NEW: Roses Without Chemicals

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Buy it now for 30% off! This $13.97 price is good for just one week—plus free shipping for orders over $50.

The dirt on what roses need, from author Peter Kukielski.


Roses Without Chemicals

Roses: we love them when they're healthy and covered with flowers, filling the garden with their color and fragrance. We hate them when they get loathsome diseases like black spot and powdery mildew and generally behave in a way that makes us wish we had taken up needlepoint rather than gardening.

Gentle readers, I almost reached that low point myself. Like many gardeners, I refuse to use chemical sprays, and many roses have come and gone in my garden. Planted in fits of optimism utterly divorced from reason and experience, they almost always turned into bitter disappointments, their foliage bringing to mind some of the more harrowing photographs in a textbook on dermatological pathology.

Luckily, before I started investing in yarn and stretcher bars, I happened upon Peter Kukielski's new book, Roses without Chemicals: 150 Disease-Free Varieties That Will Change the Way You Grow Roses. Now, in my entire gardening life, I have grown only one rose that I consider to be truly disease-free, besides being utterly ravishing in every other respect, and that is ‘Darlow's Enigma', a white-flowered hybrid musk that is one of the glories of the genus. Would Mr. Kukielski see fit to include it? He would! Or rather he did, which confirmed him in my estimation as a rose-grower of excellent taste and judgment. And so I began to read about some of the other tempting roses he recommends: classics like the blush-pink noisette ‘Alister Stella Gray'; sultry newcomers like the violet-crimson hybrid tea ‘Dark Desire'; cheerful shrubs like the sunshine-yellow ‘Lemon Fizz'.

Although the plant profiles constitute the heart of the book, in the opening chapters you'll find all the information you need to grow roses sustainably, prune them correctly, and keep them healthy and thriving. And at the back you'll find dozens of helpful charts that list roses by class, habit, and color.

So I'm afraid everyone on my holiday gift list will have to look elsewhere for their bargello samplers. I have some roses to plant.

Signed, Tom Fischer

More books on choosing the best plants

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Why Grow That When You Can Grow This?
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Planting the Dry Shade Garden
: The Best Plants for the Toughest Spot in Your Garden by Graham Rice. $24.95

: Start Small, Grow Big with 150 Plants That Spread, Self-Sow, and Overwinter by Kristin Green. $24.95

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