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My Rose Journey Part 2: Behind that fence

Updated: Jan 14

This part will explain why I decided to not spray at all. If you think I have an ideal gardening condition in order to achieve those beautiful blooms, wait until you see what's behind my fence. And no, I didn't do a no-spray gardening to save the pollinators to begin with, it's mainly due to my laziness and this.

Behind the neighborhood where we live in, there's a massive piece of undeveloped acreage. In a sense, we love that we don't have any neighbors or commercial properties, road or any human beings behind us. It's a paradise BUT it's WILD WILD WEST out there!

A pure jungle full of wild trees and plants, different kinds of weeds, and creatures (snakes, armadillos, raccoons, Bob cats, and all things you can imagine). We see snakes often. Armadillos digging holes under our fence and mess up our veggies, plants and all. They find their ways into our garden day and night.

Plus when you live about 40 mins away from the gulf (Galveston), that makes it more humid. Pests in all shapes and forms are in our backyard and there is no way to stop them from coming unless I build a greenhouse to protect my plants.

How much and how often do I have to spray?!?!?! - I asked myself. Gardening in this condition is one word - whatever mother nature. There will be a constant flow of pests, there is no doubt about it.

So let me make it clear that I don't blame or shame others who use preventative method, fungicide or insecticide in their garden. I respect people's choice as far as what they want to do. Not here to tell people what to do. You do you. Do what feels right for you and your garden. What works for me will not neccessarily work for others and we all have a different reason. This is my reason for not spraying and so far eveyrthing is thriving.

Many of my neighbors on this side of the street either chose not to plant or do a very minimal planting for this reason.

I honestly didn't know how resilient some rose varieties would be able to handle this growing condition without being protected/immuned, but once again my oldest rose (in my 1st post) gave me hope that it could still work. That rose went through it ALL from diseases, pests, extreme weather, and ignorance for years....yes YEARS.

There's just one way to find out is by trying it.

There I went, during the pandemic, I ordered 3 roses from Heirloom Roses: Mary Rose (DA), Gentle Hermoine (DA), and Jump for Joy (Weeks) - all ownroots. I knew nothing about ownroots and if they would be better. I ordered simply because they were the only vendor I could find at the time. Those roses were tiny - but seemed strong. I planted them in ground against the back fence.

A few months had passed, okay so they survived, sent out some buds. By summer, I ordered 3 more ownroots straight from David Austin website: Boscobel, Roald Dahl, and Desdemona along with 3 others from Fresh Garden Living on Etsy: Plum Perfect, Hot Cocao, and Bolero. Plus more from Heirloom: Raspberry Cream Twirl, April Love, Celestial Night, Bordeaux, Lady Jane Gray (I ordered that but I think I got Lady of the mist instead).

Tip for a beginner: try to diversify your rose varieties from different breeders and vendors instead of the same place so you can observe which roses perfrom better. My garden has roses from Weeks, David Austin, Kordes, Harkness, Meillands, John Clements, and Paul Barden.

Those were my 2020 ownroot troopers (a.k.a. test subjects) in a no-spray garden. They all had a slow start. Then in February 2021, we were hit with a historic freeze/snow here in Texas. These ownroot babies were so tough, every single one of them made it and flourished beautifully/significantly in spring.

Small ownroots in 2020

I felt more confident so I went and bought EVEN MORE roses (what's new right??), including a few from local nurseries/one from Lowe's/one from Home Depot (grafted) and more online (both ownroots and grafted).

These are online vendors I've purchased from to date: Heirloom Roses, David Austin, Fresh Garden Living, Rogue Valley, Raft Islands Roses, High Country Roses, K & M Roses (all that I can remember).

Let's take a look at my garden to date

Left: Plum Perfect in 2020 | Right: Plum Perfect in 2022

I haven't lost any rose since 2020 so that's a great sign. It did take some major adjustments for a few grafted roses that had been sprayed to enter my wild yard. They went through a period adjustment dealing with pests and diseases without fungicide/insecticide. They looked horrible, but they survived. It isn't always rosy and green here.

In my next post, you'll see some harsh truths of a no-spray garden you need to hear and see. It sure is NOT for a faint of heart or for everyone. If you haven't read Part I - Too much pests and diseases, I gave up here it is.

Are you new to roses or want to know my tips on how I care for my roses all year round to get abundant blooms? Check out Blooming with Joy monthly subscription here.

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