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Jun 08 • 2012 • BushesGardenGrowthLeavesParkRoseRose NewsRosetteStemsVirus

Rose News From Around The World


Killer virus ravages rose gardens in the USA

There is no cure, experts say, so the only way to stop the attack is to dig up all infected bushes and destroy them.

Marsha Ruse of Overland Park recently removed from her garden several rosebushes that were suffering from rose rosette virus,

Rose rosette

The symptoms include:

• Distortion and reddening of leaves.

• Uncontrolled growth of stems.

• Excessive thorn production.

Experts warn that some reddening from normal early-season growth, or herbicidal damage, could be mistaken for rose rosette.

Gardeners concerned about their rose plants can send samples to Kansas State’s plant pathology lab. To learn how to send a sample, go to

// Reports of a virus that attacks roses are proliferating around the Kansas City area, and experts say there is no cure.

The disease, called rose rosette, has been known throughout the Midwest for decades. But this spring, agriculture officials in Johnson and Jackson counties are hearing more reports from gardeners with sick roses.

In Overland Park, the disease has progressed enough this year that the city is planning to rip out several of its rose beds along traffic routes and at city buildings and replace them with other plants.

Sarah Patterson, the city forester, said officials didn’t know the cost yet but would tear out rose beds in at least four locations, including the intersection of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Metcalf Avenue, and at the Jack Sanders Justice Center.

“I think this is spreading more rapidly than most people realize,” she said.

Some home gardeners are being hit, too.

Marsha Ruse of Overland Park knew her roses were dying almost as soon as they bloomed this spring.

She has cared for the five rose plants for eight years, she said, and they have always been healthy. Ruse identified the reddened leaves, uncontrolled growth and excessive numbers of new thorns on her plants and knew she was going to have to destroy them.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Ruse, who volunteers with the Johnson County office of K-State Research and Extension. “The only way to do it is to dig them up and get rid of them.”

Ruse’s roses were of the Knock Out variety that has grown popular over the past decade with home gardeners, as well as commercial and municipal landscapers. Knock Outs are impervious to most diseases, but they are susceptible to rose rosette, which attacks all varieties of roses.

Experts recommend digging up and destroying infected plants. Microscopic mites, travelling on wind currents, spread the disease-causing virus as they feed on roses.

Commercial and retail landscapers said they have seen the rose disease throughout the area. Chad Gilliland, a plant care specialist with Arbor Masters, a landscaping firm in Shawnee, said he had seen more and more of the disease over the past five years.

“It seems like about every year it gets progressively worse,” he said.

Officials at the University of Missouri Extension in Jackson County have also heard more talk about rose rosette. Lala Kumar, a horticultural specialist, said he was hearing more reports of the disease this spring, and they were also coming earlier in the season. He said the disease tends to peak in June or July, but he has already taken four reports of it this year.

Laura Dickinson, master gardener coordinator at Johnson County Extension, said the county’s gardening help hotline averages two or three calls per month about rose rosette in most years. But this spring, Dickinson counts that many calls each week.

Not everyone has seen an increase in the disease, though.

Public works and parks officials in Roeland Park and Prairie Village said they had not had problems with rose rosette but were watching out for it. Kansas City’s parks department maintains 60 rose beds throughout the city that have shown no signs of the disease, said Forest Decker, superintendent of parks.

The virus occasionally appears in the municipal rose garden at Loose Park in Kansas City. Judy Penner, the director of the park, said she used a miticide — an insecticide for mites — to keep the disease in check.

Several experts warned that the disease can be spread by contaminated pruning shears and advised gardeners not to put uprooted plants in compost piles.

Raymond Cloyd, an entomologist at Kansas State University, said the disease-causing mites may have been introduced to North America before 1970 as a means of suppressing wild rose plants that were seen as a nuisance at the time.

Cloyd said using a miticide to stop the mites from spreading the disease would be only marginally effective because they burrow deep into the rose’s tissues. He recommended removing the plants and destroying them.

If the roots are completely removed, roses can grow safely in the same spot, but Johnson County Extension recommends waiting for a few weeks or until the next growing season.


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.



Nov 26 • 2011 • All American Rose SelectionsFlowersParkPruningRosarianRose GardenRose News

Rose News From Around The World

San Jose USA 

The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden.  Six years ago, the weeds were higher than the flowers and the garden was on "rose probation." Legions of volunteers helped restore it.

Years of budget cuts and municipal neglect had taken their toll on the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, the horticultural heart of the Silicon Valley, where generations had graduated from high school, exchanged wedding vows or simply found a little bit of sweet-smelling solitude. That was 2007 and weeds had grown as high as the tree roses. Herbicide used to whack them back had instead decimated the flowers, the Double Delights and Queen Elizabeth’s.    Beds first planted during the Great Depression were cracked and dry. Do something, said the rose police (aka the Public Garden Committee of a group called All-America Rose Selections) or pay the price. To any rosarian worth his pruning shears, the threat could not be ignored. So Terry Reilly, an electron microscopist who retired at 38, and then-neighbour Beverly Rose Hopper (her real name) sprang into action. Reilly viewed the garden's rescue as nothing short of a political campaign, his role akin to a Karl Rove of the botanical set. Guerrilla marketing, robo-calls, a volunteer, Reilly figured, could save a garden dedicated to America's national flower, a bloom that's "there in times of sorrow. It's there in times of joy…. People get tattoos of roses. They don't get tattoos of petunias."

Reilly holsters his rose clippers, whips out his iPad and slides his finger across the shiny screen, showing picture after picture of a regional treasure mired in deep decline. There's the Peace rose, smuggled in from occupied France during World War II, its branches brown and bare. Dream Come True is a stunted little nightmare. Dried weeds billow over the 5 1/2-acre park like gray cotton candy. Battered by the dot-com bust and the Great Recession, San Jose has slashed its budget every year for the last decade, eliminating 2,054 positions and cutting $680 million in all. There is no relief in sight. The rose garden was an early victim of the meltdown, in such disrepair by 2007 — when only 20% of the bushes had been pruned — that its neighbours complained to their new city councilman, Pierluigi Oliverio. In his first month in office, Oliverio held a news conference in the dishevelled park, calling on the city to outsource its maintenance as a money-saving test. Neighbours cheered, unions griped and the City Council gave the proposal a thumbs-down. So Reilly and Hopper stepped in, forming Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden and adopting the park. With Oliverio's help, they persuaded the city to allow volunteers to take on duties it had largely abandoned. Reilly also contacted All-America Rose Selections, a non profit group of rose growers that accredits public rose gardens throughout the country. The organization sends judges to evaluate more than 130 gardens, 17 of them in California. Reilly wanted the evaluations as ammunition in the fight to save the garden. He was stunned when he called. "They said, 'Well, geez, you guys have been on probation for like three years,' " Reilly recounted as he strolled the garden paths. "I said, 'Are you kidding me? Send me those letters.' What had happened was those were being sent to the gardener on duty, and she was basically putting it in her pocket, not letting anyone know." Those letters, he said, were "the smoking gun." :: And so, the campaign began in earnest that September. "Free the Roses!" was the rallying cry. Reilly and Hopper leafleted their neighbourhood, beseeching supporters to weed and deadhead in an effort to spring the blossoms from probation. More than 150 people showed up, and 250 came to the January 2008 pruning, the majority promising to help on a regular basis. Reilly built a website with a PayPal function so people could donate money and indicate an interest in volunteering. He shot video of the industrious volunteers and posted it on YouTube, along with a primer on pruning that stars Hopper and has had more than 90,000 hits to date. He built a database of volunteers, plotted their addresses on Google maps and realized that the neighbourhood problem was generating a far-flung solution; volunteers were travelling for hours to help "send the roses to rehab." By spring of 2008, Reilly and Hopper were calling the army of unpaid gardeners the Master Volunteers. The corps was trained, decked out in bright green vests and deputized to garden whenever the fancy struck them. "My favourite time is in the evening, after a glass or four of wine," said Reilly. "You come on over after dinner … deadhead roses and bask in the beauty." Right before Christmas 2008, the rose garden was sprung from probation. "I have never seen involvement like this," then-rose society President Tom Carruth said at the time. The rose growers were so impressed — and so worried about the health of other public rose gardens — that they wrote up the San Jose example as a national case study. "The parks are considered extraneous expenses in times of economic stress," Carruth said recently. "Almost every public garden in the United States is undergoing that very same pressure." But as the case study pointed out, in San Jose "a dramatic turnaround was achieved and the garden was restored to its former glory." The moral of the story? If San Jose could do it, so can you. Already, gardens in Oakland and New Britain, Conn., have taken up the San Jose playbook. By May 2009, less than a year after getting off probation, the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden was chosen as a rose society test plot, one of 10 in the country where roses of the future are planted, inspected and judged before they go on the market. Eight months later, Reilly and Hopper enticed 935 volunteers out on a bone-chilling January morning for the resurrected garden's winter pruning. The gardeners whacked the 3,500 or so bushes back in about an hour and a half. They called it "pruning at 33 RPM," which in this case meant "roses per minute." But the biggest challenge to Reilly's organizing skills came in 2010, when the rose society announced its first competition for America's best rose garden. Garden supporters would vote electronically from April to July and judges would visit the finalists. Reilly set up Wi-Fi in the garden, staffed a booth with volunteers and laptops, and wandered the paths, shoving his iPad at anyone willing to vote on the spot. He printed 5,000 sandwich wrappers urging diners to vote for the garden and gave them to a local lunch spot. The once-ratty rose garden got more than double the votes of its closest competitor and was named America's Best Rose Garden a year ago. The rose society isn't planning another competition soon, but if it does, Carruth joked, "we'll have to disqualify San Jose, because their volunteer force knows how to vote like mad." :: The garden turned Reilly into a campaigner and Hopper into an advocate for an essential human need — "a place," she said, "that is free and open to all to refresh their spirit and renew their soul." And what about those volunteers, the 3,700 or so rose lovers who have collectively logged more than 31,200 hours, work that acting Parks Director Julie Edmonds-Mares said has "transformed" the garden? Late in the afternoon on a Thursday in autumn, Myles Tobin, who has logged 1,960 hours in the garden, is training the newest recruit. Harry Garcia, with 1,850 hours, saws deadwood from a vast stand of Artistry, a coral hybrid tea rose. A trickle of blood dries on his sharp cheekbone, souvenir of an errant thorn. Girija Satyanarayan has travelled nearly two hours from her home in Milpitas, switching buses in downtown San Jose. She likes to make it her routine four or five times each week. The roses, she said, "adopted me to take care of them." "In the mornings," she said, "when the sun just falls on these aromatic ones, the first whiff of scent is heady. It is just beautiful.    I come to catch that."

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




Oct 29 • 2011 • DisasterDriftGrassHerbicideRose NewsVictoria ParkWeatherWeeds.Windy



Weedkiller devastates city’s rose gardens. Council suspected.

GOULBURN’S widely-admired public rose gardens have been devastated by accidental council weed spraying, according to the Rose Committee and Cr Margaret O’Neill.

A count yesterday found some 600 rose bushes – including many iconic City of Goulburn blooms – have been poisoned in the past month.

Mayor Geoff Kettle has promised a full investigation. The dead and dying bushes will leave huge unsightly gaps in once-magnificent autumn displays of flowers that for 19 years have drawn many visitors to the Goulburn Rose Festival.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council workers were seen spraying weeds and grass with Round-up beside the rose gardens within the past three or four weeks. Grass and weeds where they sprayed is now dead – and so are many rose bushes that fell victim to herbicide drift in windy weather.

"I was only made aware of it this morning. I can't comment too much at this stage, because there's an investigation under way as to who, how, or why it happened,” Cr Kettle said yesterday.

"What I can say is, it's a despicable act. Whatever has happened, it has to be put right."

Rose Committee members, who organise the Rose Festival and care for the city’s public rose gardens on a volunteer basis, are appalled at the destruction.

The Goulburn Postyesterday accompanied committee member Jill Harrison as she grimly counted the dead and dying bushes.

“This is a disaster,” she said.

“How could anybody do this, let alone council workers who were seen spraying grass and weeds near the roses when it was windy?

“Round-up takes 10 days to start killing off plants, so from the look of the damage, they must have been spraying in the past month or so.

“I don’t know what the Rose Committee can do now. A great deal of work over the years has gone into making Goulburn’s rose gardens the city’s pride, and many people have donated roses, as well as time and effort, in developing some of the best displays anywhere in Australia.”

Also incensed by the destruction, Cr Margaret O’Neill, who lives opposite Victoria Park and saw the spraying there, vowed to make the Council apologise for the damage and also replace all dead roses.

“I’m just devastated by what’s happened,” she said.

“The council will have to fix it - whoever they blame. It’s happened. They’ll have to find the money for it, they’ll have to pay for it. “A lot of good people in our community have donated roses and worked for the Rose Committee, and previous Councils have been very supportive.

“The community owes them a lot.

“I was one of the Rose Committee founders, and the late Keith Cole was a chairman and patron of it.

“Now this has happened. I’m devastated. I’ll certainly be demanding at the next meeting that the council finds the money to restore these ruined gardens.”

Yesterday’s roses “death count” revealed: Victoria Park, 320 bushes; Pockley Garden, 160; Phyllis Rudd Garden, 74; Tenison Wood front garden, 19, back garden, 13; Howard Park, 10. The Rose Committee pays from $12 to upwards of $30 for new rose bushes, depending on variety.

Excluding labour and remediation costs, the bill for replacement plants would probably top $10,000



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