Mapping your Garden

This article was written by our Master Rosarian, Lynn.

I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the shorter my memory gets! I used to go through my garden and could name every rose, the type and color. Well, I can still remember the color and most of the types, but the names sure want to elude me. The way I keep track without having to buy an incredible number of name stakes is by keeping a spreadsheet.

Sweet Summer Love ClematisIt really isn’t too difficult, and I also color code each year’s new entries so I can see all the ones for that year. I put in the year I planted them, too. I wish I had started that little thing when I first developed the spreadsheet, but I do it now. That way, when I have visitors and they ask me the name of the rose, I know I can find the answer even if it doesn’t come to my mind.

The way I did this was to have lines for each of the rose beds. Then I have the roses that grow along the deck, roses that are along the front of the house, and even the clematis that grows among a number of them.

And speaking of clematis, two of my favorites actually grow on a support I bought at Northland. I had seen Rouguchi on a garden tour and found out the name. It is a bell-shaped clematis, and I thought this innocent-looking Sweet Summer Love would be very compatible on the other side of the support. Well, it took nailing the support to the side of the house to support the resulting Sweet Summer Love, but the two clematis look very nice together, and I have learned that you need to really cut back Sweet Summer Love in the spring to keep it somewhat in check!

Gardens Alive!
Clematis ‘Rooguchi

Whatever method you use, if you like to know the names of your roses, which I do, this is a foolproof way to identify your roses. If you are worried about your computer losing the map, print it out and that will keep it at your fingertips.

And if you are one of the fewer and fewer people who don’t use computers, you can always make your own handwritten spreadsheet which will do the same thing for you. The only disadvantage to that is when you replace roses you end up with a messy page, where I just hit ‘delete’ and put the new rose in its place with all the information on year planted, name of the rose and type.

Lynn’s article was part of the Spokane Rose Society’s August News letter. (Click here to read the entire news letter.)

You can even shop Amazon for Clematis, including Sweet Summer Love.

August Rose Tips for Spokane

Tidily WinksThis article was written by our Master Rosarian, Lynn. It was part of the August News letter. (Click here to read the letter.)

This is the time when we get so busy with other things from work to vacations to kids going back to school shortly that it is easy to let the roses take a “back seat,” and that’s when things can go wrong. If your roses don’t receive the proper water, they will be stressed, and that is just when the spider mites take advantage…and take hold.

Remember to Wash Your Roses

Madame Alfred Carrière Rose

Like humans, roses like a bath, getting the undersides of their leaves cleaned off, and even the tops. With all the drought we are experiencing, there seems to be dust everywhere, and a shower in the morning hours allows the plants to dry off thoroughly before evening and also before any extreme temperatures could burn the leaves where water droplets remain. I can’t emphasize enough the need to WATER, WATER, WATER.

I know we are blessed with a good water source and many other places around the country are telling people to conserve and only water on limited days and for certain amounts. Even here I have heard of wells dropping in water levels, so it could be a problem for those people if we don’t get our much-needed rains this fall. All you need to do is look at the weather maps and see how much of the western part of the United States is being hit with the extremes of drought and heat to know we are not alone!

About Those Darn Spider Mites

Spider mite webbing
Spider mite webbing, from

Spider mites are not to be ignored. If you have an infestation of them, they will defoliate the plant quickly. Look for dull-looking leaves, leaves that have lost their shiny look. Then turn the leaf over and you will see fine webbing. A check with a hand-held microscope will make your skin crawl as you see these little two-spotted critters enjoying sucking the life out of the leaf.

I found Grower’s Edge Illuminated Microscope, 60x – 100x on Amazon at $19, plus tax and shipping, which looks similar to the one I used to recommend at Radio Shack. Their stores are no longer available here, and a search of their website brought up nothing like what I have. Anyway, if you want to get a close-up of these nasty critters, the Grower’s Edge product might be something you would like to check.

Back to the problem, though. You don’t want to just let nature take its course with spider mites. The leaves are the food factories for your roses, and going into winter in a “hungry” state is NOT a good idea. Keep your roses healthy, and in this case you have a choice of using a water wand every two or three days, spraying with a strong fine spray up under the leaves to wash off what you can, or using a miticide.

Spider mites revealed
Spider mites revealed

Some of the systemic fertilizers claim to be effective, but unless they have a specific miticide, not just an insecticide, they won’t do the job. I have read that a solution of equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water will kill the mites without harming your roses. I have not tried that, but again, I have not seen spider mites in several years, probably because I have not used products such as Sevin that kill the beneficial insects.

I know it is not my eyesight that is the problem, as I definitely would see leaves drying up. One other organic solution I saw was to make a spider mite spray by mixing 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon baking soda and a few drops of liquid dish soap in 1 quart (1 l) of lukewarm water. Spray wherever you see evidence of spider mite activity until they are completely gone. (This will also work on most insects and pests.)

Again, I have not needed to try this, so I have no idea how effective it is. I might add a warning here: If you decide to purchase a specific miticide product, not a combination chemical, they run over $100 on one of my trusted sites,, so if you have a small garden this would be a last resort, as the miticide is in a quantity more than you will ever need. It is best to try the water spray method or a water wand. You don’t want to waste your time with the shower head type of water wand, as the spider mites may just sit there and laugh at you as they take a bath!

You can check “high pressure water wands” on the Internet, and look for the kind that has a flexible end so you can turn it upward, under the leaves. They are around $20, so it isn’t a huge expenditure. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem, as the spider mites multiply at alarming rates. They seem to enjoy miniature roses, but I think it is because they are close to the ground and easy to navigate.

How About Some Alfalfa Tea and Fertilizer?

Fertilizer, in the Spokane area, was applied for the last time in mid-July, but that was only regarding the granular types. If you see your roses need a perk-me-up you might want to make some alfalfa tea for them.

To make alfalfa tea…

  • put about eight to ten cups of alfalfa meal or pellets into a 30 gallon plastic garbage can,
  • almost fill the can with water, cover and let bake in the sun for three to five days.
  • You can add a tablespoon of instant fertilizer such as Miracle-gro, stirring it in well (there are 16 tablespoons in a cup if that helps in your measuring, so 1 1/2 cups of Miracle-gro will work) and …
  • apply a gallon of this to each large rose or about half that for the miniatures. Alfalfa contains a growth hormone called triacontanol and is recommended as a spring tonic to make the roses more robust and healthy.

But Aren’t Roses Fussy and Difficult?

The Roger Lambelin Rose
The Roger Lambelin Rose

Having said all these things, I want to add that roses are not the fussy, fragile plants some would like to portray. They are shrubs, and if you want boring then just plant some evergreen shrubs around your yard, but they will give you no more color than the greens and yellows. They also like water, and they harbor other insects.

Yes, you can have a yard service come to spray your evergreens and lawn during the summer months, but there is still that lack of color and often fragrance to make you want to spend time outside enjoying your garden.

If you have grown roses for a number of years, you know what I mean. My own home garden has around 200 rose residents of all types, sizes and colors. Every spring I can’t say I look forward to pruning all of them, but as I get into it I find my body is more limber, so at 80, as long as I can prune my own roses I intend to continue on.

This past spring brought on a more brilliant display than I believe I have ever seen… that is until we got the 100+ temps the end of June, and that brought a sudden end to the display. But again, roses are resilient and now they are giving me the last hurrah before – dare I use the foul word – winter!

Enjoy the roses! They are not finished showing off their beauty for some time yet this year.

A Couple of Videos on the Spider Mites

This one covers the basics of the mites, as well as control.

This video is similar, but goes into more detail. About 20 minutes long.

How to identify and prevent heat stress in plants


When a heatwave hits, plants may show the impact.

  • Heat stress in cucurbita moschata
    Heat stress in cucurbita moschata

    Most plants grow best in temperature ranges 59-86F.

  • When temperatures above 90F are sustained for long periods, plant growth is slowed, and some plants begin to show signs of stress.
  • Above 104F, many plants will survive but will show different signs of heat stress dependent on plant type, maturity of the plant, and factors that often come with high temperatures, such as drought or wind.
  • Extreme air and soil temperatures slow down chemical activity and growth in plants.

Visit Oregon State University Extension for the full article.


2021 Pacific Northwest District photo contest

It’s time to be thinking about the annual Pacific Northwest District photo contest!

(This article was taken from the June 2021 Rose Ramblings newsletter of the Spokane Rose Society. Click on the images to go to the source site and see the full size image.)

The contest rules and classes follow.

Please note that the roses in the photos do not have to be photographer-grown. Also note that there is a significant change from last year’s contest. Entrants are to categorize themselves as either a “Master” or an “Amateur.”

Dr. Tommy Cairns, by Bill Kozemchak
Dr. Tommy Cairns, by Bill Kozemchak

Consider yourself a “Master” if your rose photos have won five ARS (National) or other District con-test classes, or have been awarded five or more first-place-in-Class placements in the PNW District contest in years past. If you have previously won five or more first place Class awards in the “Amateur” division of previous PNW District ARS con-tests, please enter this year’s entries in the “Master” division.

Consider yourself an “Amateur” if you take photos for your own pleasure and haven’t entered other photo contests or have not won any (or more than four) Class awards or the Best of Show photo in a District contest previously.

All first-place photos in all classes within each division will become eligible for judging for the “Best of Show” awards. The winning photos and award certificates for each class, as well as the “Best of Show” winners (Master or Amateur), will be announced at the PNW District Fall Conference.

Since the Fall Conference will be a virtual one this year, we are still working out the plans on how exactly to announce the 2021 photo entries.

Email your entries to: Harlow Young at threegkids @ charter . net by midnight, September 15, 2021. If you would like to be a judge for this contest, please email Harlow at the same address.

2021 Pacific Northwest District Photo Contest Rules

There is a PDF of of the rules and the classes. You can grab that here.

  1. blooms of ‘Hilde’
    A pretty set of blooms of ‘Hilde’.
    Photo by Andrew Hearne

    You can enter up to eight images per Class.

  2. It is preferable (and strongly encouraged) that your photos be electronically submitted in JPEG image format. Alternatively, you can mail prints to Harlow Young, 3218 W. 2nd Ave., Kennewick, Washington 99336. Prints will be scanned and saved into an appropriate format for presentation to the judges and returned, if requested.
  3. The photos in Classes 1-6 and 8-11 may be lightly, but not overly, enhanced by the use of any graphic program such as Photoshop, Elements or Photo Impact, etc. for the purpose of cropping, rotation, lightening or darkening, minor cleanup corrections due to camera sensor “dirt” or sharpening of the image only. The exception may be for entries in Class 7 which permits significant editing when creating a desired abstract or impressionistic effect.
  4. The photos for this contest must be taken by a member of the ARS residing in the PNW District or who is a member of a local rose society within the Pacific Northwest District of the American Rose Society.
  5. Photos that have won “Class” or “Best in Show” awards in previous PNW District ARS contests are not eligible to be entered.
  6. Rose entries in Classes 1 through 7 must be identified by their ARS exhibition names. Grooming of the rose(s) at the time they are photographed is encouraged, and artificial backgrounds may be used. The roses do not need to be photographed in the garden or on the bush (except those entered in Class 10).
  7. When submitted, name each image to reflect its con-test Class and ARS exhibition name when required. For example: If you are entering a photo of ‘Gemini’ in the Amateur division in Class 1, you must add an “AC” to the entry code, as: “AC#1 Gemini” (this signifies “Amateur Class #1[Rose name] …”). Photos entered in the Master division must add an “MC” to their entry code, as given here: “MC#1, Gemini” (Master Class #1…).
  8. Email your entries to Harlow Young at threegkids @ charter . net. It is important that you include your name, address, phone number, e-mail and local rose society (if applicable) in the message. Also include any additional information that might be appropriate for the entry. If you’re mailing prints, mail without folding in a padded, oversized envelope to: Harlow Young, 3218 W. 2nd Avenue, Kennewick, Washington 99336. 9. Entries received after the deadline will not be included in the judging. Note: The Chair of the committee reserves the right to disqualify any entry that does not conform to these rules and guidelines.

Photo Contest Classes

  • rose on fire by Kristine Russell
    Rose on Fire by Kristine Russell

    CLASS 1. One bloom – exhibition stage, no side buds of hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature, miniflora and floribunda classifications of roses.

    • NOTE: Roses designated by ARS standards as “single” in its petal count whose exhibition form is best in the open form must be entered in Class 3.
  • CLASS 2. One spray (two or more blooms on a single stem) of hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, miniature, or
    miniflora classifications.
  • CLASS 3. One fully open bloom – any variety, stamens must show.
  • CLASS 4. One bloom or spray of a shrub (other than HT, GR, FL, Min, Min Fl, POL, OGR, species or climber), all on one stem only.
  • CLASS 5. One bloom or spray – of an OGR, species, polyantha or climber.
  • CLASS 6. A collection of multiple blooms – a minimum of three blooms of one or more varieties, at maximum stage of beauty for the variety(ies), arranged and photographed.
  • CLASS 7. Abstract or Impressionism – A non-objective design, form, or content of which evokes a sense of originality or a different way of imagining or viewing the subject. For this class only, you may creatively enhance your photo by coloring, cropping, painting, shadowing, blurring, layering, merging, etc.
  • CLASS 8. A photo of any rose garden. Photos in this class should show the use of roses within the structure of the garden. Roses should dominate the photo and some layout of the garden should be evident. Roses need not be identified.
  • For macro photography, Rod Hoover
    For macro photography, Rod Hoover captured a nice close up of a part of the rose

    CLASS 9. Macro photography – An EXTREME CLOSE-UP photo of any part of the rose or rose plant or any portion thereof. Color, black and white, sepia or combinations of these are permitted in this class.

  • CLASS 10. Director’s choice class – A photo of a rose bush in full bloom, or a photo of a large group of blooms on a bush, that is, NOT a photo of roses in a vase.
  • CLASS 11. Everything else – Any rose photo that doesn’t fit into any of classes 1 through 10.
    • It could be an image of roses with people, animals, etc., or of a rose society activity or an arrangement of roses. You should name the rose(s) in the photo if appropriate.
    • If the photo includes a local rose society activity or people, identify the society, the activity, and the people in the photo (unless it’s a crowd scene). Since the winning photo may be published on the District website or other District publication, it’s a good idea to have the permission of anyone who could be recognized in the picture.

If there are questions regarding any part of the contest rules, please contact Harlow Young: threegkids @ charter . net.


And again from Bill Kozemchak as reprinted in Portland’s Rose Chatter edited by Rich and Charold Baer:

(Editors note. This is a great activity for children.

Recently Bill Kozemchak’s Granddaughter Keira, (under ten years of age), won the junior section of the American Rose Society’s annual photo contest with a pictures of Camille Pissarro. Her photo was featured on the cover of the March/April edition of the American Rose magazine. Bill and I have both had that honor but it took us an additional 50 years of life to achieve that status.

I think she was really proud of her achievement.)

From the Sacramento Photography Contest Winners
from 2020, 1st place

You don’t need an expensive camera to have success. A cell phone, or point and shoot camera can produce great images and win in photo contests. Try to take advantage of any opportunities to get photos at rose shows, garden visits or rose conventions. If you don’t have your camera, use your cell phone!

When contest deadlines approach, it’s good to have a nice selection of photos to choose from.  Take the camera out to the garden, especially when it is at peak bloom. If you go on a garden tour or visit, take lots of shots and take different angles of blooms and garden views. Take multiples shots of each angle, especially if not using a tripod.

You can later delete the shots that are not in focus or have parts of the bloom cropped off. Many times, I thought I had a good shot on the camera and then put it on the larger computer screen, and it wasn’t as in focus as I had thought.

Make sure you have a large enough memory card or multiple cards so you don’t run out of space. If you have a replaceable battery, carry a spare and be sure it is fully charged. If you’re on a trip remember to take the charger.

Be sure the date imprinting is turned off if you’re thinking of entering the photos in a contest and also don’t put the name of the rose on the photo.

When shooting exhibition, open blooms or, or spray photos, you want to fill the frame as much as possible without cropping off parts of the petals. If you want your photo to do well, the bloom, spray or arrangement has to be very good quality, just as in a rose show. An exhibition bloom with no center or form will not win. An open bloom with old dark stamens will not win. An arrangement that got an honorable mention will probably not win in a photo contest.

If you are taking bloom photos in your own garden, groom the rose before you take the photo. A little petaloid sticking out in the middle of a nice open bloom can be very distracting, and while it may be possible to eliminate it with a photo editing program, it is time consuming compared to plucking it off in a few seconds. Moving a petal or two on a nice exhibition bloom to give it better form or a nice circular outline can also make a difference in the photo quality.

If you’re in friend’s garden, you should probably ask if it’s OK to do this. I’m sure it would be frowned upon in a public garden. Try to remove distractions in the background. Debris on the ground, other blooms or buds, black spotted leaves, name tags, or anything brightly colored will stick out and draw the judge’s attention from the bloom or spray that is supposed to be the focus of your photo.

Good luck in the contest!

Rose Logic for June 2021

by Lynn Schafer, our Master Rosarian. 

Morning has Broken
Morning has Broken

It is difficult, after nearly 40 years of editing this newsletter, to come up with something “new under the sun.” We grow roses, each year is different, new roses come…and go.

This is why I appreciate all the exchange newsletters I receive, as each of us has ideas to share, and while my roses may not need any adjustments, it doesn’t mean others have the same approach.

I truly appreciate Rich Baer with his wit and wisdom, more in his brain than I could even hope to achieve. But I try not to “over use” his writings or I would have to change the name of my newsletter!

Bill Kozemchak has edited the newsletter for the Philadelphia Rose Society for a number of years, and he always has some valuable insights for his readers. For instance: “I have been told if you ask ten rosarians how to grow roses, you’ll get twelve different answers. This is quite true. If things you are doing work well for you, don’t feel that you have to change because someone else does it differently.

The methods that follow are what well for me and my schedule. Every rose grower needs to tailor a rose care program to work with their needs and desires. If you see something you would like to try, do it. If it doesn’t work for you, do what does. The important thing is caring for the roses, not doing it a certain way because someone says it’s the best way.


The most important thing to do this month is watering. We don’t usually get much rain this time of year, so watering is very important. The temperatures are going up and rose bushes are getting quite large, requiring more water uptake.”

Organizing: Bill also had a very interesting idea. He made a video of his garden in peak bloom, walking through, narrating and explaining why he chose different areas of his garden for different types of roses, even different color schemes. He pointed out favorite varieties and low maintenance ones for beginners. My roses are certainly not so well organized, but I could agree in that my roses are placed so that the smaller growers or miniatures are not placed behind the large ones.

That said, a narrated video…or even one that could be shown as a PowerPoint on Zoom with live narration could work very well. Maybe we will actually have a day in the future when we can have in person meetings. Then it could be shown on the big screen in the meeting room.

Rose aphids often target tender flower buds.
Rose aphids often target tender flower buds.

Getting bugged? I don’t know about your roses, but mine have begun blooming much earlier than “normal,” whatever normal is. The color is vibrant, and there is no sign of disease at this point. I have heard a few references to aphids, but so far they have not arrived here. This coming week may change that if we again get temps in the 90s, so you may have to use my pinch method, some Safer’s Insecticidal Soap or a strong spray of water, your preference.

Insecticides also work (so does soapy water,) but you can probably handle it with the other methods. As Bill said in the quote I copied above, water is very important for your roses. We are so very fortunate to have a good water supply here in the Spokane area, but that doesn’t mean we should just waste it.

Mulching helps retain the water we give our roses, and it also helps with weed control. A watering system provides what your roses need on a regular basis so they don’t fluctuate between being too dry and then rescued by a deep watering.

Ko's Yellow
Ko’s Yellow

Fertilizing: After your roses have kind of wound down from the first bloom, you can apply one more application of granular fertilizer if you used that in the spring. I like to make up the alfalfa tea by filling a 32 gallon plastic garbage can with water, adding a coffee can or two of alfalfa pellets (no vitamin additives, just alfalfa), the covering it for several days to let it “age.” Then add a tablespoon per gallon (2 cups if I calculate correctly) of Miracle-gro or some other liquid fertilizer to the mixture and stir well.

Use a gallon per big rose or about half that on the minis. What I found interesting this year was most of my big roses were hit significantly by the deep freeze we had in February, at least that is what I blamed. A good portion of them were cut to the ground, and I even was concerned I might have lost several.

However, in a short time they began sending up new basals on the grafted roses and shoots on the own root roses like I don’t believe I have ever seen before. Out of nearly 200 roses I lost one mini and one old, old rose which I haven’t dug up as it may still grow.

If not, there are always other roses to take the place of those I lost. None of my roses were hilled up, but with years of using compost as a hilling medium and then spreading it out on the beds, they were probably more than protected.

What I have noticed, however, is the cold snap didn’t bother the weeds at all. Keep after them or you will regret it, not only this year but if they go to seed for many years to come!

Worm Castings for your Roses

Most of this was taken from our Rose Club Newsletter, and then I added a bit:

At the recent Cabin Fever meeting, a question/answer forum was set for the Friday after each speaker’s talk. A question was posed to me regarding the use of worm castings in rose beds.

I haven’t done that, depending on those critters that live IN my rose beds, but a friend of mine has a business with red worm castings. He and his wife have moved to Oklahoma, but he did give me some advice I wanted to pass along.

He said there are three ways to use castings:

  1. put some in the hole when planting;
  2. top dress by scattering over the soil in the rose bed and scratching it in; and
  3. most interesting for roses, Jack Chambers, Sonoma Valley Worm Farm, says if you make a compost tea with castings and spray the roses it acts as a foliar feed and prevents blackspot. “He has beautiful, huge roses.”
  4. Note: Warm castings have a pH range of 7 to 8, roses prefer about 6 to 6.5. Mix the castings with compost or just the normal soil and you’ll be fine and the roses will love it.


  • Natural Worm Fertilizer – There is no better natural, organic nutrient you can use than worm fertilizer.  You can sprinkle it around plants, or dig some into the soil around a plant.  You can also use a spreader for a larger scale application.  Don’t worry about exact amounts.. as you cannot hurt your plants by using too much.  Great when transplanting.
  • Germination – Mix up sand with around 20-30% of earthworm castings for increased germination of seeds.  Once germinated the plants will be have enough nutrients from worm castings to grow for around three months. (source)

For the compost tea, in a 5-gallon bucket of water add a cup or two of castings tied up in cheesecloth and a tablespoon of dried molasses (to feed the microbes). Put in an air pump (you can get it at Walmart in the fish department). Let it run for 24 hours, and use quickly as the microbes will start to die.

There is a business in Otis Orchards that sells worm castings for any of you who would like to try this, particularly another questioner who asked if there was an organic method for getting rid of blackspot. It’s Marle Worm Growers.

How do you get the worm castings?

You can buy them from Amazon, of the link above or google “worm castings.” Or you can use the article on that at Gardening Know How or at Pennington.

Here’s a warm casting harvest. This set up looks much like the one that I use.

Here’s a video, about 7 minutes, which goes into some more detail:

You can find lots more on YouTube. Just search there for worm castings or worm bin.

Pruning and Fertilizing Your Roses

The Roger Lambelin Rose
The Roger Lambelin Rose

Article written by Lynn, our Master Rosarian. 

Well, it appears that spring finally found its way to the Spokane area. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for it. Of course there is a lot of work to be done now that the snow has disappeared, but that is what spring is all about.

If you have any questions about that work, just come to our meetings. We would love to discuss any issues you may have. There are always people there who have dealt with various gardening and rose problems or just general spring matters, and you may have something new to us that we would like to hear.

When to Prune?

The rule of thumb, not set in stone, is to prune when the forsythia blooms, or the dandelions if you have been blessed with some. That’s not to say you can’t wait longer if the weather doesn’t suit, but that is a general guideline. Since the forsythia is in full bloom in Spokane, you are okay to begin pruning.

One of the questions that always comes up at pruning clinics is “Can you kill your rose by pruning it wrong?” The only way you can do this is if you either “shovel prune,” translated “dig it out,” or if you cut back BELOW a bud graft on the grafted roses.

That said, don’t worry. Even if you cut out something you wanted to keep or cut to a wrong bud eye, you won’t kill your rose. They are quite capable of straightening out any of your mistakes. It may take a few months to have them back to looking their best, but in the meantime they will grow very well in spite of our efforts.

A Pretty Red Rose: Dr. Huey

Dr Huey
Dr Huey
Growing from the roots.

Spokane is known for the lovely dark red roses of spring, i.e. ‘Dr. Huey.’ That is because this is the rootstock used frequently on grafted roses. If the named rose is either weak or not protected properly, it dies or freezes, but the rootstock survives, and if there is a bud eye left on the rootstock when they are grafting the named rose onto it, it may grow, giving you the ‘Dr. Huey’ rose in place of what you purchased.

Unfortunately, ‘Dr. Huey’ blooms only once and then sends out very long, thorny canes for the rest of the summer. If this is your problem, it is best to dig it out and start over. Own root roses do not do this, as they are not grafted onto any other rootstock. What you see is what you get. Spokanites who have not been rose society members or gotten information elsewhere do not know this and naively continue to think their rose is the original.

How to Prune Your Rose

Pruning is done by cutting about a quarter inch above a bud eye at a slant of around 45 degrees. You don’t need to be precise, as roses are not going to measure the angle, but cutting too close to the bud eye may cause it to be damaged and therefore not begin to grow, leaving a stump which will die back to the next bud eye.

You don’t want to cut way above the bud eye, either, as that leaves an unsightly stump, but again, if you happen to cut wrong, you can correct it. Generally speaking, you should look for a bud eye that is directed outward to give the rose bush a more open center for air circulation, but one person at the pruning clinic asked about a rose that wants to grow more horizontally, and in that case, if it isn’t a ground cover rose, you can prune to an inward facing bud eye.

Correct pruning of your stems

See how easy that is? It’s all in getting out your pruning hardware, putting on the gloves and going at it! Experience is your best teacher, and for the timid, come to the meeting and express your concerns. Go for the pruning cut on the right, and your rose bush will love you for it.


After you prune it is good to use a fungicide on your plants to protect from blackspot and powdery mildew. Over the years we learn that powdery mildew can be more easily cured, but blackspot can trouble you throughout the year, as it is more difficult to eliminate. If you prefer the organic method you can try GreenCure® which is a sodium bicarbonate product. If you have had problems with blackspot in the past try Spectracide Immunox Multi Purpose Fungicide Spray

Concentrate might be what you want to try. It has to be applied every two weeks, but it won’t wash off, and after the weather warms up and your roses are looking healthy you can probably eliminate the spraying, as we are fortunate in the Spokane area not to be plagued with high humidity and abundant rainfall. But having said that, blackspot is better prevented than trying to control it. Check with your local garden store for products that will help with that.

Fertilizing Your Roses

Fertilizer of the organic kind can be applied any time of the year, but it is best to wait for new growth to get well underway which shows you the soil temperature is right for accepting the nutrients in granular fertilizer. My fellow editor and friend, Rich Baer, said in the Portland Rose Chatter bulletin of April 2019:

Rosarium Garden Center Fertilizer
Organic Garden Fertilizer
from Rosarium Garden Center

I have seen suggestions that it is a good idea to fertilize when the pruning is finished, but again it is not something that I would recommend. If you are going to use strictly organic fertilizer, it is fine to apply it at any time of the year. It will remain dormant in or on the soil until the soil temperature exceeds 50 degrees when the soil bacteria will begin to digest the organic fertilizer and release the fertilizer elements into the soil for use by the plants.

By the time the soil reaches 50 degrees, the roses will be growing vigorously and will be able to use the nutrients released from the organic fertilizer. If, however, you are using a fertilizer like the Portland Rose Society’s 15-10-10, I would suggest that you wait until about the middle of April before any applications are made. The chemical fertilizer will dissolve whenever water is present in the soil.

If there are rains, the ingredients in the fertilizer will move down into the soil into and beyond the root zone. If the plant is not actively growing at that time the elements will be lost to the groundwater and will provide nothing positive to your roses. So, wait for that first application. Your soil will have plenty of available nutrients for the new rose growth without you worrying that they will develop deficiency symptoms.

Portland’s weather is not as severe; in fact, Rich starts pruning in February, maybe earlier, so you can just add a month onto his advice and wait until probably mid-May when our soil temperatures are 50 degrees. And while I don’t have access to the label, I would assume Portland’s fertilizer has some micronutrients as well.

Still, a good granular fertilizer will get your roses off to a good start.

And here is another idea for you if you can spare the time. A number of years ago we had a member, Irene, who lived in the Hillyard area. I visited her at least once at her home, and she told me something she always did. She froze her banana peels and then in the spring, thawed them out and made a slurry with them in her blender and poured this around her rose bushes.

Why do we eat bananas? A good source of potassium. This slurry is organic, so we are just adding one more organics to the soil. So it was very interesting to me when I was reading through the Philadelphia Rose Society April 2019 newsletter, edited by Bill Kozemchak, to find an article written by Carla Zambelli about that very thing:

“The formula for the smoothie is: I collect a bag of banana peels and keep them sealed in a plastic bag in my freezer until I use them. Then I rough chop the peels and toss into the blender with whatever spent coffee grounds I have on hand and a couple of cups or so of very warm tap water. (I never drink flavored coffee and I would never recommend using artificially flavored coffee grounds. I don’t know how the artificial flavor chemicals would affect the plants.) The consistency of this smoothie for rose bushes should be on the thick side, but pourable. I don’t take my blender outside I pour the goop into a plastic pitcher.

I then go around to each bush and dig a few ounces in around the base of each bush. I have a standard sized blender and only a few rose bushes right now, so one batch of rose smoothie is all I need every time I do this. I used to dig the peels in around the base of each bush, but given the critter population living with woods and farmers’ fields I have developed the rose smoothie which I dig in around the base with a small spade I use to transplant seedlings.

“I will feed my roses this concoction every two weeks until Labor Day. Sometimes I am not so religious about this as I have a large garden, but I try my best.”

I always throw the coffee grounds out on my vegetable garden rather than just disposing of them, so using them on your roses would be okay as well.

According to Google, who knows everything, banana peels contain phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper, and each cubic yard of coffee grounds (that’s a lot of coffee grounds!!) provides 10 pounds of nitrogen (0.09% available). And if you don’t want to put the coffee grounds on your rose beds, you can add them to the compost pile, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost.

This is a busy time of year, for sure. If you have placed an order for new roses, either at Northland Rosarium or from somewhere else shipping barefoot roses, you probably have already received those.

This week has done a lot toward getting the soil ready to receive the rose bushes. Be careful about falling for good prices on packaged roses, as there is no telling how long they have been sitting in a warm place without water. For every story about that little miniature they got at a grocery store that grew like crazy you will hear many more about poor growth habits or early demise.

Just be careful!


Damage from Rose Girdlers

Resurrecting this 2014 article…

Last fall (2013) we got hit by some suspicious bulges on a couple of our roses. Our Eddie’s Jewel, completely unaffected by our winters, was hit rather hard by these things. The entire cane above the bulge typically dies. I didn’t see any of these on any of our mini rose, nor on any of the “old garden” roses. It turns out that we were zapped by Rose Girdlers, a type of beetle (actually the larva.)

A friend of Lynn’s sent the following: “the damage appears to be that of the rose rose girdler, a buprestid beetle that girdles the canes right under the bark. The tell tell sign is the swollen areas and the girdling inside the stems. The larvae are very distinctive. They are usually flattened dorso-ventrally and the thoracic area is flattened and enlarged. Overall, the larvae look like a car key.

“Unfortunately, these beetles are hard to control. Protective insecticides would need to be applied when infestations are really bad. Some of the insecticides with a long residual action have been taken off the market so there isn’t anything good out there that I would recommend anymore.”

So I did a little googling of the buprestid beetle and found a few things. Most of them seem to attack trees, but the method is the same. The adult bores a small hole, lays an egg, and the emerging larva eats away at the soft, yummy tissue under the bark. The rose reacts by swelling st the point of injury, but that doesn’t seem to do much.

The adults seem to be harmless, other than drilling holes where they are not at all wanted.

Here’s some info that I found on these things:

  • Various pics of the larva. I didn’t see any of these in any of the cuts I made, just the damage left by them.
  • This PDF has a lot of info on wood boring beetles in general, including some idea on controlling them.
  • Bug of the Week has some nice info on these guys, as well.

Pics of the Damage

I don’t have any pics (yet) of either the adults or the larva. Hopefully our cold winter killed them off. Most of them anyway.

Click them images for a larger view. All of the pics below were from one plant, though several others were also affected. Sometimes they seem to attack a joint (where it branches off) and sometimes mid-cane.

Rose girdler damage
Rose girdler damage

Note the ring bulge and the tiny hole in the pic below. Is that the entry point? Where the egg was laid?

Rose Girdler entry point?
Rose Girdler entry point?

My poor rose…

Rose Girdler damage
Rose Girdler damage

And some tracks…

Rose girdler tracks
Rose girdler tracks

Bringing Your Roses to the Rose Show

Resurrecting an old post, with some good info:

I’d bring roses to the show, but….

Yes, you’re not the first person to say that, so hopefully some tips for deciding which roses you want to bring and how to cut and prepare them will convince you that this year is the time you will actually do it. (Go here for the Rose Show info.)

Autumn Splendor Mini Rose

Always make sure your rose bushes are well hydrated. Water, as my mentor Sylvia McCracken would say, is the most important fertilizer you can give your roses. Dry soil stresses the plant, making it more susceptible to disease and insects and it also leaves the bush without the substance, the leaves aren’t healthy and vigorous in appearance.

As you wander through your rose garden you notice that you have a rose that is starting to open up. Buds do not bring awards at a show, but sometimes we get early roses – at least that is true for your editor. Normally I am fortunate if I can get miniature roses ready for the 4th Saturday of June, but with our show this year a week earlier I am seeing more color than I had imagined possible.

Okay, you see the rose. For hybrid tea “one-per-stem” blooms you don’t want any sidebuds. If you were not watching for this and see some side growth but think the bloom is worth showing, try snapping if off with a sideways pull. Or after you have cut the bloom, using a razor blade or very sharp knife you can carefully cut out the side growth so it doesn’t leave a stub.

That is not to say I haven’t seen roses shown in national shows with stubs sometimes ¼ to ½ inch long, but that is not what you want to have.

Amadeus, Large Flowered Climbing Rose
Amadeus, Large Flowered Climber

Removing those side buds when they are just forming helps to keep the main rose standing straight, but right now we are more concerned with just getting you past the fear of bringing roses to the show.

The ideal time for cutting blooms is early morning or early evening when the rose has a lot of moisture, but roses do not always reach their ideal cutting stage at these times.

If a bloom is ready in the middle of the day, go ahead and cut it. Just bring it into the cool house right away. One never knows what will become of that rose as it develops.

What you are looking for is a rose where the sepals have come down and the bloom is starting to open. For roses with a lot of petals you can wait for it to open up more, but with a rose with, say, 25 petals or so, that one will continue to open and be a fully open bloom before it ever hits the show table.

Even then, all is not lost, as we have classes for fully open blooms. To be classified that way you need to see the stamens. When any stamens are visible, that eliminates the rose from the exhibition form Class 20. Practice this during the summer, and you will soon see how rapidly the different roses open up.

Apricot Twist Miniature Rose

As you cut each bloom, place the blooms in a bucket of warm water that you carry out to the garden with you. Do not cram too many in the bucket at one time as you may tear some of the foliage. Cut enough stem length to allow for cutting off another half inch or so when you are conditioning the roses.

Another thing I like to do is make some strips of paper on which I can write the name of the rose. Especially with mini roses, it’s amazing how much alike they can look when you have a container of them. Wrap the paper strip around the neck of the rose and affix it with a pin or tape. Be sure, however, to remove it after you have recorded all the pertinent information on the entry tag. Judges don’t like it left on, believe me!!

For miniatures, if you have an old shoebox, you can make holes in the top and insert orchid tubes. Fill them with water and use freezer tape strips for recording the names of the roses right where they sit. Next year you just pull the tape off and start with fresh recording material.

Graham Thomas, a David Austin Rose

So, you ask, what if I see a rose on Wednesday that is opening, and I know it will be fully open by Saturday? (Besides, the rain may ruin the bloom if it is opening well!) If you have room in the refrigerator, this can be done. If the refrigerator is self-defrosting, as most modern ones are, this process will suck moisture out of the bloom, so it is a good idea to protect the bloom.

To keep it from being mashed and misshapen, cut open the side of a Styrofoam cup, and into the bottom of it to allow for the rose stem, slide this around the bloom and then slip a plastic bag over the top and secure it under the cup. Keep the stem in a container of water and make room for the rose so it won’t be bent down. If this means you have to remove some food to take out a shelf, so be it!

To be honest, I rarely do this, because while we have a refrigerator in the shop that is not self defrosting, I have seen it freeze the blooms for me, and that is quite discouraging, believe me! Some roses don’t like being refrigerated. Often red roses will turn bluish, but you will soon learn with some practice.

What does it mean to condition the rose?

Madame Alfred Carrière Rose
Madame Alfred Carrière Rose

First of all, dirty leaves or bits of willow cotton on the leaves will not be well received by the judges. They may also comment if a leaf is torn. Sometimes removing a leaf, if it doesn’t affect the symmetry of the exhibit, is actually better, but lay your hand over the offending leaf and see what the specimen looks like without it. To be or not to be, that is the question! The same thing will apply to outer petals on the bloom later as you enter your rose in the show. More on that later.

After you have cleaned the leaves of a specimen, cut that half inch of the stem off under water, and place it in a second container that is filled with warm water. I like to use a tall container so I can submerge all the leaves and right up close to the bloom. When you have finished conditioning all your roses, place the container in a cool, dark place and allow them to soak up the water and ‘harden off.’ If you have cut these blooms a couple of days before the show or more, you may want to refrigerate them to keep them from continuing to open, but if it is just the day before, leave the container in this cool, dark place until you are ready to transport them to the show. Some Flora-Life in the water is good for the conditioning period, too.

Okay. It’s show day. What do I do now?

Morden Sunrise, of the Canadian Series of Roses
Morden Sunrise, of the Canadian Series of Roses

Rose show schedules were sent out to all the email members earlier. (We will also have some available at the show.) This will help you understand the show a little better. When I first became a member, not only was showing roses scary, but we had color class shows, so you had to know the color class, the name of the rose, the type of rose, all that good stuff. Now all you have to do is know the name and class of the rose, which isn’t difficult.

Look over the schedule. Class 20 is for hybrid tea exhibition form blooms, meaning one bloom to a stem at the perfect stage. That is generally considered ½ to ¾ open, depending on the number of petals. As I say, you don’t want to have stamens showing, but you want the rose to be opening.

Picture a triangle. You want the rose a little tighter than that, or by show time it will be past that stage, as the rose will continue to open as the room warms up, but this is what the judges look for in form. When you look down on the rose from the top you don’t want to see a confused or double center. Often just working with the rose with a small artist brush you can move the petals around where they are supposed to be. That’s perfectly okay to do.

The Roger Lambelin Rose
The Roger Lambelin Rose

Okay. This is your first time at a rose show, and I remember being very nervous, but have no fear. There is any number of people there willing and able to advise you. This is a fun hobby, and while we all want to win, if we see a good rose, we want to see it exhibited in the best way possible, so don’t hesitate to ask for help when you arrive at the show.

A good example was Sue Wilmoth’s Mini American Box last year. She had some absolutely stunning ‘Biola Centennial’ roses and didn’t know what to do with all of them, so we suggested using some of them in Class 45, which is a geometric pattern. Wow! So look again at the schedule and see what the challenge classes require.

Getting Them There

"Cat Tales" Winner of the Mini Keepsake Award
“Cat Tales” Winner of the Mini Keepsake Award

Transporting roses to the show is easy when you are entering a local show, because you don’t have to worry about coolers and orchid tubes and the like. You just need to be sure you have a way to keep your container upright, and. It is best to drain away a lot of the water, too, so you don’t have more outside the container than in as you travel.

You will probably find that some of the classes you planned for certain roses no longer fit. Maybe the rose opened too quickly. Well, enter it in the fully open class. Maybe you have more than one of a particular variety. That’s where the challenge classes rescue you.

The Velvet Touch Picture Frame Challenge requires one exhibition form bloom and one leaf set. So even if you have a gorgeous rose but find the stem is too short or the leaves don’t look good, try that class. There are also classes for both large and mini roses in a bowl (Classes 15 and 48).

As you place the rose in the vase, take the time to gently dry the leaves and make sure they are clean. Did you know if you use just your fingers and rub the leaves it gives them a shine. Again, it’s that little extra that makes the difference in the eyes of the judges. Don’t rub on any oils, though. That disqualifies the exhibit!

Fill out the entry tag, being sure to fold it so your name is hidden. Secure it to your entry with a rubber band that is provided by the rose society. Place it in the proper class on the show tables, and then go test something Ruth’s Catering has to offer.

That will settle your nerves until judging is over and – hey, what’s that? An award?? Guaranteed, next year it will be much easier, but one thing is sure: You can’t win if you don’t enter, so make this year the year you try.

Yes, there are probably things I failed to mention here, but you can be sure there will be an answer by a fellow exhibitor at the rose show.

Come on in and we’ll be happy to help. -Lynn

Links to more info: