While the procedures of Rose Weekend have changed over the decades, our appreciation for roses as hard-working landscape shrub has remained constant. Before the mid-1970s, when shifts in the industry re-centered commercial rose growing in California, rose weekend actually began in October. In those days, growers in Tyler would wait until October to cut back their field-grown shrubs, typically a two- to three- year crop. Ralph Pinkus, North Haven Garden’s founder, along with NHG’s rosarian, would travel to Tyler to collect the blossoms to have on display in the store as a living example from which customers could choose. Orders were placed, the bare-root canes were brought in, and the shrubs were grown out here in ‘cans’ (which in those early years were actual recycled food cans). Customers returned in March to pick up their shrubs, which were then ready to plant out in the garden.
While we no longer gather blossoms in the field for fall selection, the tradition of growing our collection of bare-root roses here at NHG remains strong. While guests at NHG are selecting trees and holiday greenery after Thanksgiving, the first of the roses begins arriving for potting, continuing into January. Rose Weekend is now a fixture of the first full weekend in March each year, and serves as a happy reminder that spring is about to arrive.