Monday, July 28, 2014

Review of - Roses in the River City

Dave Gunn at GSLDS meeting
On July 20th, Dave Gunn, Missouri Botanical Garden’s Rosarian, presented Roses in the River City. Dave enlighten us with information about recent renovations and future plans of MBG’s rose gardens, complications with growing roses in the Midwest, and varieties old and new that will dispel the myth that roses are fussy.  This article is a review of this presentation.

Roses have been around for close to 5000 years.  They are reliable, bloom from spring to frost, and they are fragrant.

Over the years, people have experienced problems with growing and cultivating roses.   Many problems occur because of the following issues;
-    Wrong Rose in Wrong Place
-    Obsession with showing only “Latest Roses”
-    Using too many chemicals
-    In the Midwest, we also have hot summers, cold winters, and high humidity to deal with.

Roses at Bulb Exchange

What can we do?
-    Get the Right Rose for the Right Place
-    Use good horticultural practices
-    Don’t believe the Hype

Some of the fundamentals for cultivating roses;
-    Choose the right location for your rose
-    Buy a Healthy plant from a reputable seller
-    Use Healthy soil for your plant
-    Give your roses adequate water
-    Give your roses appropriate nutrients
-    Put a bit of work into your rose cultivation

Rose Rosette Disease

This disease is spread by eriophyid mites. Most eriophyid mites make their home on the surface of leaves where their feeding can cause bronzing or reddening but some are also responsible for creating galls on leaves or witches-broom on stems and flower buds.

Adult females overwinter in cracks and crevices of twigs and in bud scales. Females lay eggs in the spring. The young insects that hatch from the eggs resemble the adult. Numerous generations are produced each year. They are primarily spread by wind.

There is no scientific evidence that cutting out the affected area will cure this issue.  The best practice is to dig-up and dispose of the affected plant.

Roses Gardens at the Missouri Botanical Garden

The Gladney Rose Garden was overhauled and rebuilt with new healthy rose plants during 2012 and the Lehmann Rose garden was rebuilt during the spring of 2013 using bare root roses.  The Lehmann garden now has Species roses in the lower area, Old Garden Roses (pre 1867) in the middle area, and Modern Roses in the Upper area of the garden.

Roses that do well in our area of the country;

William Radler, based in Wisconsin and concentrating on developing “cold hardy” roses
-    Knockout Roses, Double Knockout, ‘Carefree Sunshine’, ‘Carefree Celebration’

W. Kordes & Sons (German Hybridizer), their roses are bomb proof, disease resistant, and vigorous
-    ‘Rosanna’ climber, ‘Larissa’ floribunda rose, ‘Winter Sun’

Dr. Griffith Buck, based at Iowa State University developed disease resistant and cold hardy roses
-    ‘Quietness’, ‘Perlie Mae’, Prairie Harvest’

Meilland International from France created ‘Peace’ in 1945 to commemorate WWII.  Their products are sold thru Conard Pyle/ Star Roses in the USA
-    Drift series roses  ‘Sunshine Daydream’, ‘Peach Drift’ is a groundcover

David Austin, based in England, specializes in old garden roses that are perpetually blooming and hardy like modern roses
-    ‘Lady of Shalott’ , ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’, ‘ Sharifa Asma’, ‘ Strawberry Hill’

Ping Lim, from Bailey’s Nursery with roses known for their superior disease resistance
-    ‘Music Box’, ‘Kiss Me’, ‘My Girl’

Other miscellaneous favorite roses are;
-    ‘Touch of Class’, ‘Granada’, ‘Queen Elizabeth’, ‘ Louise Odier’, ‘Alba Maxima’, ‘Julie Child’, ‘Petal Pushers’, ‘Chrysler Imperial’, ‘Mister Lincoln’

We also reviewed one of the beautiful Species roses - Rosa setigea, a Climbing Prairie Rose.

Questions addressed;

Rose Amendments;
-    Compost, horse manure, and chicken soup for roses (organic minerals)
-    Irrigation overhead in the morning so plants dry during the day
-    Keep center open to help alleviate black spot. You can also peel leaves with black spot

Pruning Shrub Roses;
-    Keep the shrub open and prune from the bottom-up

Use of sustainable methods;
-    The garden has stopped using wood mulch and now uses leaf mulch on the rose beds.  This method results in less weeds and ability to hold more moisture.

We really appreciate Dave Gunn’s excellent presentation on Roses at our July meeting.  His knowledge and expertise will definitely enrich the roses at MOBOT and help them evolve and grow to their former glory.

-by Lynn Slackman


  1. An very informative presentation...this may inspire me to plant roses again.

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