Updated: Apr 24
Seven years ago, I bought 3 Weeks roses from Maas Nursery. Had absolute "zero" or negative knowledge about how to care for them and no real commitment, but wanted beautiful flowers. Talking about instant gratification or what?
Ended up yanking 2 roses out because they blackspotted horribly and only kept one (which is still there to date).
Sparkle and Shine rose as of April 2022
I...GAVE....UP - roses were just too much/high maintenance for me. Too many diseases and pests. Roses were so intimidating period! How many times do I have to spray and fertilize?!?! So much work and so overwhelming. As a mom to a young child and a fulltime working woman, I wasn't going to have time. I was a lazy gardener. I refused to spray even with neem oil or any organic spray. You may ask - heck, why even bother to garden? Oh well, gardening should feel like a hobby for me, not a full-time job on top of other responsibilities.
A dream of having a rose garden quickly slipped away. Then in 2020 when the whole world stopped due to Covid, I saw videos of a lady in Japan with her gorgeous rose garden, I felt so inspired to start my rose garden dream again and thought It could work since I worked from home and spent more time at home.
Amidst the stress of the pandemic, homeschooling, and work from home adjustments, gardening wasn't a bad idea. I had never ever seen any roses like David Austin roses until that year, they're so beautiful and dreamy. I ordered my first 3 roses from Heirloom, then from DA and many other online vendors across the country. Not knowing how well they would do in our climate, I just knew I wanted to try something different - not from local nursery this time around. The next thing I know I am at about 50 now (lost count).
The craziest part? I don't use fungicide, pesticide, neem oil or anything. I started joining a few rose groups on FB a few months after starting in 2020 and got to connected with a few rose lovers in the area. All of them said not spraying would be impossible for our climate. In the back of my mind, I started to lean towards that idea to spray and went out to buy a few Bonide products to keep on hands.
In the back of my mind, I thought about my oldest rose that had never been sprayed all these years, it blackspotted every year, but it also flourished every year.
~7+ years old Sparkle and Shine
I live about 40 mins away from Galveston so a lot of humidity. Looking at my oldest rose 7+ years old "Sparkle and Shine" - I feel confident that it is possible to go a no-spray route because this rose has withstood multiple hurricanes, freeze, snow, blackspots, pests and most importantly my lack of knowledge and care (no soil amendment, no consistent watering except rain and no fertilizer until 2020) yet looking like this. And no i don't have an ideal growing condition you may think. Wait until see you see what I have to deal with behind the fence on the next post.
Sparkle and Shine as of April 2022
My instinct told me I should do what feels right for me and how my roses interact with their microclimate, not based on other people's experience. I am glad I trusted my guts. These are the labor of love from my no-spray garden.
What made me decide not to spray in addition to a lazy gardenersyndrome? There's one big reason.
Stay tuned for Part 2: What's behind that back fence. This part will clearly explain why I feel spraying or doing preventative measure wouldn't help me much.