Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June Rose Blooms and The Rocky Mountain District Rose Show

June is always a busy month for gardeners - seeding, planting, and getting the containers all prettied up and anything else that needs to be finished before ninety-five plus degree days kick in. When it gets that warm I pin shade cloth to the tomato cages and head to the cool basement for a nap.  

This is also the month to enjoy roses in bloom (any many other plants, no dissing them, honest). But roses are America's national floral emblem after all, and most gardens have a rose bush or two. This season I'm noticing many 'Dr. Huey' roses blooming heavily all over Denver. These are the dark crimson, once blooming large shrub-climbers that are growing in vacant yards, alleys, cemeteries, in parks and possibly in your own garden. Not that there's anything wrong with 'Dr. Huey,' but in case you don't know - he is the most popular root stock used for grafting other rose varieties. He first started out as an own root rose grown and enjoyed for the dark red blooms with bright yellow stamens back in the early 1900s. Over the years he came to true fame as a very hardy root stock that growers and rose breeders use to graft such well known beauties like 'Peace,' 'Chrysler Imperial.' 'Gemini,' and 'Queen Elizabeth.'

If you planted one of these named roses (or any grafted rose) and down the road the bloom color changed, then the upper grafted rose died (usually from improper planting) and you know who - 'Dr. Huey' took its place! He didn't die below ground, he just continued growing above ground like any own root rose. This happens all the time with grafted roses and it will probably be happening five hundred years from now.

'Dr. Huey' overtaking another rose, possibly 'George Burns'
There are no landscape violation police, thank goodness, otherwise I would have been cited often through the years, but the 'Dr. Huey' rose is, shall I say, almost a rose weed (please don't yell at me). A couple of years ago I noticed he was growing outside my hairdresser's shop window and mentioned his provenance. Without any hesitation she said she liked the rose and had no desire to remove it and plant whatever was planted there originally, which she couldn't recall. 

Warning to anyone who tries to remove 'Dr. Huey,' you'll be working and digging quite awhile and if you leave any roots it will respond like bindweed and grow back again shortly. I admit, I'm quick to say "shovel prune" him to put in a different equally handsome or pretty rose that you'll enjoy all summer and fall. But it's your call.

Another reason to toss - 'Dr. Huey' usually comes down with a bad case of black spot later in the summer. Maybe Japanese beetles don't like 'Dr. Huey'... doubtful.

Almost dead grafted rose, the graft should be 2-3" below soil
I took this recent photo of 'Dr. Huey' at the Longmont Memorial Rose Garden, worth a visit by the way, very, very nice roses and lay out. But even in a well tended public garden he can show his mighty strength. In the same garden I noticed a couple of close to death grafted roses. 

They avoided becoming future 'Dr. Huey' roses because the whole plant died. The graft was more than two inches above the ground. The Denver Rose Society keeps spreading the word that the graft on any rose must go under the soil when planted (2-3 inches), not above, which is fine if you're living in the south. 

Speaking of roses, you probably won't find any 'Dr. Huey' roses submitted for judging at the Rocky Mountain Rose District Rose Show this Sunday, June 18 at Denver Botanic Gardens in Mitchell Hall. If he is submitted, he'll be in perfect health and shape for judging, just like all the other entries. This show is not to be missed. A district show always means lots of entries, beautiful roses and many varieties on display for judging and public viewing.  

You can enter too, there's a novice class for first timers, plus junior classes for people eighteen and younger. Find out all you need to know on this link - Rocky Mountain District Rose Show. Scroll down and click on the show schedule for information on the classes and sections to enter. In a show there's all sorts of fun ways to display roses for judging - vases, bowls, picture frames, floral arrangements and photography. 

If you're not the exhibitor type, come by Mitchell Hall at Denver Botanic Gardens to view the winners from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. It's free to view with paid admission to DBG. And if you get in to the whole rose exhibiting spirit, there's always next year. 

Feel free to visit with anyone from the Denver Rose Society who will be on hand to answer questions. I'll be there taking photos and videos. And maybe, just maybe, I'll take home a blue ribbon. 

Working on the bud, getting it posed just right to go in to the vase!

Judges viewing rose arrangements
Best in Show 2015, Dave I. 'Veteran's Honor'

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