A brighter outlook, please?

seil zone 6b MINovember 6, 2013

Maybe it's the dreary weather that's put me in such a prickly mood but I find myself getting very worked up about things I'm reading on line today. There's such a lack of encouragement or optimism about any and everything. "You CAN'Tdo that." "You CAN'T grow that" "Only these types are good or real roses or worth your time." "If you're interested in that aspect your a snob or an elitist" Etc., etc., etc.! Why is that? Are we looking to turn people off? Send them away from the hobby we all love?

So many newbies post innocent questions and then get bombarded with negative responses that I can't help but think we scare the majority of them off. I would think it would be much more beneficial for everyone to encourage them.

If I weren't such a stubborn SOB myself I probably would have been one of those newbies who ran away in terror when I posted my question years ago about growing potted roses, and wintering them outside, in zone 6. Everyone thought I was pretty much crackers and they'd all die. But they didn't and I'm still growing and wintering them outside in pots...even HTs for crying out loud! As a matter of fact mostly HTs, lol. In zone 6!

Will some of the attempts that people make and ask us about fail? Of course. But failure is normal, part of growth and not a bad thing if you learn something from it. I think we need to be more encouraging of experiments, trials and innovative ideas and not such naysayers all the time. And when we can speak from personal experience can we try and not make it sound so dire? When I have tried something and it hasn't worked for me I'll give an asker the benefit of the doubt and tell them give it a go but these were my results when I tried it. And maybe offer some suggestions to fine tune it so maybe it will work for them. I hate to tell anyone "no, that will never work" because maybe for them, in their situation, it will.

Our hobby is in a crunch time. Nurseries are closing, societies are disappearing and fewer and fewer people are getting involved. And here we are promoting the worst. Instead we should be out there screaming at the top of our lungs that roses are alive and well and not the divas you've been led to believe! In truth roses are tough as nails and grow and thrive all over the place in some of the most impossible conditions imaginable. Yes, even HTs, and exhibition roses, and minis and OGRs and Knock Outs!

So could we at least try to be more encouraging and have a brighter outlook, please?

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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

Seil, if it makes you feel any better it is people like you and others on these forums that helped fuel my addiction. If it wasn't for these helpful forums I might have believed the local gardeners that roses are hard to grow. I am very confident that if I encounter any problems in my roses you folks will help me no matter how easy or hard the problem is. Without that comfy feeling I wouldn't be putting in a large (for me) spring rose order. For that you all deserve a huge kudos.

Keep up the good work.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Seil - You've expressed some of the same thoughts I've been having, you said it so much better than I ever could. I would like to say that you and several others are always very honest and encouraging and I appreciate that very much.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:31PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Would you cite specific examples of what you're referring to? I volunteer to help you give them what-for as required.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 9:41PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Thank you, SCG and Sara-Ann. I'm always happy to help if I can.

sandandsun, I wouldn't want to call any specific people out. That's not my point. And realistically I have to say we all do it, including me. I just wish we were more accepting and embracing of different points of view and different methods. Every one of us has our own preferences and our little niches that we love but that isn't to say anyone else's isn't just as valid.

I'm not very big on once bloomers for my situation but I love seeing and learning about them. I adore singles but I know they're not to everyone's taste. But please don't denigrate them if you don't care for them. I have a blast every June at my one little rose show and am thrilled if I bring home a ribbon. If I post that I get the impression I've done something wrong for enjoying myself. Like some how I've crossed over to become "one of them" by exhibiting. I choose not to spray for my own reasons but if you wish to spray I have no problem with that. It's your garden and you do as you wish. I don't judge you on it. Many people swear by mulch. I usually swear at it. But if it works for you by all means use it.

HTs are not all awful disease prone water hogs. OGRs are not all saintly. None of it is black and white but a whole tapestry of colors and nuances. We need to encourage that diversity of interest by accepting all forms of rosey endeavor. You can't do that by always being negative. Yes, we need to share our personal experiences, good or bad, that's important. Just do it with a little more encouragement, optimism and open mindedness.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:00AM
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ratdogheads(5b NH)

Thank you for being the voice of encouragement :)


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 4:33AM
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cecily(7 VA)

Oh Seil, I love you! I stopped mulching four or five years ago when the voles moved in (there is a wooded area adjacent to our property so there's no way to keep 'em out). I've been hiding my guilty shame of being a non-mulcher since then because everybody else seems to mulch. Also I leave pots out all winter. I don't even move them to a protected area (dumb luck? urban heat island? The roses are doing well). And I'm an organic gardener who never tests soil pH (heck, it's VA clay, I know its acidic so I don't care what the exact decimal is). So I'm doing lots of things "wrong" but my roses are great and they make me happy.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:25AM
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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

Well said Seil,
I am one of those newbies that has been encouraged and educated on this site. About 6 years ago I came here for advice on my first roses, learned how to keep them going, and I was hooked. I now have a growing collection of roses and it is now thier beauty that has me addicted to the hobby. I actually took a small break from this site for the reasons you sited. I was becoming turned off by some comments made to others and the "I'm right mentality".
My local nursery closed this fall, and while it was not where I bought my roses it saddens me that I don't have a special nursery near by anymore to get those unusual plants that the big box stores don't carry. I would hate that to happen to my favorite rose nursery.
I no longer consider myself a newbie, but an educated rose grower who is now truely addicted to the hobby. I don't answer peopes questions here often because I feel there are so many more of you that are far more experienced than I, I think what I will start doing is posting encouragement to those newbies asking questions.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

You are right Seil. Nothing wonderful is ever accomplished without passion and enthusiasm. Let's all do our best to not discourage people.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:42AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Thank you all for your kind words. They cheer me up and give me encouragement.

The sun is finally shinning this morning and I'm going out to cut all the poor shivering roses left in the garden for a big End of Trail bouquet!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:55AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Thank you for the considerate reminder, seil.

We need to keep that old saying in mind: different strokes for different folks--and that's all right, even in a rose garden!


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 9:33AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Seil thanks for bringing this up! I learned a long time ago to
"Take what you like and leave the rest".
As for being a stubborn SOB, I'm the kind of person who when told, "can't, won't work, too big, doesn't like pruning, needs coddling, won't do without spray" thumbs my nose and says, "oh but I will have to prove that for myself".
Guess that makes me contrary rather than stubborn!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 9:58AM
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My oldest roses (6 HTS) are only 18 months old now. But because of a few of you on this forum, I have added a few at a time until I now have 27. I have added more HTs and lately David Austin and Kosmos.

You are right, some have pooh poohed my rather mundane choice of types, but there are quite a few of you that have done exactly as you request. The few of you that have helped and encouraged know who you are. You have said, that isn't my favorite and doesn't work for me, but maybe it will for you.

My darlings are looking better today than they have since I started planting them. I am a working lady of retiree age and have learned to look for what is positive, , , and what is not, for get it.

And I am so looking forward to next spring, I know that the darlings will shine for me even better than today.

Thanks Seil for being a good guy.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 10:23AM
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view1ny NY 6-7

seil, 2 years ago when I was just starting out you posted pics on how you winter-protected your roses. Memba? It was so eye-opening to hear that HTs could actually survive thru the cold & miserable weather. Guess what? You were right!! They did fine. It might be my words of encouragement on the coldest days when I promised my roses that warm weather was coming, and if they could just hold on I'd appreciate it so much. Who knows but they actually survived.

Newbies can pretty intimidated on these forums, but I wanted you to know that I have learned a lot from you. I'm still laughing at your re-posting of the counting rules for roses. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 10:27AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Wow! Thank you all so much. I am glad to know that there are others out there who want to be a positive force for roses.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Desertgarden- Las Vegas, Z8b @ 2800 ft.

I'm kinda late to this thread but "very well put". Roseseek once posted something to the effect of " the opinion that counts is that of the person doing the buying". This response was relative to a person's color choice or something like that, and I wholeheartedly agree. I try to be careful and state what I like, but really try to, and hopefully have not disparaged things that may not be my taste. Sometimes an understanding of....can help to open one's mind.

This post was edited by desertgarden561 on Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 17:44

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:23PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

seil, I hope I haven't been one of the people you talk about, but I do tend to have some negativity in my make-up, and I sincerely hope I haven't discouraged anyone. Roses are living things, influenced by countless factors, but so are people and animals, and perfection may sound wonderful but is almost possible to achieve. Having fun along the way and learning what is right for your garden is an enriching and exciting experience, and that's what we should be concentrating on.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:48PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Seil, this is a great reminder and I think we all need to take it to heart personally, even if we think it's directed toward someone else with a different web communication style. My strategy for reminding myself to be inclusive is to try to state what works for me in my yard without changing it into a blanket statement of "X strategy/rose" works, or doesn't work. That keeps me from making blunders like "French Lace won't grow in Nebraska", since I'm sure someone here can keep the lovely little wimp alive - instead I say that in four tries, it hasn't survived for me and I would recommend trying it with caution in my zone. Similarly, I've been praising what disease free constant bloomers many of the Easy Elegance roses are in my yard, but other folks have reminded me that this hasn't been tested in other locations, so instead I recommend trying them as a good option and then posting results from your zone.

I suspect that some of the statements that may raise confusion or controversy are the absolute statements about what will or won't happen in someone else's yard with a particular rose or technique. I guess my - ahem- recommendation from all this is that if you recognize yourself as someone who likes to state things in absolute terms that you might give it a second thought and state your views a little more conditionally based on your individual experience, even if you know you're right about whatever you're saying. And again, I include myself in that advice.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Ingrid, I have been reading and respecting your posts for years.
You have never come across that way. Ever.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Seil-- It's been a few months since I've last logged on & what a sweet post!

Yep, I am still a newbie as this was only my second year with roses. Since I have a lot to learn, I've turned to this site. And yep, based on responses I've received from tenured gardeners, I got the impression that my posted questions were goofy. But really, they're not that goofy because you don't know what you don't know, right? That's OK because I just chalk it up to a thorn getting stuck in their hand. I've gotten a lot of incredibly helpful information on here from kind people like you and that's what sticks out to me in my memory and why I've posted many (goofy?) questions.

This year I joined my local rose society. I realize that most people my age aren't bragging about their flush of blooms but I was flabbergasted by the 30 year age difference between me and the other members. You're right to say that this is quickly becoming a thing of the past because that's the direction it's heading but it doesn't have to be that way.. I love roses and I am committed to roses. Roses are AWESOME. As of last week, got on the board of my local chapter and signed up to tackle membership..!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 9:01PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Thanks again everyone.

No, it isn't any one person but just a trend to bombard newbies with dire predictions of failure when they try something or ask a question. They're at least trying things. That's a good thing and we shouldn't discourage it. Maybe that body bag HT isn't the best quality rose or the best one for their yard but it's also probably the only rose they have immediate access to because fewer and fewer nurseries are left and even fewer of the remaining ones even carry roses at all other than Knock Outs. So instead of berating them for a poor choice we need to give them lots of encouragement and information on how to maximize their chances of success with that rose.

And no question should ever be considered a dumb one. If the poster took the time to think about it and ask the question then it's a valid question and needs to be addressed as such. No one should ever be made to feel stupid or inept because they asked something. It's how we all learn new things. There is no such thing as a dumb question! Yes, maybe we've answered that same question a hundred thousand times. So what? This person doesn't know the answer and needs help. And yes I know there's a search function. But really, have YOU ever tried to use it? It's very iffy at best that you'll find anything relevant in the bazillion answers it brings up. I know because I have tried it more than once.

I guess maybe we just need to try and stop and remember what it was like for each of us when we got started and be a little more helpful and a little less judgmental.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 9:58AM
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I like the guy that says "kill it 3 times before you decide you can't grow it."

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 6:28PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Susan, thank you, how kind of you to say that.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 9:24PM
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Oh, no! I planted a French Lace this summer. I have been wanting to grow it for years. I shall have to cover it well and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 10:54PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Not to worry, nastarana. Like Cynthia said, it didn't work for her but it may do wonderful for you! You just never know.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 11:54PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


I am late to this thread, but I agree that even when we have strong views about a particular rose issue, it's always easier on everyone, especially the newbies, if we share those views with respect for others.

Thank you so very much for starting this thread.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Dear Seil,

I appreciate what you are saying here. For my part, I rather like strong opinions and lively discussion because that says to me that the person cares about what he or she does but I think I might have a thicker skin for online conversations than for offline. I do agree it is absolutely essential to not give the impression that rose growing, or any kind of gardening is only for some.

I do deplore suppressing (what I think is) essential information out of a misguided (IMHO) desire to be nice. Essential information like don't buy from Dead Plants Nursery or the fabulous new cultivar Best Ever became infected with RMV within a year of its introduction. I am forever grateful to garden webbers who warned me off some dodgy outfits in TN and on ebay. RMV may be tolerable in CA, but here in the cold zones, I think we need the VID cultivars if we are going to have any hope of keeping them alive. My French Lace is VID so I am hoping that, plus good winter protection, might make a difference.,

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 3:25PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Thanks, Lynn.

Natarana, I'm not proposing we don't be truthful or share our experiences. I just think that since every rose is different in different situations we need to present a more positive and encouraging outlook. We know who the good or bad vendors are and that's good information to share. But most newbies starting out are buying locally. They probably have already bought something and planted it and now have a question to ask so they go searching on the web, find us and post their question. Then we jump all over them that they should never have bought that rose in the first place. That rose is a dud or unsuited to their climate or whatever. I'm sure they go away feeling like they did something wrong by buying them or feeling foolish for making such a mistake. Some come back but I think a lot of them never post again because we scared them away.

If some one is asking for advice on which roses to pick then information about what might work where they are is the right answer. However, once the rose has been bought and planted we need to give help in making the choice more successful. Not belittling them for making a poor choice. And spray or no spray, mulch or not or HTs or OGRs is their choice to make not ours and shouldn't be judged.

Advice and experience can be shared without being made to sound judgmental is all I'm saying.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 4:29PM
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I have avoided commenting on this post but I do have to say that I rarely see comments either here on the Antique Rose Forum (where I am most of the time) that are judgmental or belittling (there are some though, which I pretty much ignore). Most seem well-intentioned and informative. So, I was a bit surprised when I read the post and am still not sure what it is referring to.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 4:54PM
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One of the problems is that this forum is used by both experienced and new rose growers.

H. Kuska comment: We have an "Organic Rose Growing Forum" perhaps we need a "New Rose Growers Forum".

Also, a "keep it simple" approach may actually make the possibility of failure much higher than a realistic approach and also introduce the possibility of serious health risks to the new rose gardener.

The following link is to a widely distributed 2010 "Are We Scaring People Away From Roses?" rose growing article:

Unfortunately, even a new beginning rose grower needs to understand the dangers involed in some of the advice that they are likely going to get. For example there was a recent thread where a new rose grower had first observed blackspot in a three rose garden. Two posts recommended potentially dangerous chemicals without any mention of the potential dangers of use. Simple - yes, but......



As an example of "does simple have the potential of endangering health" and does not simple have the potential of frighting away new rose growers, you may find the following ARS web page of interest:


What is the solution to the above dilema? There is an old quote (I do not know if it is accurate) that the Chicago Tribune once instructed their reporters to write their articles at no more than a fourth grade reading level. Is this the solution? I personally do not see how it could be because of the health considerations.

Here is a link that might be useful: Are We Scaring People Away From roses article link

This post was edited by henry_kuska on Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 20:06

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Sharon----Thank you for saying very gently, what has neede to be said for a while.You have the gift to be able to say this gently. I don't have that gift. I'm no beginner to roses (1970's) or this form (1990's). Like you said, "this is a form to ENCORAGE people to grow roses. Not some place to scare them and run them off." I know every time I see a new rose grower on this form, I get excited in hoping they stick it out and learn to enjoy the world of roses. Now I'll be a good boy and stop here :)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:19PM
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I think most people come here because they like to share the enthusiasm for roses and there are always new things to learn. Like Henry said, sometimes several people will get on the bandwagon for a subject and that can give the impression that whatever's said is true. The strength in numbers thing. I am more concerned with that than unkindness here, which seems rare. I wish for more skepticism and Susan's " find out for myself" spirit. Sometimes even very experienced gardeners will all get on the "let's bash Austins" meme for example. I never understand the need to translate one's bad experience with a rose to " this rose is universally bad". So my plea is more with the reader: Don't believe everything you hear, do some research, get a number of opinions in different zones,
and rely on your own experience too.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 9:08AM
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