Roses are red my love...or are they? How to keep them happy all season

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog gertrude jekyll'Gertrude Jekyll' is a beautiful, fragrant rose from David Austin Roses. Can you see the little bug hanging on the bottom of the flower? Photos by Doug Oster

Soft rain falls in the garden, gently covering the first beautiful pink blossoms of a 'Gertrude Jekyll' rose blossom. Named for the famous English gardener, the flower opens to reveal large, old-fashioned rosette blooms which release a lovely, intoxicating fragrance that hangs in the garden during humid summer evenings.

Several feet away 'Zepherine Drouhin,' blooms for the first time. This wonderful, thornless climber will flower in part shade and reach about 15 feet in just a few years. I lost one two years ago at the hands of the Polar Vortex and was thrilled to find the variety right down the road at Hahn Nursery. The pink blossoms are also aromatic beyond belief.

blog rose zepherine'Zepherine Drouhin' is a thornless climber filled with sweet smelling pink flowers.

Decades ago I saw it in a Park Seed catalog and fell in love with the plant. Sometimes those early crushes capture us for a lifetime. I'm compelled to grow the rose in my garden. I planted a second one this spring, but baby rabbits have done a number on the plant. Hot Pepper Wax will prevent any further damage.

Gertrude Jekyll the gardener captured my heart after discovering her book Color Schemes for the Garden (1919). After that, I read everything I could about the author and learned more than you could imagine from her writings.

The rose which bears her name is a reminder of the great gardener and garden designer. It's also an inspiration to get my garden in shape, it's a disaster, but it's my disaster. I spend time looking at the pretty blooms instead of the weeds which are enjoying the rain too.

Roses are really pretty easy to grow if you make them happy. First thing is to find the right place for them. Most like full sun, but even 'Gertrude Jekyll' will limp along with less than nominal light. My garden doesn't have full sun, so I plant them where they get as much as possible and also choose varieties that don't mind a little shade like 'Zepherine.'

I'm trying a new one called 'The Lady Gardener,' from David Austin Roses. I love their roses, 'Gertrude' also comes from the company.
'The Lady Gardener' will bloom with less sun than most with strongly scented apricot flowers.

The Lady GardenerI'm looking forward to seeing 'The Lady Gardener' bloom. Photo courtesy David Austin Roses

It will be planted in good soil amended with compost and fed monthly with Rosetone, an easy to find, inexpensive, organic granular fertilizer.

Chewing insects like Japanese beetles can be easily controlled with an organic product called Capt. Jack's Dead Bug Brew from Bonide. Most good garden centers will carry it. It can't harm us, our pets, good bugs or the environment.

The most problematic disease is called black spot and it's easily prevented using a homemade remedy called the Cornell Mixture. Take one gallon of water and mix in a tablespoon of baking soda, tablespoon of horticultural oil (available at garden centers) and a drop of unscented dish soap. Put the mixture in a sprayer and treat the plant every couple weeks if the weather is wet, cold and or humid.

Serenade is a commercially available organic fungicide which also works great.

Find the right rose for you to love, it will return the affection time and time again in the form of flowers and fragrance.

Stop and smell the roses might be a cliche, but it's more relevant today than ever.








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Empty Netter Assists - Oshawa Generals win Memorial Cup - 06-01-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Happy 54th birthday to former Penguins all-star defenseman Paul Coffey (right). Acquired early in the 1987-88 season along with Dave Hunter and Wayne Van Dorp in a deal which sent Craig Simpson, Dave Hannan, Moe Mantha and Chris Joseph to the Oilers, Coffey spent parts of five highly productive seasons with the Penguins. Coffey immediately paid dividends for the Penguins that season as he appeared in 46 games and recorded 67 points. The following season in 1989-90, Coffey's first full campaign with the Penguins, he played in 75 games and established marks which are still franchise records for defensemen in goals (30), assists (83) and points  (113). He also helped the team reach the postseason for the first time in seven years and netted 15 points in 11 playoff games. In 1989-90, Coffey's points "fell" to 103 in 80 games. During 1990-91, with Mario Lemieux missing most of the season due to a back ailment, Coffey steered a young team to its first division championship by recording 93 points in 76 games. Despite missing 12 postseason games due to a jaw injury, Coffey recorded 11 points in 12 contests and helped the Penguins claim their first Stanley Cup title. After scoring 64 points in 54 games in 1991-92, Coffey was traded to the Kings at the trade deadline in exchange for Brian Benning, Jeff Chychrun and a first-round pick. After retiring in the 2001 offseason, Coffey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. In 331 regular season games with the Penguins, Coffey scored 440 points, the most in franchise history among defensemen and 11th-most overall. In 23 postseason games, he scored 26 points. Coffey was selected to the all-star game in all five of his seasons with the Penguins.

-Today would've been the 67th birthday of former Penguins goaltender Michel Plasse. Acquired midway through the 1974-75 season in a deal which sent Denis Herron and Jean-Guy Lagace to the Kansas City Scouts, Plasse spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. In 20 games during 1974-75, Plasse went 9-5-4 with a 4.00 goals against average. The 1975-76 season was his only full campaign in Pittsburgh as he played in 55 games and had a 24-19-10 record with a 3.45 goals against average and two shutouts. In the 1976 offseason, he was transferred to the Colorado Rockies along with Simon Nolet and Colin Campbell as compensation for the Penguins re-signing Herron. In 75 games with the Penguins, Plasse had a record of 33-24-14, a goals against average of 3.59, a .889 save percentage and two shutouts. He died Dec. 30, 2006.

-Happy 50th birthday to former Penguins forward Dan Quinn (right). Acquired early in the 1986-87 season in a deal which sent Mike Bullard to the Flames, Quinn spent parts of five seasons with the Penguins. Quinn produced immediately for the Penguins in his first season in Pittsburgh as he recorded 71 points in 64 games. During 1987-88, Quinn appeared in 70 games and netted 79 points. The 1988-89 season saw him record a career high 94 points in 79 games and helped the Penguins reach the postseason. In 11 postseason games that spring, he scored nine points. After only scoring 29 points in 41 games in 1989-90, Quinn was dealt midway through the season to the Canucks along with Dave Capuano and Andrew McBain in exchange for Rod Buskas, Barry Pederson and Tony Tanti. After bouncing around with the Canucks, Blues, Flyers, North Stars, Senators and Kings, Quinn returned to the Penguins as a free agent in the 1996 offseason as a free agent. He recorded three assists in 16 games. He retired after being released in November. In 270 regular season games with the Penguins, Quinn scored 270 points, 26th-most in franchise history. Quinn is currently a top celebrity golfer and occasionally caddies on the PGA Tour.

Playoff Stuff
Lightning - Blackhawks

-How did Jon Cooper go from being a lawyer to becoming the head coach of the Lightning?

-“We haven’t done anything yet. It’s a great step, especially from where we were last year. We were in this position last year, we didn’t get the job done and then we have another opportunity a year later. For that to come about, I think everyone just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and not have the same feeling we had last year. We put ourselves in a position to start a new series. It’s going to be a fun one.” - Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.

Non-Playoff Stuff
Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-With the Blackhawks advancing to the Stanley Cup final, the Flyers will receive a second round pick in 2016 as a condition of a March trade which sent defenseman Kimmo Timonen to Chicago.

-How close are the Devils to naming a new head coach?

Central Division

-Predators captain/defenseman Shea Weber is still recovering from a dislocated knee cap which ended his season in the first round of the playoffs.

-Due to a salary cap crunch, don't expect the Wild to be a big spender in free agency this offseason.

Smythe Division

-An overtime goal by forward Anthony Cirelli gave the Oshawa Generals a 2-1 win against the Kelowna Rockets in championship game of the Memorial Cup.

-Cirelli's goal:

-Generals goaltender Ken Appleby celebrated with the Memorial Cup:

(Photos: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images and Penguins Hockey Cards)

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7th Century Santorum

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Rick Santorum is officially running for president. Heaven help us all. 

060115 7th Century Santorum


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Sending positive thoughts for longtime theater producer Jude Pohl

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Longtime Pittsburgh area theater producer Jude Pohl is in St. Clair Hospital, Mt. Lebanon.  
He checked into the hospital assuming a stent would be implanted but instead faces quintuple bypass surgery there tomorrow (June 1) morning. He and his family would welcome any prayers and good wishes sent his way. 
Among the many local venues where he has produced shows are Station Square, the Blarney Stone in Etna and, for several years recently, the Crowne Plaza Hotel across from South Hills Village.

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San Andreas rocks and rolls to No. 1 at weekend box office

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


The Rock is rock-solid as a movie star — and “San Andreas” proves it. 
The disaster picture opened at No. 1 with even bigger numbers than projected, taking in an estimated $53 million, no doubt helped by the 3-D. 
Here are the early weekend numbers from Rentrak: 
1. “San Andreas” — $53,215,000.
2. “Pitch Perfect 2” — $14,841,300, for $147,540,020 to date. 
3. “Tomorrowland” — $13,803,000, bringing its North American gross to 
4. “Mad Max: Fury Road” — $13,625,000, for $115,914,534 so far.
5. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” — $10,920,000, or $427,070,025 to date. 
6. “Aloha” — $10,000,000. 
7. “Poltergeist” — $7,800,000, for $38,266,646.
8. “Far From the Madding Crowd” — $1,420,000, in limited release,  for $8,362,438.
9. “Hot Pursuit” — $1,370,000, for $32,350,587.
10. “Home” — $1,150,000, or $170,408,530.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Rentrak, said:  “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson proves that he has serious box office muscle as Warner Bros.’ perfectly marketed, action-packed earthquake adventure ‘San Andreas’ opens to a much better than expected $53.215 million and, in the process, he delivers his biggest debut ever as a topline star. 
“On Friday, the film generated solid numbers and that strength intensified through the weekend as the pure popcorn movie excitement that the film delivers makes for a terrific summertime moviegoing experience.  Johnson is clearly one of then most bankable stars working today.”
Rentrak’s PostTrak audience exit polling service shows the audience was 49 percent female and 51 percent male with 34 percent under age 25 and the balance over. The film earned 3.5 out of 5 stars from audiences.


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