Tacoma Home and Garden Show notes

Sustainable Rose Growing – Variety selection is the key to success

Elena Williams – Master Consulting Rosarian

Evergreen Rosarian, my blog

American Rose Society rose.org

Regional: PNWdistrict.org

Local: tacomarosesociety.org

 

Location considerations: near coast, foothills, east of the Cascades

Soil composition

Sand, wind…
Soil pH 6.0-6.5

Compost and mulch

 

Sustainable generally means we want roses that are disease resistant

Resistant to what? Fungi – Green Cure organic fungicide

 

Black spot
Bottom up

 

Powdery mildew
top down

 

Downy mildew
top down

 

Botrytis

August dew on blooms

 

Roses with known disease resistance in my gardens

 

Knock Out -Radler

Kordes – Roses from Germany

‘Artistry’ HT

‘Dick Clark’ GR

‘Easy Does It’ FL

‘Francis Meilland’ HT light pink to white

‘Hot Cocoa’ FL

‘Sunshine Daydream’ GR light yellow

 

David Austin shrub roses: ‘Graham Thomas’ ‘Abraham Darby’

Old Garden Roses     before 1865
Roses respond to fertilizer

Water during PNW Drought months June, July, August

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Roses in the new garden

This project has been a real effort but now I can hardly wait for Spring! About 20are planted with room for about 10more. I have a list!

Mid summer miniature roses

I have had two flushes of booms and with the warm, dry weather, I have been watering potted  every day and in ground roses every other day.  I feel like a full-time gardener. Not a bad thing since that means I can deadhead at my leisure after the mid day sun. My ministure roses are putting on quite a show in spite of the near 80* F temps. Top pink rose is ‘Joy’. The Second photo is ‘Erin Alonso’ and bottom photo is ‘Jeanne LaJoie’. 

A new rose bed in progress! 

The big news is that I have been thinking about putting in a new rose bed for three years and finally took steps to make it happen! There are so many large roses I want to grow, but had no ground to plant so it was grass reduction time! As you can see by the grass in the photo, western Washington has a dry summer. The weather people are saying we have had no rain here for 36 days and counting. I water veggies and roses, not the grass. That is a common attitude of gardeners in my county. The rain will return in September and hang around for nine months, grass returns and needs mowing.

My action plan is to dig out the mature asparagus, now in the fern stage, then get four yards of good garden soil to mix with the existing very sandy, native soil. In early September, I expect to plant a few large roses currently in containers but most of the planting will be in March 2018.

Rose blooms at last! 

I think our growing season is four weeks behind normal this year. Spring has been a long time coming. First is ‘Louise Odier’ a fragrant old garden rose with repeat bloom. The second is ‘LaFrance’ from 1867. This rose has the designation as being the first Hybrid Tea rose. The third is a scene in my garden that gets ignored a lot because it is a mixed bed. 

Blind shoots on some roses

This has been one late rose growing season in Western Washington. Last year my first bloom was April 20, 2016 and this year we are at least three weeks past that date and my garden is seeing a lot of very tight buds and blind shoots. I went out during a brief dry period to capture a few images to help you understand. Paul Zimmerman wrote the following for Fine Gardening magazine: A blind shoot is a stem that grows and grows but a flower never appears at the end of it. There are a few reasons why this happens. The most common one is a late frost in spring that kills the tiny rose buds before they can fully form. Other causes can be lack of nutrients, shortage of light and tiny midges.

In my garden It could have been late frost or shortage of light this spring. We have broken many records for excess rainfall/lack of sunshine. The rose variety in the photos is ‘Whirlaway’.

Variety selection is the key to sustainable growing

If you choose a variety with known disease resistance, rather than being random or just selecting from what’s available for sale, you will have success. Local rose societies such as Seattle or Tacoma compile lists of recommended disease resistant roses. These lists will be available at my talk. Start with free, local information.  Remember that the first year is critical with keeping your plant watered during our June-August drought. Please take few extra reading minutes and read the article I wrote for the January/February West Sound Home and Garden.

Fungal disease on roses

Identify the problem with your roses

Before taking any action, be certain that you identify the insect or fungal disease and use the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to a pest free garden. If your roses do not have to be perfect, then you can tolerate a certain amount of insects. If you want exhibition quality roses, then you may have to rely on more chemical control.

Fungal diseases do not go away when no action is taken. Once a leaflet shows disease, it will not go back to the way it was before infection. You can begin by cutting off (not tearing) the infected parts of the bush. If you wait too long, the plant will naturally shed the leaves (defoliate) but in the interim, the fungi spores continue to multiply and blow around your yard.

Below is an example of blackspot

IMG_7496.jpg

Below is an example of Powdery Mildew

IMG_4091.jpg

Below are examples of the early infection of Botrytis, also called gray mold

img_8681

Sustainable rose growing

What is your tolerance for insect damage and fungal disease on roses?

img_2680-2

It is a personal question and the answer can change depending on the uncontrollable factor of weather or the amount of time you have to devote to roses or your personal philosophy of what is the right way for you to garden.

I prefer to not use insecticides in my garden because I have fruit trees and mason bees that I nurture for pollination of my fruit. When aphids come to visit my roses, I often see ladybugs working on them, but I often get my hose with a medium spray nozzle and blast aphids with water for a few days in a row. The aphids fall to the ground and since they cannot fly, most do not return. If they are not removed, aphids continue to reproduce and damage roses.

If we have a hot dry June and July and I suspect spider mites will be active. Again, get the hose out with a spray nozzle. Spraying water and a slight rubbing of the leaves, especially on the undersides will deter the spider mites. So the word “spray” is not a bad word in my garden. I spray water, I spray liquid seaweed, I have been known to spray chelated iron and products approved for organic gardening.

Fungal diseases can do a lot of damage is a relatively short period of time. Once you see the damage, you cannot return the foliage to perfect again. As soon as a fungal disease shows, it is best to trim off (not tear off) the disease and do what you can to stop it from spreading. Some roses are resistant to fungal disease by hybridization. That is why you may see one or two roses badly defoliated (in a public garden for example) while others in the area stay clean.

The photos are examples of the continuum of possibilities for your rose garden. The amount of time you have to spend in the garden may change from year to year. Do not get discouraged if pests and disease appear. Contact a local Consulting Rosarian for help.

Local help for roses

pH and rose growing

Roses will uptake maximum nutrients when the soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.5. This reading changes in different locations of the garden. Other factors that change pH include use of chemical fertilizer and when the pH is tested, before, during or after the rainy season. West of the Cascades, the native soil tends to be acidic. (East of the Cascades the soil is alkaline) My Kitsap garden beds have had readings on October 2, 2016 between ph 4.5, pH 5.0 and pH 6.2. I applied granulated lime according to directions on the bag after these readings. You may have heard that lime is a slow acting soil amendment. I waited three months, until late December, to find pH in all rose beds to be pH 6.3 and pH 6.6.

ph-nutrient-availability-copy

I did not think this chart would project very well in the Rainier Room and even if it were projected, it seems to me to be something to study to fully understand.