preserving Vintage Gardens' website?

avalon2007March 10, 2013

Question about the Vintage Garden website: Will the website remain on the net?

I really enjoy the site, and feel that it is a vital source of info on OGRs. Hopefully, the Friends of Vintage Gardens will keep the website up.

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From The Vintage email sent out recently:
"Close our website on December 31st, 2013. "

That means it will go away.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:16AM
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That will be another loss. Clicking on their website is so much easier than running for a book. Life isn't easy, I guess.


Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:26AM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I'm hoping that when the collection is taken over, and (hopefully) plants will eventually be offered for sale again, the new caretakers will keep Vintage Gardens' information alive. I understand that the site would have to be modified, but I'm hoping it can be preserved as a reference-only source of information.



    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:31PM
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alameda/zone 8

I am starting now to copy the lists of the roses to my computer - so I can at least remember what was there. Probably wont all of them as in Texas, I cant grow the gallicas, albas, etc. Just the HTs, floribundas, teas, noisetts, etc. that I would want to know about. I think photos can probably be copied, but will ask about that. They would be a beautiful reference even if the roses will now exist only in memory. I would hope the ones on Helpmefind that dont have photos could get the ones from Vintage uploaded. Also wish donations could be made yearly to keep the website in play. This is a huge, huge lost - I feel like I am grieving for a much loved friend who has died.

I am planning - dont know when it will get done - to do a Vintage Memorial Garden with the very special roses I got from them all in one place where they wont get mixed in with other roses....sort of a formal garden with birdbath in the middle and know where I want to build it - it would be an area where I can baby these roses and try to preserve as many as I can. Also want to build a small, lovely little playhouse for my grandchildren there as a backdrop, have a photo of one I want to build - but want to find old interesting windows that my carpenter can other words, a large project that will take much work! I have him doing other projects around the farm, so this will definitely insure job security for him! But I think it would be lovely and a great place to house my precious Vintage roses......

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:37PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I hadn't thought about that aspect of it, but it's another tragedy. If the Website must come down, maybe the data could be transferred elsewhere?

I suspect we could house at least some of it at the Heritage Roses Group website.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:55PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

As a last resort, a copy of it should go to the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville Maryland as should a copy of their catalog.

The NAL has a special collections person who would be the contact for the copy. They also have a collection of nursery catalogs where it needs to be.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 2:20PM
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cemeteryrose(USDA 9/Sunset 14)

Vintage's Book of Roses has most of the info that's on the website - limited photos, though.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 2:34PM
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The inevitable loss of the website became an immediate concern when I saw the title of Gregg's email informing us of the nursery's closing.

Another terrific (now long-gone) resource for information on which I relied heavily was Ashdown's Rose Library. Paul kept it available for quite a long while after the nursery closed. I'm sure the investment in time and resources necessary to maintain the on-line presence of the library just became too much.

The endless parade of losses the rose world is witnessing serves to underscore the vital importance of HelpMeFind and the services it provides. If you're not contributing to the support of HFM, PLEASE consider doing so. Annual membership will set you back a few pennies a day.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 3:41PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Perhaps the information can go to the (upcoming) Friends of Vintage Roses website.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:37AM
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The data belongs to Gregg/VG, so I suggest asking him how he wants to see it preserved, if at all.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Rec'd this email from G.Lowery:

We will be retiring the Vintage Gardens website at the end of 2013. I am hopeful that much of that information will become available on the website of The Friends of Vintage Roses which is currently under construction. It will be different, but many elements we can utilize as they are my own property, like the growth habit drawings.

Gregg Lowery
Vintage Gardens

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:44PM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

it would be relatively easy, if time consuming, to archive the website on another server, or simply add the information to HMF.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:02PM
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The wayback machine (ie Internet Archive) will have *some* content available...however, pictures and that sort of thing will disappear once erased from Vintage Gardens servers.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:49PM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

I certainly hope that in some way the website can be conserved on-line. Living in Italy, I've never been able to order from Vintage, but I refer constantly to their website ,using it much as I'd use HMF. I find the Vintage site in some ways more helpful than HMF,above all for it's extremely precious feature: the illustrations of the growth habits of the roses.Also precious is the colour descriptions. Colour is SO subjective, and SO dependent, in many cases, on weather, soil, climate, etc. The Vintage colour descriptions don't pretend to be "objective", but they have an internal consistency, if you know what I mean.That is to say, they provide you with the parameters of what they, subjectively, would define as "true red", "crimson", etc.I myself don't necessarily agree with their definitions all the time (for me,for example, Alexander Girault is definitely more a deep pink/cerise colour rather than a "true red") On HMF, instead, I don't know who exactly is defining the various colours,or how many people are doing the defining...I sure hope they will find a way to save the Vintage site as a reference -only thing!!! It is such a terrible shame that the nursery has to close; such a loss! So if we could at least still have the site... bart

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 4:20AM
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alameda/zone 8

I wonder if in the future, a website could be constructed where cuttings of these rare roses could be shared. Once the roses people are purchasing now, or have purchased in the past, are mature and growing well, cuttings could be shared, traded or sold. At least something like this could be available so that these roses could be spread around.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:18PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I'm with Bart. So much went into creating that database! I'd pay, to a
Have it as an "app," -- and that might help with preservation.

Alameda -- I agree. That's vital. Can't we do that, here?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:59PM
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Color descriptions on HMF are most often copied from the official ARS registration information for those registered. Otherwise, they are the best descriptions possible from the person(s) supplying the information from whatever sources available.

There is a seemingly little known feature built into the HMF database. The tab on each rose page called "Cuttings" is there for anyone growing any un patented, unprotected rose in the database to OFFER cuttings of the roses. It is also possible for users to REQUEST cuttings on the same tab. The list shows as "Want" and "Have" with a link to the site member's membership page so you can see who has and who wants the material.

Reinvent the wheel if you desire, but this resource has existed for years and can easily be put into use by anyone who uses the site and has their garden listed there.

My desire, once Vintage closes, is to archive their nursery list on HMF for historic reference, as I have for Theodosia B. Shepherd's Ventura by the Sea, Uncommon, Arena, Ashdown, Sequoia, Roses of Yesterday and Today and quite a few others. It is beneficial to be able to refer to what has been commercially available here in helping to identify found or lost roses. For instance, when Ladyfingers' identity was suggested to be Manda's Triumph, we had to verify Manda's Triumph had been commercially available in the US around the time Ladyfingers was supposedly planted at Empire Mine State Park. Old catalogs and nursery lists aren't readily available to everyone, but archiving the information on HMF makes it easily viewable to anyone interested in looking at it.

Once the nursery is marked "closed", that information is hidden from view. There are a few database reporting issues requiring addressing before that great a quantity of unavailable varieties are so listed. Hopefully, HMF can accomplish the necessary changes before Vintage's closure so there will be no interruption in the availability of the information. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: HMF Nursery Archives

This post was edited by roseseek on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 4:38

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:17AM
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There is free software available to download the contents of an entire website. I'm not sure that it's legal, doesn't sound too cool.

Maybe someone could contact G. Lowery with the idea to have the VG data base available to the public for a small yearly fee...that's a good idea.

I think that we should be able exchange cuttings here on GardenWeb, on the Rose Propagation & Exchange Forum. HMF sounds like a good idea as well.

The folks here on the Antique Rose Forum appear to have purchased nearly all of VG's roses, and now comes the time for The Great Rose Exchange to occur! I'll do it, if other folks will.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:11AM
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It wouldn't take much for a web master to remove the commercial content of the web site (shopping cart, etc.) and rebrand the Vintage web site as a static archive and resource. I don't know how much VG pays for web hosting, but it is a responsibility and expense that should be shouldered by the new Friends organization. Vintage's collection is more than the roses themselves ... it is also the information that has been collected on that web site. I have the Vintage book of roses, thank goodness, if I need to use it for reference. Having the info on various cultivars listed by class, like the web site is arranged now, is VERY helpful.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I can talk to Gregg about this and my daughter is mistress of the website. There are some strange internal things about it(from before she took it over) that make changes difficult. It would take some money from the Friends also.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:32AM
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ms. violet grey

Can I still order their $15 catalog?
Is it a must- have?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:16PM
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I am a programmer and if Vintage does not mind, I can scrape the data directly from the website and host it somewhere. Scraping is by no means illegal, but I would rather not be tacky and ask first.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Mauvegirl, I would sure try to order it--it's a heck of a good resource. Big, fat 8.5x11" book with detailed descriptions, including growth habits, origin, bloom repeat, fragrance, etc.

Several full color sections displaying some blooms from each major group. Discussions re. the history of various rose groups.

One of the most complete, yet concise references for old roses & antique roses available. I loved my old catalog & wore it out--the new one is fantastic.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:37PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I'm pretty sure it could be hosted on the Heritage Roses Group website, too. But Gregg was not receptive to that idea, so I will not bug him.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:13PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

As others have said, it isn't just the roses, the concise definitions&history of the classes and their the growth habits. I have send more people to the VG site just to learn about the different kinds of roses, and the roses themselves become part of the teaching aid. I'd willing pay for an app, but having it as a static website or tacked on to HRF would be great for all the people who are and will be interested in roses.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:57PM
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ms. violet grey

I placed an order tonight on their website. Unsure if they are still actively receiving book orders. I received a generic email thanking me for my order.

Does anyone think there are many rose cultivars/name changes/discoveries of the information written in the book (since it was 2006)?

From the feedback on rose blogs, it sounds as if this the "holy grail" for those who cherish obscure modern & antique roses.

....searching for Lila Vidri, Intermezzo

This post was edited by mauvegirl8 on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 1:25

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:28AM
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gregglowery(z8/9 CA)

The concerns over the future of our website are quite understandable, and in reading through the comments and suggestions on this thread I think I've gotten some excellent ideas. I hope I can use some of these to forward the cause of keeping all of that information available.

There are some factors that no one else will know about why we must close down our website. The key element is that Vintage Gardens is a publicly owned corporation. Many of our customers think that I am the owner, or one of several, but in fact we are owned by shareholders. In order to protect all of the interests involved and to minimize liability the commercial site needs to shut down. Our database is interwoven with our sales system, so we are unable to shut down the appearance of selling roses and still keep the database going.

What is critical here is the saving of the data and getting it out to the world as soon as we can. That does require developing a searchable database, and The Friends of Vintage Roses have been looking for some time now for anyone who could help with that on a volunteer basis.

For the short term, the Friends have a plan to upload, by class all of the roses from the VG website, and from our own database inherited with the rose collection. Our first effort will be simply to upload, class by class the information about the rose classes which I wrote and have updated many times, and will update again with new insights and challenges to my own past thinking. Along with these will go the class growth habits and the drawings that I developed in 1998-99. Included will be new versions of these growth habit illustrations, a taste of which some of you have found on the blog I recently started as Curator of The Friends of Vintage Roses. It's called "3000 Roses and Counting..." With each class upload we will include a listing of the varieties. More details will need to wait for a searchable format. In the longer term we hope that the Friends will receive enough support to build a searchable database, allowing for the sort of interaction that now exists on the VG site. The development of that database could happen very quickly and we've actively been canvasing donors to help with this, though so far we have not found the money.

Kim raises a really good point, which is that the old site should somehow be archived least the data part of it. If anyone has some knowledge about how to do that, we would be very grateful for assistance. Keep in mind however that the sales links would all have to be disabled, and all pages that involve the commercial entity.

That old information is about to change to some degree. Though I do not expect that we will lose information that is valuable, there are too many references to "we" which refer to the old business, and so each description will be re-thought and re-written.

One element that has not existed in the VG website is the provenance of each rose. This does exist in the VG Book of Roses, and I hope to bring this into The Friends' web database.

Any attempt to pirate the information, however legal it may be, could be personally damaging to me, and I hope that folks will refrain from that, especially if they value this thing that I spent so long to create. I would be happy to work with anyone who has workable ideas for making an archived version of the VG website database.

I will soon be archiving Vintage Gardens' presence on HMF. Simutaneously The Friends of Vintage Roses will upload their database of roses which will number about 5000 entries. This is the list inherited by the nonprofit, and includes roses that are no longer in the collection, a thing that I believe many of you will find worthwhile, particularly from a historic perspective.

I am sorry that I have not been able to find the time to respond to the hundreds of emails I have received over the past year asking what will happen to our website. But, I've had a few things on my hands, and the next 10 weeks may grind me to a pulp. But, please believe that this is a top priority for me, because I know how important it is to so many people. First though, I have a few refunds to issue...

Gregg (Vintage Gardens)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:17AM
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Thank you Mr. Lowery for all the contributions you have made over the decades to OGR understanding and growth.
We are most grateful.
Due to your informative post, I now have an understanding of the complexity involved in preserving your data base. Hopefully preservation will be possible.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:39AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Great post Gregg!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:07PM
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Thanks, Gregg, for the detailed explanation. Clearly it is more complicated than I for one had understood.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:52PM
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