Click. Click. “Oh, look at that one!” Click. Click. “Oh, wow!” Click. Cli—Wait is this the Olympic games in Sochi?
No, it’s a bunch of lucky gardeners falling in love with roses. Well, the first couple of rose pictures had rose expert Vicki Agee a little perturbed; seems her vibrant red roses were coming up blue on the power point. Jim sprinkled a little fairy dust on the computer cable, and voila! The rose colors were correct, and the audience was entranced. Vicki, who is also a Dallas County Master Gardener, spoke Tuesday at the Hearts and Roses luncheon held at the Demonstration Garden.
The rose world has changed dramatically, Vicki told us. Breeders are adding many lovely, disease resistant, fragrant roses for the home market. Look for shrub roses like floribundas and grandifloras, Vicki suggests. She recommended ‘Easy Does It,’ ‘Walking on Sunshine,’ ‘Pretty Lady,’ and ‘Lion’s Fairy Tale.’ Does anything smell better than a rose? For especially fragrant roses, choose ‘Francis Meilland,’ hot pink ‘Beverly,’ pink ‘McCartney,’ or pink ‘Deelish.’
She also loves an old favorite Buck rose named ‘Quietness;’ its pale pink blooms mask its tough resistance to black spot. Easy Elegance roses, Austin roses, Flower Carpet roses, and old favorites like ‘Mr. Lincoln’: the beautiful varieties made my head spin. I wanted one of each.
Vicki also knows how to take care of her roses. For fungal diseases like black spot use Neem oil for your first spray of the season. Then spray spring and fall with a product like Banner Max or Honor Guard that contains Propiconazole. Once temperatures reach into the 90s, stop spraying until fall.
Vicki suggests using Spinosad for thrips, because stronger sprays will also kill beneficial insects and butterflies. Use a miticide like Floramite, Forbid or Avid for spider mites. Pyrethrum takes care of cucumber beetles. Fertilize with Texas T in the spring, and once roses have leafed out, use seaweed fertilizer every 2-3 weeks. After late summer pruning, foliar feed your roses through October for maximum bloom.
An online bouquet of roses goes to Vicki for her wonderful talk and tips on a frosty February morning. I know I wasn’t the only gardener who found new favorites to add to their flowerbeds.
Picture of lecture by Starla
Our thanks to Chamblee’s Roses for permission to print from their website. Click here for Chamblee’s Roses.