By Kristen Smith
Sunshine Daydream is our 2012 AARS (All-American Rose Selections®) winner. This means it out-performed all the other roses entered and trialed in 20 different gardens across the country under no-spray conditions for a period of two years.
Sunshine Daydream is a full flowered, butter-yellow colored garden rose. It has the vigor, form and foliage you would expect from a traditional garden rose, but it has the added benefit and convenience of being disease resistant. It is expected to hold onto its foliage long into the season unlike old hybrid tea roses which are mostly leafless sticks by July or August.
Long gone are the days when the average homeowner sprayed fungicides every week in order to keep her roses looking pristine. Today’s gardener wants to plant it and forget about it. Another concern is the residues from chemical sprays. Homeowners these days want to be able to turn their kids and pets loose in the yard and not have to worry that they will be exposed to harmful chemicals.
How does one achieve wonderful roses in a garden that is environmentally friendly you ask?
First, start with good selection. Choose roses that have been tested and proven to have improved resistance to fungal diseases like Black spot and mildew. Secondly, build good soil! Dig deep and incorporate as much organic matter as possible. This will give your plant the proper nutrition to be vigorous and strong in order to recover from some di
sease issues should they strike. Plant a diverse selection of plants, including herbs. Monoculture is bad; that is to say planting only one type of plant in a garden can seriously jeopardize the future health of those plants. For example, roses can be very susceptible to fungal diseases such as black spot and various mildews. If there is a lot of buildup of those diseases in the garden over the years, the disease pressure builds and builds and the overall vigor of the roses may decline over time. One way to avoid fungal diseases is to water only around the base of the plant and try to avoid getting the foliage wet. Wet foliage combined with cool temperatures and high humidity is a breeding ground for fungal diseases.
The photo here is of the rose garden at The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. The arboretum does an excellent job of incorporating other plants in the garden; not only does it look more pleasing than just a plain old rose garden, it helps keep the disease pressure down.