STIMULUS IN ROSE GROWING
By Ted Mills, ARS Master Rosarian and Judge
America has just witnessed the introduction of the word: stimulus. It is a bold attempt to resurrect a failing economy. Time will tell whether this novel experiment will enliven our sick economic situation. At least, an attempt to do something positive has been advanced. Of course, this method of relief is debatable between the political factions. For the sake of the nation let us hope that the application of stimulus money will bring healing.
Parallel to the economy’s misfortune, many rosarians find that their rose growing success during the last half of 2009 has also experienced unfavorable results due to an unrelenting downpour of rain. Ordinarily, rose growers covet the arrival of rain to drought-stricken rose plants. However, when the “liquid sunshine” falls unabated, day after day, the plea is “enough is enough.”
During a stretch of weeks the rains came. The plants were drenched with moisture from the sky, negating the spray operation. Every rosarian knows that failure to spray causes havoc on rose bushes. With no let-up in the storms, the foliage was forced to endure long “no-spray” periods of reliable chemicals. As a result, even the gardens of expert growers witnessed the wrath of dreaded blackspot. Rose shows were curtailed since the blooms and foliage did not measure up to exhibition quality.
Just as the American people must rise to the battle that threatens economic health, so must the rosarian prove that he or she is equal to the task of preserving our cherished hobby. It is hoped that the over-abundance of rain will not return in the coming year.
Specifically, many bushes were weakened by the onslaught of blackspot and botrytis. Just as with a sick person, remedial action should be administered to strengthen the bush. After dormancy is passed, begin a timely spray program to the new foliage. Couple this with a reliable feeding program that includes hydration when needed. During the winter months, remove all signs of fungus attack by disposing of diseased leaves or debris that may harbor disease spores. Pay particular attention to the rose bed and see that it is kept hospital clean. After two hard freezes (28 degrees), remove the leaves since their work has been completed for the past season. Prune away the unproductive, twiggy growth that shows no signs of developing a bloom. Especially with hybrid teas and grandifloras, keep the center of the bush open so that air can circulate readily. This helps promote good coverage of spray materials. Keep a close watch on struggling plants. If these show no signs of improvement, shovel prune and replace with new plants. Always use new planting mix in the old hole.
Just as the economy is lagging in improvement, our parent organization’s membership is declining. In fact, it has reached an alarming decrease from years past. All dedicated rosarians are urged to stem the tide of dropouts by encouraging continued dedication to our cherished hobby. Consulting Rosarians and local Society officers must take the lead in stemming this tide. Our hobby is too rewarding to disregard membership. The presence of beautiful roses guarantees a continuing floral atmosphere that provides tremendous joy to the masses.
Yes, stimulus might work wonders if given a chance. Our Congressional leaders have invested much public money to stem the tide of job loss and financial distress among the populace. Some criticize the program, but doing nothing reaps backward movement. And so it is with rose growing. We need to install excitement in people, especially youngsters, to enlist in this hobby and swell its ranks. New programs are being advanced by our parent organization. This dedicated staff has a strong desire to help any aspiring novice who wants to grow roses well. The benefits of ARS membership are numerous and well worth public investment.
One look at American Rose Society’s current method of attracting members is promising. One new program just introduced involves stimulative action. It provides a trial membership of four months at a reduced cost. It is hoped that once the new recruit experiences membership benefits, he or she will remain on the rolls. They are hopefully hooked on growing roses and will enjoy belonging to such a body of helpful people. Bravo to ARS for this trial offer program. Stimulate and the hesitant prospect will gravitate toward belonging.
We are now in 2010 – the tenth year of the 21st century. Time speeds by with the swiftness of an antelope. The New Year is an ideal time to improve the membership growth of the American Rose Society. If there is a local Society member who truly loves roses and has not joined ARS, now is the perfect time to do so. The parent organization’s health is improved if growth in their ranks is escalated. Join and be a member of the only floral organization that promotes growing the Lord’s most beautiful flower. It is then that one can say the stimulus program really works.