Old country roses, also commonly called heirloom, old or old world roses, are prized for their unique petal formations, rich flower colors, varied growth forms, fragrance, low maintenance requirements and rarity in the modern garden. Unlike modern hybridized roses, old roses lack the capacity for repeat bloom within a single season, but their other attributes more than compensate. Specialty rose breeders sell their high-quality plants via the Internet, select nurseries and through colorful and descriptive mail catalogs, making shopping for the plants and flower color choices rich entertainment in itself.
Buy your roses from reputable catalog or online sources that specialize in roses or, even more specifically, old world and heirloom roses. Experienced breeders often have extensive planting and growing advice in their catalogs and on their websites. They have a passion for roses that is evident, and they want yours to thrive after you receive them and get them in the ground.
Select and preorder your roses in the fall or winter for spring delivery and planting. Old country roses are shipped either bare root or in containers of varying sizes. Container roses can be purchased and planted later in spring and also in fall in mild climates. As a rule, however, spring planting after the last frost has passed is preferred. Most old rose breeders allow and even encourage advance preseason ordering to ensure your get the rose plants that you want at their peak health.
Shop for old roses at quality nurseries and garden centers. Although your selection will not be as wide as with catalog and Internet options, some common and popular old country roses can be found in brick-and-mortar retail shops. This can be a good place to start with buying old country roses if the plants look healthy and vigorous.