The Kentucky Derby, also called Run for the Roses, is a reminder to us every May that this stunning flower — and especially the vineyard rose — should be honored for more than its beauty.
In the early days of the Kentucky Derby women were presented with roses at the pre-race Louisville Derby Party. The flowers were such a hit that the rose was adopted as the official flower of the race.
We don’t know any woman who wouldn’t be thrilled to be presented with dozen or even a single rose. But this beautiful, fragrant flower plays an important role in addition to warming a woman’s heart.
Vineyard Rose Has Important Job
We’re referring to the job of the vineyard rose bushes planted among the grapevines. If you’ve ever taken a stroll through a vineyard, you may have noticed the rose bushes at the end of the rows of vines. They’re there for more than their visual appeal. They can act as an early warning system for grape growers…sort of a Paul Revere of the vineyard.
Both vineyard rose bushes and grapevines are susceptible to the same diseases, but the rose bushes show the symptoms earlier.
There are two types of mildews – fungal diseases – that can affect both plants. One is a powdery mildew which develops on all green parts of the vine. If this mildew sets on the grapes, the fruit will not grow properly and will eventually split and rot.
The other mildew attacks the leaves, and an oily stain is left on the leaf surface. Once attacked with this mildew, the leaves drop. By monitoring the rose bushes, the vineyard manager can treat the fungal diseases before the grapevines are affected.
So the next time you’re watching the Kentucky Derby, raise your wine glass to the beloved vineyard rose.
Barbara and Beverly