Thursday, November 14, 2013

One of my life missions for my 60s is reminding Floridians that in the late 1900s and early 20th century, Florida landscapes boasted Chinas, Teas and Noisette roses, long before the advent of the Fortuniana root stock and modern chemical fungicides and insecticides. I used to love to curl up on the warm carpeted floor of the Denver Botanic Gardens library on snowy days and savor articles about this in old American Rose Society annuals. For sure, long term drought has very badly impacted rose growing here in central Florida, except for the wealthy and subsidized who can afford gargantuan water bills while plundering a plunging aquifer, but Floridians can grow own root and organically 'Cramoisi Superieur', 'Old Blush', 'Francois Juranville', 'Seagull', 'Leontine Gervais', "Barfield White Climber" and so many more without running up their water bills if they mulch deeply. I pee on my roses both for the water and the dissolved nutrients. Even if one prefers roses budded to R. fortuniana, they are very rarely retailed here. Some advocates of R. fortuniana bud their own as a result, an option not open to Florida gardeners and home owners who just want to enjoy the grace, beauty and fragrances of Old Roses. To me, pesticide-based, high water use rose gardening is not sustainable and discourages people here in Florida or elsewhere to even try roses. My intent is to see the iconic Mystery Rose "Pink Cracker Rose", that was common in Tampa up until the early 80s, once again widely available as it eats nematodes, laughs off fungal attacks, thrives own root and is very long-lived, plus is wonderfully fragrant.

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