Many gardeners find that flowers make them happy. We vegetable gardeners include flowers in our plantings, too. Some are to support our pollinating insect friends, but some of the flowers are just for us. We plant them because we love them. As we strive to find balance in our yards, between edibles and ornamental plants, it may help to know that flowers are “a positive emotion inducer” . Flowers make us smile. This is a good reason to plant a few more.
Our reaction to roses, in particular, has been studied, and researchers found that office workers were more relaxed in the presence of roses.
Of course, if you are like me, living in the Southeastern US and having lost numerous rose bushes to fungal diseases over the years, the idea that roses can lift our spirits may seem wrong. Growing them can be a frustrating experience!
‘Bonica’ (a shrub rose) did well in our yard for several years, but none of the next five or six roses I tried survived for long. Thrips seemed especially attracted to flowers on the white rose. Their feeding turned the petals a mottled brown, so it was a big relief when that plant died. It never looked good.
Of course, if I had been willing to use an assortment of pesticides on the plants, they might still be alive, but that chemical-use was never going to happen.
‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ survived longest of all my past rose bushes, and the fragrance of the flowers was amazing! I loved that plant. Eventually, though, we had a long stretch of wet years that really boosted fungal growth.
I do have one rose bush currently alive, an Edith’s Darling shrub rose. It is in a large container, and right now it is in a friend’s yard (thank you, Cheryl!) where it will get watered while I am away. When I delivered it to my friend for safe-keeping, the little shrub already had black spot fungus on its leaves. This is not a good sign for its continued liveliness.
If I were home, I would be using a baking-soda spray on the leaves to slow down the black spot, but that will have to wait.
In spite of the leaf disease, the little shrub also had many flowers in various stages of bloom. Some flowers were still tightly closed buds, some were partly-opened buds, some were more open, and some were in fully-opened, opulent splendor. Earlier in spring, the unfolding flowers and sweet fragrance made me smile every time I went near the plant.
I will not see that shrub again for a while, but there are other flowers where I am now. We are stationed in a small hilltop town in Tuscany, the same town we were in last summer. There is a lot of stone everywhere, with very little unpaved or bare ground; “lawns” are scarce and tiny.
However, colorful geraniums and petunias in window-boxes brighten the spaces, and rosebushes are scattered around town, too.
When we were in Rome earlier this week, the group went to the Coliseum. I have seen enough stone recently, so I deserted the group and walked about a half mile away to the public rose garden, the Roseto Comunale. This garden is open for only a couple of months each year, when the roses are in bloom. I took some pictures.
Flowers make us smile, but I do not know if pictures of flowers have the same effect. A picture-grouping of a small assortment of the incredible selection of roses (more than 1,000 kinds, I think) is included here, just in case the smile-thing works for pictures, too.