You mean, I'm not the only one who buys sticks in a box? This clematis was packed the same way. My expectations were pretty low when I got it, but it turned out to be a nice climber.I think you are right! I got this rose from SAMS in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. It was in a box, bare root, and only a couple of dry sticks. I was amazed that it lived because after we brought it home, along with two others, I set the boxes under a tree and did all the planting on our deck. Skip ahead a few weeks...I noticed that the boxes had green shoots coming out of them with tiny leaves so I planted them right away. Can't believe I put it off for so long.