Until next time – Stop and smell the roses.
Rosalinda, The Rose Lady
The gardener does not love to talk,
He makes me keep the gravel walk;
and when he puts his tools away,
He locks the door and takes the key.
Away behind the currant row
Where no one else but cook may go,
Far in the plots, I see him dig,
Old and serious, brown and big.
He digs the flowers, green, red, and blue,
Nor wishes to be spoken to.
He digs the flowers and cuts the hay,
And never seems to want to play.
Silly gardener! summer goes,
And winter comes with pinching toes,
When in the garden bare and brown
You must lay your barrow down.
Well now, and while the summer stays,
To profit by these garden days,
O how much wiser you would be
To play at Indian wars with me!
By Robert Louis Stevenson
As I talk to more people about growing roses, I was amazed at most of the answers I got, “Roses are hard to grow. You have to spray constantly.” Spraying scares some people. Most people just want to grow roses without spraying those chemicals and that is the main reason “Knock Out” roses are so popular. We have to educate them that there are alternative to spraying and there are other easy roses besides Knock Out roses.
Years ago, I sprayed my roses every week. Then in 1999, I decided to stop spraying because I could not stand the smell of those chemicals to the point of closing all my windows after I sprayed the garden. I was not going for the Queen of the Rose Show at that time. I was more interested in rose arrangements and showing my garden at our annual garden tour. I need color in the garden and fragrant roses. I discovered Bayers 3-in-1 systemic would do the same job so I used that. Then Bayers stopped selling them in New York. The first year, I did not spray, the garden looked terrible. Some of the roses got defoliated completely by August. But I ignored it as I looked for other alternatives.
For starters, I discovered Gardens Alive, a purveyor of earth-friendly products. I started spreading beneficial nematodes on the edge of the lawn in the spring and fall. They killed the grubs which grow up into Japanese beetles. I got rid of the beetles. For aphids, there are some environment-friendly methods you can use. Ladybugs and lacewing larvae will eat aphids. I used ladybugs. One rose supplier I asked told me to just give them a good blast of water. A heavy thunderstorm will probably do a better job than any dose of chemical spray. Since aphids cannot fly, once you knock them off the plant, they will not be able to return.
Red spider mite is a relative of the true spider and only occurs in the late spring/early summers in very dry conditions. Once you get an infestation, it is very hard to control but the most important thing to remember is that a very fine spray must be used on the sprayer and the plant must be completely wet. An application of dormant oil in late winter will kill eggs wintering on the ground. The telltale sign of an infestation is the leaves appear to lack color and eventually fall off. The mites, which are very, very small, appear on the underside of the leaves and are reddish brown.
To take care of diseases like blackspot, I used Pyola from Gardens Alive. I also bought Serenade from Possum Landscape Supply in Charleston. I tried Roses Alive a couple of years ago and the roses look very healthy without spraying toxic chemicals. I don’t own a sprayer since the year 2000 until I won one at our picnic two years ago. It is still in the box, unopened. This year, I tried Spray n Grow and it is a great product. My roses look healthy and the blooms are bigger.
Rose Gardening World on Facebook is a great source for eco-friendly rose care. If you ask, someone will give you an answer of what they use. Someone asked the other day what do you use for rust and the reply came: “I use two uncoated aspirins for a quart of water and let the aspirins dissolve and spray. I had my yellow girl with it and the rust disappeared in two applications.”
Most important of all is to keep your garden clean, tidy and weed free. Get rid of diseased leaves. I go out there every day and if I see leaves with blackspot, I pull them out. You don’t want the disease to spread. If you have pine straw mulch, it is hard to pick up the diseased leaves stuck between the straws so I opted for black cedar mulch.
Check your garden every day to see what is going on. Without those chemicals you are inhaling, you can enjoy the beauty that surrounds you anytime without the fear of harming yourself. It’s a healthy way of rose gardening.
Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.
Rosalinda (The Rose Lady)
I know some people who constantly complain. It’s because they are bored. Their mind and their body are idle. What is there to do but complain? Don’t you get tired listening to them? Day in and day out, they have something to complain about. Don’t you want to tell them to stop and get a life. Enough already.
These people have no interest in other activities. Aside from work, what do they do? Nothing. They get up in the morning, get ready for work and after work, they said they are too exhausted to do anything.
When they retire, they have no interest in anything and life becomes too boring for them. They should try to get involved in other activities while they are still working so when they retire, something will fill up their time.
Gardening is one of the best activities to try your hands on. It is also inexpensive, cheaper than going to the gym and more health benefits to you and if you plant fruits and vegetables, you get the benefits of tasting the best food there is. Another health benefit is you get a free exercise without knowing it. You don’t even have to spend money on gas to go to the gym and you can do it anytime when you are home. Yes, you can learn how to garden. There is no such thing as black thumb.
I used to work long hours and still have time to putter around in the garden. It is the most relaxing experience you can do. Instead of going to the gym, I used to garden in the morning before I went to work and then again when I came home from work.
There is something in gardening that soothes your well-being. You use all your muscle while digging, weeding, reaching for errant weeds, carrying all the soil and compost. Just looking at those pretty flowers seem to clear your mind of those cobwebs and beautify your landscape in the process.
So learn how to garden and keep busy. It’s the best exercise around. Your blood will start circulating, your mind will start to get active again and you get fresh air outdoors. Soon your whole outlook in life will change into positive thinking and you will stop getting bored.