I've started to take care of the garden at the back of my house. I've watched the roses bud and then bloom, but to my horror, the blooms exhibit black spots and signs of damage. It didn't take much looking to find both green and "wooly" white aphids covering the roses' new growth. As I wanted to work with what I had on hand (city hardware stores are usually a joke), I found some internet recipes for soap-oil-water mixtures for killing aphids. So far, my little mixture hasn't deterred the green buggers at all, but today I sprayed the bushes with a strong stream of water to remove the aphids, so maybe the end of the damage is near?
My grandfather used to be the editor of the newsletter of the St. Louis Rose Society, and he had an impresive collection of very healthy rose bushes, so I should have learned something from him. But I only remember stuffing envelopes, the stinky bloodroot (dried cows blood) he used to fertilize the plants, and my grandmother's attentive snipping of the rose hips. They had many many kinds of roses in their garden, including a bush of miniature "Andrea" roses. I really love the smell of roses, and even the aphids can't take that away. But I would love to see perfect ones growing in my garden this summer.