Roses forum: Peter Kukielski's response, author of book "Roses Without Chemicals"

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Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 30, 2016 11:57 AM CST
On Nov. 27, 2016 Carol asked in post 1325075. "Does anyone know if there are any new books about roses, especially disease-resistant roses, in the queue for publication in the near future?"
On Nov.27, 2016, I wrote to Peter E. Kukielski author of the book entitled: "Roses Without Chemicals: 150 Disease-Free Varieties That Will Change The Way You Grow Roses".

I asked him if he had any plans to publish a follow up book with more rose recommendations. With his permission to post to this forum, here is his response as follows:

"Hey Margie,

Well this is perhaps the best kind of email that a person can hope for! Thanks so much for your kind words and for your support of my book. I’m am most grateful.

As far as another book goes, as of this writing I don’t have any plans. But… (and there is always a but), I’ve been asked to consult/curate for a new rose garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. They had my book which prompted them to reach out to me. Ontario is a chemical free province. While visiting with them, we went to go look at the Vineland Research center which is a rose hybridization program for Canadian hardy and disease resistant roses. It turns out that the Vineland folks were also using my book as a reference guide to help them make selections for hybridizing.

Further… last summer I gave a lecture in the D.C. area and a garden writer who was covering my lecture for a local paper mentioned that the Smithsonian Institution was using my book as a guide in redesigning their rose garden! Who knew!? And… as a result the Smithsonian has asked me to lecture there in February, 2017 based on my book.

So… I say all of this because just as a person (me) feels like they have done all they can do in the rose world, I find out that the book is making its way into gardens and institutions all around! And then I get a nice email from you asking if I have another book on the horizon because the one you picked up has given you some more confidence in your rose growing! All I can say is this all makes me so happy that perhaps I’ve helped to make a difference and maybe there is more to come!

I will keep you informed!
Big hugs,

Peter Kukielski, Founder

Author of “Roses Without Chemicals”

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Nov 30, 2016 1:02 PM CST
Wow! How neat to get such a lovely response. I thought he sounded as if all the interest in his work might be going to inspire another book. We can hope!
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 30, 2016 3:08 PM CST
I think by asking him about another book, it may have helped in encouraging him to write again - time will tell. In the meantime, he wants to see a list of roses I am growing in my garden - as to which varieties are doing well.
Thanks Porkpal for writing - you "inspire" me!
Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Roses Zinnias Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover Bookworm
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: United States of America Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Nov 30, 2016 3:28 PM CST
Now I need to get that book. Love his response too!!
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Nov 30, 2016 3:47 PM CST


It's a wonderful response, and you were wonderful to write to him. Thumbs up
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 30, 2016 4:16 PM CST
Wow, Margie! That is a very exciting and inspiring response from P. K.!
Carol H. Sandt

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. — Maya Angelou
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 30, 2016 8:21 PM CST
Good work, Margie.

It's going to be interesting to see how things work out going forward. I know he worked with several people coming up with that list and they did find some regional differences.

Breeders have been working hard to breed more disease resistant roses. I am so glad many of the chemicals that were once used so freely have been banned. It forced breeders to breed for good plants and not just for pretty blooms. I think that is a big deal !

Your contacting P. K. is also a big deal. Having encouragement coming from the "average home gardener" and not just the large rose gardens is a way to validate his work in a different way. That counts a lot !
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Dec 30, 2016 12:44 PM CST
I have a lot of rose books, mostly so I can see what I may want to plant or wish I once had.
Now most are left over from mom, some of the really old ones, and cut and paste literature, are fascinating as one can see what was once there and how tastes or styles have changed.

Now mom passed five years ago and while I have maintained the garden, the spark sort of went out and I have not replaced a defunct rose there since she died. Approx. half have died, some were very old and I knew years before she died they were on a permanent downhill road.
Well this coming year I am going to put more effort into the garden. I had already cut the size in half, which made spring uncovering time shrink from five to six hours to two to three, and am going to relocate the roses so they are more visible from the road rather than out the window mom looked out of in her later years.

The ornery thing is if I put in a rose I do not like, it is immune to darn near anything that would kill it, so I sit there speaking in a loud voice --die you sob -- and it keeps on truckin.
I will not kill a rose for that reason but the majority of the approx. several dozen roses I tend to in two garden are not the ones I really like.
Mom's garden is fifty miles from the other one and since I quit taking advice from, the woman, who got advice from her beauty shop clients, survival rate there has greatly increased even it averages ten degrees colder up there.

I like hybrid-tea roses and books dealing with them are not from north country gardens, as the information on how to deal with winters is at best lacking, often admittedly by the writer.
Are there any current books concentrating on hybrid-tea roses, even if the writer is north country naïve?
I have grown and still have some floribunda and grandiflora but those are the only types I also grow or would put back in.
I will have to go down south and spend a day just browsing through mom's books to see what I have but a new book never hurts.
[Last edited by RpR - Dec 30, 2016 4:19 PM (+)]
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Minnesota and Alaska (Zone 3a)
Dec 30, 2016 5:40 PM CST
This is one of my all time favorite reference books for growing roses in Minnesota and other cold climates. I used to grow quite a few roses but avoided hybrid teas so can't help you there.

The Lake Superior Rose Society (in my opinion) are an invaluable source of information for us die hard cold climate rose lovers. I would check them out especially regarding the tea roses. I haven't been to the Duluth Rose Garden at Leif Erickson Park in many years but spent hours there falling in love with roses as a kid. At that time they were predominantly tea type roses.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
Dec 30, 2016 5:49 PM CST
I hate to say it but as much as I love Duluth I have not been up there for five years or so and not to the gardens in probably ten. D'Oh! Grumbling
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Jun 10, 2017 4:47 PM CST
Margie, I've been meaning to thank you for your review of Roses Without Chemicals. I will say that I was just a bit disappointed not to find many of my favorite hybrid tea roses in there: Olympiad, Electron, Double Delight, Midas Touch, or Selfridges; but the book is chock full of very good garden roses, many of which will be much better garden plants than even a very hardy and disease-resistant hybrid tea rose.

Of the roses listed in that book I grow:

- Grand Amore and it is among the first roses to last a full year "outside the fence" where - in addition to late spring freezes and summer droughts there is the hazard of nibbling animals: rabbits, squirrels, deer, and javelina to name a few. It does require more attention than I first planned to provide it there; but perhaps my expectations were a bit unrealistic. Specifically, I do need to water it very regularly since it is planted in sand.

- Beverly, although not nearly so well as I need to; it's being crowded severely by a rather more vigorous Lady of Shallott. But it is beautiful and fragrant.

- Blush Noisette. It makes for a lovely shrub but too often the flowers fail to open in hot, dry weather. I wish I had grown it in NJ.

- Caramella FT. I love it. Must find space for Brothers Grimm.

- Darlow's Enigma. It's vigorous to a fault cold hardy, and generous with its fragrant blooms.

- Pomponella FT. Very vigorous, making huge heads of pompon flowers. One might raise the question of whether it is more wonderous than beautiful, but either way it's good to have in the garden.

- Roxy. I like it better than most miniature roses. Perfect form and lovely color. I do not find it to be very foliferous. It seems to suffer more from heat and dryness than most of my roses, but I don't believe anyone east of the Mississippi should have second thoughts on account of this.

- Stanwell Perpetual I grew in NJ and I liked it very much, though I think I should have given it better soil. It really was not very generous in bloom.

- Sea Foam I grew in NJ and was very pleased with it in and out of bloom.

When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
[Last edited by Steve812 - Jun 14, 2017 1:05 PM (+)]
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Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jun 13, 2017 8:14 PM CST
My pleasure...
I have been very please with the suggestions from the book. Presently, I am growing the following roses in zone 6B pH about 6.5:
gr = grafted
or = own root
Brothers Grimm - flor, 2 gr
Cream Veranda - flor, gr
Dark Desire - HT, gr
Easy Does It - flor, 1gr, 1 or
Eliza - HT, gr
Golden Fairy Tale - HT, gr
Golden Gate - climber, 1 gr, 1 or
Julia Child - flor, or
Laguna - climber, gr
Mandarin Ice - flor, gr
Out of Rosenheim - flor, gr
Plum Perfect - flor, gr
Pomponella - flor, gr
Poseidon - flor, gr
Quietness - shrub, or
Souvenir de Baden - HT, gr
Sunny Sky - HT, gr *
The Fairy - polyantha, 2 or
Thrive! Copper - flor, or *
* newly planted - need time to evaluate
Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jun 14, 2017 5:43 AM CST
In a few days, I will be meeting my daughter (comming from Connecticut) in NYC to see the New York Botanical Garden, especially the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. I am so eager to see and smell the roses featured in Peter Kukielski's book blooming in this garden!

I planted four cultivars recommended in this book in 2016:
Beverly - HT, grafted
Dark Desire - HT, grafted
Wedding Bells - HT, grafted
Savannah Sunbelt - HT, own root

And three more in 2017:
Winter Sun, HT - own root
Sunny Sky, HT - own root
Polar Express Sunbelt, Shrub - own root

I chose Polar Express Sunbelt as an experiment to see if it negotiates heat waves better than Beverly, Dark Desire and Wedding Bells, which protested by producing strange-shaped blossoms or blossoms with brown edges. Savannah, my favorite, sailed through the hot weather with no ill effects.
Carol H. Sandt

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. — Maya Angelou
[Last edited by csandt - Jun 14, 2017 6:07 AM (+)]
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Sydney, Australia (Zone 10b)
Jun 20, 2017 4:56 AM CST
While I don't entirely disagree with the book, I wouldn't say it's entirely accurate across all locations. I know Julia Child (rated 50/60 for allows for a %10 infection) near completely defoliated from blackspot in autumn here while many other things remained clean. Another Raspberry Kiss is rated highly but doesn't mention the plant hates heat and will completely defoliate and look dead during the middle of summer (and so no blooms despite being a continuous bloomer) if your in a warm climate. So be aware the ratings aren't universal.

That and how many of the roses recommended are scentless or weakly scented...I dunno about you but I'd rather have fragrance.

I just think further digging could have been done to make a better collection, especially since helpmefind exists where so many people rating and commenting (often in quite a bit of detail) on pretty much every rose out there to be at least a starting pointing of roses that excel in all three areas.

It is a pretty and very user friendly book, just has some weak points.
Anyone with oryzalin (aka Surflan, Embargo), am looking for a small amount rather than 5litres from manufacturer (min size in Australia....)
[Last edited by Protoavis - Jun 20, 2017 4:59 AM (+)]
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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Jun 20, 2017 9:01 AM CST
I forgot to mention my own experience with the rose Julia Child last season.

Twenty feet away lived Westminster Cathedral and Golden Celebration. WC, I have reason to believe, fell prey to black spot early on and turned out to be a very effective generator of the spores, infecting Golden Celebration, Winter Sunset, and Julia Child. The infection was light. Most leaves were infected, but unlike Winter Sunset which spent the rest of the season defoliated, there was almost no defoliation. I should mention that Caramella FT which is a little closer to WC was lightly touched with BS, too.

In March through June we enjoy 20% humidity, but when the monsoons blow in, the humidity can hover above 50% for weeks in a row in July and August. This is when blackspot struck last year. Winchester Cathedral has been moved more than 100 yards away, and I've sprayed a few times this season with Actinovate. In eight or twelve weeks I'll find out whether it made a difference. Point is: any rose that suffers from black spot in Arizona must be planted with some reservations by anyone where the disease is rampant.

When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.

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