Roses and Coffee

Marlon's Day and Veterans' Honor

Marlon’s Day and Veterans’ Honor

The coffee is great at Inside the Bungalow in Mesa, Arizona. I like to bring roses when I go for my Mocha.

That’s Moonstone from my new extremely vigorous bush and my favorite red, Veterans’ Honor. Both last in a vase. I think the bouquet went into the refrigerator every night to make it last even longer.


Moonstone and The Reason I Grow Roses

Moonstone bouquet

Moonstone bouquet

I grow roses because I really, really love giving them away.

In the morning I make up a bouquet or two and put them in the fridge. My husband might take one to work. Maybe one will go to a doctor’s office or a pal. My elderly mother gets a steady stream of them.

This is Moonstone. It’s so good in a vase – it lasts. My two Moonstone bushes are lovely. They grow wide and the leaves are large and deep green. The leaves are placed nicely on the stems so there’s some greenery in the bouquet.

When I chose Moonstone I read on HelpMeFind : “It will do best where the weather is hot” and “prefers dry climate”. I can DO that!

I get a lot of blooms. Mine are on fortuniana rootstock, which means more bush, more roses, better in our Arizona heat. I often have 4 1/2 inch blooms. Moonstone is a hybrid tea, 4-6 feet tall, not a lot of fragrance. It’s a favorite at rose shows.

And when you give it in a bouquet, people’s eyes light up.

– Webmaster

Rose leaves turning yellow – Watering Roses

yellow leaves on roses

I am a “snow bird” in Casa Grande with a small rose garden of 8 bushes. I have a current problem of yellowing leaves on nearly all bushes. It does not appear to be from excess water. I drip water once every 5 days for less than 10 minutes. The bushes are producing lots of new growth and flowers.

Yellowing usually begins at the stem end of a leaf cluster, moving out to the tip leaf. Yellowing on the leaf can begin at the stem or the tip.

Yellowing can occur on leaf clusters near the base of the bush, or out on the bud stems. It takes about a week for a leaf cluster to yellow and fall off the stem. I have read that yellowing can be from many causes, but don’t see any specific information on what to do to end it on my bushes. When your gardens open in April, I hope to visit. Thanks for any suggestions.

Thanks for the great question! It looks like you have a salt problem and your rose bushes probably aren’t getting enough water. I talked to two Consulting Rosarians. One recommended that each rose get 4-6 gallons twice a week now and 3 times a week in the summer heat.

The other recommended 2-3 gallons twice a week now and 3 times a week in the summer. Perhaps you could start with 3 or 4 gallons twice a week now and see how it goes.

Variables include whether or not your roses gets shade, how big the rose is (hybrid teas and climbers need a lot more water than a miniature), the daily temperature, whether or not you use mulch and your soil.

A drip system will emit about 1 gallon an hour.

We have salty water here in Mesa and in Casa Grande even more so. When a bush doesn’t get enough water a salt barrier is created in the ground that is hard on a plant. When you water enough it leeches the salts below the root zone.

Hope you can visit the Rose Garden at MCC. Our Mesa-East Valley Rose Society Annual Garden Tour is Sunday April 6th. You get to see The Rose Garden at MCC as well as rose gardens of rose society members.

You can take tours of just the Rose Garden at MCC on weekends, click for more information.

Water Wand – Goodbye Aphids and Spider Mites

I need to purchase a water wand for washing aphids off of a couple of my rose bushes. I understand from my reading that the wands available in the big-box stores may not be most kind and effective on my roses. Are there any particular brands you recommend?

You can make one yourself! This should work well for you. (For spider mites be sure to water spray the top and bottom of the leaves. Repeat every three days until gone.)



Aphids on roses


My Hello Dolly just bloomed and I am so happy. But I now have the beginnings of a pest problem. There are these little brown bugs gathering at the base of new baby leaves and new rose buds.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can control these bugs? Please help, thank you!

Aphids love tender new growth. You’ll see a little colony of green, red or brown soft bugs clustered on new growth. Luckily, aphids are easy to deal with.

If there are just a few you can just scrape them off with your fingers.

If you have more, spray them off with a blast of water from a garden hose. If your rose isn’t sturdy enough for this, you can hold the new growth in one hand and gently wash the aphids off to the ground.

Do this 2 or 3 times a week until you don’t see aphids anymore. It’s best to do it early in the morning, so you don’t have wet rose bushes in the evening and night, which may invite powdery mildew.

In our climate it’s best to not spray water with soap added on our roses. The soap leaves residue on the leaves and because of our strong sun, this can be hard on the bush.

It’s best to keep up with the aphids, as they can lay more eggs in the ground and next year will bring a bigger aphid problem.

Lady bugs can help, but they tend to leave. Praying mantis are territorial and will stay. You can get praying mantis eggs at many nurseries. That might be something to try.

Rio Samba and Blue Roses

Wild Blue Yonder Dona Martin

Wild Blue Yonder

I’m looking for a red-yellow hybrid tea rose called Rio Samba. Can you direct me to a place where I might find one? Also, is there a blue rose available? I’ve had a Paradise and a Blue Girl but did not have success with either.

Thank you for any help you can give me.

You might try several of our local nurseries. Rio Samba is a very popular rose, so a lot of the nurseries should have it in stock. It’s always wise to call ahead.

Sorry, no blue roses. The closest you can come to blue is the mauve roses such as Love Song, Singin the Blues, Paradise, Neptune, and Silver Star. These are the lighter mauve shades. Some of the deeper purple roses are Twilight Zone, Purple Heart, Midnight Blue, Ebb Tide, Wild Blue Yonder and Outta the Blue. All of these roses do well here in the valley, and most of these can be found at the local nurseries.

-Marylou Coffman, ARS Judge, Vice Chairman of PSWD, and Consulting Rosarian

2014 MEVRS Annual Rose Garden Tour

2014-MEVRS-Annual-Rose-Tour(Click flier to enlarge.)

If you love roses and you love gardens this is a must. Bring your sun hat, sunscreen, some water and a camera. And bring your rose questions for our Consulting Rosarians!

This is a great way to see which roses do well here in the Desert Southwest. You can see what the bushes look like and how they can be integrated into home gardens.

I have room in my garden for 6 new roses. I’ll be planting them next January. Our Annual Rose Garden Tour will give me lots of ideas. I’m sure I’ll see a dozen roses that I have to have!

Watch this blog and our May Rose Lore Newsletter for photos of the Annual Rose Garden Tour.


2014 Spring Tours! The Rose Garden at MCC

Fourth of July

Fourth of July

Over 9,000 rose bushes! The best show in town!

The Rose Garden at MCC is bursting with rose buds. The beds that were pruned first are just starting to bloom now. I snapped the picture above yesterday. It’s the very vigorous climber Fourth of July.

You’ll be surprised by the variety in bloom color, in flower form and the growth habit of the bushes. If you’re looking for ideas for your own garden, you’ll find them here.

Spring Tours of the Rose Garden at MCC are a must. They are docent led tours given by Consulting Rosarians who are also on The Rose Garden’s Board of Directors. It’s a great way to learn about roses in the Desert Southwest. And about an amazing garden and how it came to be.

Tours begin at 9:00 am. They’re free. They last about an hour and a half. They can be adapted to your group. (Perhaps you would like a tour for the elderly? It won’t last as long and it will cover less ground.)

The Rose Garden lies along the south side of Southern Avenue, north of Mesa Community College. Drive in off Southern Avenue.  Park alongside The Rose Garden or in the lot just south of it. Meet at the plaza on the east side of the entrance to The Rose Garden.

Bring a sun hat, sunscreen, some water and your camera. If you would like to inquire about a tour, call (480) 461-7022.

The tours are on Saturdays and Sundays as follows:

March 16, 23rd, 29th, 30th

April 6th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 27th

May 3rd, 4th, 11th

Crown Gall on Roses

Crown Gall on roseWhile digging around my healthy Gemini rose bush I was surprised to find a mass of woody, bulbous growths, just under the top of the soil. They broke off easily. Bad news: crown gall. Because it was under the soil, it snuck up on me.

Your rose may look pretty good like mine did. Or it might appear stunted, because its flow of water and nutrients has been interrupted. There may be fewer blooms, chlorotic yellowed leaves and slow growth. Canes might die back.

My Gemini looked OK, but it didn’t grow new canes on the side where the gall was. Suspect crown gall if a vigorous rose isn’t vigorous. Maybe you have a rose that has declined… it might be crown gall.

Crown gall is a disease caused by the bacteria Agrobacterium tumefaciens. It lives in the soil. The bacteria usually comes into our gardens on the roots of an infected plant.

It spreads to other plants via contaminated tools, soil and water. (It affects plants other than roses too.)

The bacteria will enter a rose through a wound caused by planting, pruning, grafting, chewing insects, frost damage, or cultivating. Wounded roots release chemicals that attract the bacteria. The nerve!

The bacteria can remain dormant in the soil for more than two years, even without a rose in sight.

Crown Gall on rose

Once the bacteria is in the trouble begins. Genetic and hormonal disruption causes infected cells to divide uncontrollably and grow to unusually large sizes. The gall forms.

You will recognize crown gall by the formation of large corky growths from a quarter inch up to several inches in diameter. Usually you will see them at soil level or just below.

The bacteria may move internally up into the canes, causing galls above ground. Or galls can appear on pruning cuts made with infected tools. Any cut is vulnerable to bacteria introduced by rain splashed soil.

New galls are rounder, light colored and slightly spongy. Older ones are hard and dry with rough cracks.

Cells within the growing gall lack normal differentiation where different cells conduct water or nutrients. The gall can’t get enough water or food and decay begins. The gall rots away from the plant, releasing bacteria into the soil. Bad.

Prevention will serve you well.  Do not plant any rose, tree or shrub with galls on the roots or stems. Examine roses, fruit trees, poplars and willows with extra care.

When you are working around your roses, keep an eye out for crown gall. You can catch it earlier than I caught mine. In this case, bigger is not better.

Keep your pruning tools sharp so your cuts are clean. When you transplant and have to cut a root, prune it cleanly. When you plant a rose, be quite careful not to damage its roots. If you find damaged or broken roots, prune them cleanly above the damage.

Pruning instructions always include “Prune back damaged canes.” Here’s one more reason why.

Disinfect any tools you use on an infected rose by soaking them in a 1 part bleach to 10 parts water solution for several minutes.

Check neighbor roses. There are four other roses in the same bed with my Gemini. I laid back the soil around them and didn’t see any sign of gall. I plan to disinfect my tools while working in that bed for several years.

A metal rose ID tag was wedged in between the gall and my rose. It was the second rose I ever planted and I had left the tag on for identification. It was wired to the rose. It looks like it cut the rose as the rose grew and may have made the wound where the bacteria entered the rose bush. It’s possible. If I got a rose now with a tag like this, I’d move it up onto a side branch and attach it loosely.

When you find a rose with crown gall, dig up the entire plant, its roots and the soil around it. Dispose of it all. (Don’t even think of putting the rose carcass in your compost pile or re-using the soil.) I dug out an area 2 ½ feet wide by 2 feet deep and replaced the soil. I’m told it’s ok to replant now. I’ll plant a new rose in the same spot next year and watch it carefully.

If you have galls on your stems or canes, carefully prune those parts away. Check those roses for crown gall below the soil surface just in case. Be really good about disinfecting tools after each cut as you work on roses with gall on their stems or canes.

Click to download this article.

Webmaster Mesa-East Valley Rose Society

Low Growing Roses



I have two 4′ x 4′ flower beds in my front yard by the street exposed to the full sun in Mesa all day. I have hybrid tea roses all along the front of the house and would love to put low-growing roses in those front beds. I have researched the best roses for Arizona listed on your website, but don’t feel I have enough information to know if any rose bush will look beautiful in all-day sun here. Should I even try? Any particular suggestions (yellow or orange or blends would be preferred)?

I have several suggestions for smaller roses. There are some low growing landscape roses that do very well here in full sun. One is Sweet Drift, although it is pink.

There is also a rose called Home Run that blooms continually. It grows between 3-4 feet. It is a beautiful red and has five petals. Wing-Ding, a polyantha, is bright red and has clusters of blooms. It’s always in bloom. It grows about 2 feet tall.

Yabba Dabba Doo, a small growing shrub, has bright orange-pink blooms that have a nice yellow eye. It grows to around 2 feet. Sunrise Vigorosa is a low spreading shrub rose with a gorgeous luminous yellow. It blooms in large clusters and is also a continuous bloomer.

You can find several miniature roses that do well in the sun. Miniatures tend to grow 18″ to 2 feet.

All a’Twitter is a brilliant orange. Coffee Bean is a chocolate orange mini that is just beautiful. Rainbow’s End is a yellow/orange blend, also very pretty. Smoke Rings is a very nice melon orange with a smoky purple edge. All of these do well in the sun and can be found locally.

I hope this helps you make a decision. If not, let me know and I will try to get you some more information.

We are working on a new list of roses that do well here and it will be on our web site shortly.

-Marylou Coffman, ARS Judge, Vice Chairman of PSWD, and Consulting Rosarian