GARDENING ... AND MORE: Wood mites making it a hard year for roses
by Ronella Stagner, Columnist
Jul 16, 2014 | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This is just not the year of the rose. I am told that there is another little varmint, which is attacking all kinds of roses. This is called the Wood Mite and it even attacks the old fashioned roses and the hybrid tea roses. This pest was carried by the wild rose to our gardens. You can identify the roses affected by the Rose Mite by the stems, which rise up with no flowers and they will have a pinkish color. There is no spray or dust that will kill it but I am sure that companies which specialize in this type of spray are hurrying to find a cure.

The Rose Rosette, which I mentioned last week, is still a problem. If you go on the website of The University of Kentucky you can find pictures of roses which are affected by this pest.

The Japanese beetle is especially prevalent this year and the beetles are attacking roses in a big way. Also, the Caterpillar Beetle is attacking vegetables, grapes and berries. One of the suggested sprays is Ortho’s Bug B Gone.

One problem, which I have noticed in local yards, is that the leaves of the beautiful crape myrtles are looking wilted. Because they are big plants, you may not realize that the dry weather is damaging to them. It is more difficult to water them but you can lay a hose down as suggested in a recent column and let water run for about 3o minutes on each side. For the smaller crape myrtles, be sure to keep the grass pulled from around them and also use a generous mulch to preserve the moisture. The bright red, dwarf crape myrtles are especially eye catching.

You may need to water perennial gardens every other day in this hot weather. Some plants, which will need more water, are hostas, tall garden phlox, roses and astilbe. Experience may have taught you others.

Since tomatoes are ripening in our gardens, I like the trick of finishing ripening them indoors. If you pick them when they are not quite ripe, bring them indoors and place them with the stem side up in egg cartons. Don’t place them in a sunny window and they will ripen in a short time.

Some gardener has said that July is just like June, only more so. The sun loving plants are getting too much shade and the shade loving ones are getting too much sun and half the plants are getting holes from some critter chewing on them. You look around and wonder why you planted so many things.

Don’t forget that your azaleas and rhododendrons need more water than any other shrub because of their short roots. They also need at least 2 inches of mulch.

Keep your roses well watered and fertilized and spray them about every week or two with a fungicide to keep down black spot.

When I am writing about flowers, I always think of my dear grandmother whom I refer to as Ma. Ma loved anything beautiful, whether it was flowers, her beautiful quilts, her porch flowers or just her neat, clean house. She was an excellent seamstress and when my mother was at teacher’s college, she would send Ma a picture of a dress she wanted along with the material and Ma could make that dress to fit exactly. She had newspaper patterns of the bodice, sleeves and length of Mama’s requirements. She never had a bought quilt pattern or a bought dress pattern but could duplicate anything she saw. Ma was the only quilter I ever knew who could look at a picture of a quilt block or see one in a museum, go home and duplicate it. She would take her scissors, some newspaper and the drawing she had made, go out on the porch and cut a pattern. Then she would sew it together until it fit perfectly. Thankfully I have one of her quilts that I cherish among all other personal things.

I often think of what Ma could do with modern fabrics, bought patterns, perfect scissors, etc. But, then she might not enjoy those things as much as she enjoyed the creativity. She ordered her quilt scraps in bundles from Sears, Roebuck and sometimes Pa would bring her certain fabric from his trips to town. Pa designed and made the quilt frames, which she could roll up to the ceiling when she didn’t have a quilt “in the frame”.

As busy as her life was, Ma managed to have time to either piece her quilt blocks or quilt a bit in the afternoons, especially in winter. How I loved it when her neighbor women would congregate around that quilt frame to quilt and talk in the afternoons. At certain times of the year, they would have time to quilt each other’s quilts. I put in my stitches, sitting on a stack of Sears catalogs.

Thank you so much for your calls of encouragement. Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632.
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