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A Rose is a Rose

Roses remain one of the most popular cut flowers. This is true year-round even during the summer months when we have lots of other cut flowers available from our cutting gardens. Every floral designer should have a few rose bushes.

Of the newer rose care products, several baking soda-based fungicides are now available. Brands include Remedy, Firstep, and Armicarb. Generally experts recommend you use the commercial product rather than mixing your own baking soda remedy at home. Home remedies can sometimes result in burning of the foliage.

In the past decade, demand for disease-resistant roses has grown dramatically. Floral designers and other rose fans want disease-free or disease-tolerant plants that don’t require spraying. Rose breeders are now focusing on meeting this demand. Lots of the new varieties offer some degree of freedom from rose diseases. At the same time, sales of existing varieties with resistance to disease have also increased. Examples are some of the Rosa rugosa varieties as well as New Dawn, Sea Foam, and The Fairy.

For 2004, David Austin English Roses released some wonderful varieties that make superb cut flowers. Among these are a gorgeous yellow one along with a striking red and several pink-flowered ones. ‘Teasing Georgia’ has beautifully cupped yellow blooms with a tea rose fragrance. This variety has good disease resistance. ‘Falstaff’ produces rich, dark red, very large, full blossoms. These have an old rose fragrance. Of the pinks, my favorite is ‘Mortimer Sackler.’ It has loosely arranged soft pink petals. This fragrant rose can be trained as a climber.

Concerning other new books on roses, Prestel has released “The Romance of the Rose-a Celebration in Painting and Verse” by Eva Rosenkranz. This beautifully conceived book is a reason to rejoice. It features beloved poems about roses paired with nearly a hundred exquisite paintings of the flowers by Van Gogh, Chagall, Manet, Redoute, and others. Much of the art features still lifes with cut roses. The book opens with the intriguing history of this beloved flower and its depiction in art beginning some four thousand years ago to the present by modern artists like Georgia O’Keeffe. Anyone with a deep and abiding interest in roses will treasure this remarkable book.

Floral designers will find “Roses-Beautiful Ideas for Home and Celebration” by Antonia Swinson from Ryland Peters & Small to be very useful indeed. Whatever the occasion, the author has inspiring ideas for designs throughout the house. Equally informative and well written is the introductory section. This provides an in-depth look at the history of roses and our enduring love affair with the queen of flowers as well as the use of rose motifs as integral parts of home décor in the western world. Lushly illustrated in full color, it also features literary quotes throughout the ages.

Doubtless, floral designers will find many occasions during which they can celebrate with the beauty of roses.

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