Roses in the Mountains

Friday, Jun. 25, 2004 – 7:11 p.m.

2004-06-25 7:11

Back to roses… The first weekend in June, I went to the mountains. The Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society was holding a Rose Exhibition at the NC Arboretum in Asheville. They had about 300 roses displayed with labels as well as a number of classes about roses., Paul Zimmerman from Ashdown Roses was there, giving his talk about roses as landscape plants and selling a some potted bushes. There was lots of interesting, but sometime conflicting, information and advice, but all in all, quite interesting. The talk about pruning was good and the speaker made some good points:

1) At Thanksgiving, cut back the long canes to keep the winter winds from rocking the bush and loosening the roots in the ground.

2) The time to do the major spring pruning is “when the forsythia blooms”

3) If you see deadwood, remove it… regardless of what time of year.

In another session, the speaker suggested being pretty ruthless when it came to pruning back diseased canes. She argued that a diseased cane would die back anyway, even if there is good wood and cane above it and actually take more of the cane with it. If you prune out the diseased cane, healthy nodes below should sprout. Of course, this assumes that there are other healthy canes on the plant. Between pruning out deadwood and diseased canes, I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Also at the rose exhibition was Limberlost Rose, a vendor of rose books that happens to be in Campobello, SC, about 2 miles or so from Ashdown Roses. I can’t help but wonder if there is something that links these two businesses, especially since one of the slides in Paul’s talk was of the Edberg house in California. It seems strange that both businesses would move from S. California at about the same time. Anyway, Limberlost Roses is a dangerous place. All those books on roses… makes my fingers twitch. Fortunately, most of the books that were displayed I knew I already had. There was a used book that was for sale for over $150 (it was published in 1915 or so and had chromolithograph plates in it.) I did pick up several currently in print books to add to my collection but what really made me drool was the book that Bob Edberg (the proprietor) is publishing. It is volume 1 of the Encyclopedia of Roses and contains laser facsimile reproductions of the 72 chromolithograph plates from a French rose journal (Journal Des Roses). This volume covers the first 6 years of the journal (jan 1877 thru dec 1882) and is the first volume of probably a 5 or 6 volume set. The price for THIS volume is $220+shipping/insurance (and tax, if you happen to live in SC). Only 250 copies will be produced. The prints are beautifully reproduced. Oh well, something for the wish list.

Mermaids on a Hillside

One of the other reasons for going to the mountains was to plant the two bushes of Mermaid on the hillside above the road on the new property. I forget whether I mentioned this earlier but last fall, my parents bought some property outside of Brevard. In April, I got two bushes of Mermaid at Sherando Roses. Although this rose is listed as limited to Zone 8, the Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society has Mermaid in its “No Spray” test garden at the Americian Red Cross center in Asheville and it has done quite well there. I stopped by there after leaving the Rose Exhibition on Saturday and have some photos of their bush.

Since the property has no water on it, I had filled three buckets with water and took them with me. I selected spots that are above what I might be mowed by the road maintenance crews and digging the holes was actually pretty easy. I had taken a bag of each: topsoil, cow manure, and pinebark mulch, with me to supplement the soil. The hardest part was working hauling everything up the steep hill side. Each got a bucket of water as it was being planted. Turns out I really didn’t need the third bucket of water (though it was useful to top off the other two buckets). I did, however, come away QUITE dirty (which I expected) so it was back up to Caesar’s Head to take shower before hitting the road for home. It turns out that I had left a book at the Rose Exhibition so I had to go back to get it on my way back home. This was actually fortuitous that I went back since I had won another rose book in their raffle. [grin]

I stopped by to see the new roses this past week (while in the mountains for a family reunion) and they look to be doing well. I didn’t even have to water them because they have been getting plenty of rain in the mountains the last couple of weeks.

Bugs, Weeds, and Fungi, Oh My!

Back in the garden, I have been trying to put some time in. It is Japanese Beetle season and they are having a field day with my roses. I have gone out a number of times with the jar of soapy water and each time I have “collected” over 100. [sigh] They have eaten many of the blossoms of a bunch of different roses as well as making leaves look like lace on a bunch of others. I have particularly noticed the “lace leaves” on the Rosa Mundi and Madame Hardy. These are not in bloom so they eat the leaves and I find a good number “camped out” on these bushes. They don’t seem to do the lace leaf stuff on the hybrid teas. Hmmmm… The bushes that seem the most “resistant” to them are the darker blooms (like Europeana) and the polyanthas like The Fairy.

Another plague in the garden is the black spot. It got a foothold and now I am trying to knock it back to a tolerable level. Two weeks ago, I sprayed with Banner Maxx and Mancozeb and then followed the spray advice from Rosemania. I followed that up with two more applications of Mancozeb (a contact fungicide) on Tuesday and Friday mornings of last week. On Friday I also added another systemic fungicide, Halt, which has the same active ingredient (thiophanate-methyl) as Cleary’s 3336. That was good for another week so I guess I get to spray again THIS weekend with the Banner Maxx again. I was looking this morning and I do see less black spot then before.

Two weeks ago I also did some major weeding. My objective was to weed the NEW bed and cut out a bunch of the dead wood that existed from the moving of Astor Perry’s roses. However, I did deadhead and de-beetle everything else as well. I still have some major weeding to go in the other beds but I did get all of the new bed weeded and mulch put down. That should help I think. When I was done, I had filled two trashcans full of weeds and prunings (dead wood, dead headed blossoms, and blackspot infected leaves). I do have a bunch more weeding to do however. One of the things I noticed was that the potted roses I had placed in the center diamond bed were not doing well among the wildflowers. I have a pretty vigorous batch of some vetch (I think) and that kind of overwhelmed everthing else. I pull some of that out and at least broke up the stuff around the pots and that has helped. I did pull one of the bushes out of the bed completely (Francis Dubriel) because it was looking so poor but having done that, it is not currently being watered with the rest so I need to get it “back under the hose”.

I had picked a bunch of blooms to take with me to the mountains and I got lots of compliments on them. [grin] This morning, I went out and deadheaded and beetle-picked. The blooms on the Voodoo, King of Hearts, “Rielly” (lavender rescued rose), Glowing Peace, French Lace, and Double Delight had been decimated. Peace has some blossoms coming but who knows if they will last. At this point, there is not very much color in the garden.

Enough for now …

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