Durango BOtanic Gardens

Building Public Gardens Committed to Demonstration and Education

A Rosy Greeting from Flagstaff

06 Dec 2019 11:36 AM | William LeMaire (Administrator)

This post submission is from Carol Chiccia certified Master Gardener of the Coconino Master Gardener Association. She, has grown roses in Phoenix, AZ, for 15 years and for 16 years in Flagstaff, AZ. She is a member of the Denver Rose Society, the American Rose Society, and, we are pleased to say, the Durango Botanical Society. We expect to be carrying other articles from Carol in 2020. She can be reached via email at mtngardener07@gmail.com.

I have had the privilege of volunteering in the Olivia White Hospice Garden here in Flagstaff since I became a master gardener in 2014. I supervise the care of the 70 roses, 45 varieties, within this beautiful perennial garden which lies at 7,000 feet below the San Francisco Peaks, just 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon.

We face many of the same challenges you do gardening at high altitude: an arid climate, a late and cold spring, and a short growing season. I reach out to other southwest gardeners in Denver and Santa Fe who also raise roses at almost 7,000 feet and in arid climates, sharing what I have learned in my 16 years of growing roses in Flagstaff. I seek what you have learned also.

My husband and I visit Durango yearly, and have seen your ‘Rosie the Riveter’ floribundas. You have planted them, I understand, to honor American women for all the good they have done over the decades. May they flourish for you.

It has been a very exciting year for me. Our drought abated, with a very wet and late spring. However, our monsoon, which generally occurs between the Fourth of July and mid-September, produced no rain. This absence of moisture during the height of our growing season is very unusual, and it affected the roses. The hospice roses and my roses, most of which are repeat blooming, bloomed weeks late, and then all at once with only a scant repeat bloom. 

Also, the deer browse the roses more severely during these extremely dry periods. They even dig under the water rings around the hospice roses for the moisture that has soaked into the mulch.

Rose gardening is challenging, but doable, here in Flagstaff. Many of the hospice roses are over ten years old. I look forward to sharing what is happening in the rose gardens of Flagstaff, and learning what is new with your roses. Seen below is the hospice’s ‘Falstaff’ rose, which displayed an extremely heavy bloom, but with flowers that had fewer petals and open hearts, instead of the usual David Austin frilly inner petals.

   The Falstaff Rose in full bloom

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