Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Releasing a few tens of thousands of these tiny wasps in the spring of 2003 in my front and back yards has made aphids a non-issue here both on my roses and my food crops ever since. The females lay their eggs inside adult aphids, then the babies hatch and eat their way out. Like mosquitoes, the females need a protein meal to lay eggs, but of pollen vs. blood, especially the pollen of umbillifers like dill, anise, cilantro or cumin. Year after year I have JUST enough aphids, generally on cow peas, to sustain a healthy population of lady bugs and lace wings to further control aphids. Growing roses here as a monoculture, and spraying pesticides, would eliminate this balance that effortlessly controls pests FOR me.
Monday, August 25, 2014
My drought tolerant 'Mme. Antoine Mari' Tea Rose is regrowing lushly after her first ever hard pruning followed by a rich feeding (fish emulsion, chicken poop, trace elements, animal feed grade urea) deeply watered in. By winter she should be blooming beautifully.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I just placed an order to the good folks at The Antique Rose Emporium to replace roses over the years now that I've made peace with using more water than the crazy low amounts I normally use (my water use bills often are just $4 to $10). I lost my original plant of my 'Gainesville Garnet' that I bred here in 2003 to a Paper Mulberry sucker and they are sending me two for free. (see link below). I will use most as pollen parents on 'Seagull' each spring. I ordered one of each except for two 'Old Blush' as it is a good hip setter and I want to boink it with modern pollens as it is ALMOST as tough as "Pink Cracker Rose" and dates to the year 1752. Old Blush, Graham Thomas, Souvenir de la Malmaison, Buff Beauty, General Jacqueminot (LONG shot for Tampa!), Souvenir de Mme. Leonie Viennot, Autumn Damask, Lamarque, Duchesse de Brabant, Albertine, Baronne Prevost, C.F. Meyer, Jaune Desprez, Reve d'Or. Sadly, they are out of Crepuscule. I will love having them and my own 'Gainesville Garnet' in my landscape and life again!
Monday, August 18, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Might be a long shot but I have stuck cuttings of "Spice" and "Pink Cracker Rose" in the Water Wise Container Garden I made from a concrete mixing tub that supported Plantago major last winter and spring. (I think I see HUNDREDS of teensy seedlings coming up). The soil is a spongy rich compost with a fair amount of Publix clay cat litter worked in so I will shield it from heavy rains. This is not an ideal time to root rose cuttings in Tampa but I have tons to work plus enjoy experimenting. IF any root I should know for sure by early October.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
I've been proud and pleased to know Norma Lopez Bean since the early 90s. Her roses collection was breathtaking and defied the dogma of "you have to spray, you have to bud to Fortuniana to grow roses in Florida". Here is a pic I took of her right before she moved out of her house about a year ago...timeless beauty!