I went to a class on rose pruning yesterday at Berkeley Hort, just to refresh my memory of how to go at it before I actually let myself loose on my roses. But the most interesting insider's tip I took away from the class was this: If you're looking to buy a lot of roses this year, you may run into some trouble. It seems that last year's bankruptcies of Jackson & Perkins and some other important rose growers have left roses in short supply throughout the country. And even the David Austin roses will be scarce because nurseries are balking at the high prices and shipping costs and ordering fewer, if any at all.
So if you have big plans for a rose garden or on the hunt for a very particular variety, you may need to work closely (and early in the year) with your local nursery to make sure your needs will be met and expect prices to be higher. I'm not saying we're on the verge of a rose bubble, but keep in mind that in seventeenth century Holland, people paid thousands for a single tulip bulb. In other words, gardeners don't have a history of tolerating plant shortages with their sanity intact. I'm just saying.