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Aug 01 • 2012 • EnglishGrowersHorticulturalRamblersRose NewsWeatherrosesseasonspecies.colin




VETERAN rose grower Colin Gregory admits this summer’s wet weather has brought the horticultural industry “to a standstill” and growers could need to reassess how they grow, sell and market their product to succeed.

A turbulent summer in the UK has seen consistent rainfall and strong winds hinder rose growers across the region as many have struggled to cope with the sudden weather changes.

With more than 32 years of experience Colin believes this year has been one of the toughest on record and fears it could be a sign of things to come.

He said: “We seem to be having these challenges year in, year out. Sometimes we can have four seasons in one month. I think we have to be more adaptable and be prepared for the unexpected out of season.”

Established in 1997, Colin Gregory Roses of Weston Hills grows more than 250 varieties from specialities like this year’s rose of the year, Moment in Time, to the more traditional species such as climbers, ramblers and Old English.

However, Colin admits he could be forced to grow a smaller selection of roses as the uncertainty surrounding the weather means he can’t always guarantee sellable stock.

He continued: “I think as a director I’m going to have to sit down and reassess not just the position of how we grow, sell and market roses but also consider a lot of varieties we grow and ensure we can grow the best of the best varieties.”

This year’s selection has been heavily reliant on fungicides and insecticides to survive and if the wet weather continues more will be needed to keep the fragile stock alive in the coming weeks.

Colin hopes for a period of good weather towards the end of the summer while he still has product of sufficient quality to catch the tail end of the busy selling period.



Among gardeners, roses are known as the aging celebrities of the flower world. Instead of the chemical peels and injectable fillers that keep Hollywood stars looking like starlets, roses must be doused with fungicides and pesticides and pumped up with fertilizers. Even in nature, a rosy glow does not always come naturally.

But at the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx, Peter E. Kukielski is trying to change that. The curator of the botanical garden’s Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, Mr. Kukielski is in the vanguard of a national movement to identify and promote rose varieties that will thrive without chemical intervention.

Since arriving at the garden in 2006, he has led a horticultural revolution, weeding out most of the 243 rose varieties he found when he got to the Bronx and introducing more than 600 new ones. Modern roses are the product of hybridizing, in which strains are mixed to create new varieties; that effort has focused on the beauty of the roses, not their toughness.

“Roses have existed on earth for 34 million years,” said Mr. Kukielski, surrounded by some of his charges under a beating sun. “The genetics of roses are intact, but our meddling has messed them up. One of the things that got left behind was disease resistance.”

Since his campaign began, the use of fungicide, once sprayed liberally to eradicate black spot, a common disease of roses, has fallen by 86 percent.

Another payoff of his search for hardier varieties is a longer season. The Bronx garden typically had two dazzling months. There was a colorful splash in June, and a second display in September. But the garden now puts on a show seven months of the year, blooming from May to November.

The transformation of the one-acre rose garden has coincided with an increased awareness about the risks of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in general. Some local governments and school districts have stopped using them entirely, while consumers have increasingly turned to organic products.

The shift was not easy. When Mr. Kukielski first approached growers, the reception was anything but warm. “Some people slammed the door in my face and others laughed,” he recalled.

Taking a cue from the high-stakes testing now so dominant in public education, Mr. Kukielski, who with his crew cut and beefy arms, looks more drill sergeant than rosarian, uses a 10-point rating scale for his roses, compiling data points like form, color, fragrance, foliage, duration of bloom and, most important, hardiness. He evaluates every rose in the garden once a month. Twice a year, he enlists volunteers to conduct their own evaluations.

“I may give the plant an 8, but if everyone else is giving it a 5, it’s obviously not a strong plant,” he said. “I might have given it an 8 because I love it so much. This evaluation system takes all the emotion out of it.”

In 2006, only 23 percent of the roses scored a 6 or higher, Mr. Kukielski’s threshold for a rose variety to remain in the mix. Last year, 87 percent scored a 6 or above. He has achieved that while rapidly expanding the number of varieties — currently at 693 — and scaling back on chemicals. His staff sprays sparingly for pests like spider mites and rose midges, but the formulations are lighter than in the past. Fertilizers are organic, with fish emulsion a favorite.

One rose variety that will soon be shown the wrought-iron gate is a hybrid tea rose named About Face. The blossoms are lovely: golden-apricot on the inside, pink outside. But the foliage has black spot and withered leaves carpet the ground beneath the bushes. “It’s a beautiful bloom, and it has a great name, but it’s not what we need it to be,” he said.

Nearby, Mr. Kukielski is conducting an even more radical experiment, part of the National Earth-Kind Rose Research Study, which was begun by Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Extension Service to find especially vigorous rose varieties. Two years ago, he planted 32 rose varieties in a small plot, gave them some initial water and then let them fend for themselves. “We’ve used no fertilizers, no sprays, no water,” he said.

The varieties, which have names like Carefree Beauty and All the Rage, have mostly thrived.

Mr. Kukielski empathizes with home gardeners who become frustrated when the roses they plant do not match the lush photographs they see in the mail-order catalogs. He blames some hybridizers who for years have put their energy into achieving a particular hue or form without concern for how well the plant will fare in the garden. “People tell me that they can’t grow roses, and what I tell them is that it’s not your fault,” he said. “A lot of the roses out there are not meant to succeed.”

Details of all our roses are available on our web site.

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



Jun 03 • 2012 • GardenGardenerGrowersMemorialParkRoseRose News

Rose News From Around The World



Well done, Joe Mocsan.

Our community gives you your just desserts next weekend when the rose garden in Chippawa Park is re-named The Joseph L. Mocsan Memorial Rose Garden.

How fitting is that! I can’t help but think the roses will be even better looked after now that you will be there with them in name and spirit, not so much a guardian angel but a guardian gardener. How comforting is that!

No doubt about it, you did more than anyone to foster a rose culture in the city that is known as Canada’s Rose City. You went out of your way to encourage friends, even strangers, to grow roses in their residential gardens.

You went out of your way to offer advice about how to properly prune a hybrid tea. You went out of your way to provide books and periodicals, often paying for them out of pocket, to help gardeners become better rose growers. You went out of your way to be mentor to many.

You were part of the four-member committee given responsibility for finding a rose that would become the city’s official rose. You and the committee members — Peter Boyce, Gord Rendall and Wayne Rohaly — certainly rose to the challenge, picking out a beauty. A few thousand City of Welland rose bushes can now be found in public and private gardens in our community.

You were a formidable competitor in the rose show sponsored by the Welland Horticultural Society over the years.

Unforgettable was the sight of Joe Mocsan making his way toward Seaway Mall’s centre court, two or three pails in hand with cut roses ready to be entered in the competition. Your timing was classic — close to entry deadline time so that other growers were always left wondering: Where is Joe Mocsan? Will he be taking part in today’s show? Will I have better chance to win a trophy or two if he isn’t here?

You took pride in and found it an honour to organize the Rose Festival’s rose show for many years. Despite having roses from the preceding day’s horticultural society show and many, many flowers in your garden to cut and enter, you never did if memory serves me correctly. It was a matter of principle for you — a rose show chair should never submit entries in his or her own show, you believed.

Friendships were important to you. Garden friendships involved many, many people. But you nurtured and tended relationships with people from your profession, teaching; people at the golf course, Port Colborne Golf and Country Club in particular; people at the local camera and colour slide club, and many others.

I still have mementoes of our friendship — a book about old English roses that you wanted me to have, a container of powdered sulphur that you dropped off to use as a topical treatment on disease-affected leaves when need arose and three copies of rose-evaluating booklets published by the American Rose Society, all of them paid for out your pocket, as you did for others who received it.

Your children Paul, Bill, Sandy and Nancy and grandchildren are proud of you and your legacy.

“This is truly the ultimate recognition that can be bestowed upon my father,” Sandy said in an e-mail to me just the other day.

Bill wrote: “My father was very proud of his Welland roots. A rose garden bearing his name is a perfect legacy that recognizes and honours his civic pride and all of the things that were important to him — family, gardening and in particular, roses.”

They and many others will be in Chippawa Park on Saturday, June 9 when the re-naming ceremony is held. That beautiful rose garden will be forever associated with the city’s pre-eminent rosarian as its name becomes the Joseph L. Mocsan Memorial Rose Garden.

How fitting is that!


Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



May 15 • 2012 • GrowersKarismaRose NewsVarietiesVegetablesWater.Horticultureroses



Roses Are Blooming In Bangalore

  From Vegetables To Roses

The saying ‘life always finds its way’ seems to have come true in the case of rose growers in the villages of Hoskote taluk (Bangalore Rural district). Despite the severe water crisis, they have been able to rake in the moolah. It is now a life of regular income and comfort for these farmers who are cultivating new varieties of roses, requiring less water. Farmers in the villages around Hoskote - once a well-known vegetable and floriculture belt - had to abandon their fields due to severe water scarity. The liberalisation era of the mid-90s witnessed massive change in land use in the region. The real estate boom which followed resulted in mass sale of agriculture land and encroachment of water bodies. This resulted in a drastic fall in the water table, affecting small and marginal farmers. When cultivation of water intensive crops like vegetables and flowers seemed impossible, the State Horticulture Department introduced the growers to small varieties of roses. They now sell their produce to neighbouring states. “There are three high-yielding varieties of roses - Karisma, five star and ruby red. They are in great demand in temples and to make garlands. These can be used for all purposes (mariage to cremation) both here as well as in the neighbouring states,” said a horticulture officer here. On large scale A visit to Alappanahalli, Ulsahalli, Upparhalli, Kumbalahalli, Kurubarahalli, Kolathur, Sonadahalli, Sompur and Kalhalli around Hoskote, shows that cultivation of roses is taking place on a large scale. The flowers are transported to places of religious importance in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. According to farmers, most of the flowers cultivated here are sent to Tirupathi under contract farming. “It is a short-term contract between the contractor and farmer - a farmer gets between Rs 45 to Rs 60 per kg of flowers, irrespective of the fluctuating price at which the contractor sells them,” said a senior horticulture officer on condition of anonymity.

These varieties of flowers, according to farmers, grow with very less water when compared to vegetables they cultivated earlier. Depleted water table “We used to cultivate vegetables which required watering every day. But the water table depleted abysmally in these parts. So, the farmers took to rose cultivation, which has proved to be a windfall. I earn between Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per day,” said Yelappa, a farmer from Ulsahalli.

Subrayappa, another farmer, said these varieties of roses - unlike the Dutch rose variety grown earlier - needed very little water. “Even if we water the plants once a week through drip irrigation, it is sufficient,” he said. In some villages, where the water crisis is severe, the sewage water is used for the plants. These miniature rose varieties are cultivated on small patches of land and the entire family is involved in the cultivation. The farmers prune the plants to a height of three to four feet, so that harvesting becomes easy. Their work begins at 5.30 am and the flowers are dispatched to the junction, where they are weighed and loaded onto mini lorries numbering over 50, to be transported to neighbouring states before 7.30 am. The payment is made to the farmers once in 15 days. “Each farmer earns between Rs 25,000 to Rs 45,000 depending on the size of the land he owns,” said a horticulture officer. The horticulture department is encouraging the farmers by giving a subsidy of Rs 14,000 per acre, under the new area expansion scheme.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



Apr 26 • 2012 • AfricanFlowerGlobalGrowersHollandRose Newsplants





A trial shipment of Kenyan roses, in a refrigerated container, is currently on the sea and due to arrive in Antwerp on April 26, Christo van der Meer, Operations Manager of Fresh Flower Solutions for FloraHolland told the Cool Logistics conference on Wednesday.

"This is merely the first trial shipment as we look to provide an alternative to air freight, as the costs are about 40% less than air freight. Once the shipment has landed we will check the vase life of the roses and give feedback to the growers," he said.

FloraHolland is a growers' co-operative handling 11 billion cut flower stems annually and 1.3 billion potted plants with 20,000 different products and 200,000 distribution points in Europe. As FloraHolland has 125,000 transactions per day it provides a benchmark pricing system for the global flower trade. Kenya currently exports EUR165 million worth of flowers annually to the Netherlands of which 75% are roses. It is followed by Ethiopia at EUR110 million and competes with other equatorial highland countries such as Colombia and Ecuador. "We plan to do another 11 shipments this year and expect the last shipment to contain 19 commercial pallets and only one test pallet. Once we have proven that sea freight can compete with air freight, then this would allow Kenya and other African countries to diversify their product offering to other flowers, such as chrysanthemums," he told I-Net Bridge/BusinessLIVE. Europe's flower trade is currently worth EUR7 billion of which only a tenth is imported, so there is a large potential for Africa, including SA, to expand its flower exports to Europe. Once the sea freight is proven to Europe, then it could open a new market for African flower growers in North America, as ships could go to Miami just as easily as they go to Antwerp. Van der Meer believed sea freight could also provide better temperature control of the entire cold chain as refrigerated containers were not available in air freight. A total of 15 Kenyan rose growers were involved in the first trial shipment as FloraHolland wanted a representative sample of growers from the different regions of Kenya. He said it would be unlikely to be used in SA, as SA flower exports were mostly composed of the hardier proteas, which were less delicate than roses or other cut flowers.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.




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