rosesKENTUCKY (4/29/14) — Can we talk about anything but the weather?

Not really when farmers and backyard gardeners depend on the weather forecast to determine when to plant their crops. It is warming up for sure even though we had a freeze warning a couple weeks ago. The weather is still unsettled, but that is typical for this season of the year. Crops still have to be planted and the weather forecast still has to be taken in consideration.

The nandinas at the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden are actually putting out new top growth and we hope they continue to grow to be as lovely as they were last year.

The roses have all been pruned, the beds weeded and mulch put down.

Now on to spraying. Spraying with a fungicide for black spot should begin as soon as new leaves appear. Two different fungicides should be alternated each week. Even though the new leaves haven’t had time to attract black spot, spraying will help protect them. Spraying is not a cure, but a preventive. Buying disease resistant roses will help in having to spray a fungicide so often, but no rose is completely disease resistant even though they are advertised as such. Keeping all the fallen diseased leaves off the ground will also help.  In our area of the country and our humidity, and often time’s rainy springs, roses will get black spot. There is just no way around it. Roses are beautiful and nothing smells as good, but they are high maintenance. The Garden lost several bushes from the extended cold winter. They will be replaced and others added to the rose garden.

The Western Kentucky Botanical Garden had another successful plant sale on Saturday, April 26. This is a good place to find unusual and hard to find plants. The Green River Area Master Gardener Association also had several varieties of heirloom tomatoes. The Owensboro Herb Society was also there selling herb cookbooks and giving information about their group. This plant sale is always the fourth Saturday in April.

— Barbara

Barbara Cecil Russ is a horticulturist for and charter member of the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden. She has 20 years experience as a UK Extension Master Gardener.

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