Sow There! Rose bush climbing to the stars

April 10, 2014

If you stay in one place for a long time, really wonderful things can grow all around you.
Kathy Fiscus gave me a jingle recently and asked if I wanted to see her 60-foot rose bush.
Indeed I did.
She lives in north Chico and was kind enough to let me stop by early in the morning.
My expectation was to see a gone-wild espalier, or perhaps a plant where the top had frozen and the rootstock had grown with vigor.
Yet, Kathy pointed to a blooming corner of her yard where white blossoms soared. When I drove up, I had mistaken the rose-covered pine for a flowering tree.
Her son Mike, now age 39, gave her the pale yellow rose bush on Mother’s Day when he was age 13.
The pine tree, back then, was small as well. She had purchased it for two bucks at Lucky’s store in Yuba City.

Today, the two are entwined.
The base of the rose is enormous, and looks something like the bottom of an olive tree.
The color of the flowers has faded over time and the petals are just barely yellow if you look in the right light.
Kathy does almost nothing for care and feeding. Roses tend to like acidic soil, which is provided by the pine needles. The sprinkler manage for watering.

More roses with a long history

While touring the neatly-kept yard, Kathy shared the story of her light pink rose bush, another treasure.
Her grandmother was married in 1916 in Loomis. After the nuptials, Grandma stuck the stems of the bouquet in the ground, where they grew.
The roses are a family tradition now. Kathy snagged a clipping from her relative, who is now 92, and simply stuck the stems in her own yard 12 years ago.
You guessed it. They grew.
Now the bush is about chest high and a testament of her family’s choice in strong, sturdy bouquets.

Stick it to the stink bugs
On a far less alluring topic, a press release passed under my nose reminding me that stink bugs are here, probably to stay.
In October we heard the news of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys.
I saw one in my kitchen the day before that.
Read the news article here:

If you don’t remember from childhood, the bugs are shaped somewhat like a shield. When you squish them it smells like the dog farted.
Our county Cooperative Extension helper, Navid Khan, said you’re best to seal entry points to the home and check your window screens.
If you spot a bug, catch it and take it outdoors.
(Then I advise you stomp on it with washable garden clogs).
For outside, Navid said to try pyrethrums, and follow the instructions on the label.
The way these critters work is they move indoors during the cold months and hide.
Right about now, they move outdoors and multiply like mad.
By August, the babies are adults and suck life out of your outdoor plants in preparation of moving back inside or under your house.
September and October is when you’ll see them lurking near your front door, trying to find a nesting spot under your furniture.
When I talked to Agricultural Commissioner Richard Price last fall, he sounded resigned that the critters are here to stay.

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