Feeling ready to hang it up

teka2rjleffel(z10FL)August 13, 2010

My roses have looked horrid all summer. The thrips now dominate about 9 months of the year. Not much slows them down. Several roses have just up and died despite my constant attention. It has been an extraordinarily hot summer. I look around and realize that I could grow tropicals easily with little or no stress. I will probably fall in love with roses again when it cools but right now I feel like yanking most of them out. I need a rose support group.


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What kind of roses do you grow? There are old rose varieties that like heat more than modern roses do - chinas and teas, for two. If your unhappy roses are mostly hybrid teas, you might want to check on the Antique Rose forum to find out about roses that thrive in heat in Florida.

Where I live we have dry heat, not humid heat, so I can't give you any specific recommendations, but there are folks who live in Florida who post on the antique rose GW forum who might be able to suggest some specific roses to try that like your climate.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 1:54PM
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Jacqueline, I do have some OGR's. They are just as destroyed by thrips as the modern roses. I have very few HT's. I am partial to Austins and floribundas. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 2:12PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Nancy, I have many roses, and our temps have been over 100 for most of the summer. It is just awful. I could list some roses, but not on fortuniana root stock.

This is the first year that I have had to spend many hours working only to try to observe my work from the window.

Good luck to you.

I have many teas, chinas, and new polianthas, but you probably have what I have.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 2:18PM
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Maybe growing more tropicals is a good idea. If they're easier to grow, and you like them, why not? You can always keep some roses, maybe to accent the tropicals.

I wouldn't yank them out, yet, but when it does cool off, take a little time to think about what you want in the garden.

While I'm in a completely different zone (and about as far away as you can get in the continental US LOL) I like my roses (mostly damasks, gallicas, rugosas and hybrid musks) mixed in with a lot of other easy to grow shrubs and perennials that are cold hardy and deer resistant. It makes taking care of the garden MUCH easier and I love the way everything flows together :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 3:16PM
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Sammy I do grow many of them. They do look a bit better but they are all suffering.
Lavender, I love that look too. As someone on this forum once said they want a garden with roses not a rose garden.I have such a tiny lot I always felt that I had to pick roses or other things. Truth be told most of the tropicals while considered exotic are pretty boring to my eye. They are the petunias of the subtropics. Every yard has them. That is one of the things I like about roses. No one has roses in my neighborhood since they really don't like this climate and require work. I don't mind the work but it is discouraging to work so hard and have the garden look awful anyway because I can't control the heat or the thrips.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 3:50PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Here roses may eventually get the boot due to lack of water. Sometimes you have to work with the climate you have.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 4:25PM
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Campanula UK Z8

roses can be tropical too - R.clinophylla, R.gigantea - maybe you should have a look at some of the rose species too - the lovely R.Stellata mirifica, perhaps some of the hulthemia hybrids, R.persica, R,hemispherica. many look good with salvias, zauschnerias, californian poppies and so on. Don't give up the ghost just yet but you have hit on a very important point inasmuch as you really cannot fight your climate or soil and nor should you. The best plants are the healthiest and those suited to your conditions will always look lovelier than those poor struggling ones we are zone-pushing to fulfill our ridiculous dreams.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 4:30PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

Stupid thrips!!!! So sorry for your rose problems!!! All you want to do is grow a few roses - is that too much to ask??

Hang in there!!! Are there some darker roses that would not show the thrip damage as much??


    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 6:29PM
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Nancy, I have to disagree with you on one thing - there ARE roses that LIKE Florida's conditions and even perform better here. I have a very small yard, too (.17 acre), and I have about 90 rose bushes. They are everywhere because all the grass is gone. I'm not exactly sure why, but this year I had almost no thrips damage whereas last year I didn't see decent blooms until the end of June. I grow OGRs almost entirely along with a few polyanthas & a couple of modern climbers. I also have virtually no blackspot this year, and I don't spray. My garden is going on 4 years old, and until this year it was entirely roses, because I was building the garden, the roses were babies and if I planted annuals and perennials they overwhelmed the roses. I also use LOTS of composted horse manure, alfalfa, milorganite and either Rose-Tone or Purely Organic - in other words my garden is organic.

This year's garden changed pretty drastically, I think, because of two things. I installed a micro-spray irrigation system in the winter and started watering daily for about 40 minutes in the morning, reducing my water bill in the bargain. I also planted many, many companion plants amongst the roses. The difference the watering made is huge. My rose bushes have leaves this year! Last year they did not. An organic garden is dependent upon the microorganisms in the soil providing nutrition to the plants. When the soil is dry, the organisms stop, so the plants starve and become weakened, probably making them susceptible to pests and disease. The companions helped, too, by making a "diverse" environment. For instance, I planted two hollyhocks plants that I had grown from seed last winter. I noticed the hollyhocks buds were covered with stinkbug nymphs. I did kill some, and then figured that at least they're not on the roses as they had been last year (the roses all looked like someone had taken a match and singed all the new growth, and the flower buds went limp.) I do see stinkbugs occasionally, but I see no damage on the roses so they must be in check. So my conclusion is that the companions diverted pests away from the roses AND probably attracted predators that reduced the pest population. All without any notice or effort by me. (Although I did put out some spores for grasshopper bait.)

No tropicals here - they freeze. The companions I have used that worked well are purple coneflowers (echinacea), dianthus (it overwintered fine, stayed green through 18 degree temps, and is still blooming after one haircut), gaura, daylilies, rain lilies, angelica, begonias, 'Red Ruffles' azaleas (they like sun), Encore azaleas (the smallest ones), pentas, plumbago, 'Soft Touch' Ilex compacta, liriope, even a couple of hibiscus which I will either have to replace next year due to size increase or the freezes will do that for me, freezing them to the ground. Some companions didn't work well, getting too big or not liking my moist (not wet) soil conditions. This is an experimental thing at first. It seems some of the things that my tastes thought were pretty didn't work because of large size since I had no clue what they would grow into, like mums.

As to roses, I have found Clotilde Soupert to be very healthy, a heavy bloomer, medium sized bush and tolerant of trimming for size. Souv de la Malmaison is a wonderful plant with beautiful large, fragrant flowers even in the heat. LeVesuve (a China-tea) is excellent in the heat and humidity with no disease and continual blooming with fairly large flowers. It will become a sizable bush but it makes an excellent centerpiece rose. I have a few minis and polyanthas. Lauren, Softee and Sweet Chariot are healthy and bloom a lot, just deadhead. White Pet and Borderer are small bushes with nice blooms. Faith Whittlesey, Mme Antoine Mari and Mme Antoine Rebe are smaller tea roses. Anna Olivier will get fairly big, but is so healthy and a bloom machine. I have others, but some get pretty big. Mine are planted pretty close! I just bought a new tea, Duquesa, that I believe is going to be excellent, too. Great fragrance, flower size and color even in the heat.

I want to encourage you, because I was in your shoes last year, discouraged and inconsolable because of all the work I had put into this garden - and for what? So I could be embarrassed by the mess? But this year is an entirely different story. Not that it's perfect. Last weekend I dug out 4 bushes, and I plan to take out about 4 more, including Don Juan and even a few OGRs. It's an ongoing process, this garden. Nothing is static. I've discovered that I will never "get there", but I'm a much happier gardener now, getting ready to start my seeds for the winter garden - a new adventure. I hope some of all this helps you not to be discouraged. One thing is for sure, you're entitled to be unhappy with a rose if you've fed and watered it sufficiently. At that point if it doesn't thrill your heart, say goodbye.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 6:40PM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

So Sherry, your plan is basically :
- find roses that do better in your area (through research and trial and error)
- feed them well
- plant companions all around them to help shade the soil and have less pests (or diverted pests)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 7:44PM
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Aimee, yes, but I hadn't thought of shading the soil. It must be true though. The other thing - the biggest, I think - is consistent moisture. Not dry...wet...dry...wet. I think the results of that are basically the same as not watering at all so good thick mulch is important. The trial and error part includes soil sensitivities (pH) and for Nancy maybe salt tolerance since I believe she's pretty close to the coast - but maybe not close enough to matter. I don't know about that subject. :))


    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Sherry I wish I loved the OGR's but I just don't. I have several including sdlm. The only one that I do love is Cramasoi Supereur. It is a workhorse. Even that one is destroyed by thrips this year. I have very heavily ammended soil and a thick layer of mulch. I water often though not every day. I have tried not to spray hoping the beneficial insects would take over, but they haven't. The thrips have.The Clothilde Soupert that I had just balled. It met Mr. Shovel last year.Where did you find the micro-spray irrigation?
Hoov, I have gotten rid of about 20 roses so far. I am hoping that the ones I have kept (still over 50 on my tiny lot) will do better once the cool days come.If not, I have the shovel handy.
Carol, thanks for the encouragement. I have a serious thrip infestation. No rose is immune. In fact my worst ones are Traviata and Don Juan both darker red. The thrips don't seem to notice color in my garden. Maybe I will have to break down and blast the buggers with some heavy chemicals.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 8:44PM
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Your post is extremely helpful, sherry. I live in a hot, humid climate. One question: why does don juan get the shovel?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 8:53PM
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Nancy, I got all the parts and pieces at Lowe's and installed it myself. It was so much like rocket science that I procrastinated for a year, but I figured it out and got it done. Some brains just weren't meant for that sort of thing. :)) Maybe the thrips are cyclical or something. Maybe our really cold temps last winter killed all of the ones in Ocala. Last year I bought a Bayer systemic something or other but then I couldn't use it when I learned it would kill bees, too. What I finally did (learned on the internet somewhere) was put blue plastic cups painted with STP all around the garden because thrips are attracted to blue. There were bug bodies on the cups, but I have no idea if they did the trick or if it was just time for them to go. I just resolved to ride it out with gritted teeth and felt a great sympathy for farmers who must have to face these sorts of plagues all the time.

rootygirl, in my garden Don Juan just doesn't keep many leaves on him. He's blooming and on Fortuniana, but he just stands there all stiff and semi-bare, not climbing or throwing out long canes, and I'm tired of him. He's great in the spring and early summer, but he just looks funny standing there next to the arbor. I want a real climber, so Pink Perpetue will go in his place.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:32PM
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canadian rose, in Florida in 2005 an Asian thrips was discovered that is now spreading to other states of the American South (it's also in Texas). Its common name is "chilli thrips". It's different from the thrips we deal with further north that like the flowers, but mostly leave the rest of the bush alone. Chilli thrips feeds on the leaves, too.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 10:13AM
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I have had a problem with thrips also, mostly on pink Knockouts.... I just cut off the cane with the thrips... but I am noticing some damage on Belinda's Dream, and a few others.... I am trying the Hot Pepper Wax spray and wonder if anyone else has used it and how it worked, but it's pricey, $15. a bottle... guess you can brew it up in your kitchen but it's made with cayenne peppers and they are lethal and you have to wear rubber gloves to handle them.... last year I broke down and sprayed with Bayer 3 in one and it seemed to take care of the thrips, after I did a second spray... but I'm trying to stay organic, like Nancy, and it's a real problem... if it gets worse I may just go back to the Bayer 3 in one because it worked for me...... and I have thick mulch and thick organic, plenty of Black Cow, Black Hen, Milorganite, Alfalfa pellets, Cottonseed meal, etc. etc., and I keep it pretty moist..... so hopefully this winter will be cold enough to kill off the thrips !..............sally

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 12:51PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

You've come to the right place - we are your rose cheerleaders. I think we all get a little discouraged during the dog days of summer, but an on-going thrip invasion could be quite frustrating.

I recently saw a garden in a magazine (just picked it up standing in the check-out line), and this garden was absolutely stunning. Zone 10, mostly roses with tropicals mixed in here and there. I think if you don't like tropicals, don't use them. But if they grow great and you could like them with roses, why don't you try a few in between your roses for companion plants? When the roses didn't look great, the tropicals would, and when the roses were stunning, they would be the main star of the garden. Just an idea.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I find when I'm frustrated (usually this time of year), it's a little too late to do too much and that gives me all winter to plan and research and visualize.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 2:15PM
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Sally, how long have you had roses? My thrip problems started about 4 years ago with about 2 weeks of the buggers. The next year was longer. Last year it was solid for 9 months of devastation. They have been going strong this year since early March.
Holley that's a good suggestion if I can find some smaller tropicals. Do you recall which magazine it was? We have 12 months of gardening here so down time in the winter to reflect. Thanks everyone for your encouragement.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 3:19PM
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Hi Nancy- I've had roses here for 35 - 40 years, and still do have some of the originals, from Nelson's, on Fort. I had a pecan tree drop limbs and it killed most of my old ones but do still have 2 Tiffany, a Double Delight, Gold Medal, Sweet Surrender, and another I can't remember the name... all with great big grafts bigger than my fist...these are in my back-yard. I have rose beds in my front yard and some there are 25 years old, on Fort. from Nelson's... and I expanded the beds and added maybe another 20 bushes so there are at least 75 roses in the front.....most of my new roses are from K & M and I think they are doing better than my newer Nelson's...... I had thrips show up 2 years ago and Bayer 3-in-1 took care of them... last year I decided to go 'organic' and have not sprayed since Oct. and have really dumped tons of organic stuff out there and it seems to make a difference... but I do have thrips, I hate to get out the spray and am hoping it will clear up with cooler weather, if it ever gets here.... we had a freeze in Jan. and I think that helped..... I have used the Hot Pepper Wax spray ( organic ) and would like to know what other folks think of it, I don't see much difference myself.... sally

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 3:23PM
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That's impressive Sally. Earlier in the season the beneficials seemed to have been helping.I'd see some decent roses on the same bush as the damaged ones. But it looks like the 'bad guy' team is winning in a big way now. I have spent a fortune of compost. My lot is too tiny for a compost heap, it gets stinky right next to the house. Maybe in the fall I'll gather leaves.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 3:53PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

I wish I could help further. I looked through a stack of gardening magazines, and kept muttering 'but where are the newer ones?" Finally, DH admitted he "may" have thrown some out. I don't know much about zone 10 plants, but I still think you could have a beautiful rose/tropical garden. No, it won't look like an English garden - but we all don't have English climates.

Good luck on the thrip problem. If it's the newer Asian thrip, you may be in for quite the fight.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 9:19PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

teka, if your compost smells then you might be putting things in there that don't belong. There shouldn't be anything cooked, no meat or fats or cheeses, only raw vegetable and fruit peelings, old or rotten raw fruits or vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags or leaves, leaves and garden litter. I've had a compost area in many different gardens and have never had an odor or flies.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 10:56PM
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Thanks for looking Hollygarden. Ingrid, I do put only those items in the compost heap plus some shreaded paper. The only time that I had a problem with stink or flies was when I put the alfalfa mush in the heap. It was nasty but didn't last that long. Still our houses are right on top of each other here. Plus I have so few scraps it hardly seems worth the time.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 8:00AM
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lagomorphmom(z10Coastal and z8Mtn CA)

The other reason for a REALLY stinky compost heap is if it's too wet and doesn't have enough air in it. Anaerobic bacteria STINK!!! Our lab deals almost exclusively with them so I really can say "leave them to professionals" and "don't try this at home!" (I've always wanted to say that! ;-)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 11:51AM
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I don't bother with a 'compost heap', my back won't take it... I have a coffee-can in the corner of my sink, and it gets all my veggie scraps ,egg shells, coffee dregs and tea-bags... every couple days I take it out and dig a small hole and bury it in the garden, I put a board on top and weigh it down with a brick so critters don't get at it.... in a week or so it is full of earth-worms and is beautiful compost and no smell whatsoever.... it's faster here in the heat but I do this year-round and my garden loves it..... Fishing worms anyone ??? sally

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 3:51PM
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That's pretty much what I've done too Sally. But no worms. I'm jealous. I want worms.
Do you always put it in the same spot or move your scraps around?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 4:12PM
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    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:01PM
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