG #11
Ordering Roses Online?

February 2001

 

The rose catalogs have arrived in your mailbox by now and you've started making your wish lists. Nobody can gainsay the pleasure of relaxing on the couch, thumbing through the catalogs looking for roses to buy or at least wish for. So why would you bother to order roses on-line? The answer is, you probably will continue to order the bulk of your mail order roses by mail or telephone, but if you're looking for something out of the ordinary, an internet search is the way to start.
For example, when our rose society went to the Montreal Botanical Garden, I saw a rose that I wanted to obtain for my garden. Crested Sweetheart has beautiful mossing and scent, pillar growth and an old fashioned looking bloom. It wasn't available in local nurseries, nor did I see it in the rose catalogs that we receive. So, I did an internet search and found out quite a bit of information about the variety and also 2 places to purchase it: The Uncommon Rose (www.uncommonrose.com) and Roses Unlimited. I was able to order an own-root Crested Sweetheart even though it was late June and had it within a few days. I was happy with the quality of the plant and the service and now have another nursery that I can use. From the search, I also found to my surprise that it is not an old garden rose but a modern rose bred by Ralph Moore from Crested Moss.
In a previous article, I described different search engines that could be used to find information on roses etc. More recently, I've turned to a different method that uses a software program called Copernic to search. I leave a shortcut to Copernic on my desktop so that it is as handy as pressing the search button in your web browser. 
Copernic can be obtained for free at their website, www.copernic.com. I've also put a link to the download on the RIRS links page. It is free because it keeps a small ad banner open when you're using the program. After downloading it, double click on the file name to install it. Copernic uses many major search engines simultaneously for your search, and sorts them by their relevance to your search terms. One of its finest features is the ability to save searches. Within Copernic, I have made folders for roses, daylilies, graphics and other interests. When I search, the results of the search are saved in the appropriate folder and can be seen at any time. You can go back to the search months later, hit update, and any new references to your search terms will also be added and highlighted.  It's a great way to save access to large amounts of information without having to save the information itself on your computer. The searches you do can be sent to someone else by e-mail. 
To start, make a folder for your rose searches by hitting "file" then "folder" then "create". Name it Roses. You'll now have 2 folders, Default and Roses. Choose Roses so that your search will be saved in the proper folder. Hit "New" and type in your search terms. If I'm going to try to find a rose with more than 1 word in it's name, choose "search for exact phrase". When you're typing in your search terms, you'll see a tab on top that says "Details". If you're looking for general information and want a few quick results, choose "quick search". If you want lots of choices and a thorough search, choose "detailed" or "custom" search. After doing the search, the results can be narrowed by using the refine function. For example, when doing the search Brownell rose, I found lots of Brownell genealogy information I didn't want to save or sort through. So in refine, I added EXCEPT genealogy EXCEPT family EXCEPT families, to remove most of that.
Copernic will also let you choose to search newsgroups for postings on your topic of interest. It's limited to classic newsgroup searchers such as Deja.com and does not appear to search web based "newsgroups". 
Unfortunately, search engines and programs such as Copernic cannot find all the information that is available on the internet. Many search engines rely upon the individual website owner to register their site to show up on the search engine. Even when a website registers, they may still not show up because of their design. After searching on-line extensively for information on Brownell roses, I only became aware of a website called Russian Roses for the North when I saw it advertised in the ARS magazine classified section. They carry an extensive list of hardy roses including a dozen Brownells, as well as Buck and Explorer roses, OGRs and modern shrubs. You'll never be find their inventory by search engine because they saved each page of their website as a graphic, rather than as individual words that can be found during a search. You can see them at www.russianroseforthenorth.com. 
So, spend this downtime in the rose gardening year to find out more about roses you're interested in. Take a chance with a few smaller nurseries who can provide you with hard to find stock. Be aware that when you order potted roses, to be shipped, particularly own-root, they are usually very small. They'll catch up in a year or so and provide you with years of pleasure.

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