Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rose: My Fifth Signature Plant -- In Danger?

We just returned from a fabulous trip to Phoenix, Arizona, where we visited my son and his family. I will be writing about his desert garden soon; so different than mine. As we pulled into our driveway, I was surprised to see my roses are in full bloom, giving a wonderful display of pink, yellow, white and red. I had already decided the rose would be my June signature plant for Diana's meme, Dozen For Diana, but as all my blooms are early, I'm choosing the rose for May instead of for next month.

I have another reason for discussing my roses at this time. I am very nervous that they may be in danger from a virus called rose rosette disease. A few days before our trip, I noticed a very ugly wild rose plant at the edge of the Woodland Walk. On close examination I realized it was infected with the rose-rosette virus.

Diseased Multiflora Rose

Rose Rosette Disease or Witches' Broom

 As I have mentioned several times in this blog, our Woodland Walk is inundated with the invasive multiflora rose. H.H. works hard every year to eliminate it, but there are just too many.

Multiflora rose, introduced as rootstock for ornamental roses in 1866, grows throughout the U.S. with a few exceptions, such as the Rocky Mountains. This thorny, perennial shrub has arching stems and clusters of showy, white-to-pink flowers that appear in May or June. The rose-rosette virus is spread by a tiny mite and an infected wasp, and has the potential to wipe out the multiflora rose, but is a threat to many ornamental rose species and cultivars also. The symptoms of the rose-rosette disease, sometimes called 'witches' broom', include elongation of new shoots, distorted/stunted leaves, excessive thorniness and deformed flowers. Some diseased plants exhibit few of the symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. An infected plant may die within two years. The only course of action is to take out all suspected roses in your garden and destroy them immediately by burning, if allowed in your area, or by bagging and removing.

I took some of the above information from an article I wrote for eHow. Click here to read more. Dee Nash has also written about this subject on her blog, Red Dirt Ramblings. Dee has lost roses to the disease and is very knowledgeable on the subject, so do visit her blog.

H.H. took out and burned two infected plants. Now I'm afraid my prized David Austin rose is displaying some of the symptoms and I am watching it carefully. I wrote about my Lichfield Angel, and its origins, here. It would break my heart to destroy it.

None of my other roses are showing a problem at this time.

Lichfield Angel, on right. I'm not showing the 'suspicious' part

Climbing rose Rosa 'Improved Blaze"

Climbing rose of unknown species

Rosa 'Compassion' and bleeding heart

Compassion was chosen for its divine scent

Another Knockout rose.
When choosing signature plants, I try to select native ones, but an English cottage garden must have roses -- don't you agree? My experience with rose rosette disease is, however, a perfect example of why native plants are best, as they are less prone to disease.

When we returned from Phoenix this week, I saw the peonies and irises are nearly finished. I'm glad I didn't miss them entirely.

The peony has exquisite perfume, too.

Bearded Iris along Bluebell Creek. The diseased roses were removed from behind them.
The strawberries are ripening
Before we left for Phoenix, we opened the pond for the summer. It has a new waterfall and filter. The water is still a bit murky; it will take a couple of weeks to clear. We can't see the fish very well, but there are lots of frogs to enjoy ...

... and not so enjoyable bunnies hopping around it.

Being away, I haven't read your blogs lately, but now I'm off to Diana's amazing garden in South Africa to see more signature plants: do join me at Elephant's Eye.

Wishing you joy in your garden!
Pamela x

H.H.'s latest bird house. Not yet occupied.

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
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  1. It will be heartbreaking for you, Pam, if the rest of your roses succumb to the disease, fingers crossed that you've nipped it in the bud, so to speak. I noticed some strawberries on my plants yesterday but they're no where near ripening yet, it looks like you'll get a taste of home grown strawberries before I will this year. I love the bird house, just what every English garden should have.

  2. Discovering Rose Rosette Disease in the garden feels like a sharp punch in the midsection. I have removed three roses so far this year because of it ... and three last year.

    The feral multiflora roses are only part of the problem, and they are such a prominent contributor because of their wide distribution. The infected mites (wasps? I haven't heard of that one before.) blow from rose to rose, and the pervasiveness of multiflora in the landscape provides more than enough places or them to land and feed. With Knock Out in every shopping center and highway median now, I am noticing that this is becoming another easy haven to spread help RRD.

    Have you read Ann Peck's ebook on the subject? She is one of the country's foremost RRD experts, and her ebook contains valuable information.

    When asked by customers and visitors about Rose Rosette Disease, I tell them, "RRD means the death of a particular rose, it does NOT mean the end of my rose garden". I remove a few RRD roses every year, and I keep a close eye on the ones I still have, and I continue to ENJOY them and plan for more.

  3. I do hope your roses are alright - they are so lovely! Hopefully you can nip any problems in the bud.

  4. It's unfortunate when any plant succumbs to disease but it seems particularly sad with roses! I hope there is soon a cure so no more roses have to be destroyed.

  5. Pam, I am so sorry to hear of your problems with RRD. It is such a scourge! We will be volunteering at the Cranford Rose Garden (part of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden) this coming week.m They have been dealing with it for a few years and finally eradicated it.

    I will check with Sarah, the rose curator there, and see if she has anything else to offer. The disease appeared right about the time she was hired and has been a main focus of her efforts over the past few years.

    If I learn anything different that she found helpful, I'll be sure to let you know.

  6. I revel in my roses now. They are happy with the clay soil. Next time around,I will be more focused on adapted indigenous plants, not the intensive care summer watering hogs.

  7. What a nice homecoming! Your garden blooms are lovely. Hope you can get the RRD under control.

  8. So sad about the disease and your roses! I hope it doesn't spread to your other ones!

    I came back from vacation to find two of my rose bushes destroyed by voles. Why is it always the expensive plants that get taken out first by these types of things?

  9. Sikes! I'll keep my fingers crossed that your rose isn't infected and that HH's efforts to eradicate the species ones will prove effective. The ones you have pictured sure are gorgeous. Cute bunny and your pond is awesome. I bet you're glad to be home.

  10. Beautiful Roses, hopefully they stay healthy for you. Love your pond and the bird box is so cute. I'm sure it will have residents soon.

  11. Your roses are a beauty. I hope everything turns out well.

  12. Oh yuk! Thank you for making us aware of this disease; I had not heard of it, and I do have a few wild roses growing around our property. I'll have to take a good look at them. . . I hope you don't lose any more of your beauties! Kimberley

  13. We talked about yourtrip to Arizona, and I can't wait to see photos. I hope your roses prove resistant. It seems like there is a devasting disease for every plant now.

  14. Pam, So sorry to hear that this problem has found its way into your lovely garden. We too have seen this problem in Alabama this year. Not in our garden, but in the gardens of several friends. our Ag agent wrote a good article on this issue and thought I would provide a link for you.

  15. Pam, your garden is lovely and I hope your roses are well now.

  16. I hope you don't loose any more roses to rose rosette. It really is painful to have to pull them out and destroy them. :( Your pictures are beautiful, though, and I am glad you get to enjoy some of your roses.

  17. Pam,
    I do hope that you have nipped your rose disease in the bud... that would be awful to lose your favorites. I have not heard of that disease before either. Off to read your article :)

    And do tell HH good job on his birdhouse. It is really fun!

  18. You have so many lovely roses - I do hope they stay happy and healthy! Fingers crossed for you. It's winter here and nearly time for planting new roses... now I just have to decide which ones to get!