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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #321 - This fabulous pink Rose from David Austin has outdone herself
July 01, 2018

This gorgeous pink David Austin rose has been delighting me and annoying me for the past couple of week. It is a rather sparse looking plant that’s growing in a less than perfect location and still it has managed to produce at least a dozen blooms like this. They are behaving themselves wonderfully as well, they are not all opening at the same time. Each tiny looking little bud slowly expands and then one day they just seem to explode in size and give us this delight. It does have the added bonus of a great fragrance. I have been carefully making sure that all of my Roses get lots of water and fertilizer and they are responding beautifully. I have just started to see a few little green caterpillars eating the top leaves but a quick pinch with the fingers and that problem is solved. Why does it annoy me? Well actually I annoy myself because I seem to have lost the label and can only guess at what variety it might be and looking through their catalogue just confuses me even more.

Several large heads of Broccoli have been rising above their foliage and demanding to be taken to dinner. I have happily acquiesced to their demands and enjoyed every moment. The Cauliflower is a much more modest vegetable. While wandering through the mass of foliage in the vegetable boxes I spread apart an abundance of big leaves to find this bright, white, delight hiding herself. She will be making that trip to the dinner plate in the next couple of days. I made sure she stayed tucked into her leaves so that the sun did not reach her. I’m not fond of green Cauliflower and exposure to the sun will rapidly make those nice white curds turn a rather unappealing yellow/green. There is also a lovely Cauliflower Veronica developing slowly and it’s greenish pointed head is just starting to emerge from the protective circle of leaves. The Pak Choi is flourishing , Radishes abound and the Peas have been rolling around on our plates for a few days now. All of the spring vegetables are filling our plates and satisfying our palates and reminding us daily about the joys of being a vegetable gardener.

Notice the sky in the background. These small flowered Martagon Lilies hang their blooms almost straight down requiring me to lay on my back and shoot up to capture their delicate beauty. They are the first of my Lilies to bloom and they are a delight to see. Their other great virtue is their ability to thrive in a reasonable amount of shade. These ones grow at the periphery of the big Walnut to their south and enjoy its considerable shade. The bulbs are probably five or six years old and they now produce 4 - 5 bloom stalks each. This variety is Claude Schride and I have a couple of other varieties in the same area putting on quite a show this week.

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. To ask a question just “reply” to this ezine. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Donna Asks? I discovered red spiders? on a flowering plant. I think it is a coreopsis (yellow flowers). they are clinging to the top part of the stalk right up to the buds. Thick on the stems around 5 or 6 inches down. I starting a major squishing but my gardening gloves became a red mess. Is there something I can spray on them , or use soapy water?? I don't remember them being this bad last year.

Ken Answers! Your little creatures behavior sounds more like aphids but it might be some tiny spider. Insecticidal soap should work but a strong stream of water that simply knocks them off might be just as effective.

Sandy Asks? Would you plant a rose to the level of the pot / up to active joint or bury the joint. I've read garden books but get conflicting answers , especially as we are Canada and freeze can kill the joint ?

Ken Answers! Absolutely, in Canada bury the graft joint by 3 -4 cm Some roses are now grown on their own roots, and then it’s not as critical.

Connie Asks? We just bought a dwarf Gravenstein Apple tree but aren't sure if we need to plant another type of apple tree in order to pollinate?

Ken Answers! Almost all apples require cross pollination and the Gravenstein. a triploid, does require pollination from other trees, and is a poor pollinator of other apples. Now you can go shopping for another apple tree to keep it company:-)

Jennifer asks? I have a lot of perennials in pots on my deck. BIG problem: what will deter squirrels from digging in the pots and uprooting the plants? Have tried coffee grounds to no avail. I have a large urn filled with pansies which have successfully grown through a dome of chicken wire but I can't do this with my tomatoes!

Ken Answers! I have used Acti-sol, fertilizer to deter squirrels from digging up my bulbs and this year have been spreading it on the top of my containers and it seems to work quite well. Nothing is perfect.

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