I'm not a big fan of roses, but occasionally I encounter one that smells so wonderfully fragrant or has a color or shape that is just too beautiful to resist. So I buy the rose bush, plant it, nurture it as best I can and hope for the best. But inevitably, usually before the first bloom, the rose displays distress - powdery mildew, aphids, black spot, often all three at once. Controlling these blights requires the use of toxic chemicals. I really believe using Ortho gardening supplies will send me straight to hell, so if the organic remedy (insecticidal soap) doesn't work, that's it for the rose bush.
Last year at a small local nursery I saw a lovely climbing rose with a stunning display of elegant white flowers and pointy soft-apricot buds. It was healthy and beautiful and just what I need to climb a corner trellis on my deck. When I expressed my concerns about growing roses, the nursery owner assured me the Sally Holmes country shrub rose was disease and pest resistant. I believed him, purchased two and planted them in containers beside the trellis in March. Throughout our very wet and cold spring I inspected them daily, anticipating powdery mildew on the leaves. Nothing! In early June buds began to form. I was really looking forward to seeing the first bloom. But a few days later the roses were suddenly covered with aphids. I sprayed with the soapy solution, it rained hard and the next day they were gone. Two days later, black spot appeared.
I'd like to end this rose story by telling you I did nothing other than remove the diseased leaves and hope for the best. But in reallity, I had so much emotional energy vested in the success (finally!) of these roses that I (lightly!) sprayed the bush with the toxic black spot killer. Only once! I'm just giving the bush a little head start on all the things in this world that want to destroy it.