Kelp Meal Tea Tonic For Our Roses

Kelp Meal Tea Tonic For Rosebushes

Stan V. Griep
Consulting Rosarian
American Rose Society – Rocky Mountain District
Member: American Rose Society
                The Loveland Rose Society
                The Denver Rose Society

We have all seen and heard about the energy drinks on the market today, some are useful to help give us a needed pick-me-up. Others are not so good and can cause more harm than good. Well here is a pick-me-up tea tonic for our rosebushes. The nutrients list for kelp meal is a long one, seemingly jam packed in fact as we all know. The roses really do love their kelp meal as they respond so nicely to it when they get a feeding of it. Without further ado here is how I make my kelp meal tea rose booster tea tonic;

I bought a water or drink tumbler with a wide mouth opening on it and screw on lid with no straw or straw hole in it for the soaking process. I add cool tap water to the tumbler so that it is about 1/3 full. A cup and ¼ of Down To Earth Kelp Meal is then added to the tumbler (you can use more kelp meal if so desired depending on the size of your tumbler as well as your kelp meal of choice).  Add another 1/3 of cool tap water, screw on the lid tightly and shake the contents up well. Open the tumbler up and add enough cool tap water to nearly fill the tumbler. I leave just a bit of air space to allow for the next good shake up of the contents. Screw the lid back on and shake the contents up very well again. The shaking allows all of the dry kelp meal to get well mixed in with the water. Sit the tumbler in a cool place for at least an hour. Shake the tumbler contents at least once more at some point during the hour sitting time.

Once the kelp meal has become well re-hydrated it is ready for the next step in the process. I like to add a little Super Thrive to the tea as well just for a bit more nutrients but you do not have to do so.  The items you will need to get ready to make up the tea are: a clean five gallon bucket or buckets depending upon how much tea you need to make for feeding all of your roses and plants, a smaller clean painters bucket, a tablespoon measuring spoon, a large water dipper with long handle, a bottle of Super Thrive and a watering wand hooked up to the garden hose and water spicket.

Move all of the items out to the garden mixing area and enough tap water to each of the five gallon buckets such that they are only about 1/3 full. Dump the rehydrated kelp meal in the tumbler out into the small painters bucket, this will require more than one shake to get most of it out. There will still be some liquid left in with the kelp meal, pour this liquid off into the waiting five gallon bucket of water or split it equally among all of the five gallon buckets of water using a finger or two to hold back the kelp meal. Now take the tablespoon measuring spoon and add a good tablespoon of the rehydrated kelp meal per gallon to each five gallon bucket. Thus 5 tablespoons of the rehydrated kelp meal to each bucket, stir it up well in the bucket with the watering wand or a long stick. Now add 1 tablespoon of Super Thrive to each of the five gallon buckets of water and kelp meal. Stir it up again. Place the watering end of the watering wand into the five gallon bucket of kelp meal and super thrive mix and fill the bucket(s) up to within an inch or so of the top of the bucket(s). Move the watering wand around in opposing directions as you fill the bucket(s) with more water from the bottom up. This helps get the kelp meal mixed well into the water in the buckets. Once the bucket(s) are full of water our tea is ready to be served to our awaiting rosebushes.  Can you hear them all saying, “Me first please, me first!!”   (smile)

Carry the bucket or buckets of the tea mix to strategic areas of easy access to your rosebush areas. Using the long handled big water dipper, stir the contents of the bucket and draw out a nice dipper full of the tea. Give each rosebush about four dippers of the tea depending upon the amount your dipper holds. My dipper holds 32 ounces of liquid so it works out to a gallon of the tea per large rosebush. For the miniature rose bushes I use 2 dippers of the tea per bush, which is the same amount I give to our other flowering plants such as the clematis and sun roses. Keep stirring the tea with the dipper too prior to each dipping out of the tea.

Watering the rosebushes lightly the day before this kelp tea feeding is recommended, as the light watering helps disperse the tea down into the soils better where the awaiting feeder roots can take it up nicely.

Make some tea up for other plants and shrubs with any of the remaining rehydrated kelp meal in the small painters bucket or apply the kelp into other garden areas and mix it into the soils well. Do not try to save any of the left over rehydrated kelp meal as it can go bad rather quickly and it is best to start with a fresh batch each time. I rinse out my tumbler container and the small painters bucket into one of the final five gallon buckets of the tea mix so that the containers are nice and clean for the next use.

The rosebushes and other plants will love the boost of nutrients, especially if given to them right after a big bloom cycle. It also makes for a great early Spring wake-up call boost too.

Betty Boop – Floribunda Rose Stan V. Griep SVG Photography-2016
Betty Boop – Floribunda Rose
Stan V. Griep
SVG Photography-2016

Ever Heard Of Rose Pickers Disease?

Rose Pickers Disease Is Very Real

By Stan V. (Stan the Rose Man) Griep
American Rose Society Certified Consulting Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
Denver Rose Society Member

I had never heard of Rose Pickers Disease or the Sporothrix schenckii fungus until about 8 years ago now. Had someone told me about Rose Pickers Disease before then I would have thought they were joking with me due to me being a Rosarian. However the disease and the fungus became very real to me when my dear mother fell into a climbing rosebush in her back yard. She got several puncture wounds from that fall and a few nasty cuts. Some thorns had also broken off in her skin. We cleaned her up well removing the thorns and using hydrogen peroxide on the wounds, we thought we had done a good and thorough job. We soon learned we had not! My mother started to develop these hard bumps under the skin that were itchy and then painful, eventually breaking open to drain. I will spare you the rest of the nasty details. We took her to the doctor and then to a specialist that was also a surgeon. The entire ordeal went on for nearly two years with antibiotic drugs, other drugs and surgeries to remove the nodules. Had we taken her to the doctor as soon as possible, be it against her will, perhaps we could have saved her the nasty experience but also perhaps not. The first doctors were perplexed by what they saw and the specialist surgeon told me that he was going to write a medical paper on the entire situation. That is when it really hit me that what we were dealing with was extremely serious.

Researching the disease and the fungus that causes it again for this article did give me the chills I must admit….. Here is some medical information on it for you;

Sporotrichosis is a chronic infection characterized by nodular lesions of the subcutaneous tissue and the adjacent lymphatics that make pus, digest the tissue and then drain. Some of the diseases that may be caused by Sporothrix are:

 lymphocutaneous infection: localized lymphocutaneou sporotrichosis
 Osteoarticular sporotrichosis – the bones and joints may become infected
 Keratitis – the eye(s) and adjacent areas may become infected
 Systemic infection – sometimes the central nervous system is invaded as well
 Pulmanary sporotrichoisis, this is caused by the inhalation of the conidia (fungal spores). Seen in about 25% of the cases.

Sporothrix typically lives as an organism that obtains nutrients from dead organic matter such as wood, decaying vegetation (such as rose thorns), Sphagnum moss, animal feces and in the soil. Sporothrix is especially abundant in areas where Sphagnum moss is abundant, such as in central Wisconsin. It is only rarely transmitted to humans, however when the Sphagnum moss is collected and used for floral arrangements and such uses where it is handled a lot the right conditions are provided for the transmission in some manner. For further medically related information please take a look at this link >

This article on “Rose Pickers Disease” brings to the forefront the need for safety while we work out in our gardens. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that emergency rooms treat more than 400,000 garden tool related accidents each year. Taking proper care of our hands and arms while working in the garden is extremely important to helping prevent accidents. Wearing those heavy and hot gloves while pruning may feel like a huge inconvenience, they truly do provide us with some great protection. There are rose pruning gloves on the market these days that are not so heavy really and have protecting sleeves on them that extend up the arm for good protection. The thorn on a rose stem or cane provides an excellent device for transmitting infectious material into your skin, as is seen with Rose Pickers Disease from the fungus Sporothrix schenckii.

Should you be poked, scratched or pricked by rose thorns, and you will be if you grow roses for any length of time, take care of the wound properly and right away. If the poke, scratch or prick draws blood, it is definitely deep enough to cause problems, even if it did not draw blood it could still lead to problems. Do not make the mistake of thinking that treatment of the wound can wait while you finish your pruning or other garden chores. I understand that it is an inconvenience to drop everything, go treat a “boo-boo” as we heard them called as children, then go back to work. However it truly is very important, if nothing else do it for this old rose man.
Perhaps it would be worth your while to create a little medical station of your own for the garden. Take a small plastic paint bucket and add some hydrogen peroxide, individually wrapped gauze pads, wound cleaning wipes, tweezers, Bactine, Band-Aids, eye-wash drops and whatever else you think appropriate in the bucket. Take your own little Garden Medical Station with you each time you go out to work in the garden, then treating a wound does not require travel to the house to take care of it. Keep an eye on the wound, even if you think you took care of things properly at the time. If it becomes reddish, swollen or more painful get yourself in to see your doctor!

Enjoy gardening in a safe and thoughtful manner, after all our garden friends need our shadow there!

Fun & Interesting Information About Roses On-Line – I

Searching on-line for interesting information on roses is fun to do. Here are a few things I found on my recent search, compiled here for your enjoyment as well;

Little Known Facts About Roses
The Rose is the symbol of beauty and loveliness worldwide. An integral part of our culture, they have been associated with paintings, music, and literature since the dawn of history. Admired, appreciated, and linked with all kinds of human activities, it would be difficult to locate an individual who could not recognize a rose. This best known and most loved of all cultivated plants; it is truly the queen of all flowers. Roses are the standard of perfection by which all other flowers are judged, and they are blooming big business. Here are a few interesting facts about the flower and the business of roses few people are aware of;
1. A single rose cost $3.75 in 1878. When adjusted for today’s inflationary rate, that same rose would cost $93. Today the average cost of a dozen long stemmed red roses delivered to impress or show appreciation to that special someone cost around $80.
2. 60% of the 1.5 billion cut roses imported and sold in the United States come from Colombia South America. Thirty years ago, only 7% of all cut roses sold in the U.S. were imported.
3. There are more than 15,000 different varieties of cultivated rose species worldwide. The Barbara Streisand, a lavender hybrid tea with a pink blush, was selected by Ms. Streisand after she auditioned 3 hybrids for 2 years in her own garden which is filled with 1200 roses.
4. Among the 50 U.S. states; Georgia (The Cherokee Rose), Iowa (Wild Prairie Rose), New York (Rose), Oklahoma (Oklahoma Rose) and North Dakota (Wild Prairie Rose) list the rose as their state flower.
5. There are rules that must be honored when naming newly cultivated species of roses. The International Cultivator Registration Authority limits new rose species name to a maximum of 30 letters and 10 syllables.
6. The ultimate flower gift would be a dozen long stemmed rose variety named for the receiver. Wouldn’t you agree? The minimum price a nursery charges to create and name a rose variety specifically is $15,000. Here is a novel gift idea for the person that has everything.
7. The most expensive privately developed rose specie is the Juliet. An English breeder spent 15 years and $5.5 million dollars to cultivate this apricot colored variety. Juliet was the first of David Austin’s Cut Roses.
8. After nearly 18 years of research, the Blue rose has been successfully cultivated. This was accomplished by inserting a pansy gene into a mauve rose. The Japanese firm Suntory achieved what had long been thought to be impossible. This new blue rose variety, named Applause, is expected to arrive in U.S. flower shops soon. I has been estimated the blue rose will generate over $305 million in annual revenue.
9. Around Valentine’s Day, the average price of roses increases 42%, on average. This past Valentine’s Day, 214 million roses were sold in the United States. Nearly 60% of those the roses that were sold that day were red.
The rose’s majestic form, gorgeous coloring, and delightful fragrance is incomparable. Even her thorns command respect. Is it any wonder why it consistently maintains the pinnacle in the flower business as the most beloved and requested flower gift. “A rose by any other name would it smell as sweet?”
A Rose by Any Name: The Little-Known Lore and Deep-Rooted History of Rose Names by Douglas Brenner and Stephen Scanniello
Product name SUNTORY blue rose APPLAUSE
Reference price Approx. 2,000–3,000 yen each
• Not subject to MSRP pricing.
• No suggested retail price has been set.
• Any prices given here do not prevent retailers from setting their own shelf prices.
Available November 3, 2009
Sales area Greater Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba Prefectures)
Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area (Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto Prefectures)
Aichi Prefecture

*NOTE*: All the photos of this supposed blue rose surely do look mauve in color to me. Not truly a blue rose.
More little known facts;
The first recorded use of rose as a name for a color was in English in 1382.
The various colors are:
Misty Rose
Tea Rose: Used mostly in interior design. It is popular, mostly by women, for bedroom painting.
Persian Pink: This color is well loved in Persia (Iran); so many shades are named after Persia. This color is very popular in women’s fashion.
Rose Pink
Brilliant Rose
Light Thulium Pink
Thulium Pink
Brink Pink
Dogwood Rose or Georgian Rose
Raspberry Rose
Rose Quartz
Rosy Brown
Old Rose
Rose Gold
Chestnut or Indian Red
Copper Rose
Rose Vale
Cordovan : a rich medium dark shade of rose.
Rose Taupe
Rosewood: named after the Rosewood
Rose Ebony

This is a part List Of Roses Named After People;
Among the individuals who have had roses named after them are the following:
Alex Nordstrom
Arlene Francis
Audrey Hepburn
Barbara Bush
Barbara Mandrel
Barbara Streisand
Belmonte Rose : named for Francesca Elbrick di Belmonte, daughter of Prince Belmonte
Betty White
Billy Graham
Bing Crosby
Bob Hope
Brenda Lee
Caroline de Monaco named for Princess Caroline
Cary Grant
Charlotte Rampling
Chris Evert
Christian Dior
Christopher Marlowe
Crown Princess Mary named for Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark
Claudia Carindale
Daniel Hicks
David Austin
Diana, Princess of Wales named for Diana, Princess of Wales
Dolly Parton
Duchess of Cornwall named for Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Elizabeth Taylor
Freddie Mercury
George Burns
Gina Lollobrigida
Ginger Rogers
Harry Wheatcroft
Henry Hudson
Heidi Klum
Ingrid Berman
James Mason
Jacqueline du Pre
Jeanne d’ Arc
Judy Garland
Lady Diana
Liv Tyler
Lucille Ball
Lynn Anderson
Maria Callas
Mary Queen of Scots
Marilyn Monroe
Minnie Pearl
Nancy Regan
Princess de Monaco named for Princess Grace
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Nefertiti named for Nefertiti
Reba McEntire
Rosie O’Donnell
Royal William (rose) named for prince William of Wales
William Shakespeare
The List of Roses Named After People is extensive and on-going….
Bastani, Persian rosewater ice cream is served between wafers as an ice cream sandwich. The color rose is popular as rose petals, vitamin C rich rose hips and sugar are mixed together in Iranian cuisine with various spices to make rose colored and flavored jams, sauces and syrups.
Rose history;
– the father of Botany Theophrastus (371-286 BC) first classified and identified plants. In his classic books Enquiry into plants and De Causis Plantarum (The causes of plants) he wrote about a “hundred-petaled rose” and called it centifolia (literally: hundred petals).

– Roman Emperor Nero liked to shower his guests with fresh rose petals. According to the legend, the dense rose-petal cloud nearly suffocated some of the guests.

– In the Middle Ages, it was customary for the wealthy to put rose petals and rose oil in their baths. Many noblewomen carried bouquets of fragrant flowers to cover body odors.

– The early Christians saw a correlation between the five petals of the Rosa sancta and the five wounds of Christ. The red rose stood for Christ’s blood, while the white rose for the Virgin Mary.

– It was in the 17th century that French explorer Samuel de Champlain brought the first cultivated roses to North America.
– The oldest garden rose is the Rosa Gallica Officinalis, the apothecary rose. The oldest garden rose classes include the Albas, Centifolias and Damasks.
– The first patent ever registered for a plant was a patent for a hybridized rose, which gave “ever-blooming” characteristics to the climbing rose. It was issued by the United States Patent Office on August 18th to Henry F. Bosenberg for his “Climbing or Trailing Rose”.

– The largest rose ever bred was a pink rose measuring approximately 33 inches in diameter. It was bred by Nikita K. Rulhoksoffski from San Onofre, California. The world’s largest rosebush is a white Lady Banksia located in Tombstone, Arizona. It’s original root came over from Scotland in 1885. From a single trunk, which is nearly six feet in diameter, it spreads over an arbor that covers over 8,00 square feet, enough to shelter a crowd of 150 people.

– The world’s oldest living rose is believed to be 1,000 years old. It grows on the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany and its presence is documented since A.D. 815. According to the legend, the rosebush symbolizes the prosperity of the city of Hildesheim; as long as it flourishes, Hildesheim will not decline. In 1945 allied bombers destroyed the cathedral, yet the bush survived. Its roots remained intact beneath the debris, and soon the bush was growing strong again.

– The largest private rose garden in the world is in Cavriglia, Italy, and holds over 7,500 different varieties of roses. More about the Cavriglia rose garden and other famous rose gardens.

– The only rose known to have only four petals is Rosa Sericea, brought to Europe form the Himalayas at the end of the nineteenth century.

– The oldest representation of a rose is a fresco in the palace of Minos in Cnossos, Crete. It depicts a five-petaled pink rose dates to about 1450 B.C.

– At first, rose oil was added to medicine to mask their bitter taste. It was only afterwards that the medicinal virtues of rose oil were discovered.

– The first rose to leave the earth was as miniature rose called “Overnight Scentsation” that had been cultivated by IFF researcher Dr. Braja Mookherjee for experiments in space. The rose needed to be small to fit inside Astroculture, a plant growth chamber measuring 17 by 9 by 21 inch enclosure and developed for the middeck of the space shuttle to provides plants with the appropriate temperature, humidity, light, and nutrients during spaceflight. The purpose was to measure how low-gravity would influence the rose’s smell.

– The buds of the smallest rose, “Si”, are the size of a grain of rice.

Roses Introduced in the 1950’s (short list); (From my friends at Rouqe Valley Roses.)

Hybrid Tea
Hybrid Tea

Careless Love
Hybrid Tea
Chrysler Imperial
Hybrid Tea
Dame de Coeur
Hybrid Tea
Eden Rose
Hybrid Tea
Gail Borden
Hybrid Tea

Helen Traubel
Hybrid Tea
Lady Elgin
Hybrid Tea
Lila Vidri
Hybrid Tea

Mme. Louis Laperriere
Hybrid Tea
Modern Times
Hybrid Tea
Hybrid Tea
Oregon Centennial
Hybrid Tea
Queen Elizabeth
Hybrid Tea
Rose Gaujard
Hybrid Tea
Silver Lining
Hybrid Tea
Sterling Silver
Hybrid Tea

Sutter’s Gold
Hybrid Tea
Hybrid Tea
Tom Breneman
Hybrid Tea
Hybrid Tea

Centenaire de Lourdes (Mrs Jones; Delge)

Dairy Maid

Iceberg (Schneewittchen)

Improved Cecile Brunner


Lavender Pinocchio
Little Darling
Ma Perkins


Rosemary Rose

Bit O’ Sunshine


Hydration and Feeding of Roses

Hydration and Feeding of Roses

By Stan V. Griep

Native Colorado Rosarian 40+ years 

Consulting Rosarian Rocky Mountain Area

The Rose Society of South Australia – Honorary Member

Award Winning Rose & Floral Photographer


Two very important aspects to growing good, happy and healthy roses are feeding them and watering them well.


First we will take a quick look at watering the roses, also know as hydrating them. Some roses, such as Tuscan Sun, will let you know right away when they need a drink. Other roses will tolerate things for a long while and then, seemingly all at once, look sick and droopy. The key to the watering function appears to be like many other things in our lives, as it has to do with some good record or time keeping. Making note of the last time the roses were watered on a calendar takes little time and is a great help to our already overloaded memory banks! Some folks use a deep watering device to water their roses, some have things all set up on automatic watering systems and others, like me, water their roses with a watering wand. When I water my roses I simply fill the “banquet bowls” I have formed around each bush until the water starts to puddle a bit, then move on to the next bush. I go back to the rose I just watered, watering it until the puddling starts a second time for each rosebush. By allowing the first watering to soak in well before the second amount of water is applied the water is going deeply into the soils around each rosebush. In times of drought and as a water conserving measure on my part, I will often conduct some moisture meter tests around the rose bushes when I think it may be time to water them again. I push the water meter probe down all the way into the soils surrounding each rose in three different locations to see what moisture readings I get. These readings will give me a good indication of whether I really need to water the rosebushes then or if the watering will wait a few days. By conducting the moisture meter tests I am making sure the rosebushes have good moisture down deeply by their root systems yet not watering when the need really is not there. Such a method conserves the precious water as well as keeps the rosebushes well hydrated.


Some important items to consider in the area of watering our roses are;


  1. Be sure your rosebushes are well watered/hydrated before the application of any pesticide.
  2. When the temperatures are in the 90s to 100s keep a close eye on watering your roses. It takes no time at all for heat stress to set in. Watering daily may be in order.
  3. Watering your rosebushes by hand in some manner gives you a golden opportunity to look over each one well. Finding an insect, fungus or other problem early is priceless when gaining control over the problem.
  4. Mulch around your roses to help hold in the very important moisture.




Feeding our rosebushes enough, truly giving them all the nutrients they need, is of great importance if we want healthy rosebushes that produce a bounty of wonderful blooms. There are just about as many rose foods or fertilizers available these days as someone could think up a name for. Some of the rose foods or fertilizers are organic and will not only have food for the rosebushes in them but also materials that enrich the soils. Enriching the soils as well as taking good care of the microorganisms that dwell therein is a very good thing indeed! Healthy well-balanced soils allow the root systems to take up all the required nutrients better, thus creating a happier, healthier more disease resistant overall rosebush.


Most chemical rose foods/fertilizers have what is needed for the rosebush but need a little help with the materials to enrich and build the soils. Using some alfalfa meal along with the food/fertilizer of choice is a great way to give both the rosebushes and the soils some important nutrients. Rotating the type of chemical food/fertilizer used is recommended as well. Continually using the same food/fertilizer, or one with exactly the same makeup, can lead to a build-up of unwanted salts in the soils. (Being sure that you maintain good drainage around your roses will help prevent such salts build-up as well.) Along with adding the alfalfa meal, at the time of first (spring) feeding or my last feeding of the season (no later than August 15th in my area), I will add some super phosphate and potash. Generally, in my opinion, you want to look for a rose food/fertilizer that has a well-balanced NPK rating no matter what brand or type it may be. In the water-soluble types I have used Miracle Gro for Roses, Miracle Gro All Purpose and Peters All Purpose. Any of them for that are specifically for roses or for all-purpose use will work well as long as the N-P- K ratios are not too out of balance. (Remember: N is for Up, P is for Down and K is for All-Around.) Making the decision as to which product to use becomes one of personal choice. When you find something that works well for you, stick with it. The main thing is to keep the rosebushes well fed and healthy so that they have plenty of stamina to make it through the winter/dormant season here in Colorado (or in your location) as well as blooming nicely for us during the growing season. A good rose food here locally is one called Mile Hi Rose Food, it is getting to be a bit costly so perhaps trade off on applications with another rose food of choice, such as; Gro-Rich Rose and Perennial Food. Both are available through most area greenhouses or nurseries here in Northern Colorado and both have alfalfa meal in them. I have personally had very good results using the Gro-Rich Rose and Perennial Food. A bit of Kelp Meal seems to help with their overall performance too along with what is already in the rose foods I mentioned.


I tend to stay away from the “systemic” rose foods/fertilizers. Not because they do not have all the nutrients needed for healthy roses. The chemicals in the systemic type foods/fertilizers cause me some concern. I have stated in other articles that I do not want to drive away any of the worms or micro-organisms in the soils around about my rosebushes, as they are a major component of what make the soils environment suitable for my roses to thrive. Since I have no well-founded proof that these products will not have a negative impact on my rosebushes soils environment, I see no reason to take the risk of using them, unless perhaps overrun with an insect problem that cannot be controlled by any other means.


In our busy lives we want something simple, quick and easy to do most chores. Thus there is more time for enjoyment and less time having to work with or nurture our roses and other plants. Some parts of that thought process are okay while other parts carry some very real problems in the long run for our rose beds and gardens, such as; spotting a problem at its earliest stages when it is far easier to gain control over. So as not to get too far onto a soapbox I will let you make up your own mind on the products used.

Just be careful with the products you choose to use, spend some time not only reading the “how to apply” portion of the label but the “entire” label, preferably before buying the product.

You might just be amazed at what you were about to use on your wonderful rosebushes or place into the “root zone” environment of your rosebushes and flowers homes.


Remember to water your rosebushes well either in the early evening or morning before application of any pesticide and I highly recommend doing so before feeding time as well. Water your rosebushes well again after feeding, they will love you for it.


The time spent tending to your roses and other gardens will bring forth at least equal rewards. Even if you call it “working in the garden”, it is work that brings forth many a blessing as well.


Enjoy your roses and your gardens!





Sexy Rexy - Floribunda Rose - Photo By: Stan V.Griep
Sexy Rexy – Floribunda Rose – Photo By: Stan V.Griep

Photographing Roses & Flowers

Photographing Roses & Flowers
By Stan V. Griep
Consulting Rosarian and Award Winning Floral Photographer
Colorado Native Rosarian 40+ Years Experience

I am truly an amateur photographer however I have held my own in various photography contests, shows and related events, when it comes to first place ribbons and awards. In this article I will be sharing some of my thoughts and processes of taking pictures of the roses and flowers bloom smiles which I love.

 My favorite time to take pictures of roses & flowers is in the morning, before noon and before the heat of the day. The blooms seem refreshed after the cooler temperatures of the evening and perhaps even a bit of overnight rain that has provided a cool drink of water for the rosebushes and plants.  The lighting of the morning sun seems best as well as it does not create bright spots upon the blooms that cause the texture of the petals to be lost. This is especially true on the red and white blooms as they seem to either bleed out their color worse, in the case of red blooms, or create a flash effect upon the petals in the case of white and sometimes yellow blooms.

I had attended some rose shows and local fairs to see what bloom styles were winning at those events, paying particular attention to the blooms form and color variations. Looking at those winning blooms more closely, while moving around the blooms, allowed me to see the full beauty of each bloom. While a bloom may be beautiful when first viewed, it may be even more beautiful from another angle. Some blooms that have attracted my attention from across the room have actually been quite stunning when viewed at another totally different angle. Finding that stunning or optimum view is what I call the “recognition factor”, this factor is not something automatic, instead it is something learned. At many of the shows or events the same judges that inspect and judge the roses or flowers blooms are the ones inspecting and judging the photography portions of the events. Seeing what perhaps they saw in the various blooms is of the utmost importance to having not only a stunning photograph but also a winning photograph. Speaking to the various judges about what they saw in the various blooms is also priceless in helping one learn about what others find particularly special about a certain bloom or bouquet of blooms. A given angle of view for a bloom may be beautiful to me initially but may not be as beautiful or “eye-catching” as another angle of view, I know this statement is a bit repetitious however it is very important.  Once the “recognition factor“ has been learned, the photographer can spot the best setting or angle of view for a truly outstanding photo of the subject bloom or blooms readily.

Learning of particular likes and dislikes of various judges is good information to know as that too will make a huge difference in how your photos do in a show or competition.  For instance I ran into a judge at one show that went totally off the wall ballistic over some fairies that had been captured as part of a photo of some beautiful roses. The fairy figurines were added into the photo as a bit of whimsy and got many a compliment from those attending the show. The judge however, seemed to dislike the fairies in those photos intensely and let it be well known I might add! If you know such a judge is going to be judging the photography portion of a particular show, well, you definitely want to steer clear of having any such whimsical additions in your photos!

At a recent show I was not aware of whom the actual judges would be and had one photo I had entered that had a photo over the top of a beautiful spray of roses with a Garden Angel behind. Quite strikingly beautiful it was too I might add, as I had several comments as to its beauty prior to the shows judging and again afterwards. One of the judges that were doing the photography judging was the one that had the intense dislike for fairies….. The photo did manage to place second in its class, due mostly to another judge involved in the photography judging. I knew I was in trouble with that photograph having any chance at a first place ribbon upon seeing who the judges were. That too is a recognition factor but one of a totally different kind!  

When taking photos of roses and flowers there are not only various angles of view, lighting concerns and bloom forms to take into consideration. There is the background for the shot, the all important background is not to be taken lightly and most certainly not overlooked. A bloom set against its own plants rich foliage will usually make for a nice shot. However, a big old fly or grasshopper sitting on that foliage and looking straight at you on the foliage is not so good to have in the shot! Or perhaps one of those smiling little garden gnomes behind the bloom in the picture will be something to deal with.  In cases where the background is not so good I used either a 30” x 30” piece of black satiny material covered felt cloth or the same size piece of white felt covered with a white satiny material. These cloth backgrounds give me a great background for the subject bloom or blooms so that I do not have to deal with a less than desirable background. You do have to learn how to deal with the lighting effects upon those backgrounds as well though. The white background can reflect so much light that it will totally wash out the subject of your shot.  The black background can create a bit of color bounce to the shot that will change the color of the subject adding a bit of blue to it. The natural texture of the material backgrounds can cause problems as well if the sunlight hits those textures at just the wrong angle during a given photo shoot. The texture lines of the fabric will appear behind the subject bloom or blooms and be very distracting, trying to eliminate them even with good photo editing software is a time consuming process.

Once a bloom or some blooms are located for your photo shoot, take several shots at various angles. Change the exposure settings as well while taking the several shots.  Move around the bloom or blooms circularly as well as up and down. It can be truly amazing to see the changes in the bloom or blooms as you move around them. There are times when a particular shot causes one to pause and enjoy that view. That pause is usually strongly connected to the “recognition factor” I mentioned earlier.  You will indeed know exactly what I mean once you have experienced it.

One last thing about photographing roses and flowers, keep in mind that this is my personal opinion. There is not much of anything we can do to make a bloom or blooms more beautiful than the God given beauty they already hold. So while it is fun at times to play around with our photos and create different effects on their color or form, the result is not everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak. When entering such manipulated photography in a show or competition, the photographer really needs to know the background of likes and dislikes of the judges that are doing the judging in order to have any hopes of doing well in the show or competition. 

Use your camera a lot, take several photos from various angles, positions and with various settings. Perhaps make notes when having photo shoots as to what settings were used and time of day. Once you figure out what gives you the captures you are looking for the recognition factor truly kicks in.

With digital cameras it is so easy to take a bunch of shots and then sort them out later to find those true gems in the group.  Remember also to breathe and keep as relaxed as possible as this goes a long way to preventing those shot blurring camera shakes and movements.

Capture the beauty you behold and don’t be afraid to share it. Others may not appreciate it as you do but some will truly enjoy your work creating a smile on their faces and yours. Those are the moments that make it all so worthwhile.

Arrival of the Aphids!

Arrival of the Aphids!
By Stan V. Griep
Colorado Native Rosarian 40+ years experience with roses
Consulting Rosarian

While out taking a walk around my rose beds on Saturday,
May 28th, I noticed some shining specks on the leaves of Mary Rose.
This of course prompted a closer look to see what it was. Well there they were,
masses of little green aphids climbing all over themselves, from just under
several buds and on down the stems as if playing king of the mountain! The
first thought that entered my mind was, “How dare they invade my roses and
especially my wonderful Mary Rose!” This attack will not go unchallenged, I
thought to myself as well. Grabbing the hose and my water nozzle I sprayed the
foliage down with a good stiff spray, sending those little green menaces on the
water slide ride of their wee little lives! They might as well enjoy such rides
as they will get one daily until they decide to leave for parts unknown! While
this water spray technique often works with light to moderate attacks, there
are times when it simply does not. If it does not work within two or three
days, it is best to try other means of getting rid of them. They do tend to
draw in others if left to their own desires and a major attack will be even
more frustrating to deal with.

My first chemical weapon choice in this battle is Bug-B-Gon Max. It can be obtained in a handy hose end sprayer, if so desired, or it can be obtained as a concentrate that one can mix themselves. The last choice is called Sevin and considered extreme for aphids by some, as it kills a lot of bugs including the good guy bugs. The Bug-B-Gon Max will also kill some of the good guy bugs. Oh no! Now what do I do……?????

So you see it is not any easy choice to use any chemical weapon in an effort to rid your gardens and beloved plants of these pests. Using them can, at times, actually bring about further and season long problems with various insect attacks. Their use does impact the natural order of things in the garden/rose bed. Ridding theses areas of all bugs will also leave them without the natural protectors for some time. Yes the natural protectors will
usually return in time but seem to return far more slowly than the enemies of our plants. The old battle of good versus evil being played out in our very own gardens & rose beds! And here we stand, as the garden keeper, holding the smoking gun that may well have caused the vicious cycle to rage on and probably just fired a shot that helps the bad guys more than the good guys…..  Sad but true it is, even in our gardens there are serious choices to be made. I personally do not like to use any insecticides on my roses or other plants. I fully realize the impacts of “going to war” in this manner. Yet I also realize the frustration of seeing my hard work destroyed and not being able to enjoy the beautiful blooms I have waited a seemingly endless winter season to see! It truly is a matter of personal choice for the individual gardener. As gardeners, whether we consider ourselves
organic gardeners and defenders of the earth upon which we dwell, or gardeners that try to be as organic as we can be, it still comes down to our own choices.
No Gardener or Rosarian should look down upon others for the choices they make under such circumstances.

My honest recommendation is to start off, when under any bug attacks, with the method that has the least overall impact. Work your way to those things which carry more serious impacts slowly. By slowly I mean using insecticides that carry less overall impact first and so on. Do what you need to do to protect the gardens and rose beds you work hard on, do
not allow yourself to be overcome with guilt for having done so. It was, after all things are considered, truly you doing the best you could do to protect and preserve that which you love.

For some further study, read information available on Integrated Pest Management, there is a lot of good information available. The system you use related to IPM is really just helping you make careful choices.

Enjoy your gardens and rose beds, just remember to take
the time to stop and think things through before taking action.

Garden Of The Heart

Garden Of The Heart…….


Within the living heart of man

There is a garden fair

Conforming to the Master Plan

Of God, Who placed it there:

A wonderland of untilled fields

With strange enchanted soil

Which promises exciting yields

For one with will to toil.


To fill this garden, each should choose

The plants that prove their worth

By bearing blooms which man can use

To beautify the earth….

Like LOVE and FAITH that lives and grows

When set in fertile sod,

And KINDNESS, each a priceless rose

First hybridized by God.


If winds of fate spread seeds of GREED

Throughout the garden spot

And these should sprout, ‘tis time to weed,

To cultivate the plot,

And then to feed with logic, lest

Such parasites despoil,

For thistles only grow their best

In starved neglected soil!


So toil, that through the open gate

More doubtful men may see

How lovely part of God’s Estate –

One human heart – can be,

That they would build a counterpart

Based on a fact WE know ….

When roses bloom within the heart,

No weed has room to grow!


          Loyd  E. Smoke



Making of Rose Water

                                                                          How to make Rose Water:

Collect 4 cups of fragrant rose petals, usually dark red and mauve roses have the richest fragrance. Be sure that NO Pesticides have been used upon the roses that are to be used for this!

*        Place 2 cups of rose petals in a 3-quart saucepan.                          

    Reserve the remaining 2 cups of rose petals in a large heatproof bowl.


*        Boil approximately 2 quarts of water. Pour enough boiling water over petals to cover them in the saucepan.


*        Cover pan tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Let steep for 15 minutes. Do Not Heat!


*        Place a fine-mesh strainer over the heatproof bowl with the reserved fresh rose petals in it.

    Pour liquid from saucepan through a fine-mesh strainer onto the fresh rose petals.

    Cover bowl. Discard the first batch of steeped rose petals.


*        After contents of bowl have cooled, pour contents of bowl through strainer again and into a glass jar. Use this rose water immediately or

          refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.















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