Archive for the ‘Perennials’ Category

Rose Care

I have a great idea for you rose growers. Offer to host thanksgiving dinner this year! Oh I know you’re thinking “great, more work”…the house prep, the cooking, the mess. However, there is a method behind my madness that will have a very positive garden & sanity benefit. When you’re tired of turkey, the in-laws & football, excuse yourself & go tend to the roses.

Your roses should be going dormant, so waiting till now to winterize them is best. In zone 5, we winterize for two important reasons. First to keep the crowns protected (adding a heaping mound of extra mulch or straight compost), second to keep the soil temperature fairly consistent. If you start this process too soon (before temps get cold & stay cold), the plant might get so cozy that it will think that it should keep pushing new growth.

Be sure that before you add your heaping mound of mulch or compost to practice good sanitation. Remove ALL leaf debris from under the plant & throw it away….NEVER compost diseased material as it will infect your compost pile. You could also do a “soil drench” with a fungicide at this time to help prevent/cut down disease issues for next year.

As far a pruning goes, I don’t recommend cutting them back hard now. Wait till spring for that. For shrub type roses, just even up the tops or shape them so they’re tidy for the winter. For climbers, cut off any super long canes so they’re not whipping around with the winter wind. Once spring arrives & new growth starts, prune out any dead canes, then trim & re-shape.


I’ve Got ‘Villosa’…What Does That Mean?

This question was asked from an attendee at my latest public speaking event. “Tell me please, what is it, & I hope you have good news”. The person asking was quite anxious & a bit worried. Yes, ‘villosa’ is a good thing. ‘Villosa’ simply refers to the plant having tiny hairs that will retain moisture, & use it at the plant’s discretion. How cool is that? Literally, the plant will be heat & humidity resistant. Boy, don’t we need that here in Michigan, some summers! There’s another benefit to ‘villosa’. It means that critters won’t munch on it….they don’t like the texture of the hairs. Now, this is not to say that in desperate times they won’t try…but generally they will leave those plants alone & browse elsewhere. The photo below is one of my favorite ‘villosas’, this one’s called ‘Georgia Peach’. Man she’s a beauty!

Blue Columbine.
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