When to Prune Roses in Arizona

Moonstone, pruned in January

Moonstone pruned in January, photographed today

Is mid January still the best time to trim roses, about 1/2 or has that recommendation changed?  I am an Arizona native and for over 40 years my husband and I trimmed them in January for wonderful results.

Also I hope to set up a bus trip in the spring for the residents to view your beautiful gardens at Mesa Community College. How many roses do you now have planted? Many thanks.

We do indeed prune our roses back in January. There is still time if you get it done in the next day or two. You should have beautiful blooms around April 10th.

The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College will be in full bloom around April 10th, as well. Around 9,000 roses. We love to show them off.

We would love to give your group a tour of the garden, just let me know when.

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

Click to view our new article Winter Pruning Roses.   Check out our February Rose Lore Newsletter for the latest about the Rose Garden at MCC! There are 350 new roses!

Bermuda Grass – unwanted!

Fusilade IIQ
I have a problem with invasive bermuda grass in my rose beds. I’m 61 now and with arthritis in my shoulder I’m starting to lose this battle using brute force. Pull, mulch, or use some grass killer that does not do short or long term rose damage? Any suggestions of what works here in the Phoenix  area would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Bermuda grass in our rose gardens is a big problem here. However, there is a product you can use around your roses and other plants to control it.

The product name is Fusilade II. The active ingredient is Fluazifop-p-buty. It is a very effective herbicide for the control of grass in landscape areas, including in and around flowers. It is easy to use, has a low odor and can be used on a wide range of ornamentals.

It is a “caution” classified product. The label gives directions for use on a large variety of plants. It works best when the grass is growing well, because it gets absorbed and works its way throughout the plant, killing the roots as well as the top growth. (Spraying on dormant Bermuda grass in the winter will have little effect.)

How to use it:

The label has instructions for large areas as well as mixing it down to 1 gallon. The strength I use is 0.75 oz per gallon of water. Mixed in a 1 or 2 gallon sprayer, it can be applied directly over the roses and other plants. The more you get on the grass rather than on the other plants the better.

Always follow the label and cover yourself up – as with any chemical you spray, the less on you the better.

HOWEVER, It does take time to work, 3 – 4 weeks, so be patient.

-Steve Sheard, Master Consulting Rosarian

Steve has been using it for a number of years and find that it works wonders. He uses it on most of his bedding plants such as petunias, snap dragons, sweet peas, and pansies.

Gemini, an early bloom

GeminiI planted two new Gemini roses a few weeks ago. One had a bud on it. Here’s the bloom. I missed the hybrid tea form stage but photographed it when it opened wide. It’s 5 1/2 inches across. Gemini is just a beautiful rose, at any stage.

I photographed it with black velvet behind it, for drama. It makes a rose glow.

Gemini is a great hybrid tea for the Desert Southwest. A great exhibition rose. It’s a great cutting rose and a vigorous bloomer. Here’s more what we expect it to look like:Gemini-Webmaster

Compost in the Rose Garden at MCC

Bagging Compost at Rose garden at MCCToday and Saturday, March 8 you can come to the Rose Garden at MCC and buy bags of Ken Singh’s compost. He delivers a mountain of it. Read about Ken Singh and his compost here.

Volunteers spread it in the Rose Garden at warp speed and it quickly disappears. The bags for sale are $5. You can see in the picture above the bags are large. These great guys fill the bags for you. Come beginning 8:30 am.

There are knowledgeable folks there who helped me figure out how much I needed. We put the seats down in our Subaru, spread an old shower curtain in the back and drove 10 bags home. If you have a truck you could also go to Ken Singh’s farm and pick it up yourself.

Ken Singh donates this wonderful stuff and the money goes to benefit the Rose Garden at MCC. So when you buy a bag you’re doing something nice for your own garden and something nice for the Rose Garden at MCC as well.
Laying Compost at Rose Garden at MCCThese people work fast and have fun. Here they are today spreading compost from Ken Singh in the Rose garden at MCC. The Garden is well on its way to being beautiful!


Rose Order from K & M Roses

K & M Rose OrderI ordered 4 new hybrid teas from K & M Roses. They look pretty good, don’t they!

K & M has good customer support and fixes any problems with your order if there are any.

These roses are on Fortuniana rootstock, which does quite well here. I ordered 2 Marlon’s Day, a sport of Moonstone. I like Moonstone so much I thought I’d give Marlon’s Day a try.

The other two are Snuffy, which is is an orange cross of Gemini and Veterans’ Honor. Those two are great roses so I thought I needed Snuffy. And besides, Consulting Rosarian Lynn Twitchell recommended Snuffy to me.

I’d love to post what you have planted and where you purchased it. Drop me a note via our Contact page.


Brown Edges on Petals & Brown Edges on Leaves

Abraham Darby with Thrips

Abraham Darby with Thrips

What causes brown edges on rose petals?

Brown edges on petals are usually caused by thrips. Thrips are tiny chewing insects that are about 1/16 inch long, with a diameter the size of a hair.

Thrips are usually found on light colored roses, whites, yellows and pinks. The female drills a small hole in the bud at the sepals and lays her eggs in the developing petals. The egg hatches in a few days as the bloom matures, providing the larva juices to grow.

Thrips cause the flower to be deformed. Sometimes they prevent the flower from opening. The petals appear to be brownish around the edges.

Thrips can be controlled by spraying – only the bud – with a good systemic spray.

Brown edges on the leaves are usually caused by salt burn. This is a common problem caused by a buildup of salts in the soil. Salts can accumulate from ineffective watering practices or if an excessive amount of fertilizer is used.

You can avoid this problem by periodically watering slowly and deeply to leach the salts past the root zone.

Always follow the instructions carefully on fertilizer containers and do not over apply. Always water thoroughly before and after fertilizing to help prevent burn.

I hope this helps to answer your question.

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

Below is a picture of the same Abraham Darby rose without thrips:

Abraham Darby

Hot Princess & Other Pink Roses

Hor Princess Mesa-East Valley Rose Society

Hot Princess

I love your list of “best roses” and like to use it as a reference when I am buying a new rose bush. I want to find a deep pink hybrid tea rose that does well in our heat. “Hot Princess” seems perfect, but none of our local nurseries carry this rose or intend to get in in stock.

Is there a source that you can recommend? I have never purchased from an online nursery and do not know about the quality of their roses. Thanks for your help!

The only source I know for Hot Princess is K & M Roses.

One of the best deep pink roses is Miss All-American Beauty. Also First Prize, Signature, and one of the prettiest – In the Mood, a deep red rose color. All of these roses can be found in the Phoenix area at Berridge, Baker and other local Nurseries.

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

2014 Rose Auction Catalog and Rose List!

We have an updated Rose Auction Catalog and Rose List! View them here: Rose Auction.  The auction is Saturday, February 1st, 2014.

I saw two of my favorite roses on the list. Here’s Angel Face. This 1969 floribunda has a wonderful strong citrus scent.

Angel Face

Angel Face

Also on the auction list is Let Freedom Ring. Here is mine after a rain.  It is a gorgeous red and a great rose to photograph. It lasts well in a vase.

Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring

Many many thanks to Burlington Roses, David Austin Roses, K & M Roses, Star Roses, Tyler Francis and Weeks Roses who so generously donated roses to our auction. Many thanks to members of MEVRS who donated too!


Rose Chat Radio Podcast

Graphics Processor SettingsIf you enjoy podcasts and you enjoy roses this is for you. It’s great to listen to while you work in your rose garden or while driving around. Rose Chat Radio Podcast:

Join us each week for the Rose Chat Podcast. This top rated gardening podcast explores the different aspects of roses. With topics ranging from where to plant roses, how to select roses for your garden as well as how to maintain them to achieve the garden of your dreams.

You’ll hear from the world’s foremost authorities on growing roses, top authors and poets as well as take a look at roses in art, literature and history.

Hosted by award winning rosarians Chris VanCleave and Teresa Byington, each of whom bring a unique perspective to the wide world of roses.

You can find Rose Chat Radio Podcast here or go to iTunes and subscribe.

Please keep in mind that our climate is very different from those you hear about in the podcasts. To get specific information about growing roses in the Desert Southwest and what varieties to grow contact one of our Consulting Rosarians. (You can find a list of CR’s and their contact info in our latest Rose Lore Newsletter.)

Check out the Articles page of our website. There are many fine articles there about growing roses in our climate.

2014 Rose Auction

2014 Auction Mesa-east Vlaley Rose SocietyIt’s almost auction time. How lucky we are! Click here for details.

I just looked at the partial list of auction roses and saw there is a Baby Grand.

It’s a Danish miniature. It was the first miniature to look like an old garden rose. I have one in my garden. It’s bloomed really well for me. It’s a great little rose to tuck into a small spot in your garden.

There are some nice roses on the list. Click to download the Auction Catalog. Below is the 2014 List of Auction Roses. Both are works in progress so check back for updates.

2014 Partial List of Roses Mesa-East valley Rose Society