Being a rose nurseryman we look differently at growing roses than many others. In the media and at rose society meetings cultural information is given freely to provide rose growers with the best, healthiest rose they can obtain.

In the nursery we must think of the economics of maintenance of the plants as well as health and safety for those involved with using chemicals.

Our nursery is a market leader in the trials of rose varieties, testing of various plant maintenance methods and optimum growing or harsh growing techniques.

For several years now I have not sprayed any chemicals in the garden. I value my health and the days of drift spraying fungicides, insecticides and other chemicals are over for me with the known health risks outweighing the need to have the roses in our garden pristine all the year.

My thoughts have also been, why should I make all the roses in the garden look so good when our customers after purchase could have horrible problems trying to keep them looking good without considerable maintenance. For me if a plant looks horrible I want our customers to see it this way and decide not to want to purchase it. Ultimately the variety will be discontinued and another which may be similar in colour or type can replace it which is healthier.

A fellow nurseryman once told me he had fungicide included into his fertilising so the plants were constantly being fed and doused with systemic fungicide. I have seen his plants when they were sold and the poor customers had a plant with the most horrific problems. It was like a drug addict coming off his high.

Since spraying has now ceased several interesting discoveries have taken place.

For the first time in over 20 years I am seeing (or should I say mainly hearing) frogs. Without a clean environment frogs are not found so is it the lack of spraying that is causing their return?

My second observation is it seems like the roses in the garden are looking better than they have ever been. There does not seem to be any need to have to spray.

Again why?

One factor we are being told exists is climate change. Is the change in our temperatures, humidity, rainfall or any other factor causing the roses in our garden to be growing I more optimum conditions? Without proper analysis of these factors I cannot discard or confirm whether this is the cause.

Also in the garden we have been forced to reduce the watering of the plants, drastically, with past water restrictions and now the huge cost of water here in South Australia. Is it that we are not seeing as much new growth which mainly gets the fungal problems? Is it the plants are now growing tougher with more restricted watering not affecting them as much? Again only trials and testing can confirm this possibility.

Over the years we have also started seeing a lot better health in newer varieties. The varieties my father grew 30 years ago are almost all gone now with only the very few most popular still in existence. With weaker varieties growing next to extremely healthy ones could this be a reason the spread of fungal problems if now less prevalent?

I am now thinking that the constant spraying of the plants may be weakening the natural health of the plants. I hear as humans we must not over use anti-biotics as it does reduce our ability to overcome infections and bacterial ailments. Could not it be true with the use of too much fungicides?

I must also consider it may not be 1 factor but a combination of several or all these factors that is causing this incredible increase in the health.

I can just imagine many of you rose growers shaking your heads and say wrong, wrong, wrong. But I do not live with what has been done in the past but instead go out and prove it or disprove it though proper testing and result gathering. Without positive scientific testing can anyone say I am wrong?

We have been brought up in a world where you must wash your hands or the germs will get you. Constant bombardment of clean this and spray that and if a tiny microscopic bacteria exists on a table we are bad home owners and should sit in shame in the corner of the kitchen.

Hygiene is important but are we going overboard and having this affecting our health, or more importantly our kid’s health. Could not our plants also be in the same situation?

Just a thought!


Created   16/4/2016