If you are used to buying plants at garden centers, then a catalog talking about shipping you "bare-root" plants by mail might leave you scratching your head. But the definition of this term is surprisingly straightforward (and not indecent at all, unless you blush at the thought of naked roots!).
Bare-root plants are shipped with no soil "clothing" their roots. It can be a somewhat shocking concept for someone accustomed to shopping at garden centers or nurseries, where you usually buy plants growing in pots or six-packs, or else (in the case of trees) balled-and-burlapped. And you may wonder if shipping a plant with no soil on its roots is harmful to the plant.
The fact is, not just any plant can be shipped bare-root. But certain plants -- for example, rose bushes -- can survive this method of transport in a sort of dormancy. But do not push your luck! Planting bare-root plants as soon as possible after they have arrived by mail is recommended. And if you cannot plant immediately, at least place the roots in water.