May 2022 – President’s Message

By Patti Spezzaferro

There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. 

Janet Kilburn Phillips

Every time I see a plant in trouble, my heart sinks but then I remember the wise words of Janet Kilburn Philips, “there are no garden mistakes, only experiments”. I quickly put on my detective hat and looked at all the possibilities of why this rose failed. Here are three tips I learned from my mistakes I wish to share with you in hopes of saving your rose garden from suffering the same fate. 

The right plant in the right place is the most important first tip.  Roses typically need at least six hours of sun so map your garden according to sun location every hour and tally the number of hours your garden receives sunlight. This will take out the guesswork on where to place your rose. If you have a partially shady location and do not have any sunny options, have no fear. Here is a post from the American Rose Society site, written by a gardener who successfully grows roses in partial shade. 

Secondly, air circulation is key..  Make sure you do not have any branches in the center of the rose. Here is a great video post from Heirloom Roses on how to prune your roses properly, including information about airflow.

Lastly, control fungal disease. Black spot is a rose disease that is caused by a fungus. It is one of the most common rose diseases. Black spots can kill your rose bushes. Here is an article with an organic solution to preventing and treating black spots on your roses: A Garden for the House. With these three simple tips, I have seen an enormous improvement and so will you. 

Be sure to attend this month’s garden tour at PRS member Lydia Truce’s home at 12 Dominican Drive,  San Rafael on May 12th from 11 a.m. to 3 pm.  This tour was a huge success last year. Please RSVP to her.  That’s it for now, and don’t forget to smell the roses. Happy Gardening,