Monday, 27 June 2016

Rose Rosette Stop it or Spread It



It has been no secret that I have been taking photos of roses infected with rose rosette. I try to take them on a weekly basis, so I can see how the fatal rose disease progresses. It is a learning experience. I am not a university or government organization conducting field trials. I have not had prior experience with rose rosette, so I am taking the opportunity to learn as I experience it first hand. The photos are only of diseased roses and my own roses and flowers. None of the photos of diseased roses showed houses that could be recognized. I am committed in stopping the spread of rose rosette.

The sad truth is I am also learning about people. Learning how they do not appreciate any information I have tried to bring to their attention about rose rosette. I have had to watch as they ignored my concerns. Printed material was not sufficient and ignored, an invitation to a live presentation by the local cooperative extension was not enough. I have had to watch as my neighbors thank messages on nextdoor to ignore the little information that I tried to share. There is more information about rose rosette that I can put out in the many messages that I posted. I have had to face the fact that no matter how hard I try in my neighborhood, it will never be good enough or acceptable.

Now the HOA has placed me under surveillance. They ride by taking photos of my house, not once, not twice, but continuously. They must think I am stupid and don't notice. While my husband and I are getting to watch a move on a Sunday evening, a golf cart full of people and HOA members slowly rides by snickering as they take video or pictures from one end of my yard to the other.  It is really creepy, and makes me uncomfortable. While there is no law preventing them from doing that, or anyone for that matter, when it happens as frequent as they are doing, it becomes borderline stalking.

How do I know what their motives are? How do I know they are not planning something unlawful or harmful? How do I know they are not planning some sort of attack? It is a waste of time and resources for them to stalk me in such a way. Their time and resources could have been better used learning about rose rosette, and coming up with a plan to help the neighborhood to get rid of it.

There are many things they could have done, but didn't. It would be nice if they could talk to the landscaping company that is out more frequently than once a week. They could offer to have them dig up the roses for people who are too busy or unable. A small helpful gesture like that would have gone farther in stopping the spread of rose rosette than the many messages I have posted. Educating the neighborhood about rose rosette, and how bad it is would be another option. Showing the neighborhood they are available to offer help and resources would be setting a shining example for other neighborhoods to follow. Showing those who don't yet have rose rosette how to properly spray, what to spray to try to prevent it is even another idea. Asking the landscaping company to please offer a discount for services for this fatal rose disease could be even be done. Any of these suggestions would have been more than helpful.

Maybe they did contact the landscaping company, I have no way of knowing that. Maybe they have done these things I speak of, but I have not seen it. All I see is a a bunch of roses infected with rose rosette, and my inability to take care of it by myself. My neighbors, and HOA have shown they know and they don't care. When I bring it up, that is what I am told. It is places like my neighborhood that don't help get rose rosette under control.

Regardless of my experience, there are others who have a better experience. There are people out there that do listen and do dig up diseased rose bushes. When it comes to rose rosette, we can stop it or spread it.   It is important not just here but everywhere that people become educated about rose rosette. Only then can it be possible for rose rosette to  become a thing of the past.

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Thursday, 23 June 2016

For the Love of Roses



Oftentimes you will hear someone say they love roses. They may simply say it, as if words  are just for the purpose of speaking,  not because of how they truly feel. We think if someone gives us roses it is an expression of love or fondness. The gift of rose could be given out of tradition rather than from the heart.

 We want to stop and smell the roses because no other scent can compare or bring such pleasure. Sometimes lives can be so hectic and busy roses are forgotten, pleasure is forgotten. Fun? All the good things we know in life can be forgotten due to deadlines, work schedules, life. Life is not always easy sometimes it is hard, but roses should never be forgotten.

Poetry and songs that touch our very soul are written about roses. But when people say they love roses do they really mean it or is it just said to impress? These are empty words without meaning. People who love roses love them to the depth of their heart. To them a rose is much more than just a flower.

Most people who grow roses grow them because they love roses to the depth of their souls and they want to express that love to the world.  It is that love produces many rose blossoms.  Their love of roses which bring enjoyment not only to themselves but to all those around them. I have much admiration for those who truly love roses, some can express more love with one flower than many can with just words. They tend their gardens as they would children or pets, and mourn the loss of a rose bush like the loss of a loved one. It is a love that many claim, but few posess.

To some a rose bush is nothing more than a shrub and is easily replaceable. You simply go to the nearest store, pick up the first one you see, and put it in the ground. A flowering shrub that is hardly noticed.  The rose planted in many yards is nothing more than just another plant.  Some just want to brag and say they have a rose growing in their yard. Roses bring so much beauty into the world I cringe to realize they are regarded in such a manner. Roses are worthy of so much more.

After knowing what rose rosette is, and being well informed, those not digging up rose rosette infected roses are not expressing a love for roses.  That is something else besides loving roses. What it is, I don't even pretend to know.  Is it a hatred of roses, hatred for people? Is it disrespect for our national floral emblem? My desire to want to stop the spread of rose rosette is out of real love for roses. It would be a sad world with fewer roses.

Because I love roses I had to refrain myself from indulging in the many sales that happened over the past month. I too had to forgo picking out the perfect rose for mother's day. Not out of budget restraints, but out of love. I love the rose much too much to put it in harms way. While I try every method possible to protect my roses, there are no guarantees. Rose rosette disease is close by, and I know the odds are stacked against me. My love for my roses may not be enough.

I started a facebook page. I hope others will stop by and share their stories and experiences about rose rosette. The link is here. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Million Excuses to Spread Rose Rosette


Earlier in the week I thought I would try to get some ideas from a mom based facebook group that I belong to. I wanted to see what their thoughts were and how they would react to the situation.

It was a real eye opener. These are not your ordinary moms but a group of what I consider more intelligent and caring moms. Many think it is not acceptable to  give the advice of digging up rose bushes. As brutal as it is digging up diseased rose bushes is necessary to control the spread of rose rosette.

Some were kind, knowledgeable and understanding, and some didn't understand the way I had hoped. There was a plant pathologist who had experienced the loss of trees due to others not caring or understanding what damage the ash borer can do. There was a mom who had a friend who goes around collecting rare roses planted from settlers, so she knew about the importance of saving roses.

When I mentioned negligence, destruction of property and how people have the option to seek damages, one person said no way would that be possible. I beg to differ because once it effects someones pocket book they may think twice before they ignore the problem the next time.

Even when it was mentioned the rose is the floral emblem of the United States, it did not make a difference. When mentioned if there were something destroying bald eagles, I was criticized and scolded that a plant could not be compared to an animal. What should one compare roses to? When it appeared others were arguing with each other I deleted the thread.

Some could not phantom digging up a rose bush that someone close to them planted. Many have had to dig up old rose bushes their grandmother planted, many have lost all if not most of their roses  due to no fault of their own, but fault of others around them. No one should have to lose a rose bush because of someone else failed to realize that rose rosette is like the plague of roses.

I compiled a list of excuses, or my interpretation of excuses they had, while my teen helped answer to these excuses. Maybe others see it different than I do. I am trying to understand why my neighbors wish to spread a fatal rose disease, they think nothing of it. Below you will find these excuses.

Peppering door with flyers-
Only 2 flyers were sent out to every household. A few people got a third flyer, few got extra literature. The HOA was given extra literature as well to help educate them on the matter, so they could do something.

Possibly renters-
If your fridge is broken, the landlord is responsible to repair or replace. If the rose is broken, the landlord should remove it and replace with something else, or you should do it for them and deduct it from your rent if they have ignored you.

My business not yours-
It may not be any of my business if you have rose rosette infected bushes in your yard. However if you spread it to my roses that makes it my concern. Anyone growing roses in this neighborhood should be concerned.

It's a plant not an animal-
You water your plants. You feed your plants. Your plants provide you enjoyment. You give animals water and food, they provide enjoyment as well. Some people care for their plants a lot more than others, and you need to respect that for other people, this plant is important.

Roses are cheap and readily available at a big box store-
This is not true of all roses. There are many varieties not available on the open market, not even on the closed market. Many varieties are not constantly available, there are thousands of varieties of roses, not all are cheap and at the local big box store.

People don't like being bothered-
That is their deal, but if their rose is infected they need to be notified. I doubt they would like to be bothered with a court case when their disease spreads everywhere.

Plants are just landscaping-
To some people plants are more than just landscaping. I would not not give such time and attention to landscaping that I would give to plants, I love taking care of them.

Too busy, no time for it-
If you have a rose infected with rose rosette you need to take time and address it, there are landscaping companies available to take care of the problem for you.

May not maintain their own lawn-
If you have roses, you need to make sure your landscaper is aware rose rosette is in the area and they are educated enough to take care of preventing disease as well as getting rid of diseased plants.

HOA-
The HOA was contacted through email, which they did not respond to, they were private messaged through facebook, but ignored that too, they were sent text by phone, they gave little response to the text. They were sent a certified letter they refused to pick up. Suggestions were made to ask the landscaping company that is here weekly and sometimes more frequently to offer discounts to residents. I do not know if the HOA took the time to pick up the phone and ask the landscaping company that question. I can go into this further but I won't.

There has to be a cure, plant will get over it-
There is no cure for rose rosette, and no, the plant won't just get over it if you ignore it.

Get over it!-
A fatal disease that threatens your property is not something you get over while the threat lingers. My concern is this disease is not being taken seriously, and the lack of concern and lack of appropriate action.

You're being too pushy!-
It's been two months, and no-one else has done anything. I'm not being pushy, I am being passionate about what I love, and I love roses. It's not my fault that I want roses to stay alive and not become extinct from a fatal virus.

Your sign is insulting!-
This sign or piece of art as I view it is a reflection upon reality. What is insulting is the fact there are diseased rose bushes in this neighborhood and no-one seems to care.

I don't even like roses!-
If that is the case, it should be even easier to get rid of any infected.

Why should I listen to you?-
You don't have to. Simply listen to the numerous plant pathologists and read their articles to understand how bad rose rosette can truly be.

There could be other excuses not listed here, I am not a mind reader and have no idea why my neighbors continue to spread rose rosette disease. I didn't list a million excuses but surely you get the idea of how there is no excuse compelling enough to spread rose rosette and destroy roses.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Time to Gear Up


Since my last blog post, I felt back into a corner.  I felt alone as if no one in the word cared, and I would not be able to ever win this fight against rose rosette. Somehow I also felt liberated, as if nothing can stand in my way. I have since become busy thinking of what my next steps will be.

I always valued people's privacy, and did not want to take photos of their diseased bushes. Well the fact that the diseased bushes remain shows they have very little respect for others. I have now started taking photos of the diseased bushes. I am careful to make sure no one's house is identifiable, and would not dare take photos of the people. I am now taking photos posting them on facebook, and even tagging the HOA in the process since it is in the neighborhood.

I have also sent a private message to someone who has several diseased bushes through nextdoor. I suspect the message to be ignored, just like the flyers; they have yet to respond. I started a public group on nextdoor, but as expected no one has joined except the moderator. I invited all the neighbors to Rose Care 101, as expected no one from the neighborhood has agreed to go. I can't say I haven't shed tears along the way but I am not giving up. I am sure my family and friends are going to unfollow me on facebook as I started posting there too.

While it may appear rose rosette is not yet that bad in my area, it only takes one infected rose. In other places it had to start somewhere. I look around and I see it being ignored. I do not want it to end up as bad here like places I have only read about, and the many photos I have seen. I am doing my best, but others view my efforts as foolish and unnecessary. It is hurtful, yes, but it only makes me stronger.  I wonder if any of this will get their attention or will all this also be ignored.

I have also posted small snippets of my blog on my nextdoor group. I want them to realize I have a blog, and realize what this whole experience has been like for me. I'm waiting for them to inquire about it, ask for the link. As expected, no one cares. I suspect to them a rose is nothing more than a plant you go to the big box store to buy. With the way the neighborhood has a revolving door, few choose to stay, I hope no other rose lovers move here. I would not choose this agony on my worst enemy.

One of the biggest problems seems to be many un-knowledgeable landscapers over planting Knock Out roses. These landscapers know nothing about rose rosette, and spread it to nearby roses. This is common in subdivisions. The builders plant Knock Out roses, then ignore them. The builders and landscapers need to to be educated about the dangers of rose rosette. I understand their desire to make a quick easy dollar, but at what expense? Where are the builders and landscapers who take pride in their work?  If I was paying someone to take care of my plants, I would expect them to do a much better job of it than I have done myself.  I look no further than my own neighborhood to see where someone taking someone's money to care for the yard, and leaving big diseased roses behind to just spread rose rosette.

My husband tells me people do not care, he says they are not bothered by the way the roses become deformed, it is something in their yard, and a trip to any big box store could replace it once it dies. I know he is right, but I want to have faith in others, I want to believe they don't want to kill other people's roses.

Signs! Being resourceful, I took a sharpie to a used pizza box and paper grocery bags. As tacky as it looked I left it in my front yard for a day. I was waiting for someone to say something, but no one ever did. Over the weekend up went new signs! Hand painted signs! My husband went to the big box store and got plywood and paint. I wanted long and wordy, but my husband told me to keep it short so people would actually read it. One of my future Signs will say "Rose rosette, stop it, or spread it" in all caps. Since I am now finally over my flu I am raring to go!  I plan to display the signs proudly in my yard.

 It did not take long for the HOA to come around and take photos. I assume I will get a letter in the mail any day now. It is ironic how people will complain about my sign but not rose rosette? Some may find my signs unfriendly, insulting, rude, but it is a reflection of truth.

The article my daughter wrote up was in the paper as a letter to the editor, so hopefully it will help someone. The Homeowner Rose Care 101 class will be listed in the paper next week. I haven't yet given up on my neighbors, even the Grinch had a heart in the end.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Rose Rosette Sign! Warning it is Near!

      Rose Rosette WARNING & CAUTION Sign


If you are traveling to my neighborhood, just thought you should be warned that rose rosette is spreading around.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Rose Rosette Sign! Dedicated to All My Neighbors Spreading Rose Rosette!



This sign is dedicated to all my neighbors. As usual it got the same "Get over it" comment! At least they said something! Someone said it would be great for their next tattoo, but then it was just kidding get over it.  It is obvious they have no intentions of getting rid of rose rosette any time soon.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Surrounded by the Enemy



Before I started this battle, or war, with rose rosette, I thought things would be simple. I believed all I had to do was tell people once, and they would take care of the problem. I believed a newspaper article, a small garden segment on the news, a flyer, anything, would open their eyes. All I could manage to accomplish was literature, flyers, and some posts on Nextdoor.  I believed my own neighbors capable of the realization that rose rosette was bad and should be eradicated as quickly as possible. I suspected my neighbors would set a shining example for other neighborhoods.

 My belief has since changed to what will it take to open the eyes of those around me? What have I failed to do? Am I a failure? My own neighbors ridiculed any information that I tried to share, it was just too bothersome to receive an email in their email box. One neighbor sent a letter accusing me of trespassing, harassment, and threatened a restraining order just for leaving a flyer on their door! Another neighbor accused me of violating nextdoor policies, another complained they just received too many email messages in their inbox.

The terms evil and spiteful comes to mind of how I am being treated. Am I supposed to just crawl into a hole and hide now? Do I now be nasty just like them? What should I do next? How can one get through to those who refuse to listen? Flyers are out of the question, so are more post on Nextdoor. I am now considering printing up signs. 

Should I consider legal action? While there is no specific law in my state forcing someone to dig up their diseased rose bushes, there are nuisance laws to protect your property. I could go to a judge showing how their diseased roses pose threaten my property and have a court order issued forcing their removal. My husband and I decided against this approach, still it does not make things any easier for us.  We are considering seeking financial compensation should we lose any more roses to rose rosette.

There are rules in my HOA about destroying vegetation, but I suppose that does not apply to roses. I am still trying to figure out why I have to sit here day after day being tormented, while others ignore the fact that they are putting everyone else's roses in danger? I have every right to protect what is mine.

I am now regretting moving here. It is not the strict rules of the HOA, lack of storage space, or even the minuscule kitchen that has turned me against my living in my home, it is my own neighbors! Their lack of compassion, decency, and respect for other people's property.  If our finances allowed, I would move away today. Living here has now become uncomfortable.

Once my mailbox was bashed a year or so ago, not sure why. My cat has been poisoned intentionally or non intentionally.  I have neighbors bashing me, neighbors turning my love of growing roses into a daily war of can and will my roses survive?  I heard rumors of tires being slashed here in this neighborhood for disagreements. I wake up each day wondering what may happen. It is like being surrounded by those who wish to destroy what you love. If the tables were turned, if I was the only one with rose rosette, would they conduct a witch hunt against me? As it stands I am outnumbered.

This war I am having with rose rosette has not been pleasant. There has been little victory as no one else seems to be removing their infected roses, especially the worst case of it right next door.. I had several roses that I had ordered before I noticed all the rose rosette in the neighborhood. For days I cried to my husband how I should not plant them, but instead send them to my brother's house. Two roses that were a gift I did not remove from the box,  but instead sent away to my brother's house. My mind and heart was playing a game of tug of war do I keep them or let them go? I choose to keep the rest of the roses against my better judgement and planted them.

Every day I look at my roses at least twice a day to see if there is any suspicious growth, grateful for each day my roses remain without signs of rose rosette. Everyday I wonder if my neighbors hate me, just don't give a damn, are really that uncaring, or are they possibly just plain dumb? Or is it a combination?  There I said it, maybe they are just plain stupid, selfish, and inconsiderate. I have been fighting being critical of my neighbors, but what other explanation could there be? It has been about 2 months now, what excuse do they have that is so compelling to explain their wanting to spread a fatal plant disease that destroys our national flower?


For the past week, I have been very sick with some sort of crappy flu. I have felt miserable, and been low on energy. I don't believe it is acceptable for me to go to public places spreading my sickness to others. There is medicine available to make me well. For a rose infected with rose rosette, there is no doctor or medicine to save it, there is no cure. It is not acceptable to spread rose rosette on purpose.  I watch slowly as most of the roses in my neighborhood look deformed, and slowly die. I believe I am wicked when I wish the roses would die quicker, maybe then they would be gone from my neighborhood.  I wonder if people are smart enough not to spread it. From what I have seen on another street, probably not, one person had a new potted rose right beside a rose infected with rose rosette. Is this how they deal with it? They have obviously not paid attention.

The worst part about rose rosette is that it spreads when it is ignored. This is the main reason that I keep posting about it is to bring awareness. Maybe my neighbors think I am stupid and I made this rose rosette disease up because Knock Outs are not my favorite rose? Knock Outs lack so many qualities that a true rose lover is looking for such as beauty, grace, elegance, fragrance, history and do you really want me to continue?

There is no such thing as a plant and forget about it rose which is what many think Knock Out roses are. People are planting what they think are plant and forget about it roses, then when the roses come down with rose rosette they just ignore it. Real roses are not meant to be forgotten. These are not people who love roses, these are people who want to pretend they can grow roses. If you are going to grow roses, please do not spread rose rosette disease.

I read of a lady losing many roses because of a negligent landscaper in a nearby subdivision. The landscaper said he would remove the diseased roses from that subdivision but never did. She lost most of her roses because of that landscaper in that subdivision. I often wonder if will I suffer the same fate. Many may think its just a rose, its just a plant. Do they also think its just a cat, its just a dog, they were old, they were sick?  Are people not supposed to love their plants? Are people not supposed to care for their plants? If a man builds a house then loses that house to a disaster, do you tell him it is just a house? If one plants a garden gives that garden care and love, is the answer its just a rose get over it? Am I not supposed to have roses because of my neighbors? 

It is not just about my neighborhood, my neighbors, my roses, it is about all roses. If I am unable to succeed, are there others out there who are also unsuccessful? Are roses doomed because so few care? There are people out there spending time, years, decades, effort and money attempting to stop rose rosette, yet it still exists.  Unfortunately my neighborhood is a prime example of why it becomes so bothersome. The problem may not have gotten so out of control if people would have listened and taken action. Again, my neighborhood is a perfect example. There are so many examples of ignorance, lack of concern, not doing anything, and taking too long to do anything that is causing way too many roses to be destroyed with rose rosette.

 I don't want to save only my roses, but other people's roses too, as many roses as possible! When I see it in public places, I now make calls or send emails. I emailed a local bank, who in return would notify their landscaper. About 2 weeks later the roses are still there. Too many landscapers are planting and forgetting roses spreading rose rosette, and this needs to stop!

 I have convinced my local cooperative extension office to give a presentation about roses, where they will inform others of rose rosette.  To me this is a victory, because it is possible others will learn about the devastation of rose rosette and take action. My neighbors have been invited, but it appears they are ignoring the invitation. The war is not yet over, my battle continues.