As I write this on our farm in the upstate of South Carolina, a chilly January rain is falling outside. I can see the drops coming off the eaves of the house from the window behind my desk. The trees are silhouetted against the gray skies and I know the roses, while sleeping, are grateful for the rain.

On my desk are some of the new rose catalogues featuring a brilliant tapestry of blooms and teases of spring to come. A day like this a dangerous one to open those catalogues because all those roses look just a bit brighter on a chilly, slate hued January day.

Some gardeners are concerned about mail order roses - but they shouldn't be. I've purchased roses this way for years and in fact, for ten years ran my own mail order rose nursery. The selection you get via mail order cannot be beat and the good ones out there have outstanding quality and customer service. I've recommended a few in the past and in case you missed them here are some links to those posts.

Heirloom Roses

Vintage Gardens

In this post I am going to introduce you to another of my favorites.  Chamblee's Rose Nursery in Tyler, TX.

Currently owned and operated by Mark Chamblee, this family owned business was established in 1953 and has been in continuous operation ever since. Quite an achievement on its own! They offer over 300 different varieties of roses and continually rotate new ones in and out on a regular basis. Mark has a keen eye for finding interesting new varieties and throughly tests them himself before adding them to list of Chamblee offerings.

All the roses offered by Chamblee's Rose Nursery are own-root roses. Their minimum size is one-gallon and they also offer some in larger sizes. This means you are getting a very well established plant that will quickly take off when planted in your garden.

Pay particular attention to the Earth Kind Roses. Earth Kind Roses are tested in no spray, no irrigate (after the first year) conditions and only those that make the cut get the Earth Kind designation. If you are new to roses, or unsure  which have great disease resistance this is a great place to start.

If you are a fan of David Austin Roses and prefer them on their own roots, Chamblee's a great source for these. Additional collections include Kordes, Biltmore, Knockout, Drift and Dr. Griffith Buck. Mark offers a great selection of the old Tea roses, which in my opinion are some of the best roses around for Southern gardens.

There is a very good reason Chamblee's Rose Nursery has been around for close to sixty years. I suggest you give them a try and you will quickly learn why!

Happy Roseing

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