The Smart Way to Grow Roses

Roje has a reputation for growing up and suffering from illness. But who to blame?

Where are we Peter E. KukilskiA Rosarian and author of “Rosa: The Story of the Rose”, a new book about the place of the flower in human cultural history. After living on the genus Rosa planet for about 35 million years, it took us less than a century to make it less resilient.

“It must be a difficult plant to get through all climate change and everything else before we start grooming the roses,” said Mr. Kukielski, referring to human interventions to change the shape of the flowers, hybrid tea It has become. Acquired at the cost of disease resistance.

So “give them some credit,” he said. And give them some proper companions as well: flowering perennials, annuals and bulbs that promote a healthy rose garden without chemical interference. Like he designed for three years ago Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario – a chemical-free province – which he proudly describes as “3,000 roses and 18,000 perennials selected as insect-attracting mates.”

He said: “I don’t mind bad bugs. As long as we have good bugs, we will have balance.”

It is no surprise that Mr. Kukielski does not recommend a diet of synthetic fertilizer, or cultivates roses with insecticides and fungicides when spiders or dark spots are threatened. As a curator at the New York Botanical Gardens, he gained attention for his work on the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden from 2008 to 2014 – an approach that included planting and testing roses for disease resistance, using fewer chemicals. This is his first book, “Roses Without Chemicals: 150 Disease-Free Varieties That Will Change The Way You Grow.”

“When I first circled the garden,” he said, “disease-resistant rose options were limited.”

But now many more roses are bored with that intention, adding: “The rose world is awakened by the idea that gardeners don’t want to depend on chemicals to grow their favorite flowers.”

The pink rose looks delicious on the latest catalog cover, but wait: how will it garden for you compared to similar looking varieties?

“A rose is a rose … not a rose,” Mr. Kukielski said. “Choosing the right one for your climate zone can make for immediate success. But the wrong rose will be constantly reduced, and the gardener of the house may leave.

Fortunately, he said, more companies are now educating customers about which variety is best suited for which sector: “It’s definitely an advance from where we were even five years ago.”

Breeders (on their wholesale websites) and retailers (on their consumer-centric ones) often make it possible to filter varieties by regional adaptability and disease resistance. So gardeners shopping for roses should pay attention – and do your homework.

Some reproductions have focused on cold-hardness, Griffith J. of Iowa State University. Produces varieties such as Buck to Buck Rose or Easy Elegance Rose bred by Ping Lim. Other varieties meet the opposite challenge: the Sunbelt Collection from Cordes Roses is chosen for its strong performance in hot areas.

Some trademarked chains are marketed ruthlessly, including Carefree, Knock Out, Drift, and Aso Easy, although there may be genetic trade-offs. As Mr. Kukielski said, “When a series has been pushed to fill the entire color cycle of the varieties, some colors – especially yellow – may be less flexible.”

The scent may also be reduced.

“If you want a fragrant garden, some diseases can occur depending on where you live,” Mr. Kukilski said. “Fertility efforts focused on scent may not have resistance, especially against hot, moist climates, against fungal diseases.”

But putting the scent back is on the to-do lists of some breeders, he said. An example is the perfumed collection of chords, which have long been focused on disease resistance.

There is no better evidence of the plant’s durability than having data on what happens when multior garden testing is put to test in different areas. There is a program currently running American Rose Test for Stability, Which Mr. Kukielski co-founded, is taking place at Longwood Gardens, Swarthham College’s Scott Arboretum, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and university cooperative extension sites around the country, where roses are subjected to the challenge without a spray environment , Who did not help. With insecticides and fungicides.

have another American Garden Rose Selection TrialWith testing sites at Queens Botanical Garden, Chicago Botanical Garden and other locations in diverse areas.

Both programs publish results every year and recommend varieties.

For local information, try asking with landscaping businesses at garden centers, where employees may be able to recommend varieties that perform well for customers near you.

Or talk to the local rose society, Mr. Kukilewski suggested, and neighbors who are in the garden: “If the person down the street is Queen Elizabeth growing up and it looks great, take it as a cue.”

Mr. Kukielski’s definition of the modern rose garden on any scale: “not a monoculture, but a mixed border.”

In his rose bed he layers a long season of companion plants, using a heavy hand, emphasizing the types of flowers preferred by beneficial insects (pollinators, predators and parasites alike). Grouping multiple plants of the same variety makes for more than one inviting presence scattered around.

Of course, the classic rose mates are: Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis) or Catreint (Nepeta )’s Chartreuse Froth, rinsing the bushes with clematis. A class of allium – small yellow flowers a. From mollies to purple globemaster – and later, the self-sowing annual Verbena bonariensis (a butterfly favorite) make big statements.

But Mr. Kukielski also loves the womb-shaped flowers of members of the carrot family, which are attractive to many beneficial insects – including, he hopes, tachinid flies, especially a species that Japan in the 1920s Is imported as biological control from where it is a natural enemy of the Japanese beetles which is a caress for roses.

She is also partial to the yellow navel of the dill, its fern texture and its inclination to sow around. And he allows Siltrow to flower and self-sow on the edges of the garden.

Beyond dill and cilantro, favorite herb companions include tansy, feverfew, lavender and thyme.

Composite, or daisilike, flowers have broad insect appeal, and Mr. Kukileski uses many, including esters, Gloriosa daisies (Rudbeckia fulgida), coniferous (Echinacea), cosmos, sneezweed (Hellenium), and yarrow (Achailia milifolium). Huh.

Native plants are, of course, magnets specifically for pests: In addition to esters, Rudbeckia, Helenium and Conflower, Mr. Kukielski cultivates Zizia aparta, wild bergamot (Monardist fistulosa), butterfly weed (Asclepius tuberosa) and penstemon. . Goldenrod (Solidago), plus perennial grasses such as prairie dropsade (Sporobolus heterolepis) and switch grass (Panicum virginetum).

Think of healthy soil, not fertilizer, Mr. Kukielski advised. “When I stopped feeding my roses and started feeding the soil,” he said, “the rose garden became much easier.”

He was inspired by the Earth-Kind methods promoted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Motivation for soil-management practice, as he translates it: “Think forest floor, where no one fertilizes but leaves fall, then breaks down and feeds the plants.”

To mimic that process, he puts three inches of mulch, perhaps an inch that decomposes into humus by the end of the season, benefiting soil health and fertility.

“Just up mulch again next spring – but don’t disturb the soil,” he said. “Once we started doing this at NYBG, you can tell that the plants were happier. There was a big difference from year 3. “

In his home garden in Maine, he allows fallen tree leaves to remain in place and inferior. Fertilization has not taken place in three or four years, he said, adding that the diluted fish is beyond an occasional soil of emulsion.

By using disease-resistant, regionally appropriate roses, Mr. Kukielski has also been able to break the rose-spacing rules established to reduce black spots.

“When I first started on the Peggy Rockefeller garden, I got comments on that,” he said. People said, “The plants should be six feet apart.” But the new hybrids are so resistant, I can keep them close. And as they grow together, the colors really show off – you are painting with colors. “

Today, rose researchers and breeders face a formidable rival. Rose rosette disease, a naturally occurring virus, is spread by a small, windblight mite that has used invasive multiflora rose as a host to expand into a growing area.

Early signs of infection include abnormal growth: excessive thorns, red pigmentation and general disintegration – even known as witch broom, growth that resembles birds’ nests.

Experts from industry and university have made Website About the disease and the ongoing efforts to deal with it. But at the moment, only vigilance – which involves destroying nearby multiflora roses – and drastic measures are set.

“If the gardeners discover it in the garden, the plant must be removed and destroyed, the roots and all,” Mr. Kukielski said.

But a new rose can be planted right now, because the virus cannot live in the soil. Or you can just let all those companion plants grow dull.

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