Ruth at Ely Manor selected this group for her bedside table!
Attached is our updated pricelist. (Resource page) Please feel free to include it in your newsletter to your society membership. We will have supplies available at the District Convention in Troy, but if anyone is particularly interested in purchasing something, let us know so we will be sure to have enough. Anyone not coming to Troy, can order, and maybe someone who is, would be kind enough to deliver, or allow them to pick up from them. Again, we try to be very competitive with our pricing (better than Rosemania, and Primary Products, for sure, and usually better than local garden centers, and even big box stores) because we would like to stay in business, and we would like to pass on some of our wholesale discounts to other rose growers.
We are now carrying Green Sand in two sizes for those looking for a “new” old soil enhancer that adds Potassium and micronutrients while it helps with drainage issues. Great for ROSES!!!
We also are now carrying a replacement product for RESPONSE (which was discontinued from the manufacturer). BIOBIZZ Alg-A-Mic is a revitalizing product made from a high-grade, organic seaweed concentrate extracted through cold pressing rather than chemical solvents. It contains a high content of trace elements and hormones of vegetable origin, naturally occurring amino acids, and vitamins. It boosts exuberant green foliage and enhances resistance to diseases. It is not a fertilizer, but a biostimulant to be used with regular plant nutrition.
We are also carrying two other BIOBIZZ products: Root Juice, a mixture of humic and fulvic acids with seaweed to promote vigorous root development and BioHeaven, biological stimulant including amino acids to enhance utilization and translocation of nutrients, boost the anti-oxidant system of the plant, it improves moisture retention in plants, reducing moisture stress, and it is compatible with all fertilizer programs.
We look forward to seeing you at the District Spring Convention.
Joyce and Tom
Walnut Hill Farm
The Rose Business
The rose business is changing! For many years, most of the commercial growing fields for roses were in the fertile valleys of California. The larger varieties of roses were mostly grafted on Doctor Huey root stock, and grown to large commercial size in the deep soil, long growing seasons of California. The two largest rose distributors, Jackson & Perkins, and Weeks Roses, were located in California. In the past couple of years, both of these rose distributors have experienced financial troubles and entered bankruptcy. Apparently, their fertile fields in California were very valuable, and were sold to pay their debts.
The word I get is that both companies have been reorganized, and are now in the process of moving some of their operations from California to Ohio. The reorganized Weeks Company, a wholesale distributor, has roses available for 2012 through Edmunds Roses, and through other retail garden centers, or nurseries. I have seen no new Jackson & Perkins Catalogs this year. Apparently, since they were in Bankruptcy longer, they were not able to graft many roses for sale in 2012.
I also understand that along with their move from California to Ohio, their will also be a move to produce more own-root roses. Grafting roses is a labor intensive process, requiring skilled labor, while growing roses from cuttings is a lower skilled process, and easier to mechanize. One result of this change will probably be smaller new rose plants. Grafted roses from northern and Canadian nurseries usually are smaller on arrival, than California grown plants, probably due at least in part, to the longer California growing season. Those who have grown some of their own large roses from cuttings, know that roses from cuttings often take longer to produce large plants.
Their may be a proximity advantage for mid-west growers when commercial rose operations move to Ohio. For several years we have noticed that new rose varieties, often appear a year or two earlier in California and near by states, than they do in our area. We suspect that this may be due to personal connections that rose growers develop with rose companies in their area, including some early test marketing.
Blok Roses of 2011
For quite a few years now, I have published Blok Roses Of The Year, for the varieties of roses from our garden that had the most success on the show tables for that year. Usually we published that information in the October or November newsletters. Somehow that did not happen in 2011, so we will begin the 2012 year with that information.
We had two hybrid tea roses that won “Queen of Show” in 2011. Dublin was Queen of the Kalamazoo Show, while Gemini won Queen at the Grand Valley Spring Show. Since the number of hybrid tea roses entered in the Kalamazoo Show was relatively small, and the Gemini rose that was Queen in our Grand Valley Spring Show, had to beat out a lot more very good roses, my selection for Blok Hybrid Tea Rose of The Year, is Gemini. Gemini was also present in some challenge classes, and won Queen’s Court in our Fall Show.
Since we did not have many Dublin winners this year, runner-up hybrid tea honors go to Veteran’s Honor. Veteran’s Honor won Princess and Best Red, in both our Spring Show, and in our September District Show. It was also present in a couple of winning hybrid tea challenge collections.
The best Blok Floribunda this year was the spray of Lavaglut that won Best Floribunda Spray, and Best of Show at our Grand Valley Spring Show. Our runner-up floribunda variety would be Shiela’s Perfume which won Best 1-bloom Floribunda in both the Kalamazoo Show, and our local Spring Show.
Since in most of our shows, grandiflora roses are included in our hybrid tea show classes, we usually have not selected a Grandiflora Rose of The Year. But we did have two winners in our exclusive Grandiflora Spray classes, Gold Medal in our Spring Show, and Wild Blue Yonder in our District Show. Therefore I declare that is a tie.
Although we like to exhibit miniature and mini-flora roses, because of prep time restrictions, we often don’t exhibit very many. In Kalamazoo we won Miniature Queen with Edisto (a combined class), and in our District Show we won Mini Queen with Joy, a true miniature. My choice for Best Blok Miniature then is Joy.
We did not win any 1-bloom mini-flora classes this year, but we did win two mini-flora spray classes, one with Butter Cream, and the other with Leading Lady, both very nice sprays. Since from personal experience we believe we are more likely to get a winner from Butter Cream, than from Leading Lady, we vote for Butter Cream as Blok Mini-flora of The Year. W.B.
Storage, Good and Bad
Show supplies storage, in my experience, has always been a critical need of our rose society. When I first joined the rose society in 1983, our show supplies were stored in the old Grand Rapids Public Museum Annex at Sheldon Ave. S.E., where our monthly meeting were held at that time. Later when the new Grand Rapids Museum was preparing to open, we could no longer meet there, but we did continue to store supplies there until a year or two later when the old building was closed. It was then necessary to rent commercial storage for a few months
When Dave Datema Jr., grounds keeper supervisor at the Christian Reformed Recreation Center, and our Son-In Law at that time, heard about our need of storage space, he made me a proposal. They had an old building on the property at 36th St. S.E. (a chicken coop) that we could use for equipment storage. They would provide this service, in return for my planting a rose garden at their Senior Center, or Golf House. Since I had the time to plant the garden, it must have been about 1994 and I was retired from my jobs. I purchased a dozen or more inexpensive roses and planted them in a space behind the Senior Center, and along the rear patio near the center. The garden spot was not ideal (poor drainage), but it turned out to be more lasting than the Chicken coop. The coop was accessible from a driveway off 36th St., behind the barn, and down a grassy hill. We worried about getting back up the grassy hill in rainy conditions, but that was never a problem. We did get some punctured tires however.
The problem with the coop was its condition. The window openings were loosely boarded up and the roof was leaky. The winter snow would drift in through the cracks, and fall in the boxes. With warm weather the snow would melt, damaging the cardboard boxes, and over time, the wooden boxes and equipment. Also the roof, not perfect from the first, over the years became a virtual sieve.
When we moved our rose show site from Breton Village Mall to Meijer Gardens in 2002, storage at the Gardens became available, and we moved our supplies to safer storage at the Gardens.
When the rose society discontinued the use of the chicken coop, I continued to do Spring and Fall rose care for the garden at the Rec. Center. As a tack-on to my commercial spraying work in town, I also sprayed the Rec. Center garden with left over spray.
I did not mind the spraying, but I seemed to be the only person charged with controlling the weeds, at least it seemed that way. This past summer was one with some heavy rains. Sometimes the rose bushes were standing in water or mud. By August the plants were largely defoliated. Since this is a golf course, Japanese beetles are a serious problem, but this year black spot was too. When I made my last spray trip there in mid-September, I officially resigned my commission as rose garden caretaker. The fact that that week was the week of my 81st birthday, gave me the perfect excuse to call it quits. I suggested they might try planting begonias.
We better appreciate the storage space that Julie Franke has made available to us the last 3 or 4 years. When we were asked by Meijer Gardens to vacate the garage space allocated to us for storage in 2002 at Miejer Gardens, because they needed the space, Julie Franke open up some space for us in the warehouse for Julie’s Education Department. We better be thankful for it. W.B.