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Category Archives: Roses

“Happy Together”

‘Brilliant Pink Iceberg’ Floribunda and onion chives at Raincatcher’s in the edible landscape

Imagine me and you, I do…
I think about you day and night, it’s only right!

Just as the Turtles sang to us in 1967, some things belong together. In the plant world this loving and beneficial relationship is commonly referred to as “companion planting.” You might even have heard the popular expression…” roses love garlic.” Let’s consider several reasons why.

From the New York Botanical Garden

*Members of the onion family such as chives, ornamental alliums and edible onions are rumored to increase the perfume of roses, ward off aphids and prevent black spot. Herbs and other aromatic plants make wonderful rose companions. 

According to Birds and Booms

*Garlic protects roses from not only bad bugs, it can also help prevent fungal diseases. Aphids don’t love garlic, they hate it!

The Garlic Farm offers this advice – 

*Plant three to four cloves in a circle around each rose bush, and the sulphur present in the garlic will disperse into the soil and be taken up by the roses – making it a less palatable treat for little bugs.

Gardening Know How says – 

*Rose lovers have planted garlic, chives, garlic chives and onions in their rose beds for many years. Garlic has been known to repel many pests that bother rose bushes. Garlic chives have interesting foliage, repel some pests and their pretty little clusters of white or purple flowers look wonderful with the rose bush’s foliage. 

Seasoned gardeners offer these tips – 

Included in the list of rose companion plants are alyssum, lavender, marigolds and parsley. 

Be sure to check on the companion plant’s growth habit as to height. In many cases, you might want lower-growing companion plants. Herbs will work well planted in the rose beds but, again, check their growth habits to be sure.  

Pairing members of the allium family with your roses helps to ward off aphids with their strong scent and may prevent black spot.

So glad we knew about this dynamic relationship when planting our beautiful rose topiary a few years ago and surrounding it with garlic chives. As you can see from the photo, they seem to be saying… yes, we are indeed happy together!

Linda Alexander, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2008

Veggie Greenrose

Green Rose in a Vase

On a typical Sunday morning following church, my husband and I can be found enjoying brunch at our favorite local bistro. A few weeks ago, was no exception. Parigi is owned by a dear friend of ours who, in “oh so chic” Parisian style, never fails to greet guests with a petite tabletop centerpiece of fresh flowers.

Taking a seat at our usual window table, we were mesmerized by the small but stunning floral display in front of us. Our server smiled as we inquired about the apple-green petals with bronze tips resembling a rose but tightly connected in a lettuce-type formation. Her answer was and short and simple… “I only know that it is called ‘Veggie Greenrose’.”

Brunch was delightful and relaxing but once in the car, a google search took me to a source that provided the best explanation. Here is an abbreviated version of what I learned. 

Our admiration was for a unique rose known as Green Rose, thought to be a descendant of Old Bush, a two-hundred-year-old form of Rosa chinensis viridiflora. China roses are extremely hardy and well suited to Zone 8. One grower observed that many winters, in Zone 8, the Green Rose never loses its leaves but remains a vibrant green with a tinge of red. 

While the buds on Green Rose bloom like any other rose, when open, there are never any petals. Interestingly, the rose bloom is made up of sepals on top of sepals followed by more sepals. Characteristic of its design, the sepals usually come together to form the “holder” of the flower. This holder is called a calyx, but the Green Rose never makes a true flower. Without a flower, there is no seed and no next generation of the plant. 

Thankfully, gardeners throughout the years who held Green Rose in high esteem, chose to take cuttings that were graciously shared with family and friends. Today, this rose exists due to the kindness and love of these special admirers. 

However, locating a source for Green Rose can be challenging. Once again, thanks to the internet, Mountain Valley Growers in Squaw Valley, California had them in stock. I ordered three small plants. Joyfully, my order arrived two weeks ago.

Following their instructions, Green Rose spent a few days acclimating to our climate. After a carefully selected location, it is now growing in my garden. And my dear friend and fellow master gardener, Ann Lamb, agreed to grow one of the plants in her garden. We plan to compare their growth over the next few months and eventually start taking cuttings to share with family and friends.

Ann and Linda with our beginner Green Roses

It is enchanting to consider a diminutive and wonderful rose that first appeared as early as 1743 in the area that later was named China. Even more intriguing is the fact that, at one time, it was forbidden for anyone outside of the Forbidden City to grow this rose. It was the sole property of the emperors!

Emperors aside, Ann and I have no walls or thoughts forbidding anyone to grow a beautiful rose that should have a place of honor in any rose garden! Let us know if you would be interested in having a cutting someday.

Linda Alexander, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2008

We have several rosarians amongst our Master Gardener crowd. Has anyone grown the Green Rose? If you have, send us a picture.

Leading TAMU Plant Pathologist to Explain Rose Rosette Disease

Are your roses exhibiting odd, thorny, or twisted growth? They probably are infected with Rose Rosette Disease (RRD), a virus that has forced the removal of thousands of roses in the Dallas area. Learn what you can do to help prevent the spread of the disease at a talk by one of the leading RRD researchers, Dr. Kevin Ong, Texas A&M University associate professor and director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at TAMU.

The free talk will explain RRD symptoms, control, and removal of infected roses and is set for noon to 1 pm, Tuesday June 21st at the Fellowship Hall of Midway Hills Christian Church, 11001 Midway Road, Dallas.

A rose trial aimed at identifying roses that are resistant to RRD was recently installed at the Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills, a project of the Dallas County Master Gardeners. The DCMG volunteers are trained by TAMU AgriLife Extension Service to distribute horticultural information to the public.

Visitors are welcome to tour the Raincatcher’s Garden and the rose trial located at Midway Hills Christian Church. Reservations are not necessary. For more details, contact Elizabeth Wilkinson,

Read up on Rose Rosette Disease here.

Roses and Valentine’s Day

Julia child rose from redneck rosarian

As many gardeners know, one of those easy-to-remember hints for when to prune your roses, is that you should prune nearly all your roses around Valentine’s Day, except for climbers and spring-blooming only roses.

However, with this year’s unusually mild winter, where several varieties of roses are already in full bloom, I found myself wondering whether they should be pruned now or not.  Ann Lamb says that her Julia Child rose is prettier this winter than it has been in any other time, so should she prune it now?  Thank goodness, Dallas County Master Gardener has several Consulting Rosarians in their membership, so the question was put to them.  Many thanks go to Susan Flanagan, Certified Master Gardener and Consulting Rosarian, who along with some of her Rosarian friends sent this response:

       “I just now talked to a friend who knows a ton about roses. There are a few roses (hybridized by Paul Readon) that are spring bloomers only but they don’t do well here.

      So my advice is to go ahead and prune all your roses. Cutting off the current blooms will not impede the coming spring blooms. If anything, they will make the roses stronger, as you are pruning out the dead, diseased and crossing limbs as well as the very thin ones. And you are cutting a portion of the top branches. The spring bloom will usually display bigger than the ones that are blooming now.  And again, if you have any climbers that are spring bloomers only, then prune them after they bloom just as you would prune once blooming plants like bridal wreath spirea and forsythia.”

     So, if you want, go ahead and make yourself a beautiful bouquet of roses for Valentine’s Day from those roses that are blooming now. Then prune your roses as you usually would.  With this year’s mild, confusing winter, we may receive ”two for the price of one” flushes of blooms.


Picture by The Redneck Rosarian


Celebration of Roses in Farmer’s Branch

Saturday I attended the Farmers Branch Celebration of Roses. What a privilege to hear Mike Shoup of Antique  Rose Emporium fame talk about “Pioneer Roses” and Scott Ogden, landscape artist and author teach the subject of  Moonlit Gardens.

Afterwards I happily wandered through the Farmers Branch Rose Trial gardens at 2610 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch, Texas.

Hundreds of roses are on trial in these gardens from Earth-Kind® Roses to David Austin roses, all displayed and labeled perfectly.

Above: View of Part of the extensive Farmers Branch Rose Garden

Above: View of Part of the extensive Farmers Branch Rose Garden

For example, a rose called Jude the Obscure: “A great favourite of many gardeners. ‘Jude the Obscure’ is very free-flowering, bearing very large, incurved, chalice-shaped flowers. The petals are medium yellow on the inside and pale yellow on the outside. Its award-winning fragrance is extremely strong with a delicious fruity note reminiscent of guava and sweet white wine, which delights all who smell the flower. An excellent short shrub with strong, upright, bushy growth and light green leaves. We recommend planting it near to the house or close a seating area or path, where its delicious perfume can be enjoyed at close quarters. In warmer climates it can be trained as a superb climber. Named after the character in Thomas Hardy’s novel of the same name.”

Thanks to this description from the David Austin website, I will now be reading  Thomas Hardy!

Meet the David Austin Rose, Jude the Obscure

Meet the David Austin Rose, Jude the Obscure

Being a plant nerd, I have always wanted to see the Green Rose.  Yes, there is a rose with green flowers and it is growing in the Farmer’s Branch Rose Gardens.

Close Up of Green Rose

Close Up of Green Rose

Now that I have seen it and compare it to other rose beauties,  I will be shopping David Austin and Pioneer Roses.

Thank you Farmer’s Branch!


Get to know Farmer’s Branch aka the “City in a Park”.  Last weekend’s events included Bluegrass music, a chili cook off, and arts and crafts along with The Celebration of Roses.  Mark your calendar for future events here.

A Gardener’s Fright

There is one symbol of Halloween that no gardener wants to have in their garden.  What is it?  Witches broom.

Above: Close up of Witches Broom, A symptom of Rose Rosette Disease

Above: Close up of Witches Broom, A symptom of Rose Rosette Disease

Witches broom, a symptom of rose rosette disease, is the scourge of anyone growing roses.  Though it was for many years considered to be primarily a disease of Rosa multiflora, the wild rose which is now an invasive species in many parts of the country, rose rosette disease has become more prevalent in many areas.  Earth-Kind® roses, perhaps because they have been planted so extensively, close together, and in large groups, seem to be particularly plagued by rose rosette in the Dallas area.  However any rose may be infected.

Above: Rose Rosette Disease affecting American Pillar Rose

Above: Rose Rosette Disease affecting American Pillar Rose

Rose rosette disease is often seen in the spring but intensifies as the season progresses.  Symptoms are variable but, according to University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension, often include increased growth/rapid elongation of the shoots, abnormal red discoloration of the shoots and leaves, witches broom (prolific clustering of small shoots), and over-abundance of thorns.  Some of these signs may at first be confused with glyphosate (example: Round-Up) or growth regulator ( example: 2-4-D) herbicide damage.  However, rose rosette disease is progressive and plants exhibiting symptoms should be carefully monitored.  Unfortunately, sometimes by the time rose rosette disease is confirmed in an affected rose, the virus has spread to other roses near it.

The disease causing agent has only been identified within the past several years.  The rose rosette virus, called RRV, is transmitted by an eriophyid mite, Phyl­locoptes fructiphilus,, and through grafts.  The mite is extremely small and cannot fly.  However it can crawl, move from plant to plant by air currents, or attach itself to insects.

Currently there is no effective control available for rose rosette disease in existing infected plants. However the facts that it is caused by a virus and spread by a mite give some clues as to how to prevent its spread to healthy plants.  Though miticides have been tried, miticides that control spider mites are not effective against the eriophyid mite.  According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the insecticide Avid is registered for control of both spider mites and eriophyid mites on roses.  However, the use of an insecticide or miticide is not recommended without using cultural control methods as well.

Virginia Cooperative Extension recommends the following cultural controls.  Early detection is the key:

1)  If any wild roses are present in the area, remove and destroy them.  Continue monitoring them for regrowth from roots.

2)  Remove any suspected roses by bagging and destroying them.  Be sure to remove all the roots, both to prevent re-growth of the infected plant and to keep the virus from spreading to other rose roots nearby.  It is not recommended to plant another rose in the same space, though plants other than roses can be grown there with no problem.

3) If you live in an area where wild roses are present, avoid planting downwind as the eriophyid mite can move by air currents.

4)  Be sure to consider the mature size of each rose plant and space them so that the canes and leaves do not touch each other.  The eriophyid mites do not have wings and must crawl from plant to plant, so proper spacing makes it more difficult for the mite to move from rose to rose.

5)  Finally, purchase only healthy roses from reputable dealers.  If you detect any signs of rose rosette disease in a plant before purchasing, do not buy it.  Remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


If you take all these precautions, hopefully you won’t have a frightful experience with your roses.


Pictures by American Rose Society


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