Arrival of the Aphids!

Arrival of the Aphids!
By Stan V. Griep
Colorado Native Rosarian 40+ years experience with roses
Consulting Rosarian

While out taking a walk around my rose beds on Saturday,
May 28th, I noticed some shining specks on the leaves of Mary Rose.
This of course prompted a closer look to see what it was. Well there they were,
masses of little green aphids climbing all over themselves, from just under
several buds and on down the stems as if playing king of the mountain! The
first thought that entered my mind was, “How dare they invade my roses and
especially my wonderful Mary Rose!” This attack will not go unchallenged, I
thought to myself as well. Grabbing the hose and my water nozzle I sprayed the
foliage down with a good stiff spray, sending those little green menaces on the
water slide ride of their wee little lives! They might as well enjoy such rides
as they will get one daily until they decide to leave for parts unknown! While
this water spray technique often works with light to moderate attacks, there
are times when it simply does not. If it does not work within two or three
days, it is best to try other means of getting rid of them. They do tend to
draw in others if left to their own desires and a major attack will be even
more frustrating to deal with.

My first chemical weapon choice in this battle is Bug-B-Gon Max. It can be obtained in a handy hose end sprayer, if so desired, or it can be obtained as a concentrate that one can mix themselves. The last choice is called Sevin and considered extreme for aphids by some, as it kills a lot of bugs including the good guy bugs. The Bug-B-Gon Max will also kill some of the good guy bugs. Oh no! Now what do I do……?????

So you see it is not any easy choice to use any chemical weapon in an effort to rid your gardens and beloved plants of these pests. Using them can, at times, actually bring about further and season long problems with various insect attacks. Their use does impact the natural order of things in the garden/rose bed. Ridding theses areas of all bugs will also leave them without the natural protectors for some time. Yes the natural protectors will
usually return in time but seem to return far more slowly than the enemies of our plants. The old battle of good versus evil being played out in our very own gardens & rose beds! And here we stand, as the garden keeper, holding the smoking gun that may well have caused the vicious cycle to rage on and probably just fired a shot that helps the bad guys more than the good guys…..  Sad but true it is, even in our gardens there are serious choices to be made. I personally do not like to use any insecticides on my roses or other plants. I fully realize the impacts of “going to war” in this manner. Yet I also realize the frustration of seeing my hard work destroyed and not being able to enjoy the beautiful blooms I have waited a seemingly endless winter season to see! It truly is a matter of personal choice for the individual gardener. As gardeners, whether we consider ourselves
organic gardeners and defenders of the earth upon which we dwell, or gardeners that try to be as organic as we can be, it still comes down to our own choices.
No Gardener or Rosarian should look down upon others for the choices they make under such circumstances.

My honest recommendation is to start off, when under any bug attacks, with the method that has the least overall impact. Work your way to those things which carry more serious impacts slowly. By slowly I mean using insecticides that carry less overall impact first and so on. Do what you need to do to protect the gardens and rose beds you work hard on, do
not allow yourself to be overcome with guilt for having done so. It was, after all things are considered, truly you doing the best you could do to protect and preserve that which you love.

For some further study, read information available on Integrated Pest Management, there is a lot of good information available. The system you use related to IPM is really just helping you make careful choices.

Enjoy your gardens and rose beds, just remember to take
the time to stop and think things through before taking action.

Garden Of The Heart

Garden Of The Heart…….


Within the living heart of man

There is a garden fair

Conforming to the Master Plan

Of God, Who placed it there:

A wonderland of untilled fields

With strange enchanted soil

Which promises exciting yields

For one with will to toil.


To fill this garden, each should choose

The plants that prove their worth

By bearing blooms which man can use

To beautify the earth….

Like LOVE and FAITH that lives and grows

When set in fertile sod,

And KINDNESS, each a priceless rose

First hybridized by God.


If winds of fate spread seeds of GREED

Throughout the garden spot

And these should sprout, ‘tis time to weed,

To cultivate the plot,

And then to feed with logic, lest

Such parasites despoil,

For thistles only grow their best

In starved neglected soil!


So toil, that through the open gate

More doubtful men may see

How lovely part of God’s Estate –

One human heart – can be,

That they would build a counterpart

Based on a fact WE know ….

When roses bloom within the heart,

No weed has room to grow!


          Loyd  E. Smoke



Rose Petal Tea And Rosey Ice Cubes

Rose Petal Tea and Fancy Rose Petal Ice Cubes
By Stan V. (Stan the Roseman) Griep
Native Colorado Consulting Rosarian  
Over 40 years experience growing roses 



A soothing cup of rose petal tea sounds pretty good to break up a stress filled day to me, here is a  recipe for making rose petal tea:  (Note: It is extremely important to be sure the rose petals collected and used for the tea or ice cubes be pesticide free!)


Grandma’s Rose Petal Tea Recipe:


Collect two cups of well packed fragrant rose petals, wash well under cool water and pat dry.

Have ready 1 cup of bulk tea leaves as well. (Tea leaves of your choice.)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place rose petals on an ungreased cookie sheet and place them into the oven leaving the door ajar just a bit. Stir the rose petals lightly while drying, the petals should be dried in 3 or 4 hours.


Mix the dried rose petals with the cup of bulk tea leaves of choice into a mixing bowl and stir with a fork until nicely blended. Mash the petals and tea leaves lightly with the fork to break them up a bit but not so much as to make them powdery. A food processor may be used for this also but again go easy as you do not want to make things into a powdery and dusty mess! Store the dried and mix in an airtight container.


To brew the rose petal tea, place approximately one teaspoon of the mix per eight ounces of water into a tea infuser ball, place into the boiling hot water in a teapot or other container and let steep for approximately 3 to 5 minutes to taste. The tea may be served hot or chilled, add sugar or honey to sweeten if desired.


When having friends or relatives over for a special occasion or even just for an afternoon get together, some rose petal ice cubes floating in a bowl of punch or in the cold drinks being served can add a real nice touch.


How to make Rose Petal Ice Cubes:


Collect some colorful and pesticide free rose petals from the rose beds. Rinse well and pat dry. Fill an ice cube try half full with water and freeze the water. Once frozen lay one rose petal on top of each cube and cover with a teaspoon of water. Place trays back in the freezer until frozen again. Once frozen again take ice cube trays out of the freezer and fill them the rest of the way up with water and place back into the freezer to freeze yet again.  Remove the ice cubes from the trays when needed and add to the punch bowl or cold drinks to be served.  Enjoy!



Making of Rose Water

                                                                          How to make Rose Water:

Collect 4 cups of fragrant rose petals, usually dark red and mauve roses have the richest fragrance. Be sure that NO Pesticides have been used upon the roses that are to be used for this!

*        Place 2 cups of rose petals in a 3-quart saucepan.                          

    Reserve the remaining 2 cups of rose petals in a large heatproof bowl.


*        Boil approximately 2 quarts of water. Pour enough boiling water over petals to cover them in the saucepan.


*        Cover pan tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Let steep for 15 minutes. Do Not Heat!


*        Place a fine-mesh strainer over the heatproof bowl with the reserved fresh rose petals in it.

    Pour liquid from saucepan through a fine-mesh strainer onto the fresh rose petals.

    Cover bowl. Discard the first batch of steeped rose petals.


*        After contents of bowl have cooled, pour contents of bowl through strainer again and into a glass jar. Use this rose water immediately or

          refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.















Rose Oil from Rose Petals

Rose Petals for Rose Oil


By Stan V. “Stan the Rose Man” Griep

Colorado Native Consulting Rosarian

Over 40 years of experience growing roses. 


Making rose oil out of the petals of roses has been very important to the country of Bulgaria, particularly to Kazanlak, Bulgaria, where they have an annual Rose Festival to celebrate the rose. An area known as the “Rose Valley” in Kazanlak is a region located just south of the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria.  The rose valley is famous for its rose growing industry, roses have been cultivated there for centuries, and rose valley produces 85% of the world’s rose oil. Bulgarian rose oil is the highest of quality to be found anywhere in the world, quite superior to any other countries rose oil in fact. The extracts (also known as attar) are a precious ingredient of fine perfumes and liqueurs world-wide. They are also used for flavoring lozenges and scenting ointments and toiletries.


The rose gathering process, traditionally the women’s responsibility, requires great dexterity and patience. The rose blooms are carefully cut one by one and laid in willow baskets which are then sent to the distilleries. The gathering process is conducted in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak in the rose petals. The season for gathering of the roses runs from May to June, lasting only about 25 days, beginning slowly and increasing as the roses bloom more abundantly. The pink colored roses are the best for the making of the purest and highest quality rose oil. Out of 5500 to 6000 pounds of the pink colored rose petals collected approximately 2 pounds of rose oil is produced. Thus you can see why Bulgaria’s superior rose oil goes for around $300.00 for one (1) fluid ounce!   


Rose oil belongs to Rosaceae family (Rosaceae), genus Rosa L., subgenus Cynorodon, Section Gallicanae. Roses grown for the purpose of making rose oil are grown in 4 species — Rosa damascena, Rosa centifolia (stolistna rose), Rosa gallica and Rosa alba (From the descendants of Rosa damascene.).  While there are more than 5000 varieties of roses, only a few of them exhibit that distinct fragrance that is sought by the perfumeries of the world. The process of actually getting the rose oils is one of steam distillation. The heat used in the distillation process must be carefully monitored and controlled. The aroma of the extracted rose oil can be ruined if the heat has been too high.


An amazing Lady she is this Queen of Flowers, the Rose…….

Simple Soils Testing For Home & Garden





Hand Soil Test

Testing your soil by hand is a simple process and involves no special skills or equipment. Pick up a handful of soil and feel it. Rub it between your fingers. If the soil feels rough and grainy, it is sand. If the soil is sticky, it is clay. If the soil feels slippery with small gravel pieces, it is silt.
Form a clump with the soil sample, and then try to crumble it. The ability of the sample to crumble will determine its type.


Jar Soil Test


Supplies You Will Need:

1 quart jar with lid
½ quart soil sample

1 tsp. liquid dish soap

Masking tape
clean water
a ruler

The jar test may take three to four days to complete.

You will need a quart jar or larger. Add two inches of soil to the jar and fill 2/3 of the way with water. Mix in 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap seal. Shake the mixture. Wait for one minute and allow the soil to settle. First, measure the bottom layer. This is the sand layer. After waiting for two hours, you may measure the middle layer, the silt. To measure the clay layer, you must let the jar sit for several days, then measure. Whichever layer is the largest is the majority of your soil type. {Place a piece of masking tape vertically from top of jar to bottom of jar to measure thickness of each layer of soil.}


 For more thorough soils testing contact Colorado State University at:

Soil and Crop Sciences Department & Coordinating with CSU Extension

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
(970) 491-5061(office)
(970) 491-2930(fax)


Spring – “Things to do in the Garden”

 Things to do in the Garden –  Spring_
By Stan “The Rose Man” Griep
Colorado Native Rosarian – Over 40 years experience growing roses.


*        Add a nice layer of compost to all the planted garden areas and work in lightly. For the veggie garden add the compost and till it in well. Let the early Spring rains or wet snows get it all activated for some great garden rewards later.


*        In Early Spring when leaf buds start to open, prune up the rosebushes. Seal the ends of the canes with Elmer’s White glue to prevent those rose borers from attacking the open cut.


*        Clean up all the garden areas of the debris and dead foliage from the Winter.


*        Fertilize the lawn and plants. Feed the roses to get them coming back strongly. Water everything well. Don’t forget to feed your trees too!


*        Once your roses start to leaf out a bit, it is a great time to make a first application of a good fungicide. That first early application will go a very long way to preventing a Black Spot or Mildew attack on that lush new foliage.


*        Check the proper planting time for the veggie and flower seeds and plant them as soon as possible outside. Some things like tomatoes you may want to start early indoors and then move outside when the weather is right. Using the “wall o’ water” protectors will help to allow you to set some plants out early and not have them damaged by those sneaky frosts.


*        Get after those weeds coming up in the garden and lawn areas. Getting rid of them early will save a lot of time and work later. I guess you never really “get rid” of weeds but keeping after them is very important to the success of any garden.


*        If you have plants that you want to move around, the cool early part of Spring is a great time to do so. The cool and rainy weather will help give the plants roots a chance to get going before the hot weather rolls in. Use some Super Thrive or Root Stimulator on all the transplants to help avoid serious transplant shock.


*        For those of you that have those wonderful painted concrete garden and yard ornaments; it is time to wash them off well. Then apply some concrete sealer/ protector to them. This treatment helps seal out the damaging effects of water that may cause your prized ornaments to crumble or crack. It also helps to lock in the color a bit to help them stay looking nice.


*        These are just a few things to think about. I am sure you have more where you are. Get out and enjoy your own great outdoors!

Gardening with Arthritis and other such Ailments

Gardening with Arthritis and other such Ailments
A few things to remember to make it easier on you:

·         Work during the time of day that you feel best. For example, if you feel stiff in the morning, then save gardening activities for the afternoon.

·         Avoid working in the same position or doing the same activity for long periods of time. Switch tasks every 30 minutes or so and take 15 minute breaks every hour. Taking periodic stretch breaks can also ease tension and reduce stiffness.

·         If you feel significant pain, stop the activity and wait until you feel better before continuing. If you feel pain the day after gardening, then reduce the difficulty and duration of activity you do the next time.

·         When possible, use larger, stronger joints and muscles. For example, use palms instead of fingers to push or pull, and use arms or shoulders instead of hands to carry things.

·         When possible, use larger, stronger joints and muscles. For example, use palms instead of fingers to push or pull, and use arms or shoulders instead of hands to carry things.

·         Avoid pinching, squeezing, or twisting motions. Avoid activities or tools that put direct pressure on fingers or thumbs.

·         Weed the garden after irrigating or rain, as moist soil makes it easier to pull weeds with less resistance.

·         As hard as it may be to do… Ask for help with tasks that are difficult or cause excess stress.

·         If you must work close to the ground, place only one knee on the ground and keep back straight. When possible, use a stool or kneeling pad.

·         Use mulch in the garden to reduce the need to water.

·         Have a storage area or tool shed close to the garden so that tools are close at hand.

·         Make sure the garden has a nearby water source so that hoses and watering cans don’t have to be carried far. Using drip irrigation systems can alleviate the need to drag hoses and sprinklers around the yard, reducing the strain on joints.


Tool Tips 


·         Keep pruners sharp to make cutting easier.

·         Wear a carpenter’s apron with several pockets for carrying small tools.

·         Widen tool handles with foam tubing or grip tape to make them easier to grasp.

·         Avoid doing any activities that require gripping for long periods of time.

·         Use a wheelbarrow or cart to haul tools and supplies around the garden.

·         Use ergonomic tools that have long or extendable handles to avoid bending or stooping.

·         When working close to the soil, use tools with short handles that are lighter and easier to manage. Small, lightweight children’s sized tools may be easier to use.





Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: