Hot & Dry
Boy, has it been hot and dry! New records for July. On July 19 we received our first measurable rain since about the first 10 days of June. In total it was about 0.7 inches. Some of you got more. In the last Thursday and Friday of July we receive a total of about another 0.7 inches. The rose experts tell us the roses need about a minimum of 1 inch per week during the growing season. That leaves us in deficit of about 6 or 7 inches of rain. I hope August will be more generous with rain. We have been watering with “Wyoming water”, but I hate to think about the eventual water bill.
Apparently the hot days have reduced somewhat the powdery mildew infestation, but black spot and especially spider mites have been bad. When the leaves turn yellow, and begin to drop off easily, most common cause is spider mites. Spider mites like it hot and dry. I am virtually out of Floramite, a newer miticide, but I am using some old mitecide called Vendex. I hope it will be beneficial.
In the last couple of weeks of July, I have started cutting back our large roses, in the hope of getting them to repeat bloom in time for our September 8 Fall Show. This has been a nastier job than usual, since rose growth stared so early this year, and many of our June roses were essentially 2nd cycle roses, following our damaging late April frosts. If you could see my arms today, you would see that the scratches on them are more normal for November cut down time, than for July.
Dispite the fact that we try to water potted plants regularly in this hot weather, there is obvious stress for plants in pots. Our pink Mandevilla died last week, despite repeated watering. A couple of slow but started grafted maidens also died in their pots. 90 to 100 degree heat is brutal.
We were thankful for the first soaking rain of 1.25 inches on July 30, but that was followed by another 10 or 12 days of heat and drought until now, August 10; when we have received more than 2 inches of wonderful rain.
Japanese Beetle Report
In late July, the Japanese beetles were as bad as ever. With the cut-down and the heat,, there were not many blooms left out there, but what there was, was often covered with a mass of beetles, eating the bloom down to its stump. Not only that, but now rose leaves are becoming a staple in the beetle’s diet. They especially like Olynpiad leaves. Since our beetle surge this year started early, about 10 days before the usual July 4 target date, we hope they will soon be coming to the end of their cycle. So far it is a vain hope.
Working In The Garden
The 90 + degree afternoons and evenings are not conducive to doing gardening activities, but we try to get our work done dispite the heat. On the last week of July I applied my 3rd and final application of fertilizer to our rose beds. Earlier I had applied lawn insecticide for beetle grubs. Apparently I didn’t apply enough, judging by what was left over, so this week I applied more in a mix of insecticide and lawn fertilizer. We hope it will do some good, but with a golf course a little more than 200 feet away, I doubt I will see an effect on the beetle population.
Beware of Deer
Although I haven’t seen deer in our yard this summer, we do see signs that they come here. We see the results of their random pruning of the rose plants, and occasional deer droppings. We used deer repellant in our rose spray this spring, until a week or two before our show. During and immediately following our June shows, we saw little rose damage in our garden, but during this summer, I see random damage to new shoots and an occasional spray. Today, the last Saturday of July, I put down some deer repellant in our rose spray. I think I will need to keep doing that in the coming month, to teach the deer to avoid our roses.
Rose plants bloom to produce seed, thus propagating their own kind. When a flower is successfully pollinated, the rose plant devotes most of its available energy to mature the seeds growing inside or on the hip. Most rose growers are more interested in seeing more blooms than in producing seed. In that case it is advisable to remove the hips, and force the rose plant to produce more stems and blooms. Should hips always be removed? Not if the rose variety produces only one bloom cycle a year, as in some OGR’s. In that case you may wish to see the decorative effects of the variously colored hips maturing in the garden.
It is also advisable to stop removing the hips of spent blooms in September. Instead, we should remove the petals from spent blooms and leave the hip on the bloom stem. In Michigan rose seed from September blooms in the garden, will never mature to produce viable seed. The time before winter is too short. Removing the petals reduces the likelihood of having to see petals rotting on the stem during the moist cool morning of autumn. Leaving the hips on however, discourages the plant from producing new flower shoots that will never survive winter. That saves the plant’s energy and buds for producing new growth in the spring.
Cutting back spent flower canes, and sprays (dead heading), prior to the fall bloom, will encourage the production of fewer but larger flower shoots and flowers in the fall bloom. .
When we simply remove the hips on spent blooms, if anything we hasten the production of more flowers. New shoots that are in process of growing when the hips are removed, are allowed to produce their flowers in their own time. If we want to force the roses to produce a new crop of blooms at show time, we need to have some idea of the length of the bloom cycle for a certain rose cycle and cut back the roses accordingly. I do try to time my roses to some degree, but with me it is a bit of experience and guesswork . I am not sure if we would do better to just remove hips and let nature take its course.
Our Fall Show
After our Rose Society Picnic on Thursday, August 23, it will not be long before our September 8 & 9 rose show at Meijer Gardens. In recent years, we most commonly had our Fall Rose Show on the weekend of Labor Day, but this year it is one week later. Being a little later is probably a good thing, since it may take the roses a little longer to recover following our unusually hot and dry summer.
We are hoping that some of our exhibitors from eastern and southern Michigan will bring their roses to Grand Rapids for our show. Rose shows will be scarce this fall in Michigan, because no Great Lakes District Show is scheduled for this fall. We hope that will bring a few out of town exhibitors here.
Roses usually are more scarce in the fall than in the spring. Not all roses re-bloom in the fall.. In the spring the growing season starts with the March-April warmup which gets all roses off and growing at about the same time, and though roses begin to bloom at different times, almost all bloom in June. In the course of the summer, with different recycle times for the different varities, the blooms are more scattered by the time we get to September. By having our show a week after Labor Day, we also have a little more time for the Japanese beetles to cycle out before we need to cut our roses for the show.
Besides needing exhibitors, we also need the usual help we need to put on the show.
On Friday, September 7, we will need help to set up the exhibition tables, move supplies, and fill vases. Supplies are usually moved beginning at 11 AM, and people usually arrive between 12 noon and 1 PM to do the rest of the set-up. More hands mean lighter work for all.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, our prep room opens as early as 6 AM, and entry deadlines are 10 AM for Arrangements, and 10:30 for Horticulture exhibits. We will need clerks, runners, and watering teams. See Alice Otter if you are willing to be a judge’s clerk, and Joan Stoffer for other show help. Five O’clock PM on Sunday, Sept. 9; is “take down time”. Join us as we complete the last of a busy show weekend.
The Judges’ Coffee
Please remember to bring some treats for the Judges Coffee on the morning of Sept. 8, at Meijer Gardens..