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 Ryan's  "BIO" Ryan Tilley loved roses since he was a kid, but became serious about them in the early '90's when he started his own rose garden at his and Wendy’s first home. By the mid-90s, Ryan was president of the local rose society in Atlanta, GA and simultaneously was the editor of their newsletter. A meteorologist by trade, he then left The Weather Channel to start a full-time rose business he named Rose Gardens by Ryan. At that point, he also started writing a newsletter for his clients,

The Georgia Rose that won accolades from peers and rosarians all over. Ryan gained a reputation as THE ROSE MAN of Atlanta. He was a Consulting Rosarian and Master Rosarian with a nationwide reputation for excellent roses and excellent writings about roses. 


By the time Ryan retired in 2018, he was maintaining over 100 rose gardens in and around the Atlanta area, including several award-winning gardens that were featured on tours or in national magazines.

Ryan's Bio Continued

 In Atlanta, Ryan’s personal rose garden included over 300 rose bushes and was featured on the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Connoisseur Tour and at both ARS National Rose Shows and Conventions held in Atlanta, GA. 

Ryan and his wife Wendy moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2018 with their six cats and he now tends his own garden of approximately 250 roses. He continues to receive accolades about his garden and even recently received the coveted “Queen of Show” award for his Neptune Hybrid Tea rose at the Portland, OR Rose Show in 2022.


Ryan continues to write his newsletter, turned magazine, now called The Crazed Rosarian– now in its 101st issue!! In retirement, Ryan and Wendy enjoy their new home, Ryan’s Halloween and Dr. Who hobbies, and exploring the Pacific Northwest and western Canada.


Ryan's Timely Tips

 Ryan's Journal is moving. It's coming out monthly now, and you can see it here rather than having to wait to see it in the next issue of The Crazed Rosarian.

Nov journal

Ryan's Journal

 Ryan's Journal is coming out monthly now here. Don't wait for the next issue of The Crazed Rosarian. To start, we are catching up, so read about Winter preparation and Spring excitement now, then look for monthly updates.

Where did the winter go? And what did I do this winter?

November Musings...

November 07 - When it rains, it pours. The last 2 weeks have seen over 7 inches of rain as temperatures gradually drop down to more normal levels. Time to prune all high canes back to 5-6 feet on the hybrid teas so they won’t break or topple over in wet, windy conditions.

November 8 - With sub-freezing temperatures forecasted, I am winter- mulching the youngest roses, especially the ones in the newly discovered cold pocket in my backyard garden. This includes all the young roses on fortuniana rootstock including Lauren Leigh, Folklore, Cheri, Affirm, Paul Ricard, and the one 2021 winter-damaged Neil Diamond. Hot Prince has been a super sluggish rose the past 3 years, and I was going to dig it up, but Wendy likes it so I opted to put a big pile of winter mulch on it and see if year 4 yields better results. Another Wendy favorite is the always winter-damaged Bronze Star. It sat and did nothing at all this year. I will talk her into letting me dig it up and use the space for a new, much better rose.

November 09 - I'm starting to clean out the unproductive, dead or twiggy canes. One rose of note is Yellow Jema, a very nice light yellow with long buds that open up to classical form. Fragrant too! But large canes have been dying back since mid summer. Along with an Alec’s Red that also kept dying back, I have opted to dig them up and nurse them back to health, if possible.

November 11 - I'm looking over the Edmunds and Witherspooon rose catalogs and am deciding whether to replace the two tree roses that were severely winter damaged and finally winter-killed. But my eyes popped out at the price of new tree roses this year....Nearly $70 for one 36" tree rose!!! Gotta say, I think I am going to take a pass on that. I still have 5 tree roses in the garden and that will have to do.

November 12 - I am tempted by a few of the new varieties for 2023 and 2024..more on this in the newsletter. And since I won Queen of Show with Neptune, I will likely add one more of them and a Black Magic since it is supposed to grow well here. It was always winter tender in Atlanta so I gave up on it there. Check out my “2023 Hot Picks” later in this issue for the new roses I am recommending

November 13 - My Lady Barbara, HT, has grown and bloomed quite well here. The blooms are large, but not beautiful like they were in Atlanta’s hot, sunny, humid summers. With washed-out color, too many vegetative centers and scraggly petals that struggle to open, I decided to dig it up and put it in a spot that gets much more sun. I will give it one year; after that, if the blooms don’t improve, I will let Mr. Shovel take a crack at it.

November 14 - From my days in Atlanta I know that the deep, lemon-scented, Twilight Zone, did not like sun and heat. So I planted my tree rose in a spot that got a decent amount of shade. Now I am moving it into the spot where the Ebb Tide tree rose was growing. If it does not thrive, it will likely be gone before 2024.

November 15 - The shrubby roses growing along the street, In Your Eyes and Easy on the Eyes took a beating this past summer despite heavy watering and washing off of the foliage. They could use a big cut-back to encourage lots of new, lower, bushy canes. Since I always cut back my shrubby roses first, I am starting now. Pruning them though is not knee and hip friendly so I will take 5 months to finish the job.

November 16 - I dug up my 2 Moonstone roses. One of them in year one was rather sluggish. The other one in year 4 had enough winter damage that it limited is blooming potential. Both will reside in the greenhouse over winter.

November 17 - I also gave my 2 underperforming Veterans’ Honor bushes some TLC. I dug them up, amended the soil with organics and lime and raised them up several inches as their bud unions had been gradually sinking. By raising them up I fully exposed the bud union to stimulate more new canes and gave the roots time to start growing while the soil was still a bit warmer than it will be in a few weeks. After watering with root stimulator, I put about 8 inches of mulch over the bud union.

November 17 - After waffling back and forth, I dug up the Marilyn Monroe bush on fortuniana rootstock. It was crammed into an area where it was not growing well due to the size of the surrounding roses and had become difficult to deadhead and prune without my arms and shirt getting torn to shreds. So it moved to the front yard next to the transplanted Veterans’ Honor.

November 20 - First real cold weather of the season is coming in a few days so I finished putting the winter protection mulch over the bud union of the roses, especially the ones that are in their first year.

November 23 - Low temperatures at my house have been around 23 for several nights. Perfect time to start cutting back all of the tall canes to around 4-5 feet as the roses growth slows down for the winter.

December in Vancouver

December 1 - The only catalog I have gotten so far is the one from Edmunds Roses. Of course I need new places to plant them and last winter's carnage left me many open spots. I also decided to dig up including Honor and Mellow Yellow which were 2 original roses when I moved in. Neither one is a favorite of mine so the decision was easy. I have 2 Double Delight bushes and really only want one so I removed the lesser of the two. This was no easy task as it was a very mature bush with a huge bud union that had sunken below the soil level as well  as many, many canes and large roots. But the easy way around 

this chore is to give it away to someone in the rose society with a caveat, “You want it, you dig it”. It’s a win-win for me. I now am down to 7 roses remaining from the original ones that came with the house. 

December 15 - The long range forecast is for temperatures to drop into the mid teens before Christmas so I added more composted top soil to the winter mulch  I have already put down. I am really piling the compost high on the newer roses to protect as much of the canes as possible. Snow and/or freezing rain is also in the forecast. If I am lucky, there will be a couple inches of snow to help insulate the bud unions and rose canes of the grafted roses even more.

December 19 - Looks like an ice storm is coming in a few days with very cold temperatures. I am starting to cut back my roses a bit more than usual to prevent canes from breaking under the weight of the ice and snow. In the past, the meteorologist in me was looking forward to seeing a heavy accumulation of snow and ice so much that I forgot to prepare my roses properly for the winter damage that was coming. Not this year!

December 22 - Some light freezing rain started. Looks like the storm will be a little less severe than earlier forecasts were predicting, at least in my neck of the woods.

December 23 - Light freezing rain continues, but so far a major ice storm is not occurring. But it is really cold with temperatures in the low-mid 20's the entire day. Although it never got below 20 degrees, the length of time temperatures were in the 20's will likely cause some winter damage. Seems Vancouver got spared the full brunt of the huge winter storm hitting most of the country east of the Cascades. I am kinda bummed out that there was very little snow with this storm.

December 27 - After surveying the rose garden, looks like very little damage from the freezing rain. But the rain total was very impressive at over 5 inches over the past several days. And there were high winds as well. My poor greenhouse got ripped out of the ground and ended up along the side of my storage area attached to the barn. Winds likely were over 50 mph at some point over last night.

December 28 - Rose foliage looks bad, but that is to be expected with a week of low temperatures in the 20's with freezing rain. Personally, I wish all the leaves would die and drop to the ground to later be mulched over, and so return it to Mother Nature.

Dec Journal
Jan 2023 Journal


January, and It's Still Cold

January 02 - New year and nothing really to do but prune a few roses every day before my knee surgery at the end of the month.  I will prune more than I usually do and hope the rest of winter is kind of normal.  I am adding a bit more composted soil/mulch over all the roses.  Can’t be too careful this year.

January 15 - Hard to believe but several roses have some pretty good-looking foliage.  Too bad because I am pruning below the foliage to only 3-4 inches above where my final cuts will be in early-mid March.

January 17 - Last year my Maggie Barry rose had a ton of galls on a majority of canes.  I cut out all of the galls which still left a rose with a lot of canes to grow this year.  The galls were really sneaky and some hid away from my gaze.  I will be watching this rose this year.  But now I see a large gall on another rose, Gift of Life.  I pruned it out and will be watching this rose as well.  Remember that after pruning a rose with crown gall, disinfect your pruners after you are done.  I use a spray bottle of Lysol on my pruners.  

January 21 - It is snowing !  Fortunately I am done with my “Pre-Prune”.    

January 24 - Arthroscopic knee surgery day.  I will be taking it easy for the next week or so.

Feb Journal

FEBRUARY is for roses...and, I'm getting ready

February 10 - Lemontini has become very  hard to find even though it is listed in local and online rose and garden dealers.  But I located it at Christianson Nursery and Garden Center in Mount Vernon which is about an hour or so from Seattle and about 4 ½  hours from Vancouver...Yikes!  All is not lost though since I have been planning a trip into Canada (weather permitting) to the Snow King Festival way north in Yellowknife along with the club hockey tournament in Hay River.  Would I plan a trip there if there were no Northern Lights... .the answer is of course no!  But weather conditions will determine if I 

actually go when I want to.  I will let you know next issue.

February 12 - My potted Liz’s Charm has gotten powdery mildew again.  Looks like this will become my new “indicator bush" for powdery mildew along with Affirm, Neil Diamond and Sweet Mademoiselle.  Another deathly susceptible rose is Perfume Delight which I no longer grow.  I sprayed Eagle 20W in the greenhouse to get rid of the mildew.   

February 13 - 18 - A rare cool to mild and dry spell where I can do a little tinkering with my irrigation system and finish up with my “Pre-Pruning” (see article in issue 97) of any winter damaged, twiggy and dead growth, as well as 90% of my size reduction.  Of course now that I have done this it will get down to around 20 degrees next week.  But this could not be helped due to my recent surgery.  No way I could have gotten all of the pruning done in early March like I normally would.

February 22 - Another snow day for the valley floor, further verifying my many light snow events from the winter outlook.  If it accumulates at all, my roses will get a bit of extra insulation as temperatures drop near or below 20 degrees.  The higher altitude neighborhoods above 1000 ft.  and mountains are of course a different story. If only my 66 year-old knees and hips would let me ski and not kill myself!  Who am I kidding, I would have killed myself even before my knees got bad.

Marching right along to Spring

March 2 - I have started doing my final cuts whenever the weather is not real sloppy. Slow and steady is my goal as I still am resting my knee as much as I can.

March 10 - A bit of a break in the weather.  Got a few roses un-mounded and with the forecast showing no temperatures below 32, I plan on doing a bit more un-mounding each day from here on.  There is no real growth going on anywhere in the garden, so I am waiting a bit to do the last 5% of my final cuts.  Finally, some 50 degree weather is coming in a few days and I expect the growth to get going soon.


march Jounal

April is coming....

March 2 - I have started doing my final cuts whenever the weather is not real sloppy. Slow and steady is my goal as I still am resting my knee as much as I can.

March 10 - A bit of a break in the weather.  Got a few roses un-mounded and with the forecast showing no temperatures below 32, I plan on doing a bit more un-mounding each day from here on.  There is no real growth going on anywhere in the garden, so I am waiting a bit to do the last 5% of my final cuts.  Finally, some 50 degree weather is coming in a few days and I expect the growth to get going soon.


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