A Better Solution to Mildew and Blackspot on Roses

There are gardeners in bits of the country who find that the air is always so dry and the sun so bright that any rose they plant will thrive and not be touched by any fungal disease. But not all of us can live where the air is dry.  After three years of living in the mountains of Arizona, where the relative humidity hovers around 20 percent through most of the growing season, going up to about 60 percent in July and August, I know that even here it is important to be effective at battling fungal disease. Continue reading

History of Roses: Part II

New Forms, New Colors

As the ninteenth century wore to a close, the destiny of roses had been changing for some time thanks to new forms and colors. One of the early tea roses, Safrano, was blessed with an unusually elegant form in bud. It is the high-centered bud that we associate today with the most photogenic of the cutting roses. Most tea roses have the same form in bud. And most of the hybrid tea roses released into commerce today have that too. For more than two decades around the middle of the ninteenth century tea roses remained distinct from hybrid perpetual roses – partly because interbreeding them is fraught with difficulties. In any case, the breeding of new tea roses would continue along a parallel path through the first several decades of the twentieth century.

La France, the first hybrid tea rose.

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Deer. Dear Me!

Every day of spring 2011 I went into the garden soon after the sun peeked over the south mountains.  I would water all the new roses, if they needed it.  And I would pull up weeds here and there.  The previous year had proven to be a measured success, and I had recently added a few dozen roses.  By mid May they had all leafed out.  They were growing long, tender new canes.  And they were very active in making rose buds.  The buds swelled and several opened.  I prepared myself for a generous spring display.

The third day in June there was a full moon.  I came out the next morning to find that every single rose bud in the garden had been nibbled away.  And that much of the new foliage on my newest roses was gone, too. I was crushed.  Not just for the loss of a spring’s worth of rose blossoms, but for the setback the youngest roses had suffered.  Continue reading

Frost Bytes: Autumn 2012

Frost lingers in the forecast:  light this time, but sure to get heavier soon.  The roses are still green with leaves, but they’ve stopped making new shoots.  And bambi has stopped nibbling them. Soon cold weather will complete the job bambi abandoned to move south for the winter.

The fall orders are already in at the trendy mail-order rose nurseries, even before some others got their catalogues on line for the season. Knowing that we can expand the boundary of the rose garden by placing a new bed  here or there, we dream of new roses blooming in the garden. Continue reading