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US: Amid pandemic gardening, Oregon nurseries carry coveted roses brand

Many people developed a love of gardening during the pandemic, but the recent interest in beautifying backyards has become a bit of a thorn in the side for Oregon nurseries and plant wholesalers. They can’t keep up with the demand, especially for the very popular David Austin roses. 

Cornell Farm in Southwest Portland is one of only 30 garden centers in the U.S. that received a supply of the coveted flowers this year. 

“This year, all the preorders, I think they’re almost all picked up,” said Deby Barnhart, co-owner of Cornell Farm. “We still have some roses here and we’ll see, I’m sure they’re going to go very fast because we always sell out.” 

Barnhart said when the pandemic hit in 2020, so many people decided to work on home improvement projects – including their landscaping and gardens. She said plants, trees and shrubs started selling like crazy. 

With David Austin roses, the demand has been so high that in 2021, the breeder had to limit the supply they made available to wholesale growers like Cornell Farm. Barnhart said their reputation as a good grower is what made them eligible to receive a batch of the roses. 

Barnhart said the David Austin roses have taken the U.S. by storm. They’re ramous for their flower form, fragrance, and the fact that they bloom multiple times a year. The roses are bred in Shropshire, England and grown in the U.S. 

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