Getting Though the Hot Months

by Robbie Tucker, Master Rosarian and Past President of the Nashville Rose Society


July and August bring the hottest days of the summer and we are all seeing the signs of the heat. I have put together this list of Summer Reminders to keep your garden healthy and to prepare your roses for the reward of fall temperature to come. We all know these things, but it is good to take a moment and review them.

Be sure your roses are getting enough water! A well hydrated rose can more easily fend off disease. It is much better to deep water a couple times a week rather that a shallow watering every day. If you have balanced soil and/or raised beds, it is almost impossible to over water your roses during the summer months. Don’t assume the summer showers are giving them the water they need. Be sure your roses are well hydrated before you spray or fertilize.

Continue your preventative spray program. You need to be keeping disease in check and harmful pests out of your garden. PPZ and Mancozeb (or Manzate Pro Stick ) should be important components of your disease control spray plan. If economical for your garden size, rotating Azoxystrobin will round out your program. Use insecticides only If you have an insect problem. Using insecticides preventively is not recommended as it will also kill your beneficial insects leading to a certain outbreak of spider mites. Both Merit or Orthene work well for most insects. If you have spider mites you can’t go wrong with Floramite. This miticide will kill all stages of mites including eggs and keeps working on the plant for up to 28 days!

Feed your roses. Roses are heavy feeders and you will want to continue a good fertilization regiment through the summer. Mills EasyFeed is still my favorite because it is a complete fertilizer containing fish, seaweed, chelated iron and Epsom sales as well as the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Use Mills EasyFeed at a rate of one tablespoon per gallon of water per rose bush every three. to four weeks. You will be glad you did!

Add organics to your soil. In early spring, I use Mills Magic Mix to give my roses the longer-term effect of organic feeding while enriching the soil and inviting earth worms and beneficial micro-organisms. By mid-July, it is time to put down another 1-2 cups per large rose bush and 1 cup per miniature rose. Broadcast around the drip line of the bush and lightly scratch it into the soil. Be sure to give the rose a good watering. Depending on your part of the country this Should be enough organics for the remainder of the season. In warmer climates you may consider a September treatment of Mills Magic Mix if you will not have a freeze before January.

Remove old spent blooms from your rose plants. This process called “deadheading” encourages the plant to begin another bloom cycle. Use a quality pair of bypass pruners with a sharp blade. A clean cut reduces the damage to the rose bush. My pruner recommendation is always the Felco line. They are durable pruners with easy to replace springs and blades. It is like having a new pair of pruners every year. If you don t know what model to order you can’t go wrong with the Felco #2. For smaller hands consider the Feleo #6 . The entire list of Felco pruners can be found on our website with photos and complete descriptions.

Don’t forget to protect the rosarian! Not only are gloves, coveralls, a respirator and goggles important, but hydration and sun protection for the rosarian are a must. Be sure to drink
plenty of fluids before, during and after you work outside. Lack of water and overheating will creep up on you without warning. Wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your head.
Be patient and “stay the course”.  Keep blackspot away. Water regularly. Feed monthly. Fall is right around tile corner.

The best is yet to come!

You will find Rosemania’s complete product offering and secure online ordering at or call toll free at 888-600-9665.

Originally published in American Rose, The Magazine of the American Rose Society. Reprinted by permission from Robbie Tucker.

Bee Pollinators

by Shelly Wilkinson, Davidson County Master Gardener


Shelly Wilkinson’s June 5, 2022, presentation to the Nashville Rose Society helped us understand the importance of bees, characteristics of the main species of bees, and where and how bees live. She also covered how to make our own gardens and landscaping more pollinator-friendly.

Shelly has kindly allowed her presentation to be posted on the NRS website. Continue reading “Bee Pollinators”

My Favorite Rose Growing / Gardening Tools and Gadgets

by Eugene Meyer

The author with some of his favorite rose-growing tools.
When I first heard this month’s topic I thought to myself, “I don’t use much in the way of tools and gadgets”. I’m pretty old school and cheap. I started a list thinking, ” this won’t be very long”. Actually, without trying very hard, I had a list, a longer list than I imagined. So lets get started.

A good sprayer is at the top of the list. I used a one gallon $10 sprayer for several years. Did I mention I’m thrifty? Certainly one gallon did the job. Now I have the same number of roses with some having grown up to size, and a one gallon doesn’t suffice. Last season I splurged on a two gallon “nice” sprayer. It even has a button to relieve the pressure when finished. It really wasn’t that much more, besides I’ll use it forever. Buy the better sprayer, you’ll be glad you did. With spraying comes the need for safety glasses and some type of respirator.

Next up is a good pair of gauntlet gloves. You know, the ones that are made of goat skin and come up almost to your elbows? There are certain jobs where you flat out need them or be prepared to pay the consequences.

A Hollow Leg is the best door prize I have ever won at our meetings. It is a collection bag with a strap that goes around your waist. If you’re dead heading it is way better than lugging around a trash can.

Every rosarian needs a water wand. I have a couple of hoses snaking through 2/3 of my roses but watering by hand is the best way to “see” what’s going on with your roses. The problem with most wands is the shutoff valve wears out quickly. Credit Bob Martin with the solution. Buy a Dramm brass cutoff. Also from Bob, buy a Foggit Waterfogg. It attaches to the end of your water wand and helps you knock off spider mites. Miticides are expensive and the mites develop resistance to them.

Of course you will need a great pair of pruners and loppers. You can go too cheap in this department, and you’ll be buying new ones all the time. Buy a great pair and they will last a long time. Buy a bypass pruner so you don’t crush the stems of your beauties.

A good pair of knee pads is a must have. They save your knees and your pants. A good pair are the ones with hard plastic and two straps to hold them on.

This next item I’m ambivalent about. You can’t grow great roses without knowing what the pH is in your garden. For years I used the $15 Home Depot pH meter. It will give you a general idea of what it is. I gave in and bought a Kelway meter; and, it is supposed to be accurate. Now here is my problem. A UT soil sample test with soil taken from several spots in my garden, says my pH is above 7. My Kelway meter says most of my garden is below 6 pH. When I mentioned this to the “kid” taking the samples at the Ellington Agriculture Center, he says “well, our testing equipment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.” A meter is only as good as it is calibrated. Knowing I fertilize the hell out of my roses, which lowers the pH, my meter is probably correct. Sorry UT, maybe your equipment needs re-calibrating.

Another tool you need is a good shovel. One that won’t bend in half when you’re trying to pry a rock out of a hole you are digging. There are all sorts of weird looking hoes and scoopers available. I don’t own any of them. One of my most trusty tools is a three tined “scratcher-inner.” I like getting down on my knees and scratching in my Mills Mix by hand. Actually makes my back feel better. The act of doing it resembles a yoga pose.

After all that, let me just say, I started my first Hybrid Tea bed of roses with a pair of gloves and a shovel. The soil was good there at that location. With some Miracle Grow those roses grew very well indeed. Much, much later do I now have all these gadgets and tools to help make my life a little easier. They are nice to have, but by no means are they necessary for you to have in order to grow great roses.

From the Webmaster – By the way Gene, every gardener needs a good hat!

Article originally published in Rose Leaf, the NRS newsletter, April 2022.

Growing & Preparing Your Roses to Show

by Jeff & Cindy Garrett, Master Rosarians

At the August, 2021, meeting of the Nashville Rose Society, Jeff & Cindy Garrett gave an excellent presentation with tips on growing roses and preparing them for a rose show.

Jeff & Cindy Garrett’s beautiful rose garden.
The Garretts moved to their current home on Lake Chickamauga in 1989. That spring they added two rose beds with about 96 plants. Over the years they have continued to develop their landscape to its current capacity of just under 350 roses.

Both Jeff and Cindy are active in the American Rose Society and are Master Rosarians. They and have been honored with the Silver Medal from the Tenarky District of the American Rose Society. They have both also won the Outstanding Consulting Rosarian Award for the Tenarky District. For many years Jeff has been the Tenarky District Roses In Review Coordinator. They are also regional editor’s for the annual Horizon Roses publication.

Jeff and Cindy were kind enough to allow us to post their presentation.

Click image for the full presentation.