I pulled up my roses!!!

ellen_s(z5 centralMA)August 27, 2008

I hope I don't regret this. For over four years I have nurtured them. Nourished them with applications of rich compost and kept them well-weeded. I saw enough pretty pink flowers to keep me hoping that one day they would flourish. Out of respect for the previous owner who really loved these roses, I continued to fuss over them, although I refused to spray them with anything toxic.

But half the time they looked like pathetic sticks in an otherwise nice bed. They suffered perpetual black spot and rust. Japanese Beetles loved them. But those pink flowers WERE pretty, so I kept them going for "another year".

This weekend I crossed the line and yanked them!! It was so satisfying. As it turns out, the roots were half-rotted (which probably explains why they never bloomed profusely).

Life is too short to keep struggling with those "must have" plant that just doesn't have the will to live here in my cold valley.

Wish I'd done it years ago...now I can plant something there that WANTS to live and bloom for me :-)

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ellen, I just did the same thing, only with roses I just put in as a trial last year. I had avoided roses for years thinking they would be too much effort and I am organic too, but I just started really wanting the rose fragrance. I am with you, I'd rather have something that wants to grow in my garden. I took lots of photos of the bed the roses were in this past year, and they looked the way I wanted them to, exactly three weeks and the rest of the time they were awful.

So what are you going to plant instead? My bed is full sun and I am considering some leftovers and plants I already have that I need to move around. I am still lacking a focal point and thinking about adding fragrance in some other form, but avoiding lilies and phlox too.

I think you will be happy with your decision. :-)


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 10:15AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm coming from the other side - I just pulled up some native Virginia roses that like to grow here too well! They overgrow everything near by and send runners that trip up and shred passersby. Pretty single pink flowers, no rebloom, and small red hips. I like them, but not everywhere.

I've left them in many areas, for now anyway. The pullees are thrown onto the coastal bank so they have a second chance to take over the world.

I still have lots of roses, just not glamorous ones. Various rugosas, three colors of Knockouts, Zephirine Drouhin (gets some black spot), Carefree Beauty and Carefree Delight are all happy here, and the rugosas and Zephirine Drouhins are very fragrant.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 11:54AM
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sedum37(Z5 MA)

Roses really seem to do well by the coast with the salt air and cool ocean breezes to help with black spot and diseases. You are lucky Claire to be near the coast. I went to a talk this spring at the RI flower show on Hardy Roses to Grow in New England. They gave a list of roses and showed many different, beautiful ones. The talk was by Mike Chute of the RI Rose Society. The ones on the list are supposed to pretty reliable cold hardy and disease free without chemicals. RI Rose Society maintains a garden at Roger Williams Park. Supposedly they don't use chemicals to keep the roses free of disease. I went in June and they were beautiful, large plants covered with blooms. I was so jealous! I was so tempted to grow them but had failures before. So I know ellen_s what you mean about the disappointment.

A few photos in case you didn't see my posting before...

Here is a link that might be useful: Roger Williams Roses Photos

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 1:40PM
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sedum37(Z5 MA)

I forgot to ask -- so PM2 you did pull up your roses? Even the Knockout ones?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 1:43PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well...that was the reason I planted roses last year, because of all the hype about easy care, disease resistant roses and these three were supposed to be that, but they didn't perform as reported. No I didn't rip out the Knock Out Rose, but I decided not to purchase more, because really I like the Knock Out as a shrub, but the reason I would grow roses, is because of the fragrance and there is not enough with a Knock Out to satisfy me. So I have decided there are too many plants in the world to love that I can live without roses. :-)

I also kept Penelope which is climbing on my fence and has one flush of bloom in June that is nicely fragrant. It had some insect issues this year for the first time but it survived it in pretty good condition, so it got a reprieve.

Hardiness doesn't seem to be the issue for me. There are plenty of hardy roses, it is the foliage diseases that are unsightly and the insects that are unpredictable. Plus, I imagine there are roses out there that I could eventually find that would satisfy me but I just don't have the patience to keep trying new ones until I find one. Especially when you can't believe what is reported about them.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 2:06PM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

Prairiemoon, I broke my own rules by pulling them up without first deciding what to replace them with! I haven't decided. It is mostly a spring bed, with Wood Phlox, Moss Phlox, Creeping Phlox, Lambs Ear, Pinks and white Candytuft. It's a bed that I reclaimed from a big tangle of pachysandra, vinca and wintercreeping euonymous. I'm still pushing back the vinca!

Claire - I also grow Virginia Rose here but safely away from any beds which it would surely try to envelop with its runners. It does seem to want to form a thicket. I LOVE the fragrance of those wild rose flowers...
I also grow a white variety of Virginia Rose which does not seem to share the aggressive nature of the pink variety.

After several years battling the invasive Multiflora Rose (I'm not sure that I won, either) I am reluctant to spend any more time on roses, at least for now. Maybe, though, I'll just investigate those hardy, pest-free roses at Roger Williams that Sedum mentioned :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 3:38PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Take hardiness recommendations from RI with a large grain of salt. I've heard Mike Chute speak, and while he does know quite well how the roses do for him, he also has problems with the idea that they might not be quite so happy when the temperatures go well below zero.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 3:46PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I did the same about 5 years ago. Tried David Austin roses, and others. Same issues as Ellen and PM2. Finally I got fed up, dug every single one up and brought them to work and gave them all away. Most of my jap beetles seemed to go away too! I really don't have too much of a problem with them anymore. Too much work.

I went from a rose garden to a daylily garden. I have sundrops, salvia, deutzia, rose campion, lady's mantle and heuchera early, and later the daylilies come in. I also planted butterfly weed in the borders which blooms for a very long time if it is dead-headed. The borders are much more rewarding than roses that bloom great then fall to pieces as the season goes on.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 5:41PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ellen...I don't have that rule, but it is a good one. [g]
I have vinca and in two places in my garden it is not a problem at all. One under a very large maple in full shade bordering the driveway so it hasn't got somewhere to go and a small area between the house and a cement walkway. I had the bright idea one year to dig some up and put it in the back in an open area...big mistake. Two years later, it covered a 6ft x 6ft area, and we got it out of there, before it swallowed up the rest of the bed.

Mad Gallica....You reminded me that I should have added to my post, that I still love roses and envy anyone that can grow them well. I am sure they aren't as bad as I am making them, they just don't fit my circumstances and needs. Believe me it was not an easy decision to make. When I went out to take them out, there was one lone bloom on the David Austin and it was so pleasantly fragrant, I had a hard time following through. [g]

Thyme2dig....one of mine was a David Austin. I had problems with mine without a Japanese Beetle problem. [g]

Ellen, I had them in the center of a bed surrounded with Shastas, Dianthus, Artemesia Silver Mound, Pennisetum, Sedums, an Aster and a Chrysanthemum. I am also pulling out the Shastas as it was my first try with those and I didn't enjoy them at all. I am happy with the rest of the bed and plan on just adding more to make up for the removal. I have a couple more grasses, sedums, and another aster. I picked up a few new plants...penstemons, I have 7 penstemon seedlings and some agastache Tutti Fruitti and Perovskia. It is a front garden bed and I've decided to try to plant mostly late blooming plants because I like the way they stay neat and are no work most of the growing season until the end. Dianthus would be early bloom and I may throw in a couple of iris. I am still thinking I might need a focal point so I am waiting for that piece to fall into place.

Disappointing. Just when I thought I was done with that bed...lol.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 6:44PM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

When I moved to my house years ago I inherited some Heritage roses that had very impressive thorns - solid packed and very long and sharp. Morticia Adams would have prized these roses for their thorns. They were growing in way too much shade and I routinely hacked them down hoping they would just go away. When I finally carved a sunny garden out of the south side of the invasive wilderness, I was pleased to have someplace to move them to after abusing them for so long. AND THE DEER ATE THEM! Thorns and all. I don't know how they managed it. So I shovel pruned them. :-/

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

You have GOT to be kidding! Talk about desperate deer! What a shame after all the work you must have put in to move them.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:44PM
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I feel for you!

I had forgotten about my misadventures with roses. The story is not very long. I never actually pulled my roses though!

One year, I purchased several Canada roses. I thought they would be pretty, easy to care for and hardy.

No sooner were they in when I had to dust them with stuff because they had things. Then everything seemed to find them tasty. True to their nature, they blossomed with pretty little colored roses for most of the season. I continued to dust and to fight little creatures that found then tasty.

There was a particularly bad winter that year. Come spring, no more Canada roses. Perhaps the growing season was just too rough. I never went any further with roses though. They are too much work in my short little experience with them.

So you can see why I never actually pulled them. Lol.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 9:48PM
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Well, well, well...horror stories after midnight?
I'm currently down to less than a 50 from one time over the 120. Next year probably the last of non-Austin's HT will go out.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 12:24AM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

I have to say that I feel SO liberated after pulling them :-)

Prairiemoon..what kind of Shasta Daisy do you have? I love them, they are so pretty in vases, but they need a lot of pinching back and staking and even so they still fell over this year after all the rains. I am trying a new dwarf Shasta from seed this year (I think it's called Ice Princess) which I am hoping won't need the same amount of fuss...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 8:03AM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

I don't know what is happening to me! Last night I was bringing my houseplants into the house after their summer vacation, and on impulse I decided to compost 3 of them! I was not impressed with their condition and I've nurtured them for years too. Out!

I'm not sure where this is going but hubby ought to be worried :-)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:30PM
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Ooh, that could be a bad sign! Once you start clearing things out there's no telling where it will lead.

I have 3 kinds of roses: New Dawn, Fairy, and Bonica. I don't need to spray them at all, so they stay. They do sometimes get J.Beetles, at least the New Dawns do, but not very bad most years. Sadly, none of them are particularly fragrant. And none of them looks especially good, because they're totally neglected. Fairy has such a great impact, though, with that nice foliage and great show of flowers ... I've let it overwhelm a path out front, but I haven't quite figured out how (or when) to trim it to keep it in bounds.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:52PM
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I too got rid of some roses this year. Carefree Beauty was not much of a beauty for me. Just a couple of gorgeous blooms on thin stems needing staking. I had some Fairy nearby. I added more Fairy to replace CB. Well worth it. The more Fairy the better they look. One or two of them are always carrying the show.

I still love my Lady Elsie May shrub roses even though they have to be staked. Tons of blooms all season (with a little lull here an there) and great foliage and the blooms match my coral front door :-)

Knockouts are very functional and easy so they will stay.

I also got rid of a David Austin something or other, I think The Prince. The foliage was okay, but it just didn't flower enough. I have another D.A. that might get the boot during this fall cleanup. I don't even remember it blooming this year.

I am also getting rid of boring hostas or hostas that look like crap by August. (gentically, not due to slugs or hail). ALso goodbye to Flowering Almonds bushes and weigela Midnight Wine. pathetic. There's some other stuff too getting the heave-ho. I wrote a list. somewhere....

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 10:52PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Gee, never mind my garden - do some of you want to come over and clean my house for me? LOL!

I'm terrible at getting rid of things, either inside or outside the house. I'm too wimpy. I want to give everything "one more chance". PM2, if I had seen that one little lonely, fragrant bloom, I would have left the whole plant there!

Actually, I did try last year to clean out a few things. I pulled up this one azalea that was given to me, and while it did *okay* (not great), I never really liked the color. And even then I wasn't going to throw it away, but either move it or give it away. I dug it out and put it temporarily in a pot, no soil or anything. Well, guess what I found about a month ago, in a neglected corner of the yard, thriving and growing with absolutely no care? Yes, that darn azalea, half hanging out of a pot, with just the soil around it's roots. I had completely forgotten about it, seemingly from the moment I dug it up, lol. Gee, it was doing better than when I cared for it in the ground, lol! Of course, now I have to give it another chance! Man, I need a backbone!


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:36AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ellen...I started Shasta Daisy from seed. I had tried Alaska the year before and it did not work out well. Tall, lanky, falling over, aphids. But I thought it would be nice to see how the dwarf varieties worked, so I sowed collected seed someone traded me for, for Becky and Snowcap. I also bought 3 starts from Bluestone of Wirral Pride. Some of them actually did stay low, about a foot high with stiff stems that don't fall over, but only a couple of plants were short. Some were much taller, 2ft. What I didn't like about them, I was expecting a longer bloom season than I got, and after the first flush of blooms, I deadheaded and they didn't rebloom. Worse, the leaves didn't fill in to cover the cut stems and it remained looking ugly for the rest of the season. The foliage started to deteriorate later in the season. Wirral Pride from Bluestone acted like it had a virus, wilting every time the sun hit it, no matter how much water I gave it. So it could be a good variety but the plants I got were not great. It also didn't bloom long enough for me again, no rebloom.

An interesting twist to my 'Rose Removal', when I decided not to keep the roses, I ripped out one that was all mildew and just tossed it, but not having the time to dig out the other two that were larger, I just left them there and cut them back to 4 inches off the ground to do later. So today, I had plants ready to go in and about to dig them out and surprised to see new growth on them. I thought they were dead. So I decided to leave them there until next year. I didn't give them the room they originally had and put a lot of plants up close to where they are, so when I pull them out there won't be a space. But I just thought for an experiment I would try to see if, they will come back in the spring, after having such a drastic haircut so late in the season, and two, if they will grow and bloom well for that initial first flush of bloom and then I could cut them down to the ground after they bloom and I don't want to look at the folaige any more. An interesting option that I hadn't thought of. And if that doesn't work out then they will be shoveled pruned in late spring with no harm done.

DtD....I have a Bonica that I forgot I have, because it is in an area that was once all sun and is now all shade. I thought it had died out, but I notice every year there are a few little branches of it. That was a pretty easy going rose. I should dig it out and see what happens.

Wendy...I almost bought that Carefree Beauty once, glad I didn't. What is it about your Midnight Wine Weigelia that you don't like?


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 11:11AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Dee...that is funny, I didn't see your post until I refreshed. Well, it would appear that I am semi-wimping out on the roses, but only temporarily. [g] It's not that I am giving them another year, I fully expect them to have the same problems next year, if they make it at all, but if I could get the initial bloom that was pretty good and be able to cut them down to the ground out of the way after they bloom, I might be able to live with that. Have my cake and eat it too, so to speak. I think you should keep that azalea, since it is so determined to live. :-)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 11:18AM
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pm, why ditch Midnight Wine? ... ah where do I begin...

no blooms
ugly scraggly sticks when not leafed out
leafs out very late
Brown to Greenish-brown foliage most of the time.
Purplish foliage needs just the right conditions and shortlived at that.

I might even get rid of Wine & Roses.

I was talking to a nursery guy and the subject came up. He said they are no longer selling Midnight Wine for those reasons. THey have been considering scrapping Wine & Roses too.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 4:14PM
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Wendyb, thanks for the warning on the weigela. I removed two big (plain green leaved types) even though they bloomed well and were great at reblooming through the summer. They were just so ungainly; I'd always thought that if I just was a little more diligent about pruning them ...

I've been tempted by the red-leaved varieties, but I guess I'm glad I haven't succumbed and I'll keep it like that.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:17PM
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I still have lots of roses, just not glamorous ones. Various rugosas, three colors of Knockouts, Zephirine Drouhin (gets some black spot), Carefree Beauty and Carefree Delight are all happy here, and the rugosas and Zephirine Drouhins are very fragrant.


Claire, I have the Zephirine Drouhin down in Mobile, I got 2 of them in Feb and put them in a huge tub to grow until our contractor put up a privacy fence with an arched arbor over the gate. Then these thornless beauties will go on either side of the arbor to make a pillar of pink from top to bottom. I'll probably also plant a couple of star jasmine to entertwine with the roses. This will all happen in November, when we head back south for the winter.

Up here, I put out about 16 rugosa roses. Down by the road, and some white Blanc Double du Corbet in front of the hedge along the drive way. I'm very fond of white flowers against dark green backgrounds. All of these rugosas have such huge hips which are beginning to turn a rosy apple red.

Has anyone else tried the Don Juan rose? It was always my son's favorite, and it resists black spot nicely. The stems are long, the blooms a deep blackish red, and the scent is heavenly. I also love to grow Iceburg, it never stops blooming. I'm not into finicky hybrid teas. I keep my roses mostly in full sun and in the front yard. All my Mobile neighbors (the elderly ones especially) love to walk over and smell them. They know I don't mind it when they take a bloom or two home with them, even when we are gone north.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 10:58PM
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Moc, I also love rosa rugosa, but they do spread pretty aggressively. For some odd reason my mother planted them as a hedge near a path ... big mistake.

Zephirine Drouhin has been on my short list for a long time - one of my sisters grows it (in NJ), and it is really stunning.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 8:27AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I was searching for a post and ran across this old thread. I wanted to update in case Ellen might be around to read this. I am SO glad I did not throw out my two roses. 'Golden Anniversary', a David Austin Rose and 'Rhapsody in Blue' a new shrub rose. A fellow organic grower gave me some tips for doing better with my roses this year and darn if I didn't have the best year with them. I'm so tickled.

They shared that they use organic fertilizer and alfalfa meal at the beginning of the season and then again when the first flush of blooms ends. I did the same thing this year and added a generous helping of homemade compost and what a difference. The first flush was a bust because of all the rain we had that made mush of all the blooms. There was a little insect damage on the rose foliage in early June, but aphids showed up and took care of most of it. After giving a second helping of organic fertilizer and alfalfa pellets right after the first flush of bloom, both roses pushed out some very clean and healthy looking new foliage followed by my first ever repeat bloom. Lots of buds on both of them and healthy foliage too. I was expecting a mess with all the rain we had this year.

Makes me want to add a few more roses. lol

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 7:10PM
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Thanks for the info. PM - I've heard great things about alfalfa but have never tried it. Might have to look into that.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:34PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I meant to say ladybugs showed up and took care of the aphids. [g]

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 4:52AM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

hi PM! Glad to hear your roses have rebounded...I did leave one rose (couldn't bear to yank them ALL up), and another one that I thought I pulled up made an appearance this year and bloomed! That's the kind of hardy rose I want in my garden :-) I will try the alfalfa pellets, I can get those at my feed store...I guess I just can't bear to give up on those pretty pink roses just yet LOL

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 10:05AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hi Ellen! I'm glad you saved one! lol I think you are going to be surprised at how well the alfalfa pellets do. I just worked them in a circle around the base and covered them with soil and mulch, so the rabbits wouldn't be looking for them. My camera is broken or I'd send you a photo of roses. .....Yes, a rose that comes back after a bad winter is a keeper. I don't pay attention to mine before winter either. I know some people mound up soil around the base to protect it more over winter, but, I like to keep it simple. I buy plants that are one zone hardier than mine and then they are on their own. :-)

I thought I pulled up all my Casa Blanca Lilies last year. I was so disgusted with how bad they looked from RLBeetles. I didn't have time to fool with them last year and there was barely any foliage left on them, so we dug up the bulbs and threw them away. I was so surprised to see them growing again this year. You can tell they are a younger version, so they must have been side bulbs? Any way, I must have gotten rid of most of the RLBeetles with the old bulbs, there weren't that many this year and I figured out a new way of getting rid of them. I had a tough time before because I would try to pick them off and they were too fast for me and would drop to the ground. They turn themselves over so their brown underside camouflages them. Now I get a 5 gallon pail with water in it and hold it under the branch and flick them down into it. They seem to know how to swim though, so I pour them out on the driveway and dispose of them that way. My foliage is looking really good this year now.

Good luck with your roses! :-)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 4:59PM
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