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Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) My favorite rose in the garden.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) My favorite rose in the garden.

The dreaded blackspot has returned to my roses this year.  Oh how my heart sank when I first saw it on those pretty rose leaves that seemed to be so healthy!   But treating blackspot with milk? Really? Are you sure???  Well, here is my story so far!  I love roses.  So much so that they were the first flowers that I planted into my first flowerbed.  That was way before I knew anything about blackspot. or roses.   The next rose plant I buy will definitely be blackspot resistant.  But for now I must deal with what I have, and that is rose plants with blackspot…

Blackspot damaged leaves

Blackspot damaged leaves

I gave Fruit Hill Farms in Cork a call last year (https://www.fruithillfarm.com/). They are an organic center and they suggested that I try and build up the health of the plant to prevent blackspot.  I wasn’t too surprised to find that what they suggested, Mucofol, was quite smelly to use!

Rose plant in the beginning

Rose plant early in the season

Rose plant

Rose plant (still healthy looking)

For those who wish the details of the Mucofol, here you go:

Mucofol (L) is absorbed by the leaves and the soil. Thanks to its root stimulant and crop care ingredients the  roots, leaves and soil are increased with endogenic capacity and develop its own immune system.  The ingredients in the product are working as soil conditioner, plant strengthener and have an indirect effect on pests and diseases.  It consists of a highly concentrated composition of specific herbs based on water. The product is natural and of vegetable origin, non-toxic and not persistent. The product will be degraded in the soil and leaves no residues in nature.

Keeping track of rose plants...

Keeping track of rose plants…

The Mucofol is in liquid form which you then dilute with water.  We sprayed the roses a few times early this spring.  They initially seemed to be doing well.  But unfortunately, the blackspot has appeared.

One of my climbing roses still looking good.

One of my climbing roses still looking good.

The same week that I noticed the blackspot, one of the blogs that I follow had a post about treating blackspot with milk. Kevin Lee Jacob, blogging from the Hudson Valley in New York (which is where I grew up),  has a  wonderful blog called A garden for the house.  You can click on his  post about treating blackspot here:    http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/05/got-black-spot-get-milk/   It seems easy enough: add one part milk to two parts water, and spray once a week.  The feedback on Kevin’s blog is quite good.  I have my fingers crossed that it will keep the blackspot from spreading.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) late May early June

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) late May early June (getting enough air circulation???)

I do know, as I am sure all of you do too,  to clear away all of the bad leaves (and never put them in the compost).  I pruned the roses this past winter to help with air circulation.  I might have to revisit that, though, as my old fashioned rose plants (the Rosa Jacques Cartier)  seem quite crowded despite my pruning.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) on June 14th (after two milk & water treatments)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) on June 14th (after two milk & water treatments)

Speaking of pruning, I am filing this other blog post away for next winter as I think there are quite a few good points to it.  Have a look and let me know what you think: http://www.hometalk.com/3816372/the-10-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-pruning-roses

Quick, take some pictures while still looking good!

Quick, take some pictures while still looking good!

For now, I have cut off as much of the blackspot affected leaves as possible, and I will continue to spray once a week with my water and milk spray.  Oh, and I’ll be taking as many pictures as possible while they still look pretty!

Climbing rose in June

Climbing rose in June

Climbing rose in June (evening sunlight)

Climbing rose in June (evening sunlight)

It is amazing how different things look with different lighting!  Our evenings can be so beautiful, with sunlight right up until 10 P.M.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) and bee

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) and bee

My garden has been buzzing for a few weeks now, with the busy sound of bees.  Early this spring we had millions (really!) of lady birds (or called lady bugs, depending on where you are from).  It was neat to see them all as they were everywhere!  And unlike last year, I didn’t have any issue with aphids. At all.  Just blackspot…

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

I hope if you have roses, they are nice and healthy!  If you happen to get blackspot and try the milk/water solution, please let me know how that goes for you.

Dana

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