Just what we will get from our Roses during the trying month of July will depend on how the beds were prepared before planting, and whether the plants have been kept free from disease and kept well fed and watered up to date.
If the plants are healthy and the weather is hot and dry, there will be little need to spray or dust against diseases during the month, but if the Roses are in Japanese beetle zone, the foliage must be protected against the ravages of this pest. Luckily there are now several beetle repellents available which hardly show on the leaves, and beetles will not eat foliage protected with them.
Blooms and beetles. Protecting the blooms is another problem.
One can either handpick the beetles, which is almost a continuous task during the beetle time, or better, cover the buds with cheese cloth or waxed paper bags, and cut the protected blooms when they are sufficiently developed.
Early risers will be able to enjoy nice blooms during July by cutting unprotected buds before the beetles become active in the morning.
Apply balanced plant food, early this month and be sure the plants are kept well watered all during the hot season.
Never apply chemical fertilizers when the soil is dust dry. If the soil is very dry, water thoroughly, then allow the earth to dry out enough to become workable before feeding the plants with chemicals.
Summer mulches. Mulching during the hottest weather prevents too quick-drying out of the beds, and a dust mulch may be maintained by careful cultivation. Many gardeners prefer to mulch the beds with peat moss or grass clippings and do away with cultivating.
Canes of Ramblers (not climbers) which have finished blooming this month should be cut off at the ground just as soon as bloom is over, providing there is a supply of new canes coming along for next year’s bloom.
The sooner these bloomed out canes are removed, the better will be next year’s display. This removal of old Rambler canes is about the only pruning work required in July.
Climbers left unpruned. There are a number of the large flowered Climbing Roses which will bloom again if kept well fed and watered right through the season. Most so-called Everblooming Climbers do their re-blooming on subIaterals put out just under the previous bloom, so be very careful to retain all of the first bloom laterals; merely pinch, or cut off, the calices of the dead flowers.
It is, therefore, best to let pruning of all large flowered Climbers wait until spring.
A few Ramblers bear attractive seed pods if not summer pruned. One of the best is Bloomfield Courage, which holds its great crop of bright red berries well into winter, and is a beautiful picture after the foliage has fallen.
By R. M. Hatton