Rio Samba and Blue Roses

Wild Blue Yonder Dona Martin

Wild Blue Yonder

I’m looking for a red-yellow hybrid tea rose called Rio Samba. Can you direct me to a place where I might find one? Also, is there a blue rose available? I’ve had a Paradise and a Blue Girl but did not have success with either.

Thank you for any help you can give me.

You might try several of our local nurseries. Rio Samba is a very popular rose, so a lot of the nurseries should have it in stock. It’s always wise to call ahead.

Sorry, no blue roses. The closest you can come to blue is the mauve roses such as Love Song, Singin the Blues, Paradise, Neptune, and Silver Star. These are the lighter mauve shades. Some of the deeper purple roses are Twilight Zone, Purple Heart, Midnight Blue, Ebb Tide, Wild Blue Yonder and Outta the Blue. All of these roses do well here in the valley, and most of these can be found at the local nurseries.

-Marylou Coffman, ARS Judge, Vice Chairman of PSWD, and Consulting Rosarian

2014 MEVRS Annual Rose Garden Tour

2014-MEVRS-Annual-Rose-Tour(Click flier to enlarge.)

If you love roses and you love gardens this is a must. Bring your sun hat, sunscreen, some water and a camera. And bring your rose questions for our Consulting Rosarians!

This is a great way to see which roses do well here in the Desert Southwest. You can see what the bushes look like and how they can be integrated into home gardens.

I have room in my garden for 6 new roses. I’ll be planting them next January. Our Annual Rose Garden Tour will give me lots of ideas. I’m sure I’ll see a dozen roses that I have to have!

Watch this blog and our May Rose Lore Newsletter for photos of the Annual Rose Garden Tour.


2014 Spring Tours! The Rose Garden at MCC

Fourth of July

Fourth of July

Over 9,000 rose bushes! The best show in town!

The Rose Garden at MCC is bursting with rose buds. The beds that were pruned first are just starting to bloom now. I snapped the picture above yesterday. It’s the very vigorous climber Fourth of July.

You’ll be surprised by the variety in bloom color, in flower form and the growth habit of the bushes. If you’re looking for ideas for your own garden, you’ll find them here.

Spring Tours of the Rose Garden at MCC are a must. They are docent led tours given by Consulting Rosarians who are also on The Rose Garden’s Board of Directors. It’s a great way to learn about roses in the Desert Southwest. And about an amazing garden and how it came to be.

Tours begin at 9:00 am. They’re free. They last about an hour and a half. They can be adapted to your group. (Perhaps you would like a tour for the elderly? It won’t last as long and it will cover less ground.)

The Rose Garden lies along the south side of Southern Avenue, north of Mesa Community College. Drive in off Southern Avenue.  Park alongside The Rose Garden or in the lot just south of it. Meet at the plaza on the east side of the entrance to The Rose Garden.

Bring a sun hat, sunscreen, some water and your camera. If you would like to inquire about a tour, call (480) 461-7022.

The tours are on Saturdays and Sundays as follows:

March 16, 23rd, 29th, 30th

April 6th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 27th

May 3rd, 4th, 11th

Crown Gall on Roses

Crown Gall on roseWhile digging around my healthy Gemini rose bush I was surprised to find a mass of woody, bulbous growths, just under the top of the soil. They broke off easily. Bad news: crown gall. Because it was under the soil, it snuck up on me.

Your rose may look pretty good like mine did. Or it might appear stunted, because its flow of water and nutrients has been interrupted. There may be fewer blooms, chlorotic yellowed leaves and slow growth. Canes might die back.

My Gemini looked OK, but it didn’t grow new canes on the side where the gall was. Suspect crown gall if a vigorous rose isn’t vigorous. Maybe you have a rose that has declined… it might be crown gall.

Crown gall is a disease caused by the bacteria Agrobacterium tumefaciens. It lives in the soil. The bacteria usually comes into our gardens on the roots of an infected plant.

It spreads to other plants via contaminated tools, soil and water. (It affects plants other than roses too.)

The bacteria will enter a rose through a wound caused by planting, pruning, grafting, chewing insects, frost damage, or cultivating. Wounded roots release chemicals that attract the bacteria. The nerve!

The bacteria can remain dormant in the soil for more than two years, even without a rose in sight.

Crown Gall on rose

Once the bacteria is in the trouble begins. Genetic and hormonal disruption causes infected cells to divide uncontrollably and grow to unusually large sizes. The gall forms.

You will recognize crown gall by the formation of large corky growths from a quarter inch up to several inches in diameter. Usually you will see them at soil level or just below.

The bacteria may move internally up into the canes, causing galls above ground. Or galls can appear on pruning cuts made with infected tools. Any cut is vulnerable to bacteria introduced by rain splashed soil.

New galls are rounder, light colored and slightly spongy. Older ones are hard and dry with rough cracks.

Cells within the growing gall lack normal differentiation where different cells conduct water or nutrients. The gall can’t get enough water or food and decay begins. The gall rots away from the plant, releasing bacteria into the soil. Bad.

Prevention will serve you well.  Do not plant any rose, tree or shrub with galls on the roots or stems. Examine roses, fruit trees, poplars and willows with extra care.

When you are working around your roses, keep an eye out for crown gall. You can catch it earlier than I caught mine. In this case, bigger is not better.

Keep your pruning tools sharp so your cuts are clean. When you transplant and have to cut a root, prune it cleanly. When you plant a rose, be quite careful not to damage its roots. If you find damaged or broken roots, prune them cleanly above the damage.

Pruning instructions always include “Prune back damaged canes.” Here’s one more reason why.

Disinfect any tools you use on an infected rose by soaking them in a 1 part bleach to 10 parts water solution for several minutes.

Check neighbor roses. There are four other roses in the same bed with my Gemini. I laid back the soil around them and didn’t see any sign of gall. I plan to disinfect my tools while working in that bed for several years.

A metal rose ID tag was wedged in between the gall and my rose. It was the second rose I ever planted and I had left the tag on for identification. It was wired to the rose. It looks like it cut the rose as the rose grew and may have made the wound where the bacteria entered the rose bush. It’s possible. If I got a rose now with a tag like this, I’d move it up onto a side branch and attach it loosely.

When you find a rose with crown gall, dig up the entire plant, its roots and the soil around it. Dispose of it all. (Don’t even think of putting the rose carcass in your compost pile or re-using the soil.) I dug out an area 2 ½ feet wide by 2 feet deep and replaced the soil. I’m told it’s ok to replant now. I’ll plant a new rose in the same spot next year and watch it carefully.

If you have galls on your stems or canes, carefully prune those parts away. Check those roses for crown gall below the soil surface just in case. Be really good about disinfecting tools after each cut as you work on roses with gall on their stems or canes.

Click to download this article.

Webmaster Mesa-East Valley Rose Society

Low Growing Roses



I have two 4′ x 4′ flower beds in my front yard by the street exposed to the full sun in Mesa all day. I have hybrid tea roses all along the front of the house and would love to put low-growing roses in those front beds. I have researched the best roses for Arizona listed on your website, but don’t feel I have enough information to know if any rose bush will look beautiful in all-day sun here. Should I even try? Any particular suggestions (yellow or orange or blends would be preferred)?

I have several suggestions for smaller roses. There are some low growing landscape roses that do very well here in full sun. One is Sweet Drift, although it is pink.

There is also a rose called Home Run that blooms continually. It grows between 3-4 feet. It is a beautiful red and has five petals. Wing-Ding, a polyantha, is bright red and has clusters of blooms. It’s always in bloom. It grows about 2 feet tall.

Yabba Dabba Doo, a small growing shrub, has bright orange-pink blooms that have a nice yellow eye. It grows to around 2 feet. Sunrise Vigorosa is a low spreading shrub rose with a gorgeous luminous yellow. It blooms in large clusters and is also a continuous bloomer.

You can find several miniature roses that do well in the sun. Miniatures tend to grow 18″ to 2 feet.

All a’Twitter is a brilliant orange. Coffee Bean is a chocolate orange mini that is just beautiful. Rainbow’s End is a yellow/orange blend, also very pretty. Smoke Rings is a very nice melon orange with a smoky purple edge. All of these do well in the sun and can be found locally.

I hope this helps you make a decision. If not, let me know and I will try to get you some more information.

We are working on a new list of roses that do well here and it will be on our web site shortly.

-Marylou Coffman, ARS Judge, Vice Chairman of PSWD, and Consulting Rosarian

When to Prune Roses in Arizona

Moonstone, pruned in January

Moonstone pruned in January, photographed today

Is mid January still the best time to trim roses, about 1/2 or has that recommendation changed?  I am an Arizona native and for over 40 years my husband and I trimmed them in January for wonderful results.

Also I hope to set up a bus trip in the spring for the residents to view your beautiful gardens at Mesa Community College. How many roses do you now have planted? Many thanks.

We do indeed prune our roses back in January. There is still time if you get it done in the next day or two. You should have beautiful blooms around April 10th.

The Rose Garden at Mesa Community College will be in full bloom around April 10th, as well. Around 9,000 roses. We love to show them off.

We would love to give your group a tour of the garden, just let me know when.

–Marylou Coffman, ARS Judge, Vice Chairman of PSWD, and Consulting Rosarian

Click to view our new article Winter Pruning Roses.   Check out our February Rose Lore Newsletter for the latest about the Rose Garden at MCC! There are 350 new roses!

Bermuda Grass – unwanted!

Fusilade IIQ
I have a problem with invasive bermuda grass in my rose beds. I’m 61 now and with arthritis in my shoulder I’m starting to lose this battle using brute force. Pull, mulch, or use some grass killer that does not do short or long term rose damage? Any suggestions of what works here in the Phoenix  area would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Bermuda grass in our rose gardens is a big problem here. However, there is a product you can use around your roses and other plants to control it.

The product name is Fusilade II. The active ingredient is Fluazifop-p-buty. It is a very effective herbicide for the control of grass in landscape areas, including in and around flowers. It is easy to use, has a low odor and can be used on a wide range of ornamentals.

It is a “caution” classified product. The label gives directions for use on a large variety of plants. It works best when the grass is growing well, because it gets absorbed and works its way throughout the plant, killing the roots as well as the top growth. (Spraying on dormant Bermuda grass in the winter will have little effect.)

How to use it:

The label has instructions for large areas as well as mixing it down to 1 gallon. The strength I use is 0.75 oz per gallon of water. Mixed in a 1 or 2 gallon sprayer, it can be applied directly over the roses and other plants. The more you get on the grass rather than on the other plants the better.

Always follow the label and cover yourself up – as with any chemical you spray, the less on you the better.

HOWEVER, It does take time to work, 3 – 4 weeks, so be patient.

-Steve Sheard, Master Consulting Rosarian

Steve has been using it for a number of years and find that it works wonders. He uses it on most of his bedding plants such as petunias, snap dragons, sweet peas, and pansies.

Gemini, an early bloom

GeminiI planted two new Gemini roses a few weeks ago. One had a bud on it. Here’s the bloom. I missed the hybrid tea form stage but photographed it when it opened wide. It’s 5 1/2 inches across. Gemini is just a beautiful rose, at any stage.

I photographed it with black velvet behind it, for drama. It makes a rose glow.

Gemini is a great hybrid tea for the Desert Southwest. A great exhibition rose. It’s a great cutting rose and a vigorous bloomer. Here’s more what we expect it to look like:Gemini-Webmaster

Compost in the Rose Garden at MCC

Bagging Compost at Rose garden at MCCToday and Saturday, March 8 you can come to the Rose Garden at MCC and buy bags of Ken Singh’s compost. He delivers a mountain of it. Read about Ken Singh and his compost here.

Volunteers spread it in the Rose Garden at warp speed and it quickly disappears. The bags for sale are $5. You can see in the picture above the bags are large. These great guys fill the bags for you. Come beginning 8:30 am.

There are knowledgeable folks there who helped me figure out how much I needed. We put the seats down in our Subaru, spread an old shower curtain in the back and drove 10 bags home. If you have a truck you could also go to Ken Singh’s farm and pick it up yourself.

Ken Singh donates this wonderful stuff and the money goes to benefit the Rose Garden at MCC. So when you buy a bag you’re doing something nice for your own garden and something nice for the Rose Garden at MCC as well.
Laying Compost at Rose Garden at MCCThese people work fast and have fun. Here they are today spreading compost from Ken Singh in the Rose garden at MCC. The Garden is well on its way to being beautiful!


Rose Order from K & M Roses

K & M Rose OrderI ordered 4 new hybrid teas from K & M Roses. They look pretty good, don’t they!

K & M has good customer support and fixes any problems with your order if there are any.

These roses are on Fortuniana rootstock, which does quite well here. I ordered 2 Marlon’s Day, a sport of Moonstone. I like Moonstone so much I thought I’d give Marlon’s Day a try.

The other two are Snuffy, which is is an orange cross of Gemini and Veterans’ Honor. Those two are great roses so I thought I needed Snuffy. And besides, Consulting Rosarian Lynn Twitchell recommended Snuffy to me.

I’d love to post what you have planted and where you purchased it. Drop me a note via our Contact page.