Planting a rose bush in VT? Try a hardier heirloom for more blooms, fewer pests.
If you're hesitant about planting a rose bush in your lawn or gardens because you've heard - or have experienced firsthand - that they are prone to beetle infestations and disease, then try an heirloom instead!
Plenty of the modern hybrids are not hardy enough to grow well in our Vermont temperatures. That's where old-fashioned, heirloom or "old garden" rose varieties can really deliver.
These are old-school, fragrant roses and they come in interesting shapes, scents and hues. Roses like these have graced gardens prior to 1867 before the "modern" hybrids were introduced. Picture roses like these that were often the centerpiece of oil paintings from the era.
Seek out roses with species names like rosa rugosa or rosa gallica. Both of these are very hardy. Keep in mind these only bloom once during the season.
Another species rose type called rosa bonica is a hardy shrub rose. Look for the red climber called, Lady in Red.
Species rose types bred in Canada, called the "Canadian Explorer" series are even tougher and grow well in our region. Varieties include John Cabot and Frontenac.
And modern roses still can grow well here, like those from the "Drift" series. This is a cross between a miniature rose and a ground cover rose. It only grows a foot or two tall, with very wide clusters of little flowers.
The "Oh So Easy" rose series is similar but just a little taller, growing three to four feet tall.
And if you have modern variety rose bushes that have encountered beetle infestations in past seasons, the best way to control them begins next month in early June.
Purchase some beneficial nematodes and spray on the lawn areas around the roses. This treatment will parasitize the beetle grubs in the soil and you'll have fewer beetles this year.
Q: Can I use the same methods to keep worms off both my broccoli and cauliflower plants? Last year I grew radishes around both plants, which you had suggested for broccoli. It worked for the broccoli but my cauliflower plants never grew enough for me to eat. Could the radishes have interfered with the cauliflower growth? - Caroline, in Middlebury
A: The radishes probably didn't interfere with the cauliflower growth. But there are some other methods you can try to help with cabbage worms.
One of the simplest ways is to use an organic spray called bacillus thuringiensis or BT.
Begin spraying the BT as soon as you see white butterflies with black or gray spots on their wing. If they are fluttering around your broccoli and cauliflower, they are there to lay the eggs that become cabbage worms.
If you don't want to spray anything at all, try covering your broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts with a micromesh row cover. This fine mesh material will block the butterflies from ever landing and laying eggs in the first place.
A: If I cut daffodils for a bouquet, will they rebloom next year? - Anna, via email
A: Yes, cut as many daffodils as you like! Doing so helps the plant by not letting it set seed. That helps the bulb rejuvenate itself and come back to flower again next year.
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