Shopping For Roses by Bill Blok
On April 5, Alice Otter called to tell me that she was surprised to find one of her favorite roses being sold in the Kentwood Home Depot store. It was Pink Promise, in #1 grade bushes. It was one of those contribution roses, where a small amount of the price was being donated to the fight against breast cancer.
Alice Otter won the 3 of a kind class with this rose in our Fall Show last year. For her, it rates right up there with Moonstone. It is somewhat similar to Moonstine, an off white with a pink inner swirl of petals. I personally don’t rate it quite up to Moonstone, although it has good form and excellent substance.
Alice urges interested people to shop early for these packaged roses. Especially considering the warm weather we have had earlier. Packaged dormant roses don’t wear well on the store shelves. If you are looking for new roses, as opposed to old favorites, you will find the picking slim among packaged roses, but every once in a while you find a pearl.
Multiflora Rootstock by Bill Blok
On April 4 my delayed order of maiden roses and multi-flora root stock arrived from Wisconsin Roses. These are seedlings advertised to be 1/8th inch in diameter, but some are smaller. I line them out in our garden about 10 to 12 inches apart. When these seedlings are properly grown in the greenhouse, they are grown with restricted lighting, to cause them to elongate upward. Ideally the grower tries to lengthen the upper portion of the root, which is the best grafting surface. When I plant these seedlings, I remove any roots that are on the upper 2 inches of root surface, while burying the remainder of the root in my garden soil. When well watered and fertilized, these tiny seedlings increase in diameter to about pencil size or larger by early August. August and early September are the best time for grafting on these multi-flora seedlings.
Early in my grafting career, following the advice of people who lived in other parts of the country, I tried to graft on multi-flora cuttings that I had rooted for that purpose, but had little success. I also tried to graft on standing multi-flora canes, also with very little success. Pallek, our Canadian rose supplier in the 80’s and 90’s, also sold rootstock seedlings, and I bought some at about 20 cents each. Now, with a U.S. source, the price is 80 cents each. There were years that I made 30 or more grafts, and only had 1 or 2 “takes”. People who are good at bud-grafting, like Steve Singer, probably get a 90% take, using rubber bands. I currently use paraphin tape, called Buddy Tape, and get probably about 50%. Not good, but better than before..
Attached is our updated pricelist. (Resource page) Please feel free to include it in your newsletter to your society membership. We will have supplies available at the District Convention in Troy, but if anyone is particularly interested in purchasing something, let us know so we will be sure to have enough. Anyone not coming to Troy, can order, and maybe someone who is, would be kind enough to deliver, or allow them to pick up from them. Again, we try to be very competitive with our pricing (better than Rosemania, and Primary Products, for sure, and usually better than local garden centers, and even big box stores) because we would like to stay in business, and we would like to pass on some of our wholesale discounts to other rose growers.
We are now carrying Green Sand in two sizes for those looking for a “new” old soil enhancer that adds Potassium and micronutrients while it helps with drainage issues. Great for ROSES!!!
We also are now carrying a replacement product for RESPONSE (which was discontinued from the manufacturer). BIOBIZZ Alg-A-Mic is a revitalizing product made from a high-grade, organic seaweed concentrate extracted through cold pressing rather than chemical solvents. It contains a high content of trace elements and hormones of vegetable origin, naturally occurring amino acids, and vitamins. It boosts exuberant green foliage and enhances resistance to diseases. It is not a fertilizer, but a biostimulant to be used with regular plant nutrition.
We are also carrying two other BIOBIZZ products: Root Juice, a mixture of humic and fulvic acids with seaweed to promote vigorous root development and BioHeaven, biological stimulant including amino acids to enhance utilization and translocation of nutrients, boost the anti-oxidant system of the plant, it improves moisture retention in plants, reducing moisture stress, and it is compatible with all fertilizer programs.
We look forward to seeing you at the District Spring Convention.
Joyce and Tom
Walnut Hill Farm
The Nor’ East Rose Sale
For quite a few years now, our society had sold miniature roses as one of their main fund raisers. We order the roses for delivery in early May. They come as small started plants, in small pots or picks. We encourage our members to pick up their ordered roses during that 1st week of May. The remaining roses are repotted and held on our back deck for spring sale, or for sale at our spring rose show.
In past years we would send out a complete wholesale list from the nursery, and when we received our orders from you folks in late February, we would order varieties that corresponded best with the varieties ordered by you. Usually we were required to order at least 8 roses of each variety. That meant that many varieties you ordered in only 1 or 2 rose quantities, were never on our order to the nursery.
Last year we started the practice of ordering only a limited number of varieties, and then making the varieties on the confirmed order available to you for your selection. You have less to chose from, but a greater probability of getting what you order.
By leaning rather persistently on the Sales Manager at Nor’East, I was able to get 12 good varieties that we have grown successfully for the last few years, and two newer varieties we have not been able to get placed on our order in previous years. They are the minifloras Patron®, and Powerhouse(rb), both Bernadella roses.
As we have done in the past, there is an “early bird” price for orders placed and paid for before April 1. It is $5 per plant. Non-prepaid orders, or roses picked up before repotting during the first week of May, are priced at $5.25. Orders picked up after repotting in early May, are priced at $5.50 each. We expect June sales to be priced at from $6 to $7, depending on the supply. If early orders of a given variety are high, we reserve the right to restrict the number per person. In most cases, orders will be filled in the order received. The roses will be shipped April 30. Probably available May 2.
They are here! We saw our first Japanese beetle in our garden on July 1. Now, a week later, they are plentiful. Any hope we would be skipped by the beetles this year has passed us by. They also seem especially fond of Irma Jean, especially of her leaves. Her bush in our front yard seems to be the fuel up place for newly arriving beetles, since her leaves are really in taters. We only hope the beetles will cycle out early this year.
By Bill Blok
Wanted, more rose gardeners!
In the past, new empty-nesters, and newly retired seniors have been prime candidates for rose society membership. Having less responsibility at home and at work, quite a few found more time to spend in their gardens and at rose events. Those who were rose lovers would often become more active in rose societies.
In the last 20 years or so, this older generation of adults have tended to become interested in other things, such as playing golf, condo living, and travel. The result has been a marked decrease in rose society membership, both at the local and national levels. The economic crash we experienced in 2008 only exasperated our membership and financial problems.
At the local society level, some smaller rose societies have closed up shop, while others merged their rose shows and other activities, but have continued to function with their fewer remaining members shouldering more and more responsibilities.
While the local and District societies continued to function with tighter budgets, the National ARS society , with the need to maintain a National Staff and Headquarters, has worked itself into a state of insolvency, as it allowed revenues to drop faster than it’s expenditures. Now ARS is “passing the hat” to their friends (local and District societies), requesting a “bail out”.
At our March Board meeting, our Grand Valley Rose Society Board received a letter from the ARS requesting a donation of $300 . That request was “tabled” for later consideration. It also is requesting donations of $1000 from all District Rose Societies. These sums are needed by ARS to pay the debts they have accumulated recently when expenditures exceeded income. Our individual ARS members have always been fair game for solicitations from ARS, but our local societies have enough problems of their own, without being asked to make up for bad management at the National level. Perhaps we do not need a full time National ARS Director. W. B.
Nor’East Rose Sale
There is still time to order new roses from our Nor’East Sale list that was sent out with the February Newsletter. If you submit your order and the covering check, you have until March 25 to buy at the “Early Bird” price of $5 per plant. That is a very good price for quality plants from known varieties. You might find cheaper miniatures in your big box stores, but usually they are varieties no one has ever heard of, rather than proven winners.
The following is a list of Blok surplus large roses that are available from our garden for a suggested contribution of $3.00 per plant to the G.V. Rose Society.
Most were dug up last fall and are buried for the winter in our vegetable garden. A few may still be covered in their old spots in our rose garden. Available varieties include::
Hybrid Teas: Classic Beauty (orange/gold),
Standing Ovation (r/b), Silverado (m/b), Aint She Sweet (or), and Sheer Bliss (w).
Floribundas: Mardi Gras (o/y), and White Lickorice (y). Shrub: Pink Homerun.
Our surplus miniature roses are buried in pots, and are usually available after they have grown a bit, usually in late April. We expect to publish a list of varieties for miniatures in our April Newsletter.
You can call about availability, but the usual rule is first come, first served. Bill B.
Nor’East Mini/ Mini-flora Sale
Since we are buying roses in full case lots, with a minimum of 8 plants per variety, we are limited in the number of varieties we can order. In the past we were able to buy a number of new introductions with our wholesale order. This year they were not available to us. We do have some quality recently introduced mini and mini-flora roses confirmed in our order. Since our order is confirmed, you should get the roses ordered from our list, unless we sell out on that variety.
Orders will be filled out on a first come, first served basis. I will try to date and time the orders as they are received. All plants were ordered in 8 plant lots, except the miniatures Hot Tamale and Magic Show, which were ordered in lots of 16. The price, if paid by March 25, is $5 per plant. They are ordered in- leaf or forcing grade. After March 25 the plants will be priced at $5.50 each, the same as last year. We expect the plants to be shipped on Monday, May 2 by overnight FedEx. The orders should be sorted out and available for pickup by Wednesday or Thursday May 4 or 5. After filling out and sending the form below, please mail your check to: Bill Blok 4770 Sheri Lynn Dr Wyoming MI 49519
We again are very fortunate to have friends at Walnut Hill who give us great deals on everything we need to care for our roses! Please see the resources page to take a look at what is available!