Archive for November, 2011

The Presidents Letter

It is not a “shiny” day today, which gives me permission to get out of the garden and into the house to get my share of the newsletter to Bill Blok for printing. First of all, let me repeat what I told you last month about our December meeting. Luncheon is planned for Saturday, December 10th at 1:00 pm at the Grand Villa Restaurant, 3594 Chicago Dr. in Grandville. Our menu will be your choice of Broasted Chicken for $8.99, 8 oz. Prime Rib $10.99 or Scrod $10.99. All are served with potato, vegetable, salad and pop, coffee or tea. Separate checks will be given, and you can order dessert from the regular menu if you wish. There is an 18% gratuity. I would like to have a head count so the restaurant can be ready for us, so please let me know either by email or phone (453-0102) if you plan to attend.
In addition, I will remind you that our November meeting will be presented by Harlan Schumaker, who will show his photos of 2011 rose events. This is always a really good program so you will definitely not want to miss this one! Harlan is an exceptional photographer.
Have you all been busy as bees in your gardens as winter gets set to overtake us. I cut back with help from my son-in-law, and did my last spraying with Pentathlon DF. Along with Mancozeb, it is the only fungicide advertised to kill the blackspot spores. My experience is that the Pentathlon is less expensive than liquid Mancozeb. It takes just 3 teaspoons of this sugar-fine chemical per gallon of water. Having defoliated many of my roses when cutting back, made the spraying go so much faster. Now I’ll just await a bit colder weather before I cover my beauties for the winter. This year I will not cover all the minis – we’ll see how they recover on their own.
Jan Powell sent me an email awhile back from Tree World Plant Care Products. They sell several repellents for deer as well as small critters. Last winter I lost 9 minis in the front bed in a “vole attack.” Judy Farris set 6 mousetraps for me and placed them strategically where the voles have been. Well, they enjoyed the peanut butter, left the traps empty – guess they thought we would just refill their treat! And so I ordered Plantskydd for small critter control. It is organic and safe for use among those of us with dogs/cats. It comes as a granular, which is what I used, but also a ready to use spray. I hope for better control than with the mousetraps.
This is the last newsletter until February 2012 when Bill and I will be back with you. By Joan Stoffer


Storage Good and Bad

Storage, Good and Bad
Show supplies storage, in my experience, has always been a critical need of our rose society. When I first joined the rose society in 1983, our show supplies were stored in the old Grand Rapids Public Museum Annex at Sheldon Ave. S.E., where our monthly meeting were held at that time. Later when the new Grand Rapids Museum was preparing to open, we could no longer meet there, but we did continue to store supplies there until a year or two later when the old building was closed. It was then necessary to rent commercial storage for a few months
When Dave Datema Jr., grounds keeper supervisor at the Christian Reformed Recreation Center, and our Son-In Law at that time, heard about our need of storage space, he made me a proposal. They had an old building on the property at 36th St. S.E. (a chicken coop) that we could use for equipment storage. They would provide this service, in return for my planting a rose garden at their Senior Center, or Golf House. Since I had the time to plant the garden, it must have been about 1994 and I was retired from my jobs. I purchased a dozen or more inexpensive roses and planted them in a space behind the Senior Center, and along the rear patio near the center. The garden spot was not ideal (poor drainage), but it turned out to be more lasting than the Chicken coop. The coop was accessible from a driveway off 36th St., behind the barn, and down a grassy hill. We worried about getting back up the grassy hill in rainy conditions, but that was never a problem. We did get some punctured tires however.
The problem with the coop was its condition. The window openings were loosely boarded up and the roof was leaky. The winter snow would drift in through the cracks, and fall in the boxes. With warm weather the snow would melt, damaging the cardboard boxes, and over time, the wooden boxes and equipment. Also the roof, not perfect from the first, over the years became a virtual sieve.
When we moved our rose show site from Breton Village Mall to Meijer Gardens in 2002, storage at the Gardens became available, and we moved our supplies to safer storage at the Gardens.
When the rose society discontinued the use of the chicken coop, I continued to do Spring and Fall rose care for the garden at the Rec. Center. As a tack-on to my commercial spraying work in town, I also sprayed the Rec. Center garden with left over spray.
I did not mind the spraying, but I seemed to be the only person charged with controlling the weeds, at least it seemed that way. This past summer was one with some heavy rains. Sometimes the rose bushes were standing in water or mud. By August the plants were largely defoliated. Since this is a golf course, Japanese beetles are a serious problem, but this year black spot was too. When I made my last spray trip there in mid-September, I officially resigned my commission as rose garden caretaker. The fact that that week was the week of my 81st birthday, gave me the perfect excuse to call it quits. I suggested they might try planting begonias.
We better appreciate the storage space that Julie Franke has made available to us the last 3 or 4 years. When we were asked by Meijer Gardens to vacate the garage space allocated to us for storage in 2002 at Miejer Gardens, because they needed the space, Julie Franke open up some space for us in the warehouse for Julie’s Education Department. We better be thankful for it. W.B.

John Ball Winterizing

John Ball Winterizing
The weather did not look very promising on the morning of October 29, but before it was time to leave for John Ball, it had stopped raining, and the clouds had begun to thin out. When Irma and I arrived at the John Ball rose garden, Gord and Alice Otter had already begun the work of cutting back the roses. After a little time we were joined by Tim Rousch, and 3 members of his Park staff. Due in part to (I suspect) the fertilization program for the roses at John Ball, the pruning job was less work than on some years in the past. As soon as the pruning was completed, all hands were engaged in distributing the truckload of wood mulch that was brought to the garden. When the Bloks left shortly before 11 AM, the park staff was mulching the last bed of roses in the garden oval. The Otters and the Bloks thank the John Ball Staff for their help in preparing the roses for winter. Jan Powell called in to say she could not make it because of a special Choir practice. Jon Wier called in sick. He has spent the last 2 weeks home bound with a respiratory infection. He has had to get professional help to care for Lois during this period. Rose Enders e-mailed us an injury report. She suffered a thigh bruise from a hard kicked soccer ball during soccer practice, the day before.

Moving Plants

Moving Plants
October and early November is the ideal time to move (transplant) rose bushes. I have been busy moving some roses from pots to places in the garden, from one place in the garden to another place in the garden, or from places in the rose garden, to temporary healed-in spots (for winter) in the vegetable garden. Most of these healed-in roses will be available as Contribution Roses next spring. Early November is also the time us northern gardeners are allowed to ship trial garden entries to the Rose Hybridizers Trial Garden at ARS Headquarters. The regular shipping time for the trial garden roses is February, but we northerners are allowed to avoid winter by shipping in November.
Most of our large Contribution Roses are hybrid teas. White hybrid teas on our list include: Pristine, Crystalline, Sheer Bliss, Miss Kitty, and Artic Circle (Moonstone-like).
Other hybrid teas: Aint She Sweet (or)(frag.), Dedrie Hall (yellow blend), Here’s Sam (pb), and Mavrik (pb). Floribunda: Bolivar (o/y) by Bob Martin.
Two slow developing maiden roses will also be available – Gold Medal, & The Temptations, both in pots. A number of surplus potted miniatures will also be available in April.

Winterizing Time

Winterizing Time
November is winterizing time for our rose gardens here in Michigan, and in most of the northern states. Those who leave early for the south may need to get it done a bit earlier. Today we are seeing more winter hardy large roses in our landscapes, including Kock Out and Home Run, as well as hardy shrub roses. These may get along without winter protection, but most of our hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas need winter protection if they are to avoid significant winter damage.
The main reason roses suffer winter damage is not the lowness of the winter temperature, but the low moisture content of the winter winds. When the rose canes are frozen, the upward flow of water in the canes is impeded, while the low moisture winds dry out the frozen buds and bark. The result is desiccation (drying), causing death in bark and buds. Applying winter protection does not especially improve the temperature conditions, but they serve as windbreaks to reduce the flow of the drying winds over the rose canes, and reduce excessive drying.
The Bloks, the Wiers, and the Schumakers are local rosarians who use numerous rose cones in their rose winterizing. When you use rose cones, you need to cut back the canes to fit under the 12 to 14 inch high cones. Tying canes with twine is often necessary, unless you cut the canes very low. Cones do not keep the roses warm, in fact it is important to ventilate the cones with 2 to 4 holes (1-inch) near the top of the cones (not in the top surface). Ventilation reduces excess moisture under the cone, and reduces mold damage to the rose canes. When you use rose cones, it is important to have a good supply of bricks or rocks to stabilize the cones (keep them in place). Some use 2 bricks per cone, I usually use one brick on top, and a “name stake” driven through the “ear” of the cone to keep them from blowing away.
Most rosarians who don’t use cones, or don’t have enough, use soil mounds, or wood mulch mounds to cover the base of the plant. I generally use a mulch-soil mix to mound the roses that are too large for cones, or when more cones are not available.
Most of our established miniatures receive no winter protection, but some known tender varieties such as Olympic Gold, and Tiffany Lynn get small cones. Newly started miniatures and miniature cuttings may be protected by milk jug covers and a ring of soil. We usually shelter a few of our newer cuttings in our covered window wells, with varying degrees of success.
Outside potted roses need to be buried in garden soil to a couple of inches above the rim of the pot, or sheltered in a cold outbuilding or garage. Tree roses need to be buried completely in a soil trench, or sheltered in a largely freeze protected building or garage.
We have protected climbing roses with combinations of soil mound and burlap wrap, but this year we plan to cut back the canes to within 2 feet of the ground and apply a soil mound. Most of our climbing roses bloom on 1st year wood, and probably bloom better on new canes than on partially damaged old cane growth..

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