The Rose Garden of Fukushima Wins WFRS Literary Award

The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore
The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore
The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore

The Rose Garden of Fukushima

Review: Before and after photos of the Futaba Rose Garden appeared in an article called â€œRoses Abroad”, written by Akira Ogawa in the July/Aug 2013 issue of The American Rose Magazine of The American Rose Society. I was moved, and stricken with such sorrow and grief for Okada, his family and the people of Futaba Town, I contacted the honorable Akira Ogawa expressing my sincere sorrow for their loss due to the Great East Japan Earthquake measuring 9.0 at 2.46 pm on Friday, March 11, 2011. The earthquake, created the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster at the three Fukushima Daiichi reactors which combined effect of loss and devastation shall be felt for generations. Mr. Akira Ogawa and I have stayed in touch. On New Year’s Eve of 2014, I opened a package from Mr. Ogawa, it was the book called The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore.

The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore
The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore

Mr. Ogawa asked that I write a review of Ms. Moore’s book. Akira translated the following book review for Japanese television to promote Ms. Moore’s amazing work that is an important historical work, lest we forget. And I am grateful that Ms. Moore’s book now has been recognized for the literary work of art & historical relevance it is by the World Federation of Roses by naming ‘The Rose Garden of Fukushima’ their literary award winner of 2018.

The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore

‘The Rose Garden of Fukushima’ “is the story of one of the “countless narratives that unfolded from the momentous tragedies of the great Tohoku Earthquake and explosion at the nuclear plant”. Ms. Moore tells the story of how the Futaba Rose Garden was designed, built and maintained by one man, Katsuhide “Katz” Okada, and his wife Kazuko and their family over the course of 50 years with pictures of the garden before the earthquake and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011. With pictures of the garden as it stands now after the disaster occurred and its devastating effects on the landscape. It is very raw and powerful.

A Rose Garden on a Sleeping Dragon

Katz began his dream garden when he was only 17, with the support of his father, and would end up “creating an oasis unparalleled in the country, if not the world.” 50,000 people came to visit the rose garden each year in Futaba Town nestled in Japan’s historical Soma region. Ms. Moore’s book is a pictorial of how a little town and its beautiful garden nestled in a pristine setting so close to a sleeping dragon eventually came to be swallowed up by the beast.

“Natural”, “Green”, “Atmospheric”, “Roses”: Foundation Stones

These are the four key concepts Katz called foundation stones, “Natural,” “Green,” “Atmospheric,” and of course “Roses.” His first task was to modulate the space with visual rhythms. This is a powerful force he put in play with Himalayan cedars and vertical design elements. Ms. Moore’s book is a treasure that captures the visual beauty of the garden’s design elements. It also tells the story of what happened on that momentous day in March on another 11th day we have in common with the people of Japan that changed the world forever when this garden and so many lives ceased to exist. In Ms. Moore’s beautiful chronology of the story of the garden as I turned the pages upon reaching page 82, I began to cry at the sight of the garden as it stands today frozen in the despair of that fateful day.

The Archway of The Futaba Rose Garden After the Nuclear Disaster
The Archway of The Futaba Rose Garden After the Nuclear Disaster

The Archway of The Futaba Rose Garden After the Nuclear Disaster

Remnants of the beauty remain draped in an arbor once so beautiful but now poised as if in anguish shown in the picture on page 85. Some of the pictures actually look like a snarled web of destruction, within a wilderness among wisps of frightened loneliness. The pictures on page 87 depict such barrenness and a statue once beautiful frozen as if asking an eternal question of why? Katz was inspired to tell the history of roses to visitors in a chronology from Wild Roses to Modern Roses so visitors would know the history of roses.

The Rose Garden of Fukushima Archway Before
The Rose Garden of Fukushima Archway Before

The History of The Futaba Rose Garden

The history of the garden hold a lesson we need to remember of the fragility of life. Countless people drew beauty and wonder from the Fukushima Rose garden, now this book by Maya Moore captures this story for all time. I am so thankful that the honorable Akira Ogawa sent me The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore, and he wrote about Katz Okada and his Fukushima Rose Garden for The American Rose magazine. Ms Moore captured for all time how one man’s dream became a reality, as it was and as it is today so we never forget. All of life is but a vapor that can be gone in an instant, but hope endures in the human spirit and in all living things. Katz at the end was beginning anew with his roses and Ms. Moore tells the story eloquently. Ms. Moore’s book is a beautiful work that I highly recommend.

Futaba Rose Garden Before the Nuclear Disaster and After

Futaba Rose Garden Before the Nuclear Disaster and After
Futaba Rose Garden Before the Nuclear Disaster and After

2019 Note From Akira Ogawa

The Rose Garden of Fukushima Was Nominated as Winner to the WFRS Literary Award
‘The Rose Garden of Fukushima’ by Maya Moore Was Nominated as Winner to the World Federation Literary Award

Author: Maya Moore

Publisher: Sekai Bunka Publishing

Year: 2014

Language: English

ISBN: 978-4418142361

Magnificent photographs and heart-wrenching story about a real rose garden that perished with the meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan in 2011.The roses and their demise depict the personal tragedies that are rarely told.

Summer Rose Care Sets The Stage For Fabulous Fall Rose Bloom

'Sugar Plum' Cascades of Candelabras of Fragrant Plum Roses in Fall

Summer Time of Easy Livin’ Sets The Stage

It’s the dog days of summer. Excessive heat can create conditions for our roses to produce smaller blooms and stunted growth to preserve water. Many gardeners don’t realize that right now is the time to prepare for a glorious fall rose display.

August is the time to prepare for a spectacular fall rose bloom

September, October, November and even up until Christmas, fall is perfect throughout much of the country to spend time in your rose garden. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor, contemplate strategies for expansion and begin to winterize your roses. The cooler temperatures of fall create a glorious canvas for the fall rose show. It’s time now to begin the process of cutting back roses for your fall bloom. ‘Kimberlina’, a ‘Floribunda of the Year’ 2009 winner is such a spectacular rose in the fall I chose it to show you how to cut back your roses to create a spectacular fall bloom.

Cutting Back Your Roses For Fall

Cooler Temperatures of Fall Intensify Colors

Cooler temperatures in fall create a palette of colors that makes your roses look doubly magnificent. From Wisconsin to Texas I’ve seen roses continue to bloom through the holidays. Roses can tolerate 3 days of hard frost of temperatures below 21 degrees before they are fully dormant for the season. So you can plan on roses for your bouquets for the Thanksgiving table in Illinois, maybe even Wisconsin. September is time to determine if there are still any American Rose Society rose shows in the area you may want to exhibit at as well.

Here are some ‘Rose of the Year’ winners and roses exclusive to Jackson & Perkins that I’ve grown from IL to Texas successfully that bloom beautifully all season and into the fall:

#1 ‘Kimberlina’ ‘Floribunda of the Year’ 2009


#2 ‘Black Cherry’ ‘Floribunda of the Year’ 2006


‘Black Cherry’, glorious in Plano, TX award winning garden

#3 ‘Moondance’ ‘Floribunda of the Year’ 2007


'Moondance' Glorious & One of a Candelabra in Gaga's Garden on a Fall Morning
‘Moondance’ one of a Candelabra in Gaga’s Garden on a Fall Morning

#4 ‘Sugar Plum’ Exclusive at Jackson & Perkins


'Sugar Plum' Cascades of Candelabras of Fragrant Plum Roses in Fall
‘Sugar Plum’ Cascades of Candelabras of Fragrant Plum Roses

#5 ‘Soft Whisper’ Exclusive at Jackson & Perkins


'Soft Whisper' Cream colored roses kissed with peach perfect for fall blooms
‘Soft Whisper’ Cream colored roses kissed with peach perfect for fall blooms

Cooler Nights Begin

The nights begin to get cooler which creates an environment for black spot* and mildew so water early in the day allowing time for your garden to dry out before night fall. When you travel, and if you are putting in a small rose garden, the perfect watering solution is planting your roses in the Greenwell Water Saver

Nature Demands Balance

When roses (and virtually any other plant) reach the point of excessive water stress, they don’t “feed,” nor do they try to grow, they simply endure the heat to remain alive. That’s why even when you’re watering daily with what feels like excessive water amounts, many rose bushes will begin shedding their leaves to reduce their water stress. Many folks mistakenly think that dropping of leaves means their plant may be dying or they have “done something wrong.” Let’s dispel the myth. This is nature’s way of plant preservation during excessive heat. Since roses transpire through their foliage, dropping some of their leaves helps minimize water loss. This slows and can literally stop the flow of sap from the roots upward, so no food is taken in. Remember cutting back for fall to leave some foliage because roses feed through their leaves. Nature demands balance. Even in times of extreme heat I have seen my roses continue to remain pretty with just smaller blooms and less frequent bloom cycles. Roses seem to go into almost a dormancy state to conserve energy and water during the hottest part of summer.

August Rose Garden Check List

  • Remove all debris from the garden
  • Check for spider mites by feeling the underside of the leaves, they look & feel like salt and pepper and can be removed with a water jet spray 
  • Fertilize with Jackson & Perkins Continuous Slow Release Plant Food Roses Ultimate Collection Rose Food
  • Add a layer of Good Dirt Soil Conditioner around each rose bush, top with hard wood mulch with breaks down into the soil and replaces it
  • Check out DIY composting options to convert useful veggie scraps into soil building organic plant food  
  • Replace mulch as needed to conserve water and keep your bed cooler
  • Continue watering program, plant new roses using Greenwell Water Saver
  • Order fall rose deals and companion plants like clematis specials that you can plant now. 

Summer Rose Watering Guide

90+ degrees:    Water every day

80 degrees:       Water every two days

70 degrees:       Water every three days

60 degrees:       Water every four days

50 degrees:       Water every five days

  • Check hanging baskets and container roses daily because they dry out much faster than plants planted in the ground
  • Check on any fall rose shows, cut roses back for rose shows and State Fairs
  • Cut back your roses and stagger the times of pruning from now thru through the end of September when you want to start to let your roses form rose hips and go into dormancy so they don’t bloom all at once (what’s known as ‘cropping’)
  • Prune your rose like a vase
    'Double Delight' hybrid tea rose, pruned like a vase, fertilized, Canadian Spagnum peat moss layer added, ready for mulch for winter protection
    ‘Double Delight’ hybrid tea rose, pruned like a vase, fertilized, Canadian Spagnum peat moss layer added, ready for mulch for winter protection

How To Cut Back Your Roses For A Fabulous Fall Bloom

A good rule of thumb is to prune your rose bush about one-third to one-half their height. Prune out dead wood. Leave the strong hardy canes. Just deadhead your new rose bushes.

Folks that show roses cut back for the rose shows in their area or for the County and State Fairs. If you plan on showing in your local rose shows then cut back your roses based on this handy guide to approximately how long it takes to grow a rose:

Repeat Rose Cycles In Days  

Hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas:                            42 to 54 Days

Multi-Petal Floribundas (Europeana):                                          54-60 days 

Single Petal Floribundas (Playboy)                                                35 Days            

Miniatures                                                                                              35-42 Days                

Follow this guide to a spectacular fall rose bloom and you can enjoy autumn in your garden and your roses will enter into winter dormancy the better for it as stronger plants.

Organic treatment for black spot

* Treatment: According to author and horticultural professor Jeff Gillman, who has conducted extensive research on black spot remedies, a spray composed of one part cow’s milk* and two parts water is the best answer to the disease. When applied weekly, the solution controls black spot as well as any synthetic fungicide, including Chlorotalonil.

Gillman says he thinks it’s the lactoferrin that milk contains that makes it effective against black spot. Lactoferrin also helps to fight diseases in people.

*any fat content you prefer. Rice, soy, and almond milk will have no affect on roses.

ANOTHER UPDATE: 2/3 water and 1/3 milk solution works on black spot. The solution also acts as a deer repellent according to the West Virginia Botanical Garden. I haven’t tried it with the raccoons as of yet, but I sure intend to try it.
















Rose Garden Recipe

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show Rose Garden in Bloom In March | Apricot Candy | Cinco de Mayo

The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden In Bloom

Rose Garden Recipe


Roses of your Choice I chose Weeks Roses for this Recipe or you can choose from Star Roses, David Austin Roses of which I have some of each kind in this garden.

'Neil Diamond' 2nd place winner hybrid tea Digital Photography Photo Contest Novice Class
‘Neil Diamond’ 2nd place winner hybrid tea Digital Photography Photo Contest Novice Class

Remaining ingredients:

Canadian Sphagnum Peat

Mills Magic Rose Mix Fertilizer*

Soak in Haven Brand Soil Conditioners

6-8 hours full sun


Tools I used Corona Gardening Tools for this Recipe

Lots of TLC

'Easy Does It' by Weeks Roses with Rain Drops, a vision of perfection
‘Easy Does It’ by Weeks Roses with Rain Drops

Optional Ingredients:

Wind chimes



Companion plants (Proven Winners)


Iced Tea

'Julia Child' by Weeks Roses featured this shot of 'Julia Child' in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar
‘Julia Child’ by Weeks Roses featured this shot of ‘Julia Child’ in The American Rose Society 2014 Calendar

Preparation: Select a location with 6-8 hours full sun where you want to spend time that has a water source. Add elements for the pleasure and perception of your 5 senses, Sight; the roses and companion plants that attract pollinators. Hearing; wind chimes or a water fall type fountain for the relaxing sound of water Smell; fragrant roses and flowers, and add the beverage of your choice champagne, wine, iced tea, coffee. And we can add thermoception (temperature differences) by carefully choosing the location of a bench or swing in the shade or sun. Sound; wind chimes or a water fountain, Wind chimes, sound; the roses, sight; touch, textured companion plants like Mondo grass; smell, roses. Add your favorite beverage for taste, like champagne and hear the tinkling of the bubbles. Meditate, pray and stimulate the 6th sense plant these three roses according to instructions, add a fountain, decor, like wind chimes, a beautiful bench and companion plants and you’ve got your self a rose garden. Children and grown ups alike love my geese girls that I dress for holidays. The most important ingredient of all is Love. A garden is a gathering place for loved ones.

Corona Tools Needle Nose Pruners
Corona Tools Needle Nose Pruners

*Mills Magic Rose Mix is the perfect blend of organic soil amendments that I personally used to buy separately in 40-50 pound bags at the feed store, transport home and mix in a huge wheelbarrow and separate in 5-gallon pails. Now I just use this product exclusively. So if there is a secret to rose success this is it.

'Easy Does It' | 'Hot Cocoa' | 'Elle' | Pumpkin Patch'
‘Easy Does It’ | ‘Hot Cocoa’ | ‘Elle’ | Pumpkin Patch’ Floribunda Roses in a Garden Setting

Kids Love Tools
Kids Love Tools

Rose Pruning Review

Gaga's Garden Floribunda Rose Garden in Illinois

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” ~ Yogi Berra

Gaga's Garden Floribunda Rose Garden in Illinois
Gaga’s Garden Floribunda Rose Garden in Illinois Featuring Gene Boerner | From Pruned To Bloom

Have you ever experienced déjà vu and wondered: was that true déjà vu or have I actually done the exact same thing at the same time last year? My rose pruning, is a ritualistic Rite of Spring. The ‘Rite of Spring’ is an actual ballet and orchestral concert work by Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, that when first performed, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and a near-riot in the audience. I understand, if the symphony is anything like the cacophony of nature during spring and the urge to prune our bushes. Rosarians, and most all gardeners live for spring. It’s that simple. We lift leaves to peek for new growth and basal breaks.

Rosarians live for seeing new basal breaks
Rosarians live for seeing new basal breaks

What Is A Basal Break?

A basal break is a new cane that sprouts from the bud union on grafted roses and from the ground on roses grown on their own root. The most exciting discovery for rose lovers are new basal breaks on their rose bushes. Fresh, renewed growth – the sign of a healthy plant– and a promise of new flowers to come makes our work exciting and worthwhile.Use the proper tools  Corona_Principles_of_Pruning

How Can We Protect Basal Breaks?

'Corona Tools' Principals of Pruning Guide
‘Corona Tools’ Principals of Pruning Guide | Get Your PDF

Today let’s talk about pruning roses and some of the most finite processes that require delicate tools that let you feel like an artist or a surgeon.

Gardeners love to work with their hands. That’s why we love tools. Tools that allow us to do more finite work make us feel in touch with the force of nature.

Its All In The Tools

Corona Needle Nose Pruners
Corona Needle Nose Pruners

You can see by the demonstration in the pictures how the needlenose pruners, loppers and the small fork allow us to get close to delicate growth while protecting it. These are the tools that let you get close and protect delicate new growth. A picture of how these tools work is worth a thousand words.

Corona Convertible Loppers
Corona Convertible Loppers

Have thee tools ready. God will find thee work. ~ Charles Kingsley





President’s Day Rose Pruning Primer

Mr. Lincoln in Full Bloom

Rose Pruning Cart Ready For Rose Pruning Season
Rose Pruning Cart Ready For Rose Pruning Season

I would like to coin a new gardening phrase. Pruning post-traumatic stress disorder (PPTSD) I have it, it’s real, I suffer every President’s Day. It occurred from having pruned right after President’s Day in Texas, the supposed last day of the danger of a deadly killing frost. I relive the horror and the loss of 19 new rose bushes and having to re-prune 200 roses every President’s Day. The temperatures dipped to 8 degrees on March 10th well after the safe time to plant and prune. I lost all my new bushes and all the newly pruned bushes stimulated by my early pruning had to be pruned all over again. Well enough with my cheerful stories. This erroneous information was passed on to an unwitting northerner who grew up in the frozen tundra region on the frigid shores of Lake Michigan in Northern Illinois. Since today is President’s Day I thought I would cheer you all up and tell you again don’t prune too early.

Here is a primer on pruning your roses. It’s the best tips I’ve come up with over the years, as we get ready for the season of pruning.

Depending on the season and upon where you live pruning time can come between the middle of January and the end of April. The idea is to do it soon enough that you will not be cutting off too much new growth, and late enough that you will not promote premature growth. Usually this is just when the buds begin to swell, and then if you do not get a late frost the bushes will be off to a good start.

Pruned late, even after new growth starts, the canes are cut to a swollen dormant bud and the bush will do just fine, so it is probably better to prune late than too early. As I preach due to my disorder PPTSD, late-pruned bushes will bleed, but this has not been shown to be harmful to roses. Bleeding interferes with sealing cut ends but I stopped sealing smaller canes, with no increase in cane borer problems.

In addition to removing dead or diseased canes, there are several reasons for pruning. You want to remove non-productive branches and make room for ones that will make flowers. Remove crossing branches that clutter the bush or damage others. Open up the interior of the bush for ease in spraying and to promote good flowering stems. Remove non-productive canes at the base to promote growth of new vigorous canes. Finally, shape the bush to please you.

Before cutting out canes, you need to look at the branches they produced. If they have long, healthy, new branches, they should be left. If they have nothing but short twiggy non-blooming shoots, remove them. Sometimes there is not much left, but then perhaps the bush should be, as my mother used to say, “shovel pruned” and removed from the garden. We are told to reduce the number of canes to 3-5, but this is not necessarily a good guide.

Corona Garden Snips
Corona Garden Snips

Here are my tips:

  1. Wear tough protective clothing such as denim with long sleeves. It won’t snag as easily as some other fabrics.
  2. Wear thorn resistant gloves such as plastic coated garden gloves, or ones made of flexible leather.
  3. Watch where you put your hands and forearms. Thorns can penetrate almost any fabric I’ve used in the garden. I’ve had thorns penetrate the soles of my shoes, be careful.
  4. Invest in a small pruning or keyhole saw, they are essential for cutting larger canes and getting into tight spaces.
  5. A fairly large cane can be cut with hand shears if the cane is bent gently away from the shears, but I prefer to use a good pair of loppers rather than wrestle with the cane.
  6. Hold the shears so that the blunt blade is on the part to be cut off.
  7. Cut to an outside bud on upright-growing bushes or to an inside bud on spreading type bush. Cut to a bud pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow, the top bud usually will produce the dominant shoot.
  8. Cut to about ¼” of the bud, on a slight slant away from the bud. Cut shorter, the new shoot can break off in the wind, any longer causes unsightly dieback.
  9. If you feel you should seal cuts, use Elmer’s glue, I usually just seal large canes.
  10. Leave as many canes as are hardy and allow space to grow without crowding and are very well shaped.
  11. Learn to grasp the cane gently and very carefully with a slight circular motion.
  12. If you cut or accidentally knock off a branch you meant to leave don’t let it spoil your day. It will brow back.
  13. Do not prune once-blooming roses until they have bloomed.
  14. Prune miniature roses like hybrid teas and floribundas, if you have the time and patience.
  15. Old Garden Roses (OGR) are too diverse in nature to lay down rules. If you know the variety its best to research online for the best pruning for your OGR. In general, the best rule for pruning OGRs for the first two or three years is, “Don’t.”

    'Double Delight' hybrid tea rose, pruned like a vase, fertilized, Canadian Spagnum peat moss layer added, ready for mulch for winter protection
    ‘Double Delight’ hybrid tea rose, pruned like a vase, fertilized, Canadian Spagnum peat moss layer added, ready for mulch for winter protection