Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs

David Johnson, president and general manager of Johnson Nursery Co., needed only a small sample of Spring Meadow Nursery’s At Last rose to know it was something he wanted to grow.

Johnson paid a visit to Spring Meadow Nursery with his wife when the rose was first introduced in 2016. While Johnson says he likes the look of the orange repeat-blooming rose, it was its strong fragrance that sold him.

“The fragrance was the selling point for me,” Johnson says. “All we saw was the little sample. The color is nice, I like the color, but it's the fragrance that really was the big, ‘Aha!’ moment for me.”

The Willard, N.C., nursery has been buying plants from Spring Meadow for more than 10 years. Since becoming a Gold Key Grower through Proven Winners in 2016, Johnson has been working very closely with Spring Meadow through visits to look at new products and discussions to know which products work best for the southern nursery.

“I enjoy working with them, I’m really impressed with their knowledge,” Johnson says. “They work very hard on bringing new plants to the market.”

Johnson Nursery started selling the rose in 2017 and gained attention by being one of the first retailers to carry it in the south.

While the easy production of the rose may not be much different from others in the market, Johnson says it’s still very unique because of its strong blooms and fragrance, and it has been a good marketing tool for the nursery.

“We market very heavily around this rose,” he says. “We’ve given it a lot of attention, and we were one of the first companies to have it in the south. I think that early on we got some attention from just having this rose.”

The nursery dedicated a promotional video to the At Last rose last June on their YouTube channel that emphasizes its attributes of being a disease-resistant, repeat-blooming and fragrant rose.

“It is a very strong blooming plant. It blooms early for us in the season and it also blooms well late in the season,” he says. “The bloom time is great, the growing time is good for us, [but it] really comes down to that fragrance. That's a very unique feature.”