Gardening Tips

Rose Rosette Disease in the Knockout Rose

Rose Rosette DiseaseRose Rosette disease in the Knockout Rose is very common viral disease here in SE Virginia now (and I know it is common in other states as well). It is a disease that affects many other roses such as the multifloral, climbing, and even hybrid roses. I have had first hand experience with this rose disease and its spread and I can tell you – THERE IS NO CURE OR SAVING THE PLANTS.

I tried. Many young roses will die within a season or two. My climbing rose started to decline rapidly and the rose buds shriveled up as the disease took over. Knockouts, however, will live for at least 3-4 years blooming and growing and displaying the beautiful burgundy new growth and witches broom (thorns).Rose Rosette Disease witches broom

I dug up and removed the diseases roses, however, I have neighbors who refuse to remove their diseases Knockouts because they still grow and bloom. I tried to explain to them that this disease affects the soil and is transmitted to other roses in the vicinity and not just in their yard. What you are going to be shocked at is that a few of these homeowners received them FREE from our Homeowners Association and the maintenance team who was digging them up because I had told them months before the roses were diseased!

Ironic, huh?

The supervisor or manager of the maintenance team has been a landscaper for years and he and I have butted heads. I simply tell him I am not a landscaper – I am a naturescaper and I work with nature. I no longer go to my Homeowners Association or to the maintenance department any more because they do not care that the deer eat the native plants to survive, that Round UP should not be sprayed in native areas, and that diseased roses and plants should not be given away!Rose Rosette Disease

Oh shoot I digressed, sorry.

In these videos, I share with you what to look for and how to spot Rose Rosette disease. Knockouts are very hardy plants and even when consumed by this disease they will bloom and grow. The new growth of deep burgundy on Knockouts is gorgeous but it is deadly to other roses and to the soil. Wherever the diseased roses grow, the soil is no longer viable for roses in the future. So you will have to find a new location for any rose bushes in the future.

If you Google Rose Rosette Disease you will find information about the very small Eriophyid Mite that spreads this viral disease. This disease can wipe out a row of roses in one season so if you see the signs early you may be able to save other roses before it spreads. The female Eriophyid mites will be hard to see and they hide near new growth shoots and in the bud at the end of the stem (or terminal bud/apex) where they lay one egg per day for a month. It is interesting to note that the male Eriophyid mites do not have wings but are carried throughout the garden by the wind, garden tools, and even your clothes.

You can use organic horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps in May- July on non affected roses to try and stop the spread. However, once a rose has the disease you must take immediate action to removed them and dispose of them properly (as seen in this video)  Knockout Rose, Rose Rosette Disease

A tip if you want to grow roses, do not plant them too close together. This can be a precaution to help you keep Rose Rosette disease from spreading in the garden.

Good luck and I hope this post help. I know it is sad when you have to dig up and destroy a plant. However, it must be done to avoid any future spread and destruction of nature’s beauty. Thanks for stopping by!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2017 copyrighted material C Renee


Gardening Tips

The American Bullfrog

The American Bullfrog, frogs, garden frogThe American Bullfrog

The American Bullfrog took up residence in my pond this spring (2016). At first I did not know this was a Bullfrog because I had some weird idea that Bullfrogs looked different. After all people eat frog legs and I thought bullfrogs were enormous creatures who only lived in the bayous of Lousiana or in large ponds somewhere else.

Boy was I wrong

Now I do not know if this is a male or female because everything I researched says males have a yellow throat and are smaller. However, Bullfrogs are fast and can jump! The goldfish living in my pond do not seem to mind the guardian of the pond (even though Bullfrogs will eat fish, mice, snakes, and anything that they can fit in their mouths!) So far, he has not dined on the 25 cent goldfish.

The American Bullfrog, frogs in garden, frogI did read that male Bullfrogs are very territorial and vocal and the females are larger. Since it had been years since I took biology I had to look up what that cool circle is behind the eye. This ‘ear drum’ or Tympanum sends vibrations and protects the frog’s inner ear.

According to various sources, the American Bullfrog is native to Canada and down the Eastern half- reaching far west as Kansas and Oklahoma- to the Southern part of the United States. Today the American Bullfrog can be found on the west coast in areas where it was introduced; and considered an invasive species.

The American Bullfrog has been released in other countries for the purpose of providing food for humans (and other species) and as a predator. This has been a ecological mistake because the Bullfrogs eat other native frogs and species plus carry diseases that spread to the native frogs.

There are many pictures on the internet of frogs

The American Bullfrog, frogs in garden, frogMy (and I do not mean this in the possessive way) American Bullfrog is not like any picture on the internet. I have googled and searched through hundreds of photos to find brighter green and multi colored green and brown Bullfrogs. But my Bullfrog is brown with some yellow on the throat so I am thinking this is a she.

I have heard the Bullfrog this spring. I have not heard any Bullfrogs coming from my backyard pond for a while now (which from what I read will be vocal and compete for the female attention during the mating time).

I have tried to sneak up and catch the Bullfrog so I can look at its underside. The Bullfrog is fast and so my attempts have failed miserably. One day I may catch her off guard but for now she watches over my pond like a statue. I have to confess that I panic when she disappears but she always returns to one of the potted plants growing in my pond.

If you wondering how to attract frogs to your pond, just do what I did- I put in the pond and they found it! I usually just let nature do her own thing but you could go hunting for a frog or two and release them in your pond. Frogs will come and go in your backyard ponds and it is exciting for me to have this large brown American Bullfrog taking up residence.

Thanks for stopping by and remember that how we tend the Earth is what we reap in our gardens.

The American Bullfrog, frog in garden



2016-17 copyrighted C Renee

Garden Plants Gardening Tips

The Many Faces of Poison Ivy

The many faces of Poison Ivy, Leaves of 3 let it be and if you see 4 it is best to ignoreThe many faces of poison ivy

I know I am going to blow that old myth away about “leaves of 3 let it be” and other tips for spotting poison ivy. Believe me when I say I know firsthand what it is to touch the wrong plant. I am highly allergic to poison ivy and from trial and error I have learned that poison ivy is not always 3 leaves!

Please do not think I am saying ignore  the “leaves of 3 let it be” but I am adding some more tips for you especially if you are walking in the woods here in the south (and I would love to hear from anyone else from other parts of the country). Here are some pics in this post of variations of poison ivy in  my area here in SE Virginia.


I have found by unhappy accident that Virginia Creeper hides poison ivy many times. It is awful to start pulling what you think is an innocent vine to uncover the 3 or 4 leaves of poison ivy. Poison ivy has many forms and I hope that if you are like me and allergic to it that this post helps you stay clear of this nasty but beneficial vine in nature.The many faces of poison ivy, leaves of 3 let it be and 4 ignore

Poison ivy does not always have small serrated leaves you see in all these posts! Look at the above picture and do you see how big those leaves are and how the poison ivy is very woody and grows straight out from the vine.

The many faces of Poison Ivy,

Oh yes poison ivy can have 4 leaves and vine up a tree mixing in with Virginia Creeper disguising itself. I have learned never to just pull out vines and if you must I suggest wearing long sleeves, pants, gloves, and trying to cover as much of your exposed skin as you can. Go in and immediately throw you clothes in the washer and take a shower. You can get poison ivy by contact with your clothes and your pets! So handle with care and washing withn 15 minutes of exposure works to minimize contact. The many faces of Poison Ivy,

Now I am going to give you another hint that I have done when I am no where near home and I come in contact with poison ivy. I carry hand sanitizer with me and I rub that on any exposed skin. I have also used window cleaner when I was at a friend’s house and sprayed it on my skin and wiped off. I knew I had to wash my skin because I walked right into a patch (the poison ivy was wrapped in an area of English ivy).

I have had Poison Ivy every year for as long as I can remember and a couple years ago I discovered a product at Walgreens that works to help alleviate itching and the spread. I have tried the homemade recipes but never any relief. IVAREST medicated poison ivy cleansing foam is the product and I do not quite follow the directions exactly- I use it a couple times a day lathering and scrubbing with my scrunchie to relieve the itching and breaking open the blisters to dry them up faster. In 40 years of getting poison ivy, I find this to help the best (this is my own personal experience).The many faces of Poison Ivy, leaves of 3 let it be and if you see 4 it is best to ignore

If you ever find yourself walking along a wooded area, in a park, or even in your own yard just remember this “LEAVES OF 3 LET IT BE AND IF YOU SEE 4 IT IS BEST TO IGNORE”. Thanks for stopping by and if you ever have any questions, just ask and I will help you the best I can.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2017 copyrighted C Renee

Garden Plants Gardening Tips

Plant Iris in the Garden

Plant Iris in the gardenPlant Iris in the garden for spring time blooms that stand tall in the perennial bed. Iris make a great back drop with their leaves during the summer months as your other perennials such as daylilies, coneflowers, and salvia bloom.

Iris are not like other perennials when it comes to planting them. Iris have rhizomes that do not like to be buried deep. As a matter of fact, they love to have the tops of the rhizomes exposed to the sun. You can divide and move Iris spring through fall and require no special fertilizers or soil. I have red clay soil and my Iris thrive. Iris are susceptible to aphids and Iris borer. Iris do not like wet conditions and this past spring several of my Iris clumps started to rot. (You can save rhizomes many times from Iris borer and rot by cutting away bad part which I will write about soon)

Plant Iris in the gardenI have over 15 colors and varieties of Iris. It is my favorite flower. My absolute favorite is an almost black- a very dark purple that I was given over 23 years ago! That is when I realized I have to have Iris in all my gardens.


Right now my Iris are sitting waiting for their new garden beds. I am selling my current home and dug up all my Iris. It is hard to be without my gardens but knowing that one day next spring I will see this beauties blooming once again.


Plant Iris in the gardenThank you for stopping by and soon I will write more about the care and cure for anything that ails the Iris. There are so many choices to love. Here’s a short video on how to plant Iris on my Youtube channel.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016-17 copyrighted material C Renee Plant Iris in the garden, gardening quote by me

Gardening Tips

Water the Garden in the Morning

Water the garden in the morning, gardening tipWater the garden in the morning

To help avoid and/or prevent root rot, fungus, and even mold on your garden plants (and even lawn). I know this may contradict with some of the information you have been told or thought about watering the garden in the heat of summer. After all you do not want the water to evaporate in the hot sun as you water the plants. It also seems logical to think that watering at night, when the sun is going down, will help hold the moisture so the plants will soak up all the water for the next day…

Unfortunately, this is not what happens with high humidity.

Water the garden in the morning
This is a result of watering at night

From my experience

I wrote about this subject because a while ago I went one of my girl/garden friend’s house where she showed me her cottage garden that was browning and looking rather sad. I had been there a few weeks earlier for a glass of lemonade sitting on the porch admiring the beautiful daisies, roses, and coneflowers…but now the garden was, well, dying. She was distraught and asked me “why did my beautiful daisies die? What is going on with my gardens?” So I asked questions and she said “my other friend who is a master gardener said it could be too much watering”. I said yes it could be (and water is usally the first thing I check) but the soil is not soggy so I walked around looking at her other annuals, perennials, and potted plants. I saw many of her plants were either drooping or turning black so I reached over to pull up what was left of the daisy plant and discovered there were no roots. So I said “maybe it is critters in the garden because voles eat roots” but something told me that was not it.t

Walk around the garden on a regular basis

So as we are walking around looking at the gardens and many of the plants were wilting, she said “oh I have to water the garden”. I said “water, now? it is getting dark”. She said “yes, I water every night and soak everything like my master gardener friend said”. I blurted out “I discovered your problem! It is root rot because you should never water at night”. She said “what? I thought watering at night helps the plants so the water doesn’t evarporate”.

I felt so bad telling her that you should never water the garden at night and that you should water your garden in the morning to avoid root rot, fungus, moss, mold, and other garden issues. My garden friend was almost in tears and so I spent the next several minutes comforting her as she was almost in tears knowing that she killed many plants in her garden. I tried to console her and told her that I did this many years ago I learned that watering your garden at night was a no-no because this same thing happened to me.IMG_20150828_160308

I want to say that all gardeners make mistakes and we learn what works in our gardens. I have learned many things by trial and error and that is why I started blogging- to share my experiences with you. I feel very blessed to have my green thumbs and love that I can work with nature to grow beautiful flowers and plants. I love attracting the birds, bees, and butterflies.

Let’s talk

If you ever have a gardening question or just want to share an experience, feel free to contact me. Thanks for stopping by and you can check out my other blog The Garden Frog Boutique where I share more projects both home and garden and even a few recipes every so often. Talk to you later and happy gardening!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2017 Copyrighted material C Renee