Thursday, July 3, 2014

All's Well that Ends Well: A Rose Update

Sometimes things seem much worse than they actually are. In February I posted my grand plan to battle blackspot in my roses organically.  I'd noticed a few blotchy leaves in 2012 but by early summer 2013, my roses were so covered in spots my garden looked like a warning pamphlet for smallpox. I knew I'd have to prune them drastically to help solve the problem and potentially eliminate a few.

At first I was afraid I was petrified
I kept thinking I could never live without them by my side


Westerland and Night Owl climbing roses in late spring 2013 before the black spot plague

But then I spent so many nights
 thinking how they did me wrong, I grew strong
and I learned how to get along 

When Graham Thomas came out in May, I was hoping my problems were over. But life's rarely that simple, is it? Another rose has bit the dust, ripped from its happy spot and dumped in the trash. I should be angry but I'm not. I've decided my garden needs to be more Darwinian and less like a spa.


William Shakespeare 2000 (red) and Jude the Obscure (yellow) in better days. Jude is still in the garden but William went in the trash.

And now you're back from dormancy
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your leaf
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I'd known for just one second you'd be back to bother me

David Austin's William Shakespeare 2000 is a goner. I should have known when I saw mosaic virus as well as black spot in its leaves in May that nothing good lie ahead. It's growth was weak and slow to develop and the organic fungicide I'd used had little effect. As soon as I pulled off new leaves, spotted ones replaced them. I sprayed, I encouraged, I held its little leaves and whispered sweet nothings. When nothing changed I kicked its ass out.


Early June 2014
 William (little blob in the middle) should have been as big as the yellow yarrow by June. A healthy but significantly smaller Night Owl grows along the fence.

Do you think I'd crumble? Do you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I! I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my love to give and all my life to live, I will survive


As for the other roses, they're healthy although much smaller than they were last year after being pruned so drastically. The fungicide (Organocide) and organic foliage sprays (Actinovate and Serenade) are working well. This sprayer has a cup that pivots, allowing me to spray the bottom of the leaves, which is where the fungus lands first.

So William came out, blue mist flower went in and all's well that ended well.


Blue Mist flower (Eupatorium coelestinum) is a southeastern native that attracts pollinators. It self-seeds everywhere in my garden but I don't mind.


65 comments:

  1. As a fellow Darwinian gardener, I approve of the way in which your garden is *evolving* ! :)

    ps - Love your sense of humor, as always :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Darwin would feel right at home in my garden. I've kicked all the divas and drama queens out. :o)

      Delete
    2. mine weren't kicked ... they quietly faded off into the sunset. Trimmed back until the stump could be easily discarded.

      Delete
  2. All's well that ends well...that's for sure! Your bouquets up there are stunning friend! You kicked him out but man I don't miss him one bit as your garden always looks so full and strong! And I really like how your sprayer has a cup on the end of it like that...I would really like to purchase one for when I have to get the undersides of my leaves for white flies. Did you buy that online??? Best wishes with the rest of the roses. Most of my gardening pals here in Chicago lost their plants after our horrible winter. Any recommendations for an easy care stunner?? I have a spot right when you walk up my walk that is primarily sun for my front garden and I was thinking roses. Happy weekend to you! You crack me up friend! Nicole xo

    ReplyDelete
  3. Click on the word sprayer and it will take you to Amazon where I bought it. It's an awesome little tool! I think I'm the last person to recommend a rose anymore. I'd go for a salvia or even a dwarf shrub over a rose. Would a dwarf abelia or weigela look good in that spot? I thought I'd miss him but I don't, until I start thinking about those gorgeous roses. But he was such a baby. No whiners in my garden!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post on roses! I refuse to do anything like spraying or fertilizing any more -- I've simply planted my cutting roses in a bed where they aren't seen too much and planted four o'clocks between them, so that after they're defoliated and ugly in July, they're somewhat camouflaged by the four o'clocks, which are fairly large plants. Plus I've read that their flowers are poisonous to Japanese beetles (Mwa-ha-ha evil laugh...). I've also noticed that shrub roses like Lovely Fairy and The Fawn seem to hold up better. (I can't live without my Golden Celebration near my front door, however, as its scent is so delicious that it's worth a few bitten leaves.) I don't seem to have much blot spot around here though, perhaps because I live on a windy hill (which brings its own set of problems, like sideways trees...). But Will Shakespeare has never amounted to much in my garden either, so it's probably just not suited for us. I look forward to seeing more photos of your lovely roses and other flowers! -Beth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My roses are the bane of my garden. Big frustrated sigh.... I love them but they torture me. Because I live in a hot/humid climate, blackspot spreads like wildfire. However, I still have 6 that are doing well: Peggy Martin, Jude the Obscure, Sceptre d'Isle, Westerland, Abraham Darby, and Night Owl. I may give Will another try in a different spot because apparently, I am a sadist.

      Delete
  5. Wow... amazing... Beautiful roses! I love your flowerful garden, so colorful, so lovely. This season only a few variety of flower plants are bearing their flower. So, my garden looks so 'empty'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My garden always looks empty in the winter. Actually, it looks dead and I have to remind myself it's just dormant.

      Delete
  6. Thats gardening, always an opportunity when something does not work. I really like your display vases, they look very stylish. I am told before there were restrictions on the pollution from factories and cars, there was very little black spot as the sulphur in the air kept it at bay, since then I have seen black spot as a positive sign of healthy air quality and just clear up and dispose of the fallen leaves and feed with chicken manure. Jude the Obscure is a really lovely rose too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, in that case the air in my garden last year was so pure I could have bottled it and made a fortune. I still have Jude and he's chugging along quite well. He's just small. I pull the leaves off but haven't tried chicken manure. How does that help?

      Delete
  7. Roses are such beautiful flowers and I admire those that put the effort into them but with my limited space I didn't want to deal with what you do so only keep a couple of the easy Roses. Those vases of flowers are beautiful.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The spraying is a hassle but the idea of a rose-free garden is just too much so I drag myself out there and get it done. My favorite vases are always old jars. :o)

      Delete
  8. Oh Tammy, so sorry to hear about your roses, I was holding out hope that they would have survived the onslaught of black spot, but alas.
    You being the eternal optimist, you have already moved on......chosen different plants to fill the vacated spots and everything is okay again in the world....good for you.
    I like the sprayer attachment with the tilting cup....I think I may have to get myself one of those.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sprayer is pretty awesome! I thought I'd be sad to see Will go, but it was a relief. That spot needs some blue and the mist flowers will be more than willing to oblige.

      Delete
  9. Interesting and hilarious post about your rose problems. Don't worry, no need to throw them out unless they are already dead. Shakespeare is not my best rose too, indeed black spot on this rose here too, but despite that it is growing stronger each year and the problem is less than before, I keep hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do miss those big red roses. I may try to find another spot for him but have all summer to think about it. I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

      Delete
  10. Hi Tammy! We all have our cross to bear. Here black spot is not a big problem but "rose slugs", the caterpillar stage of a kind of of sawflies, cause a lot of damage. They do not kill the plants but the leaves turn brown as all the green part is eaten. I have seen chickadees eating these caterpillars but they would need to eat a lot more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have those, too!! The birds don't eat nearly enough of them. I squish them every time I see one.

      Delete
  11. Fingers crossed. No black spot here, though I have yellow leave on Tess do the d'Urbevilles. Hopefully your treatment will work. A garden without roses is a sad sight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your climate is too arid for blackspot. It thrives in humidity, which we have plenty of. I'll never be without roses. I just love them too much.

      Delete
    2. I think your environment is too arid for roses. It thrives in humidity, which we have plenty of. But I'll never be without roses. I just love them too much.

      Delete
  12. Haven't experienced black spot but as you may remember I lost one rose to rosette disease. Three out of my four roses had quite a bit of dieback during the winter but they have returned. I agree with your approach - you have to be ruthless in the garden, pull out the ones that are sickly and want coddling and try something new.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do remember your rosette disease and am always on the lookout for it. My Westerland had quite a bit of severe die back but it came back fighting. Considering it was pruned by about 95%, I'm surprised it came back at all. I'm a tough love gardener. No divas or wimps allowed!

      Delete
  13. I love how cheery you are about losing these gorgeous roses, I'm afraid I stamp my foot and holler!!! That song....lol....it's running through my head on a loop now.
    Each year some things do badly don't they, I have only recently started growing roses so feel a sense of dread reading all about fungus!
    A wonderful post, as always!!!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Life goes on and things are rarely as bad as we imagine them to be. The blue mist flowers were choking some of my asters so it was a relief to pull them out and use them to fill my empty spot.

      Delete
  14. Oh dear.
    Maybe David Austin will bring out a William Shakespeare 2014 v2 (improved).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish he would. I miss those flowers already. I just need them on a tougher rose.

      Delete
  15. It's hard not to fall prey to a pretty face but you made the right decision!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so, too. Strength of character always mattered more to me than looks, anyway.

      Delete
  16. In my Bethesda garden, I had very good luck with the Rugosa rose Therese Bugnet and also David Austin's Golden Celebrations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may give those a try. Thanks for the suggestions. :o)

      Delete
  17. Dear Casa ... I am so sorry William broke up with you (kicking his ass out was the right thing to do .. after such behavior !)
    But ? .. I have William and so fa he has behaved .. I just know with the heat and humidity that is to come that good behavior will probably change .. BIG sigh ! .. that is the price we pay for loving these "guys" ? .. love that sprayer you have !
    The cup device is a great idea .... wish I had one ... but then again I have a William so I better stop at that ! winkvwink!!
    Joy : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The little pivoting cup on the sprayer is fabulous because I could never get to the bottom of the leaves. I may tuck William into a pot and try again because he's one of my favorites. But then again, I may not. Just for the record, I dumped William and have already replaced him with my carefree blue mist flower. Ha! Take that, you lily-livered scoundrel!

      Delete
  18. Hi Tammy, looks like trials and tribulations with roses continue, things seem to be getting better though. I'm not sure how I'd be able to hold out nursing a sick rose, they're my favourite plants, but I don't have the time to mollycoddle them through if they're not well and need intensive care. It's a shame Graham Thomas didn't thrive as it is a lovely rose and smells wonderful when it heats up, ours is going OK at the moment and will hopefully stay that way, touch wood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. William just looked so pathetic, it was easy to pull him. Plus, I have two other roses in the same bed that would be affected by his fungus. If I didn't pull him, I would have just made my blackspot problems greater than they needed to be. My other roses are doing well, which is comforting. I could never be roseless. That would just be too much.

      Delete
  19. Hi Tammy, kudos to you for getting rid of blackspot plagued roses! I think in the long run you will be way happier without them. I find organic gardening is all about finding rose (and other plant-) varieties that are healthy in the climate that you garden in - and it should be possible. In my climate I have hardly any problems with blackspot, but much more with powdery mildew. In the beginning I thought I had to live with it, but 100 or so roses later, I found out that one rose can be completely healthy and another one a powdery mildew magnet under the same growing conditions. Alas, so rose after rose I am getting rid of the sickly ones. That is not so easy for me, since I seem to get very attached to my roses, but seems to be a necessary step to a much nicer garden. There are two roses though that I like very much ('Moonstone' and 'The Prince') that I consider to start spraying with an organic fungicide. But that is very much against my no spray - garden philosophy. So the decision is still up in the air. Wishing you a nice rest of the 4th of July weekend!
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my climate, I have to spray. I'll never be able to get rid of the blackspot completely, but as long as I can minimize it, I'll be ok. I still have 6 roses that are quite healthy. I just love how incredibly full and fragrant William is. Sigh...

      Delete
  20. I'm sorry for the plagues you have endured in your garden! I was panicked when I noticed rose virus on my Abraham Darby, but a friend said her parents have ancient roses with virus that are plenty healthy - apparently the virus doesn't always weaken the plants too badly. But with the blackspot, ugh. I am dealing with botrytis on my tree peonies and the organic spray I tried hasn't fixed the problem. Of course they were the most expensive plants in my garden, except for trees. Not sure what I'm going to do there. Just keep letting whole branches die at once? Gardening can be such a challenge sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was shocked and frustrated to see the mosaic virus. I was hoping William would bounce back, but he flopped instead. I just refuse to use any of the commercial Bayer/Bonide rose care products because they're full of the neonics that are killing pollinators. Here are 2 excellent websites with info on botrytis:

      http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/diseases/fungal-spots/botrytis-blight-of-peony.aspx
      and
      http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/factsheets/botrytisblightpeony.pdf

      Delete
  21. At the side of our house I've discovered several roses in distress from neglect, overcrowding and blackspot. No idea what they are except they look like tea roses. I'll have to do something, I wish I had your fortitude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prune them hard and clean up the bed around them to remove all diseased/old foliage. Give them a bunch of compost and they'll probably bounce back just fine. You'll need to pull out whatever is struggling the most to open up the area to increased air circulation. Focus on the whole and just do what needs to be done.

      Delete
  22. Quite a few of my roses have strange things going on with their leaves, others refuse to grow - why are roses so much trouble - yet we keep on planting them in the hope that one day, maybe, they will reach perfection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are sucked in by how beautiful they are. But the longer I garden, the more fearless I become. Last year I saw how one sick rose could bring down a whole garden and I refuse to deal with that again. The blue mist flower I put in William's spot is thriving so I feel satisfied about the decision. But it took me a several weeks to fully admit I had to pull him out. I was hoping for a miracle. :o)

      Delete
  23. Good call! If they don't respond then they have to go the journey ! Taxi for Mr shakespeare ! The old adage about the right plant for the right place is so true. We waste a lot of time nurturing unhappy plants into staying alive, when maybe something else would be happily romping away. saying that I have a garden full of roses and spend an unhealthy amount of time poking about with them, and pandering to their every need. Maybe I should practise what I preach !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once I saw that Will had a virus and a fungal disease, he was too far gone and just had to go. I was frustrated that he didn't turn out to be as wonderful as I was hoping, but the blue mist flower attracts pollinators, is super easy to grow, and is a cheerful, carefree native. I've become a bit ruthless in culling plants that aren't happy. I'll do what I can to find the right spot for them and will transplant them several times but diseased leaves are a one-way trip to the trash bin.

      Delete
  24. Tammy, roses often die of different causes, of diseases, frost or drought. I lose my roses every winter when the weather gets wet and then frosty, the roses stay in ice shell. Every spring I buy some new roses to change the died ones. I love your sprayer - I would have one like yours. Will find it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gardening is all about letting go and moving forward. when one plant dies, there is always another one to replace it. :o)

      Delete
  25. Every plant removed means--another shopping opportunity. Sorry to hear WS2K didn't work for you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Dang. Roses are soooo gorgeous but need so much coddling--well, depending on the Rose. Good choice with the Mistflower. I tried to start Blue Mistflower from seed last fall, but none of it materialized. Looks like I need to start with a plant instead of seeds. I like what you say about having a more Darwinian garden. I'm moving more in that direction, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have so much of it, I pull it like a weed. But I love it and so do the pollinators. Plus, it's super easy to grow.

      Delete
  27. Oh dear such disrespect for the Bard! But I agree it is no use persevering with roses that get disfigured by blackspot. I' ve tried Madame Issac Periere twice because of her fabulous perfume. But as any woman could tell her there is no use smelling wonderful if you have a dirty face and gawky , misshapen legs all covered in black spots. I cut her back when she looks too bad and she grows back quite clean. I wonder if black spot is a disease of early summer. Now I try to keep to roses that don' t succomb. Rosa Gallica ' Charles de Mills' is one. Sumptuous flowers and never a smidgeon of black spot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering how many insults Shakespeare slid into his plays, I think he would have taken it well. :o) This is my second attempt to grow this rose. The first plant was a robust bloomer that ended up receiving too much shade from trees that grew quicker than I thought they would. But once I moved him to a sunnier spot, he was miserable and died. I put the new rose in last summer and it was caught up in the blackspot plague. Frustration....!!

      Delete
  28. Sometimes a garden needs a little tough love and it sounds like that's just what you gave it. I always feel a little guilty giving a plant the boot, but sometimes it's necessary. I had one yellow rose that was always covered in Japanese Beetles last summer. (They prefer yellow roses for some unknown reason.) I was relieved to see this yellow rose had passed on over the winter. Now I can dig it up and chuck it into the compost heap guilt free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find myself giving my garden a lot of of tough love. Weak willed wimps are out the door and anything with the potential to be a vector for disease gets the ax. Darwin would be proud.

      Delete
  29. Darn you, I am now humming that damn song. It won't leave. I give you a lot of credit for even tackling roses. I love them, but don't have the spine needed to keep them going. I am pretty much of a Darwinian on most subjects... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love them too much to give up on them for good. But the damn things test my patience, for sure!

      Delete
  30. Roses are so demanding I'm sorry you've had some of them get too diseased. I just wrote a piece for a rose company and told them what I learned years ago. The best fertilizer for roses is water. I am trying to keep my roses well watered so they don't need constant attention. Gardening can be very frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right about the water. Roses are healthier and happier when kept moist.

      Delete
  31. I'm a little Darwinian...lol. If it needs more then a light pruning, and some water, a dash of fertilizer, it's out of there. But then again in our rather extreme climate, nature will do the dirty work for me.

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  32. My humble opinion: David Austin roses were not meant for the southeastern U.S. They look good until May, then it's curtains. Blue mist flower may not be as pretty, but hey, it lives, and that's something.

    ReplyDelete
  33. That is good news! I'mglad you have a ssolution, even if some haven't made the grade. Enjoy the results from all your careful work.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am still lucky to escape black spot for now...William Baffin has been growing bigger and bigger and blooming profusely in my garden and through harsh winters....it is a real trooper.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I will have to look into those sprays you use. But I don't need them for roses. The two very old rose bushes that were here in the back yard when we moved in have not had any black spot. I don't know what kind of roses they are.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog! Feel free to comment on the posts or photos.