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Try This Hardy Rose

Do you live in hope, or leave it to “whatever will be?” In one fashion or another, I’m convinced most of us daily live in hope from the moment we get up until we say our evening prayers and go to bed.

There are others of course who might say: “Whatever Will Be, Will Be.” Incidentally, that’s the title of a hit song made famous a few decades ago by songstress Doris Day. It’s been a long while since I spun that recording over the airwaves.

HOPE FOR HUMANITY

What a great name for a hardy shrub rose bush! It’s from the Parkland series introduced in 1995 by Agriculture Canada out of the Morden Research Station and so named in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Red Cross.

Hope For Humanity grows on its own roots and is not bud grafted. The colour is quite stunning; matter of fact unique. This is probably the darkest rose you’ll find anywhere, bearing clusters or trusses of five or more ever-blooming velvety blood-red flowers with 15 or so petals and a slight fragrance. There are small white spots at the base of the inner side of the petal, and a white and yellow spot at the base on the outer side of petals. Excellent for cutting too!

This rose requires full sun and well-drained, nutrient-rich soil, plus extra rose food right through to end of July. But do not feed it at planting time. Wait until evidence of growth is well underway.

Hope For Humanity does well on the Prairies and in some instances is even hardy in high north Zone 2 areas. It usually blooms starting in late June and continues over a period of 10 to 14 weeks throughout summer months. When grown in warmer and wetter climates, blackspot may appear, but it has good disease resistance against powdery mildew and rust.

This is a compact, mounding rose that usually grows about two feet wide (over half a metre) and double that in height. Don’t be surprised if canes die back to within a few inches above the ground. Prune off any dead canes each spring. Other years there may be a half-foot or more of live buds on surviving sections of cane. But do keep in mind — Hope For Humanity comes through the winter no matter how cold or how little snow protection there is. Because it’s a narrow grower, sometimes there’s a tendency for it to dispatch taller-than-usual canes.

Have you ever bought a rose with the wrong name tag? There are reports that some Hope For Humanity canes have been as long as six to seven feet (two metres) which begs a rosarian to ask: Is the name tag mislabelled or incorrect? But we hope 99.9 per cent of the time that the name tag is accurate.

Regardless, you can’t go wrong if you add Hope For Humanity to your rose garden this spring. Nurseries usually sell potted roses with a good catch of growth. This allows gardeners to slip a rose bush into its planting hole with minimum root shock even later into the season.

ALL-PURPOSE FUNGICIDE

Earlier, I did mention blackspot on roses, didn’t I! Well here’s a made-at-home formula that not only helps prevent and control blackspot and mildew on roses but — get this — also controls powdery mildew on zucchini and other summer squash and early leaf blight on tomatoes and melons. The trick is to start spraying it on foliage before any evidence of these problems appears. I remind gardeners to always test any new recipe on a small area the first time and wait 24 hours, even when using gentle household ingredients such as those in the following “Ounce Of Prevention” formula.

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon light vegetable oil such as sunflower or canola

(Note: You can also buy a light horticultural oil at some garden centres and use it in lieu of vegetable oil.)

Stir above ingredients into 1 gallon of water (about 16 cupfuls)

If using vegetable oil, add a teaspoonful of insecticidal soap or mild castile liquid soap. Shake well and periodically before and during application. If weather is humid, rainy or threat of plant disease is high, spray it on every five to seven days and be sure to cover both top and bottom of leaves and stems thoroughly.

TRIP UP GLADIOLUS THRIPS

May is the usual month to plant out gladiolus corms. Maybe you’ve never had those tiny flies called thrips attack your gladiolus garden. If you ever notice dry patches on flat gladiolus leaves or glad flowers that appear to be shredded as though cut by scissors — beware. It could be a thrips invasion. These minute-winged insects hide in the sheaths of gladiolus stems and in flowers where it can be quite a challenge to spray anything. Most thrips are carried over in the corms instead of overwintering in soil.

If treating your bulbs this spring, make sure they’re still dormant and not showing any signs of emerging growth. Also, keep weeds down around the periphery of the growing site. This helps reduce any transient thrips flying in from elsewhere. Thrips can leave behind a trail of devastation, just as lily leaf beetles do on lily plants.

Here’s a special “Ounce Of Prevention Corms Bath.” It’s a pre-treatment to kill thrips. You’ll need an accurate thermometer. This bath can be done during fall after corms are dug, harvested and allowed to cure for a few weeks first; or do the bath in spring before planting corms.

Submerge largest corms in a hot water bath 43.3 C (110 F) for about 15 minutes, but not more than 20 minutes. (Thus the need for a thermometer to check accuracy of water temperature first.) The eyes of large corms are quite heat sensitive, so it’s very important to NOT exceed a water temperature above 43.3 C (110 F). Small corms can be left in a hot water bath no higher than 51.6 C (125 F) for about a half-hour (30 minutes). For best results, add a drop or two of insecticidal soap OR a drop or two of Dettol disinfectant stirred into each gallon (16 cups) of hot water.

SHARING LETTERS

… from Calvin and Carolyn Stafford at Stratton, Ont. Calvin writes: “I would like to compliment you on such a wonderful Singing Gardener page inGrainews.We always save your hints ’n’ such. We have a variety of potato that was left behind at a tourist resort. It is called “Klondike Rose” red skin potato and has multiplied many pounds later and are some of our favourite potatoes that we grow again every year. Thank you very much for wonderful articles.”

Note from Ted: Lots of luck trying to buy Klondike Rose seed potato. As far as I can tell, it is a marketing name used by a large vegetable-processing plant. Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes at Bowden, Alberta (1-877-224-3939, has a midseason variety named Ruby Gold. Smooth red skins on oblong to round tubers have light-yellow flesh that becomes more yellow throughout storage. Ruby Gold is a good keeper potato if harvested as late in the season as possible when the skins are fully set.

Carolyn writes: “When you plant your garden this spring, put up some type of poles and netting to make your little children or grandchildren a ‘Bean House.’ Sometimes, we put a tall sunflower at each corner, then plant climbing beans. Leave a small opening for a child to go through. They have fun inside; can put down layers of grass clippings for a floor. Last year, my husband mixed in some climbing flowers such as nasturtiums and sweet peas. Have fun!”

ThisisTedMeseytontheSingingGardener andGrow-ItPoetfromPortagelaPrairie,Man. Hewhoworkswithhishandsisalabourer. Hewhoworkswithhishandsandhisheadis acraftsman.Hewhoworkswithhishands,his headandhisheartisanartist.”Theaforesaid isattributedtoSt.FrancisofAssisimonk, friarandphilosopher,1182-1226.Myemail addressis [email protected]

About the author

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Ted Meseyton

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

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