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Rose Speak

Rose Speak by Joan Stoffer

LEADING LADY opened her eyes, declared that the stage lights were finally on, and took several bows. However, It was really TUSCAN SUN waking everyone to a warm and shiny day. Always slow AWAKENING, VEE MARIE yawned and wished for a cup of HOT COCOA. CAREFREE BEAUTY began to feel like a CAREFREE SPIRIT and GOLDEN WINGS was sure she could fly OVER THE MOON. Shy little MARY ROSE produced very loud GIGGLES when a bumblebee tickled her stems. THE DARK LADY flaunted her FLAWLESS beauty, sure that she would be Queen this year. There is such AMBIANCE in the spring garden, but what a CONUNDRUM – it’s only February!
HELEN TRAUBEL began an aria from her favorite opera, TRAVIATA, and RURAL RYTHYM chimed in with a chorus of Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rythym.” SHOWBIZ, a real FANCY DANCER, did a little WHIRLAWAY with SASSY CINDY, and VETERAN’S HONOR marched to DISTANT DRUMS. LIBERTY BELL rang loud and proud. ABRAHAM DARBY, that JOLLY GOOD gentleman from GLAMIS CASTLE, reminded everybody that it wasn’t time yet for a GOLDEN CELEBRATION. The BRASS BAND played on and FOOLISH PLEASURE continued.
PLAYBOY was ready to flirt, and captivated SEXY REXY which made MORDEN BLUSH and HOT PRINCESS sputter that she was feeling totally ignored. GRAHAM THOMAS began TEASING GEORGIA but she only had eyes for THE PRINCE. HANNAH GORDON and NICOLE were still arguing over who was who, while ST. PATRICK simply prayed for PEACE. QUIETNESS called for TRANQUILITY. DAINTY BESS smiled and with a TOUCH OF CLASS, reminded the mischief-makers that they need to become FOREVER FRIENDS.
PARTY GIRL was DANCING IN THE WIND, shouting “isn’t this just the BEE’S KNEES?” THE SQUIRE gave her a sour look. JEAN KENNEALLY said her HOPE is that the sun never goes down because THIS IS THE DAY. GOLDEN SHOWERS tried to warn that OUTTA THE BLUE, there could still be a freeze. BETTY BOOP said it’s only FOLKLORE that spring can’t come this early. FRU DAGMAR complained “this just can’t be – I still have to lose my hips!! “
As MARMALADE SKIES gave way to an ARIZONA SUNSET, there was general agreement that today had been FABULOUS and such a DOUBLE DELIGHT. POPE JOHN PAUL II gave thanks and assured them that THE NEW DAWN would be SIMPLY MARVELOUS and filled with JOY and HAPPINESS.


President’s Letter

On Saturday January 7, 2012, we said a last goodbye to our friend Art Wiley. Entering the chapel at Zaagman Memorial, my eye was quickly drawn to the breathtaking blanket of roses atop Art’s casket; a soft apricot-peach hue. Art’s family had set up several boards of family pictures, sweet memories of the early years and then children, grands and greats. Also displayed were some of this Master Carver’s duck decoys – a fine artist as well as rosarian. Art was a quiet man of many talents. I know you miss him Joan, and we do too.
The winter of 2011 into 2012, so far, has not been kind to our roses. The back and forth warm to cold cycles after we had already put them to sleep for the winter may cause more winterkill in some of our gardens than usual. However, I doubt it will be nearly as disastrous as in Europe 1955-1956.
Wilhelm Kordes of Sparrieshoop, Holstein, Germany writes “1955-56 was a catastrophe for many parts of rose growing lands. Unusually high temps in January started nearly all the roses growing. Frost came in February and the growing plants were killed in Southern Europe, but not here. Under such conditions, looking for unhurt roses produced only a few. One rose especially stood out – Rosa pendulina, often called Rosa Alpina in Europe – hardly used now. The few forms still in use, Mme. Saucy de Parabere and Inermis, were unhurt. Another rose that kept up its good name was Pike’s Peak. We started hybridizing with this rose years ago, but it was not repeat flowering, not even with modern floribunda. The repeat-flowering R. kordesii in most cases came down to the soil, but in wind-sheltered places, remained very hardy; the hardiest being Dortmund and Leverkusen. Summer was worse than the winter. Some parts of Germany saw no sun for 8 weeks. Roses were blown to shreds by storms and were nearly impossible to spray. 1956 will be, in the memory of rose people, the worse we have had for 40 years.”
The next GVRS meeting will be in March and perhaps we will have some idea at that time how our gardens have withstood Michigan’s wicked winter. Hope to see all of you there.

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

The President’s Corner

The President’s Corner – By Joan Stoffer
Don’t get tired of “groomin’ the blooms” just yet! There is still an upcoming District show in East Lansing, so get out there in the rose garden and start prepping your pets. It’s too late for disbudding – (sorry Jon Wier – I missed the optimum time—- again). I expect to have a couple hardy souls to exhibit, but alas, no Queens among them.
Today, which is too blustery to work outside, I have chosen to browse through the oldest of the American Rose Annuals in my library (1950). What fun to see who was who in rosedom 61 years ago, and what was being exhibited and winning when I was near starting high school. Dr. William Ayers was ARS President in 1950, and R.C. Allen, editor of the Annual . When Dr. J. Horace McFarland established the first edition of the Annual, around 1916, the ARS numbered only 198 members with a total income of only $1885.90 In 1950, membership was 10,000 and the budget more than $40,000. Among the popular roses of that time were Sutter’s Gold, The Doctor, Ellinor Le Grice, Capistrano, Fashion, Fandango, Gordon Eddie and of course, Peace. Color objectives visualized good lasting yellows and non-bluing reds.
Advice in that era for wintering roses was to mulch with peat moss or—corncobs! Mrs. Dorsett, President of the Norman Rose Society in Norman, OK, was loving a good dust mulch. “I take my garden rake in hand and loosen and stir the good, clean top soil under my higher-than your-head roses; I don’t mean dust like inside on the piano, but about three inches of finely loosened soil as one might expect to find in a well cultivated cornfield – no clods, stick or stones. I haven’t seen a weed among my roses in years.”
Fred Glaes, President of the Reading Rose Society, Reading, PA, was stressing the value of organic matter – a change of diet in the rose garden. His established compost pile consisted of a 6 inch layer of wilted organic matter, such as weeds, leaves, grass, etc. on the ground. Next comes two inches of fresh manure. Cover with one-half inch of clean soil and sprinkle with a very light layer of lime or wood ashes. Water must be applied during construction until the pile is as wet as a squeezed-out sponge. Turn the heap at 3 weeks, 5 weeks, and four weeks later it is ready for use. The bed is then covered with ground corncobs to protect it from the sun, then watered heavily.
Favored insecticides of the time for red spiders , their eggs, and thrips, were parathion and benzene hexachloride. Midge was more persistent and DDT gave better control. Both new chemicals seemed compatible with Fermate and Copper-8 which enables mixing to form an all-purpose spray or dust of superior effectiveness.” Because fatalities have been attributed to parathion poisoning, only a fool will rush in where angels fear to tread – lest there be another angel treading.” Good advice from Ralph Dasher, Florence, Alabama, a chemist professionally as well as a lover of roses.
These are but a few tidbits from the 1950 annual – I could go on and on, but I do want to leave room for the editor to update you on results of the September rose show.

The Presidents Corner

By Joan Stoffer
It is that time of the year when we meet again for our annual Rosarian picnic which will take place on Tuesday July 19 at 6:00 pm. There is a bit of a change this year so take note: we are giving Jan and Dan Powell some much needed respite from their usual position as hosts, and the annual event will be held at my home, 2205 7th St. NW. Directions for those of you who have not been here are to take Covell Rd. which runs between Leonard NW and Lake Michigan Dr. NW. 7th St. runs off Covell about ½ mile from either Leonard or Lk. Michigan Dr. and is West off Covell Rd. about 2 city blocks. If you get lost use your Cell, my phone # is 453-0102 and I’ll send rescue to escort you.
We are planning a potluck, so please bring a dish to pass – we usually have around 20 people. Beverages, dessert, and chicken will be provided. We will begin eating by 6:15 to get ahead of the mosquitoes as I live in a “woodsy” area. For those of you acquainted with my two beastly Chihuahuas, I will try to jail them for the evening so you need not fear getting chewed up.
My gardens are not looking their best, having lost my daughter-helper to a broken ankle this year. Her husband then became my favorite son-in-law (he is my ONLY son-in-law) when he pitched in to spread 14 yards of mulch. On July 4th he took a fall and sprained his foot which has left me all alone in my little acre of weeds. But friends always overlook those imperfections so I know you will all come over and have a good time. Hope to see everybody! Please call me by July 16, so we know you plan to come!

Presidents Letter

BY Joan Stoffer
It is a sunny and pleasant 42 degree day as I write to you on this March 30th, though I did hear a forecast for a bit of snow this weekend. At least for the time being, most of our yards are snow-free and freeze has fairly well left the ground. A rosarian friend recently reminded me that this is the time to take soil samples for testing – if it has been awhile since you have done that you may want to do it now. I have been growing roses for about seven years now, and have never had my soil analyzed; I will do that before I start throwing fertilizer and nutrients into soil which may need something other than what I usually give it.
Duane DeDene recently mentioned in an email that he is going to use a product this spring, which I sampled last year. Unfortunately, when I sprayed it, blackspot and insects were already in full swing, and so it didn’t really have a fair chance to prove itself. This winter, I ordered a gallon of Moisturin 5 from GSI Horticultural in Oregon to give it another try. Moisturin 5 was developed in 1991 as a joint project between Oregon State University and a chemical manufacturer from the State of Washington. At the time of Moisturin’s development, OSU was conducting a test of anti-transpirants and anti-desiccants. At the conclusion of the test, over a 4 year time period, the University concluded that Moisturin was more effective than any of the other products tested against plant stress. It was later discovered in lab tests that Moisturin is indeed effective as a long-term barrier to ward off infestations of diseases and insects. I did ask GSI if they had any idea of its effectiveness against Japanese Beetles; they didn’t know and are interested in what I may notice when the JB season begins in July. It is an organic, and therefore very safe to use. I will keep you apprised of its effectiveness in my garden and I’m sure Duane will let us know his findings also.
Editor’s Notes: The Franklin Inn in Bad Axe was the site for our Great Lakes District Spring Convention. Our Grand Valley Rosarian group arrived in the late afternoon of April 8. The evening was a social welcome time, and Harlan Schumaker presented one of his beautiful rose slide programs. Representing Grand Valley, besides Harlan & Kay, were Irma and I, John & Maggie Musgrove, Jan & Dan Powell, Jon Wier, and Rose Enders.
On Saturday instructive seminars were presented on pesticide use, Old Garden Roses, and updates on rules for exhibiting roses, and more pictures of beautiful roses. During the District business meeting, the members voted to spend up to $500 to match member and local society contributions to a fund to help bail out the financially challenged American Rose Society.

Presidents Letter March 2011

March went out like a lion,
Whippin’ up the water in the bay.
Then April sighed and stepped aside,
And along came pretty little May.

Oscar Hammerstein II

Feelin’ GOOD – happy, excited, exhilarated, inspired, uplifted, invigorated, – WINTER IS NEARLY OVER!!!. I know that because my hyacinths are up about an inch – okay, so they are still under a little white stuff, but they are ready to grow and I’m ready to help them – or anything else out there that’s coming up green. Strange that I can’t find any crocus, but maybe voles like them better than hyacinth.
We surely hope you are all ready to join us next week at the March 15th meeting to see Harlan Schumaker’s “Favorite Pics,” and to renew acquaintance with those we haven’t seen since December. We have a new member, Lee Oliver from Newaygo, and hopefully we will be seeing him at this meeting. He found us through our new website and is particularly interested in climbing roses at this time. Welcome Lee!
The Board met last week in discussion of plans for our June show. Our show chair, Harlan, has drawn up table plans for two separate rooms. We will be in half of the room we have exhibited in downstairs (FMG has taken the other half for offices), and also in the room where we have our meetings. We will prep in the usual room. If any of you Kzoo, Lansing, Saginaw, Detroit exhibitors would like to join us we sure would enjoy having you. We have plenty of ribbons so come on over!
Joyce Latta has volunteered to host a talk on roses with Q&A for guests who might be interested while the show is being judged from 11: to 1: pm. Also new this year, we will be very open to the public bringing their roses for display on the Novice table, where they will be judged on their own merits – any kind of rose is eligible and all will merit a ribbon. This is meant to be a fun event and may entice some new members. FMG will be publishing these items of interest in their Seasons magazine which go out to all their members. Joyce and her husband, Tom Conklin, have been brainstorming new ideas to make our show more attractive to the public. My personal thanks to Tom, Joyce, and our show chair/wandering photographer, Harlan, for their efforts on behalf of Grand Valley Rose Society.
If you have read Ted Mills latest column in the American Rose Society magazine on how to kill a rose society, then you know that the number one killer is to stop the rose shows; we are working on making ours the best and the brightest. If anyone has suggestions on anything more we can do,

Presidents Letter Feb 2011

An ill wind doth blow today, BUT it’s melting lots of snow away!! Okay, that’s the extent of my poetic side. It is indeed a blustery Valentine’s Day as I write to you, however it is in the relatively warm 40’s and I’ll take that as a sign of spring in our near future. The Chihuahua boys have had their first long walk since the icy blast of winter began – we bought them yellow boots for their teeny feet – they looked so embarrassed!
Bill Blok will be enclosing an order list of minis and minifloras with this newsletter so we will shorten our letter this month to save additional mailing cost. The rose sale is our annual fundraiser, so please order dozens of these lovelies for your garden and maybe for your friends’ gardens also.
Mark you calendars for Tuesday, March 15, 7:00 pm at the Meijer Gardens for a presentation of Harlan’s “My Favorite Pics.” He has worked feverishly on this program (having lost 8 hours due to a backup glitch) and I know it’s going to be a grand show.
Thanks to our newest member, Karen Fitz La Barge, we now have a website up and running. Grand Valley Rose Society of Michigan will take you to our site, although we haven’t much there yet. If you have something to contribute please let Karen know – she can use whatever you send her digitally – Take pictures, give us your super secret gardening hints, write news about your roses, or ask questions of the best and brightest consulting rosarians. Possibilities are endless and so is the space, so get going. Just contact her by posting a comment to this website!

Presidents Letter Nov. 2010

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town!!
Emily Dickinson

The rose blooms have definitely left my address; the plants are pampered, pruned, sprayed and awaiting their blankets before the hard winter sets in. While I don’t like to see the beauty fade, my back and knees are grateful for the rest. The shade garden has also gone sleepy-bye.
November is our last meeting of the year and Jon Wier has announced a change in the program due to Mark Adams of Weeks Roses needing to be out of state. And so, we will see Part II of Harlan’s “year of the rose 2010.” Everybody come along – you’ll love it!!
The October newsletter, my part of it, went out to Bill Blok just before I received the news of Joey Enders death, and unfortunately I was unable to say what was in my mind and heart at that time. Joey was the first person my daughter, Judy, and I met on attending a rose show at the Gardens. He was so gracious in telling us all about the exhibits, and of course, the benefits of joining the GVRS – which we did, that very day. Sitting next to Joey at meetings and shows was unending fun – he could always get me good on those jokes with his poker face. Joey always had time for my many, many, questions, especially at show time when I couldn’t be sure if an exhibit was just right, or needed some fine tuning. At his funeral, the kind of man he had been showed in the number of “Godchildren” who came to weep as they said goodbye to the person who probably many of them thought of as “dad.” He has simply gone from us far too soon – so long Joey – we will miss you.
Now I want to remember another of our friends who, Jon Wier tells me, has just put the 87th candle on his birthday cake. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOWARD THOMPSON. Howard is so youthful that I find it hard to believe he is older than me!! Howard is such a help at show time – always right there filling those vases, and there again at tear-down time. We wish you many more happy and healthy years Howard – now if I could just persuade you to show your roses——-.
See you all on November 16th, 7:00 pm.

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