Rose Experiments and Other News

Here's an experiment I did last week: One half of the rose hedge was sprayed with an "organic, natural" fungicide, the other with an unabashedly synthetic fungicide. As far as I can see, there was no difference in effectiveness where they had equal contact time, but the organic one didn't stay on the leaves as well as the inorganic, so the leaves on that side are worse.

Organic fungicide

Both sides still have bad powdery mildew, but that is my fault for failing to spray them every week since it first showed up. Also, the battery in the timer for their sprinklers ran out, and they went a week without water. They're hooked up again, but it was a rough week for them and they had a few setbacks.

I sprayed them again today, with an "all natural" fungicide, using a different spray method: a hose-end sprayer that made the whole process much easier, if a little on the sloppy side. I'll see how they're doing with that.

Inorganic fungicide

Those are the delicate roses. Rosa 'Bonica' is essentially untouched by the powdery mildew, although a couple of places where it touches another plant have got spots on them now. I'm really impressed by this rose's disease resistance.

Another reason why you should love Rosa 'Bonica': hips! Hips are the fruit of the rose, and usually you don't see them because people deadhead their roses (I generally do). 'Bonica' does a really nice job of setting hips, and because it is disease resistant, I don't spray it and at the end of the summer I can safely use the hips for rose hip jelly. (I am told you should not use the hips from sprayed roses for jelly, but the people who tell me this are not scientists so following their advice is just my being conservative, not any verified danger. The sprays I've tried say they can be used on edible fruits.)

I have two 'Bonica' right now, and I may add some more, I am so happy with this rose. Look at the blush on those hips!

Bonica hips

In between fondling the 'Bonica' hips and spraying the bejezus out of the Austins, I've been training 'Constance Spry' up the arbor. The idea is to have a few main branches curve in S shapes up the structure, because horizontal branches bloom best. The places where I've seen this done are just covered in blooms. It's stunning. So far I've broken one branch training it (but it's still alive; 'Constance Spry' is a hearty gal), but a few more are ready to be tied to the lattice.

Training Constance Spry

In the back, Mme Alfred Carriere is massive. I mean, this rose is out of control. I really should talk Noel into putting up a support for it, maybe some tension wire or something. I think it will rival 'Cecile Brunner' soon. The girls are in the photo because they would not stop pestering me. I think they wanted their pictures taken. Also, they are a good indicator of size. That rose started out small enough that Goldie's head would be blocking it from view.

Mme Alfred Carriere

(A web description I read said it grows "quickly" to 25 feet tall. That is the size of a two-story house.)

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posted by ayse on 07/16/06

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