In The Rose Bed

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

Wild Roses…

The Wild Roses

By Stan V. (Stan the Roseman) Griep
Consulting Rosarian

Wild Roses tend to stir ones thoughts towards medieval times of Knights, Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses, as many of them date back well into our history. The botanical term for them is “Species Roses”, though this term does not conjure up the same emotions, it is the classification where you will find them listed or placed for sale in rose catalogs and at nurseries. Species roses are naturally growing shrubs that occur in nature with no help at all from man.  Species Roses are single bloomers with 5 petals, almost all of them are pink with a few whites and reds and a few that go towards the yellow coloration. They are all own root roses which means they grow upon their own root systems without any grafting as is done by man to help some of the modern roses grow well in varying climatic conditions. Species or wild roses are the roses are those from which all others we have today were bred, thus a special place they do hold in the mind and heart of any Rosarian.

Species or Wild Roses tend to thrive on neglect and tend to be exceptionally hardy. These tough roses will grow in just about any soils conditions, at least one of which is known to do very well in wet soils. These wonderful roses will produce beautiful rose hips that carry over into winter and provide food for the birds if left on the bushes.  When planting them in your rose beds, gardens or general landscape, do not crowd them in. Give them room to expand and grow into their natural states. Crowding them, like with other rosebushes, tends to cut down on air flow through and around the bushes which opens them up to disease problems. Since they are own root bushes they can die way down in the winter and what comes up from the root will still be the same wonderful rose. When deciding to add one or several of the Species Roses to your gardens, keep in mind that they do not bloom all season like many of the modern roses will. These roses will bloom in spring and early summer and then are done blooming as they begin setting those wonderful multi-use rose hips.  To obtain a rosebush that is very close to its wild rose beginnings, look for a rosebush aptly named “Nearly Wild”. She offers the same beauty, charm, low maintenance and toughness of a true wild rose but has the added magical kiss of repeat blooming.

Wild/Species rosebushes can be planted just like any other rosebush and will do best in areas where they get plenty of sun and the soils are well drained as a general rule. One variety that does well in wet ground is named Rosa palustris and is also known as the “Swamp Rose”. Once their root systems are established in their new homes, these tough rosebushes will thrive with a minimum of care.  Deadheading (removal of old blooms) them really is not necessary and will cut down or eliminate the wonderful rose hips they produce. They can be pruned a bit to maintain a desired shape, again be careful how much of this you do if you want those beautiful rose hips later! One of the wonderful wild roses found here in my home state of Colorado is named Rosa woodsii which grows to 3 or 4 feet tall. She has pretty pink fragrant blooms and is listed as a drought resistant rosebush, she can be found growing happily throughout the mountain west of the United States.

Part of the charm that species/wild roses carry is the common names that they have been given over their years of existence. Here are a few of those for you (the year listed is when the rose was first known in cultivation) [aka = also known as]:

Rosa banksiae lutea        –              aka Lady Banks Rose (1823)

*Rosa Carolina                  –              aka Pasture Rose (1826)

Rosa foetida bicolor        –             aka Austrian Copper (before 1590)

Rosa eglanteria            –         aka Sweetbriar or Shakespeare’s “Eglantine Rose(**1551)

Rosa setigera                   –              aka Prairie Rose (1810)

Rosa gallica officinalis     –         aka Apothecary Rose, Red Rose of Lancaster (before 1600)

Rosa hugonis                    –              aka Father Hugo, Golden Rose of China (1899)

Rosa pomifera                   –              aka Apple Rose (1771)

Rosa wichuraiana             –              aka Memorial Rose (1891)

Rosa nutkana                    –              aka Nootka Rose (1876)

Rosa woodsii                    –              aka Wood’s Wild Rose (1820)

{*Note: Rosa carolina is a native american variety.}

For more information on Species/wild roses check out the High Country Roses website at www.HighCountryRoses.com and take a look at the Species Roses they offer for sale. Some of them date back as far as 1551**!

“Bee” Careful what you Spray!!

I always tell folks at the rose classes I do to be sure to read the label over well on any pesticide before buying it. Also to be sure to read the label well again prior to mixing it and applying it to your roses or plants. I also highly recommend watering your roses and plants the day before application of any pesticide. A well watered rosebush or plant is far less likely to have a negative reaction to the application. All of this being said, I found an article about a study that is being done on the honey bee problems. Not just killing them but messing up their ability to find their ways back to the hive when they go out to collect pollen. Some information from that article, and others combined, is below. Sadly I have to admit I have used a couple of them in the past and that will cease immediately!! Read on below please;

Chemical Brand Names

“Linked to killing bees and causing them not to be able to get back to the hive.”

 Brand names of pesticides that contain Neonicotinoids include: Admire Pro, Allectus SC, Bayer Advanced, Coretect Tree & Shrub, Criterion, Hunter, Imidacloprid Granular, Lesco Bandit, Leverage, Lesco, Merit, Gaucho, Premise Granules, Prokoz Zenith, Quickbayt, Silvashield Forestry Tablets, Submerge, Touchstone, Trimax, Tops-MZ-Gaucho.

Other brand names include: Actara, Bonide, Platinum, Helix, Cruiser, Adage, Meridian, Centric, Flagship, Poncho, Titan, Clutch, Belay, Arena, Confidor, Merit, Admire, Ledgend, Pravado, Encore, Premise, Assail, Intruder, Adjust, Calypso, Turfthor, Dominion, Surrender, Bounty, Eliminator, Knockout, Scotts Professional Fertilizer, Ortho Bug B Gone, Ortho Bug B Gone Max, and the list goes on and on….

Go to the California Registration for all Neonicotinoids at this link below for a long list but perhaps not all the products being sold in the United States containing these chemicals:

http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/registration/reevaluation/chemicals/niclistofproducts.pdf

Never use a neonicotinoid pesticide on a blooming crop or on blooming weeds if honey bees are present.

The use of a neonicotinoid pesticide pre-bloom is also not advisable.

CHEMICALS TO AVOID

If you want to avoid these products look for these chemical names on the label:

 Acetamiprid

Clothianidin

Dinotefuran

Imidacloprid (by far the most common)

Nithizine

Thiacloprid

Thiamethoxam

Insecticides such as those listed below are said to be “Bee Safe” or “Bee Friendly”:  However, it is best to spray at dawn or dusk when the bees are Not active!

Spinosad (insecticide)

Pyrethrum (insecticide)

Neem oil (fungicide, insecticide)

Mavrik ( Tau-fluvalinate ) Dried residue is said to be non-toxic to Bees.

 Read the label well prior to purchase and prior to application!!!!

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.

Grades of Rosebushes

Grades of Rosebushes or the Rose Grading System

Per: The American Association of Nurserymen

 

Grade 1 (The Best Grade of Rose that you can buy.)
Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras must have three or more “strong canes”, two of which are at least 18 in. long. The canes should be well-spaced around the graft.

Floribundas meet the same standards, but the canes need only be 15 in. long.

Polyanthas must have four or more canes at least 12 in. long.

Climbers and ramblers must have three or more canes 24 in. long.

Note: “Strong canes” is not defined, but is generally accepted to mean canes which have attained their mature size in diameter. As a minimum, at least one cane must be at least 1/2 in. in diameter.

Grade 1 1/2
Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras must have two or more canes at least 15 in. long.

Floribundas must have two or more canes 14 in. long.

Climbers must have two or more canes 18 in. long.

Note: Polyanthas that do not meet Grade 1 standards are not graded.

Grade 2
All classes must have two or more canes 12 in. long.

**Note**: The above being said. The folks that mark the bagged roses have their own grading system. Their system consists of placing a number on the bag in most cases and probably does not even consider the above grading system. Buyer Beware! Know the system above and then compare to the grade they say the bush is! The Grade 2 roses I have tried just have never taken off well. If they did take off, they were not hardy or good performers and usually got “shovel pruned”.

Note the root system on the above rosebush illustration. This is what you should see on a good rosebush. If you do not have this good root system your rosebush will need considerably more time to get established and growing. Severely chopped root systems usually spell death for the rosebush and frustration for the rose loving gardener!! Also note the number of canes and their length in the illustration above.

Hello world!

Hello everyone! If you like gardening and happen to also Love Roses, then this is the place for you! I will be trying to add some of my photos to the site. Maybe an album if I can figure out how to do that?? At any rate, Welcome!!

Stan The Rose Man
Golden Celebration - Austin Shrub Rose - Photo by Stan V. Griep

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