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Tough modern roses ID’d
Q. What are the tough modern roses that you always talk about? I went to the nursery, but of course I forgot the names.
A. Consider “Katy Road” (also called “Carefree Beauty.”) It has large, pink, flat flowers that make rose hips and have a pleasant fragrance. “Katy Road” blooms eight months of the year most years. Other good choices are “Belinda’s Dream” and “Knockout.” Also consider old-fashioned roses, such as “Mrs. Dudley Cross,” “Martha Gonzales,” and butterfly rose. “Mrs. Dudley Cross” has light, peach-colored roses on a 6-foot shrub. “Martha Gonzales” stands about 3 1/2 feet tall and is covered with blood-red quarter-size flowers. Butterfly rose grows into a huge plant --12 feet by 8 feet -- and has flat roses that change color as they mature. Butterfly rose will bloom all winter some years.
Q. Can we over-summer our cyclamen? They are so expensive.
A. They do very well in an air-conditioned house in front of an east-facing window but, are hard to keep alive in the garden. Even if they live, it takes them too long to re-bloom once cool weather returns. I just go get another bank loan and buy new ones each autumn.
Q.Is it time to fertilize our citrus in containers?
A. Yes, give them a generous application of Osmocote or similar slow-release fertilizer for containers.
Q. What is the best shade tree for this area?
A. My favorites are Mexican white oak, Texas red oak, live oak, cedar elm, chinkapin oak, and Montezuma cypress. They all live a long time, are drought-tolerant, and are not bothered by pests.
Q. We like the look of zoysia grass, but understand it is difficult to mow. What is your opinion?
A. I also like zoysia grass. It makes a tight, attractive sod, has good traffic tolerance, tolerates drought, and has some shade tolerance. It is more difficult to mow than St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. El Toro and Jamur seem to be the easiest to care for, including mowing, but all can be mowed if you keep the mower sharp and mow frequently.
Q. When should we plant peppers? How about eggplant?
A. April is a good time to plant both peppers and eggplant. If the month is cool, they may not really start growing until May.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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