Between Japanese beetles and blackspot, it is not a beautiful time in the rose garden.
When I realized that I had lost my battle with blackspot, I started alternating the fungicides I spray, and spraying a little more frequently. The new growth is coming in clean, and of course I hope to keep it that way. The blackspot is especially bad in the hybrid tea bed that is underplanted with iris, and I’m thinking that next year I will need to cut back the iris foliage right after it blooms in order to allow more air circulation.
Also I watered all the roses deeply the other day and within two days I saw lots of beautiful new growth–a good reminder that roses do love water–even if they look like they are faring ok without special watering, they need lots in order to bloom and grow in the heat of the summer.
Lastly–Japanese beetles. These lovely iridescent little beetles cluster on and devour rose blossoms leaving ugly tattered shreds in a very short amount of time. If they can’t get their favorite–tall, fragrant rose blooms, they will settle for chewing their way into buds and eating leaves. Once or twice a day, I go around with a bowl of sudsy water and tap the beetles out of the roses into a watery grave. If you do this in the morning and evening hours they are less active and will not fly away. Even in mid day you’ll get most of them this way.
The other thing I do is cut any flowers the beetles have momentarily overlooked, so we can enjoy them indoors. It is far from a perfect solution, since the beetles then attack the buds and leaves, but at least I get a few of the flowers that way.
This is the time of year when I wonder why I don’t grow more plants and flowers that don’t have all these problems. I put in a few bulbs of Asiatic lilies last year, for example, and my goodness–what a show they’ve put on. I am definitely going to plant more.