Thursday, April 15, 2004

I sent for a Messenger but no one came

Messenger is a new miracle plant vaccine that was approved by the EPA in 2000 and is endorsed by the ARS. It's called Messenger because when you inoculate a plant it sends a "message" to wake up the plants immune system and make it fight disease. It's biodegradable and non-toxic. You can spray it on vegetables.

So far the product isn't selling as well as the producer, Eden Bioscience, had hoped, but they are still gradually expanding, despite losing money. California now (as of October, 2003) allows it to be used on citrus crops but has not approved it for home use yet. Read it for yourself at EDEN Bioscience Messenger - News and Events

I have been checking up on the Messenger situation every now and then since I first heard about it. My main frustration is that it is not sold or delivered to California so I can’t get any to try. If Messenger is really as good as it seems based on the reports from scientific trials it’s a shame it’s not sold here. I haven’t seen many comments by rosarians. A few have said it works, a few have said it doesn’t, the rest said they were going to try it. Then nothing.

I saw an objection that it seemed pretty expensive. By my computation this isn’t true. You can buy it on the ARS Mall for $36.35 for 9 packets or $4.04/packet for ARS members. Each packet makes 3 gallons which covers 1500-3000 sq.ft. The typical residential lot is 50x150 or 7500 sq ft. If half of it is covered with roses (typical rose nut) you get 3750 sq ft. I have about 600 roses in about 4000 sq ft. If I use 2 packets I’m near the higher end of the recommended usage rate and it costs me $8.08. The recommended frequency is about every 15 days. If I spray Compass I need 30 gallons to spray my roses. The reason is that with Compass I need to have full coverage of all leaf surfaces.

Messenger supposedly inoculates the plant with just a small portion of it sprayed (according to the manufacturer.) I’m about out of Compass at the old price I paid over a year ago. Currently Rosemania sells Compass for $210 for 8 oz, which at ¼ tsp/gallon makes 192 gallons or $1.10/gal or $33 every two weeks. For me Compass is over four times as much as Messenger. Plus I can spray 3 gallons in almost one tenth the time I spray 30. That’s really nice!

On the other hand, Compass works very well on mildew. If Messenger doesn’t work then I’m not buying it, but even if it’s only 80% as good I’d switch to Messenger because of the ecological factor. That would be true even if I had to spray 30 gallons of Messenger. It only costs $40 vs $33 for Compass. And if ARS has a sale…

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

When does a rose smell best?

The Shiseido Company's Story of the Rose, tells of Shiseido researchers who discovered that rose fragrance peaks during the second of four stages of blooming, the 'early half-bloom' stage, but its beauty is greatest during the third 'late half-bloom' stage. In the bud stage there are high levels of dimethoxymethylbenzine, which gives a green fresh scent. This rapidly dissipates as the bloom opens leaving only the sweeter scent from the rose oils.

There are many other bits of scent trivia on the site if you click around. You know the rose is the Queen of flowers, but what is the King? It's jasmine. And did you know that modern roses contain a moist green scent with a "phenolic spicy/powdery" odor that is not present in ancient roses?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The New Thing is Roses in a Cup

While surfing around for material on rose arranging to illustrate a story for the LARS Rose Parade I came across this article in Home & Garden Television about arranging roses in a cup instead of a vase. Seems like a great idea for all the short-stemmed beauties I seem to be growing lately.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Gives "Flower Pot" New Meaning.

Thirty-five years after Hair and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, designer Meijke van Schijndle gives us "Good Morning Sunshine!" the flower pot. No, you don't smoke it. It's more like a compost pit, except you can flush it. It almost seems a shame to put it indoors.

The same firm offers "Kisses" a lip-shaped urinal that caused a sensation when Virgin Airlines put them in their first class lounge.

The flower could be a red rose with five petals and golden stamens, but the leaves aren't very rosy. Oh well...

Friday, April 09, 2004

Revealed! Regan Nursery's Dr. Leda Horticulture

Regan Nursery, will send you their email newsletter, written by Ecru Woman the Tanless Wonder, aka Dr. Leda Horticulture, O.R. (Obsessive Roseologist), aka Elizabeth Churchill, former Bay Area nursery worker, now retired in Louisiana. It's pretty funny and doesn't clutter up your mailbox since it only comes out about once a month. The current issue tells you how to plant a rose, "the harder it is to dig, the bigger the hole should be," and has some nifty rose wallpaper for your computer.

There is usually some information about events sposored by Regan Nursery, like their sales and their upcoming tour of Filoli Gardens on April 29. Regan is located in Fremont, CA about halfway between San Jose and San Francisco. Recommended.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

There Really is a Blue Rose...Online

Rose lovers seeking the unusual and (so far) unattainable will not get satisfaction from this zine, the Blue Rose Bouquet but they may get a few laughs from it. Check out the essay on the Psychedelic Rose in the Archives.

If I offered you a sip of this flower
would you
let the colors roll down your tongue?

-RJ Corradino

Friday, April 02, 2004

Tomato Mania

What's a rose guy like me doing talking about tomatoes? Well, I grow 'em and I eat 'em and I like 'em. My wife reminded me that today is the start of Tomato Mania so we went over to Encino to check it out.

Frenzy set in. They had a Ukrainian variety named Olena, our daughter's name. We took two. Then there was Black Krim, a striped kind we like very much. And Stupice, a Czech variety that is very prolific. I saw a lady in the checkout line with a large number of something called Mortgage Lifter. She said it was very prolific. Supposedly the hybridizer sold the whole crop and paid off his mortgage. I had to have it. I can't remember all the rest but I remember a check for $33 at $3/plant so we must have got eleven plants. You still have two more days to go crazy over tomatoes.