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11/2/15: New things you learn & wonder about & what you hope for?

8 years ago
last modified: 8 years ago

In our last thread 10/30/15, I learned something new about South Africa, where Jess is from. She wrote:

".. we are very close to Antarctica...the southern areas are always colder than our Northern parts....I found this a while ago and then realized why it gets so cold here sometimes...this little town is just about 1 and half hour's drive from the coast gets very cold in NZ as well...especially North Island."

From Straw: I didn't know that South Africa gets snow. Thanks, Jess. Things I learn: For years I complained about my kid being picky with foods ... now I realize that us parents who lose our taste-buds as we get older. See below excerpt from Wikipedia: "

"Sweetness helps to identify energy-rich foods, while bitterness serves as a warning sign of poisons.[11]

Taste perception fades with age: On average, people lose half their taste receptors by the time they turn 20.[4] Not all animals can sense all tastes.[12]

I like roses which have a fruity scent. Golden Celebration smells like cup cake. Versigny smells like apricot pie. Pat Austin smells like ripe nectarine. The fruity scent is much stronger in alkaline clay. Below is a bouquet of fruity scent:

Comments (46)

  • 8 years ago

    I too was surprised that Africa got snow! I've learned to not take anything for granted because it/they could be here today & gone tomorrow!

    Stop & smell the roses and enjoy gods creations whenever you can!

    strawchicago z5 thanked jim1961 / Central Pennsylvania / Zone 6
  • 8 years ago

    Jess - that is interesting to see the map. Something I never thought about. As to the trainer, I used to have to go get a massage (painful therapeutic type, about $100/time) every other week for about 2 months, then again in about 3 months every other week. This has stopped since I've been seeing the trainer. Unfortunately my back is sore again (hasn't been sore since January when I started). We did too many squats and lunges in one session, and my back got sore. Bummer. I don't want to go back and get those painful/expensive massages. I'm hoping I can walk them out, although that hasn't been possible before. Darn. But this is just a small setback, the direction we're going is amazing.

    Right on Jim!!! I totally agree!!

    Well, it's snowing quite heavily now. Thankfully my hubby got the roses into the garage in time. Hah - I laugh at you snow!! :) Actually I really like walking in the snow.

    Straw - that's an AMAZING bouquet!!!! The lavender is perfect at setting off the colors of the roses!! Stunning!!!

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
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  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Carol: Thanks for your compliments. I like walking in the snow too .. I pray that you don't have to pay $$$ for painful massage. I was 32 when I met my husband at a running club ... my sore-feet was what brought us together. I didn't know that I was vitamin-D deficient back then, my bones was in so much pain, despite running only a mile a day, compared to hubby who ran 10 miles per day. When we went to the restaurant, I stood up constantly since I could not sit down long, my back hurt. Same with church, I would go to mass LATE on purpose, so I could stand behind the church. Still remember the year that I was tested by the doc. to be VERY deficient in vitamin D. I shopped for 2 hours, and my feet hurt so much that I was about to trash my Fly-Flot Italian shoes.

    The doc put me on a mega-dose prescribed vitamin D for months. Later on I found that magnesium is NEEDED to absorb vitamin D, so I always take magnesium and vitamin D (2,000 units) together. No more back pain. Now I can shop for 3 hours, go home and cook for hours ... no painful feet. Or I can sit down and watch TV for 2 hours without my back being sore. Before this I went for decades without watching TV, since my back hurt when I sit down.

    My kid's teenager friend visited us recently, this 13-year-old friend is also D-deficient, despite dairy-intake prescribed by a nutritionist. My child was tested at borderline-low-end. My neighbor, male in his 50's also tested D-deficient. People don't understand that no matter how much dairy (with vitamin D) one consume, it won't get absorbed unless there's magnesium.

    Here's an excerpt from WebMD on how vitamin D helps with pain:

    " Boosting Vitamin D, Easing Pain

    Greg Plotnikoff, MD, senior consultant with the Allina Center for Health Care Innovations in Minnesota, still remembers the woman in her 40s who told him that he was the 30th doctor she’d seen.

    “Twelve of them had told her she was crazy,” says Plotnikoff, formerly an associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “She had weakness, achiness, fatigue -- three pages worth of symptoms. Doctors had offered her antidepressants and seizure medications and all kinds of things that didn’t work. I checked her vitamin D levels -- and they came back barely measurable.”

    After six months on an aggressive, high-dose prescription vitamin D replacement, the woman could cross off every symptom on her three-page list.

    Plotnikoff published a study in 2003 on 150 people in Minneapolis who came to a community health clinic complaining of chronic pain. Virtually all of them -- 93% -- had extremely low vitamin D levels.

    Vitamin D blood levels of 30-40 ng/mL are considered ideal. The average level in Plotnikoff’s study was about 12, and some people had vitamin D levels so low they were undetectable.

    “The group with the lowest levels of vitamin D were white women of childbearing age,” Plotnikoff notes that vitamin D is a hormone. "Every tissue in our bodies has [vitamin] D receptors, including all bones, muscles, immune cells, and brain cells," he says.

    And in March 2009, researchers at the Mayo Clinic published a study showing that patients with inadequate vitamin D levels who were taking narcotic pain drugs required nearly twice as much medication to control their pain as did patients with adequate D levels."

    *** From Straw: Vitamin D is best from food. Free-range eggs and whole-grain toast is a good combo of magnesium and vitamin D together. That's why dairy alone won't do, there's very little magnesium to boost D absorption. Here's from the vitamin-D-council website, vitamin K & magnesium are from green veggies, vitamin A is from pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato. Whole grains contain all the vitamins needed to absorb D.

    To get the most benefit from vitamin D, you must have other cofactors in your body. Vitamin D has a number of cofactors; the ones listed below are the most important.

    • Magnesium
    • Vitamin K
    • Zinc
    • Boron
    • Vitamin A
  • 8 years ago

    Ooops I forgot to comment on that fantastic fresh looking bouquet of yours Straw! Very nice!

    strawchicago z5 thanked jim1961 / Central Pennsylvania / Zone 6
  • 8 years ago

    Yeah, Straw, I was very, very low on Vitamin D as well. I don't take it in the summer, cause I'm always outside. But I should start taking them again. Glad you reminded me. I'm so glad you got fixed up by the Vit. D. You had a lot of unnecessary pain.


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Strawberry Hill, your roses are just so beautiful...those colors! what is the lilac flower combined with the roses called?

    thanks also for the info on Vit. D & Magnesium. If only I knew that a few years ago when my youngest brother was still alive. he had such terrible back pain - sciatica I think...he was on the strongest pain killers on the market - and his body built up a resistance and he had to drink more and more to have any effect.

    I found this on Vit. D. Maybe that was why he started feeling a bit less pain, when he came to visit me and spent long times in the sun:

    The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen very quickly, particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn. How much vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin. The more skin you expose the more vitamin D is produced.

    High prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency is a particularly important public health issue because hypovitaminosis D is an independent risk factor for total mortality in the general population. Current studies suggest that we may need more vitamin D than presently recommended to prevent chronic disease.

    and yes, I agree with Jim - that is the most important thing I realized as well :

    "I've learned to not take anything for granted because it/they could be here today & gone tomorrow!

    Stop & smell the roses and enjoy gods creations whenever you can!"

    Carol, I hope your back pain goes away soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Glad that your roses are safe and inside the garage, in time :-)

    Enjoy your walks in the snow (I've never seen snow myself, somehow it just never reaches the places where I stayed...only the cold it brings...)

    and also - so glad you could get rid of your back pain with Vit. D & Magnesium Strawberry Hill :-)

    strawchicago z5 thanked jessjennings0 zone 10b
  • 8 years ago

    We northerners complain about snow all the time, but it's truly wonderous. The sound of the snow crisping under our boots, the feel of the cold snow in our hands. Snow makes winter fun and beautiful!!


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Carol: Where I grew up as a teenager: Michigan, had lots of snow, it was warmer while snowing (the humidity helps). Now in Chicagoland: it's drier & colder winter, I miss having snow .. I enjoy shoveling, it's good exercise. Snow is good for roses: insulate & keep moist. I lost roses last winter due to dryness & lack of snow, rather than to cold temp. This November. I will pile up leaves around roses, then throw dirt on top to get ready for another dry-winter. If I'm out of dirt, then I'll get horse manure.

    Jess: The lavender flower in the bouquet is "Rose of Sharon", a big bush 6 x 6', the flowers have no fragrance. Below is my "Double-Blue-Rose of Sharon" bush, pic. taken mid-summer.

  • 8 years ago

    what a lovely plant - the Rose of Sharon - I have never seen one around here...

    and I love the white painted houses... I think I should paint my log home white as well, all the plants stand out so much better against white...

    How I wish I could see and experience sounds so magical...

    strawchicago z5 thanked jessjennings0 zone 10b
  • 8 years ago

    Wow!!! That's gorgeous!!! So Rose of Sharon isn't a rose? Sure looks like one. I love it!

    Yes, dryness is not good. Bad dryness!! :)

    Another thing about snow is that it muffles sounds so it sort of feels like you're in a snowglobe.

    Jess - I didn't even think about the color of the house, but it IS beautiful with the purple. All roses would look lovely against that house.


  • 8 years ago

    Snow is magical esp. when it lays on tree branches etc...I'll take pics later on in winter. We usually get snow that accumulates in December...

    Nice Rose of Sharon Straw!

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Friends and I took out our Dogwood bushes today... Problems with them harboring ticks... And since our one cat likes to lay under them a lot she has been getting ticks... Ticks getting bad in our entire area and within a large radius... We have to get our pets lime disease prevention shots once per year.. Plus we use other flea & tick prevention methods but we forget to apply it at times which is what happened recently.

    We are having really nice weather in the 70's today...

    From many years of leaves and mulch in that location the soil is really awesome! But I think I'll just plant /roses/flowers in large pots and put in this location...Sadly leaves laying on the ground can harbor ticks and other pests so will only use my homemade compost from now on & no uncomposted leaves. Checking on websites like PetMd I'll have to rake up our leaf litter in the yard... Just things you have to do when you have pets I guess.. All these years without troubles now ticks getting worse each year...

    No more ticks on these I try to keep grass cut short and all weeds pulled for prevention also...Some insects can be so awesome to watch while others are a royal pain in the buttocks! lol

  • 8 years ago

    Ticks are just terrible. I don't go walking in the dog off-leash areas in the spring, because I don't want ticks to bite me.


  • 8 years ago has some interesting organic ways to help with ticks in pets.

    " Brewer’s yeast works by making the dog's blood too acidic for bugs' taste, according to the website Vet Info. Thus, ticks and fleas simply will not bite your dog. You can buy brewer's yeast in tablets and feed them to your dog as treats, or you can buy nutritional brewer's yeast from your grocery aisle and add about 1 tsp. per 30 pounds of dog food. Do not use baker's yeast.

    Apple Cider Vinegar

    Add no more than 2 tbsp. into a large bowl of water.You can also add 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water to a spray bottle and apply it directly to your dog’s coat. Do not spray his face, but rub the solution in with your hands, taking care to avoid his eyes.


    Garlic is safe to use for dogs and cats. It does, however, contain sulfoxides and disulfites, which can cause anemia in dogs if used in very large quantities. For a dog 10 to 15 lbs., use half a clove; for a dog 20 to 45 pounds, use 1 clove; for a dog 45 to 70 lbs., use 2 cloves; for a dog 75 to 90 lbs., use two-and-a-half cloves; and for dogs above 100 lbs., use 3 cloves. Do not give garlic to puppies under 8 weeks of age.

    Sticky Glue Barrier

    A way to prevent ticks from appearing on your property is to create a non-toxic barrier made from a 2-inch band of glue. Place it around trees, vines, shrubs, lawn chairs, etc. Crawling insects will get stuck on the glue barrier. Your dog, of course, will still need individual protection each time he leaves the premises.

  • 8 years ago

    THanks for the info Straw!

  • 8 years ago

    This year I collected at least 20 large wheel-barrows of leaves to use as mulch in the garden. We always do that, no ticks problem, thanks to opossum, which I feed them with my compost. Opossum really like sweet-potato peel, so I'll eat plenty. Some info. from below link:

    "Indeed, among other opossum traits, there is this: They groom themselves fastidiously, like cats. If they find a tick, they lick it off and swallow it. (The research team on the project went through droppings to find this out. All praise to those who study possum poop.)

    Extrapolating from their findings, Ostfeld said, the team estimated that in one season, an opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks."

  • 8 years ago

    Some pics taken today, Nov. 3, some year I get bouquets late in Thanksgiving. Austin roses can handle light frost well: left is Evelyn, middle is Pat Austin, right is Mary Magdalene, red behind is Gruss an Teplitz:

  • 8 years ago

    Really like my Marie Pavie in this Nov. 3. It's most healthy in 4 years. I poke "breathe holes", filled that with sand, and gave it sulfate of potash & gypsum.

    Stephen Big Purple has 3 big blooms, but frost zapped the edge, Nov 3 pic:

    Snapdragon really like the wet & cold weather, mingle with Mary Magdalene bush:

    I have 3 Comte de Chambord, they really like gypsum and sulfate of potash, but HATE alkaline pea gravel and red-lava-rock. Old Garden roses prefer acidic rain water. Pic. taken today, Nov. 3:

  • 8 years ago

    Uncomposted leaves are awesome for sure! But here I'll just use my compost which contains composed leaves etc. from now on....

    No tick eaters here that I'm aware of anyhow...

    Cool deal on the Opossum link! :-) Interesting animal!

    I've also been placing birdseed on the ground which is also a no no I guess. That attracts mice etc. that carry ticks...

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Great looking roses Straw! :-) Very nice bouquet!

    Leaves dropping off most of our roses here same with trees, bushes, etc. Our Dogwoods already dropped 65% of its leaves before I removed them...

    Yours rose bushes still look great Straw!

    strawchicago z5 thanked jim1961 / Central Pennsylvania / Zone 6
  • 8 years ago

    Wow! Straw - that was awesome information!!! I wish this was sent in the spring, since I'll forget this. But that's my problem. :)

    Jess - oppossums sound wonderful!! I watched a show where some people had oppossums as pets. They were lovely.

    Straw - really love your posey!! :) And Stephen's Big Purple looks amazing!! That's one of the roses that was done in by the cold this fall. But I took some cuttings, cause I really like it!! Yours is wow!!

    Do any of you have pictures of Crab Spiders? I love how they change colors depending on the rose they're on - white to yellow.


    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I never seen a crab spider before in my entire life... Cool!

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Our mosquito plant is still blooming. I seen bumblebees on it today... Wow I was surprised to still see bumbles in Nov. of course it was 70 is going to be 72 degrees... Crazy weather we are having... We had many freezes/frost already but then it warmed back up... Gotta cut the grass again...

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks, Carol, for that awesome pic. of crab-spider which changes color depending on the rose they are on. I praise God, our Creator, when I saw that pic.

    Jim: it's warm here this week, 70's. I did 3 hours of hard labor in the garden until I sweat. I raked many wheel-barrows of leaves from neighbor's curb, plus I dug up Wise Portia rose to fix the drainage. That took 2 hours, since it's right by the rain-gutter in front. I had to dig down to 3 feet deep, and widen the hole, then wheelbarrow 80 lbs. of rocks & bad clay back to the end of the garden. Then mix in gypsum, leaves and break up the hole further.

    I got tired so I napped 1 hour before dinner .. I ate 1/4 the amount for dinner, and 1/2 the amount of food for the entire day. When people work-out to a sweat, they eat much less. I have seen that with my marathon-running husband. He would run for 12 miles, come back all sweaty, and when I give him dinner, he would eat 1/2 the amount, even less than a toddler !! The days that he doesn't run, he would eat twice more, plus desert.

    I see the same with my daughter's friends. I threw a surprise birthday party for all of them. One anorexic girl didn't eat much, but there's a competitive sprinter in the group .. this teenager girl won many races. The sprinter ate the least among the group. The skinny sprinter who's in track & field also the healthiest .. she went for 2 years of perfect attendance in school, zero sick days. Same with husband, when he was in competitive running, he went for 7 years with zero sick days at work. Sweating helps to reduce appetite, plus boost immune system. It also helps with proper elimination, so one doesn't get constipated & come down with a cold.

    Here's from Men's health magazine: " “Exercise can definitely suppress hunger,” says Barry Braun, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst ... workouts trigger changes in the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormones, PYY and GLP-1

    A recent study published in the journal Metabolism found that perceived fullness — both while fasting and after eating — was higher among participants after 12 weeks of aerobic training, but not after resistance training for the same amount of time. And another study out of Brigham Young University revealed that women appeared to be less interested in food on mornings when they walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes than on days they didn’t. "

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    When I attended my child's 5th-grade graduation ... there were 3 kids out of 100 that got perfect-attendance (zero sick days). Two girls were really skinny (one is a sprinter), and one guy was muscular & fit. That's a testimony of how staying slim & fit helps with less sick days.

    Here's from WebMD on how exercise helps to lessen colds & flu: "

    In one study in the American Journal of Medicine, women who walked for a half-hour every day for 1 year had half the number of colds as those who didn't exercise. Researchers found that regular walking may lead to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections.

    In another study, researchers found that in 65-year-olds who did regular exercise, the number of T-cells -- a specific type of white blood cell -- was as high as those of people in their 30s."

    From ABC news: " People who exercise five or more days a week spend 43 percent fewer days with upper-respiratory infections, according to an Appalachian State University study ... Cut back on Sweets

    After people in a study at Loma Linda University consumed 6 tablespoons of sugar (whether in orange juice, honey, or sugary drinks), their infection-fighting white blood cells lost the ability to fend off bacteria and viruses. Your immune system stays depressed for several hours after you eat or drink sugar, so if you down a soda every few hours (3 servings could put you over the 6-tablespoon mark), your resistance will be lowered for much of the day.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I was skinny, skinny, skinny until I was in my 20s. I looked like I had anorexia. No kidding. But I was sick all the time. Now, I'm much heavier, and I never get sick. Although I do walk a lot. :)

    Crab spiders like to stay on lighter colored roses, cause they're better camauflaged there. They will eat anything they can catch, including bees.


    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    What lovely photo's by Jim, Strawberry Hill and Carol...

    and again - I see the white houses and now I know I just have to paint my little log home white....

    I had to look up Opossums, mosquito plant (a MUST GET) and Dogwood plants - it's all new to me...where can I find an Opossum to import to SA? :-)

    we have ticks here like cats always get them unless I use the tick poison...they won't touch food laced with Brewer's yeast...but I will try spraying them with Apple cider vinegar...but they hate being sprayed as well, can I pour small amounts onto them instead of spraying and rub that in? thanks for that info Strawberry Hill, also Jim for the bird seed on the ground...I've been doing that as well...I'll start thinking about other ways to feed to birds....wind makes the options less....

    I like the way you dig up and treat your soil weird that there are so many more ticks...that is not a nice insect....

    the interesting thing about the Nguni cattle we have here - their skins are so thick no tick can get a bite in...only others, who aren't from Africa, get bitten. the cow's udders also are much smaller and never touch the grasses so they are safe, made for African situations. they don't have a lot of milk though so they're only kept for their beautiful hides.

    Oh how beautiful are those roses...and the little spider on Carol's rose...pity they eat bees, very naughty...The Comte de Chambord reminds me of Gertrude Jeckyll... that's the closest one can get to that beautiful color here...Mary Magdalene reminds me of Amarula Profusion...your rose bushes are so healthy Strawberry Hill...and in that cold????? still blooming?????? and yours Jim and Carol's? wow!

    the only crab spider I saw here so far was the one on Alexander Girault and strangely it was white..on a bright pink rose...I have seen them in previous gardens where they changed colors. they are very cute...

    I was wondering about feeding them during winter - should I carry on with the gypsum and Sulfate of Potash through winter or stop 3 months before winter starts? although our winters are very mild compared to yours and we even have summer days/weeks in between, sometimes with rain, sometimes none... I think the Nitrogen I added now (chicken manure) will be the last of this summer...5 months before winter starts I right when I say that Strawberry Hill?

    I think poking holes and filling them with sand is another fantastic idea....

    same crazy weather here...snow yesterday, still icy cold today with an icy wind blowing... but tomorrow we're back in the 36-39 C (100 F +)

    the only time I was skinny was when I ate only veggies according to the Harvey Diamond diet...not ever mixing proteins and starches... when I had some meat it was only with salads or veggies, and when I had starches, only with salads and veggies...that was long ago... I also did the Fit for Life Canadian air force exercises..lost a lot of weight...then I got lazy and life happened and I forgot all about that...

    Looking forward to the snow photo's!!!!!!!! I love the way you describe that Carol, 'that it muffles sounds so it sort of feels like you're in a snowglobe'....sigh...maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to see snow...

    strawchicago z5 thanked jessjennings0 zone 10b
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks, Jess, for the above link, happy to learn that technology can help with cancer. Here's a good link on list of essential oils to repel ticks:

    "How Do I Use EOs for Tick Removal?

    To remove a tick, place a drop of oil directly on the tick and wait for the tick to let go. Do not pull the tick off as you do not want it to penetrate any further into the skin. And we want to prevent the tick from transmitting disease, especially if it is a Lyme Tick bite. Palo Santo is the best oil to use for this application. However, peppermint, cinnamon bark ( Cinnamomum verum ), thyme or oregano ( Origanum compactum ) also will work."

    Nitrogen uptake is both temperature and growth dependent, so I won't apply nitrogen unless I need growth, or the temp is warm between 12 to 20 C, or 53 to 68 F. See excerpt from link:

    " Before bud break, 15N was not detected in trees growing in the 8 degrees C soil treatment, whereas 15N uptake increased with increasing soil temperatures between 12 and 20 degrees C. Ten days after bud break, 15N was still not detected in trees growing in the 8 degrees C soil treatment, although total 15N uptake and uptake rate continued to increase with increasing soil temperatures between 12 and 20 degrees C."

    JESS: Since your temp. can drop or rise drastically (similar to the state of Colorado), I check with Colorado University Extension: Can't find the rest period for rose, but the site lists the rest period before flowering. Stop ALL fertilizer during the rest-period. Rose is a woody plant.

    An accumulation of cool units controls the flowering period of temperate-zone woody plants. The winter rest period (hours below 45°F or 7 C) required to break bud dormancy is below, I would take the most fragile tree (Apricot) timeframe.

    • Apricot: 100-400 hour
    • Apple: 250-1700 hours

    *** Colorado State Extension has excellent guideline on winter-protection, see below:

    Root temperature injury – Roots have limited tolerance to sub-freezing temperatures. Roots receive limited protection from soil, mulch, and snow. Under extreme cold, roots may be killed by the lack of snow cover or mulch. Street trees are at high risk for root kill in extreme, long-term cold.
    Soil heaving pushes out plants, breaking roots. Protect with snow cover or mulch.

    Trunk injury – Drought predisposes trunks to winter injury.

    Sunscald – Caused by heating of bark on sunny winter days followed by a rapid temperature drop, rupturing membranes as cells freeze. Winter drought predisposes tree trunks to sunscald. [Figure 5]

    Frost crack – Vertical split on tree trunk caused by rapid drop in bark temperature. [Figure 6]

    Figure 6. Vertical frost crack is common on trees when the temperature drops rapidly. Along the Colorado Front Range, it is common to go from a nice spring day back to cold storm with a 40 to 60 degree temperature drop in an hour!

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks for info on ticks Straw!

    Crab spiders eat bees? Wow!

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks so much for this info Strawberry I have to find ways to protect my baby trees during this similar-to-Colorado winters we have here...

    and I'll stop all fertilizing in March already...

    I'll keep the roots moist and add grass and-or horse manure on top...the roses came through very happily last's just the baby trees that I have to protect for about 2 years, then they'll be fine...

    I wonder if fleece will be enough for the cold...that's such a big worry...the roots and bark might freeze...oh deary me...I read somewhere to just add a lot of sand on top instead of mulch for the trees, because apparently sand keeps the heat in and also 'catches up' more heat than mulch, unsure about this...

    busy with an artwork and read up on the subject, and found this very interesting site:

    about the aromatherapy oil...won't it be toxic to my cats if they lick it off, as cats always do with anything I put on?

    gee ticks are horrible insects...

    strawchicago z5 thanked jessjennings0 zone 10b
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Jess: you are right that oils are harmful to cats who lick themselves. Garlic is toxic to pets at high dose. Below link lists safe herbs to repel fleas for pets:

    " Mints I have chocolate mint growing around my dog pen and the foundation of the house. All varieties of mint work well to repel fleas. One thing I love about my chocolate mint is when one of the dogs wanders through a patch of mint, they have a minty smell that clings to them for awhile and at the same time, it repels some of the fleas on them. And if one of the dogs decides to munch on some of the mint, I know it’s safe and won’t hurt them.

    Catnip: anyone who shares their home with a cat can’t go wrong with catnip in their garden. A member of the mint family, this plant is a natural repellent for fleas and safe for both cats and dogs.

    Chamomile is a good plant to have in gardens because it not only repel fleas, but it‘s believed the Chamomile plant can help keep other plants in the garden healthy. I’ve never tried it myself, but it’s been said that if you have a sickly looking plant that’s not growing well, plant a Chamomile next to it. This plant has little daisy like flowers.

    Lavender is another member of the mint family. This plant is safe for pets and not only repels fleas, but moths and mosquitoes too.

    Another site lists Lemon Balm as the top choice to repel mosquitoes and fleas. I planted Lemon Balm this year, they spread like wildfire .. lots of ladybugs this year. Next is Citronella, Catnip, Marigolds, Lavender, and peppermint.


    Studies suggest that catnip may be even more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET (the ingredient used in most commercial bug repellents, which is highly toxic). It also repels cockroaches. It can be used similarly to lemon balm; crushed and rubbed onto the skin. A word of caution to cat owners: watch where you plant your catnip! Your cat may want to roll around on it and play with it.


    Biting bugs don’t like the scent of peppermint, so you can crush up the leaves and rub it on your skin to ward them off. As an added bonus, peppermint also can also do double-duty as itch relief if you do get bitten!

    ** From Straw: Peppermint are in the catnip family, so it's safe for cats. Here's a list of cat-safe Herbs:

    "Consider keeping an indoor or outdoor herb garden stocked with cat-safe plants such as basil, chamomile, chervil, catmint, catnip, dill, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint, oregano, parsley and thyme."

    About rest period between flowering, Colorado State University lists them in HOURS, rather than days. For fruit trees, they range from 4 days (100 hours) for up to 3 months for rest period.

    I look out my windows: rain all night, all day today Nov. 4, zone 5a at 57 F, or 13 C. My 3 Comte de Chambord, the one with the largest dose of sulfate of potash is still clean, the other 2 are breaking out in black spots. Since your rose don't lose all leaves like us cold-zoners, I would still use sulfate of potash and gypsum to keep roses healthy in winter. I would use it BEFORE a heavy rain, and skip that if there's no rain for the week. Prolonged rain leaches potassium, calcium, and magnesium from soil. Nitrogen is also leached out with rain, but no need to apply in cool weather since nitrogen can't be used unless the temp. is between 12 to 20 C, or 53 to 68 F. Also for rest-period between flowering, nitrogen is a NO-NO.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    As of today Nov. 4, despite all-night & all-day drizzling rain: My two roses in pots are 100% clean: Perle d' Or and Cloudert Soupert. Prairie harvest, planted in the ground, all leaves are healthy & haven't lost any. That's a big contrast to last year, when I forgot sulfate of potash & gypsum for pots.

    What makes some place lose leaves earlier? My neighbor used chemical fertilizer high in phosphorus for his tomatoes (planted in alkaline clay) and they got burnt out 2 months ahead of my tomato. One year I used chemical fertilizer high in phosphorus for my petunia in pot, and I had to trash that 2 months ahead of frost.

    One poster who lived in alkaline clay, then moved to sandy Florida noted that plants last longer in alkaline clay. True, I have 3 basils: one Italian, and one Thai Basil. The Italian basil, planted in fluffy MiracleGro potting soil, pH 6.5, got burnt out 2 months ago. The fluffier the soil, the faster nutrients got leached out. The Thai Basil in clay fixed with acidic cracked corn, plus high-phosphorus-cow manure, that got burnt out 2 months ago. But the Thai basil in alkaline clay, pH 8, still has green leaves, which we will eat until Thanksgiving.

    The higher the pH of the soil, the more compact and more nutrients it holds, and less leaching of minerals during prolonged rain. Plus the heavier the clay, the more moisture it holds. I notice that the large & older trees in my neighborhood lost all leaves ahead of younger & smaller trees. Both adequate minerals (heavy clay) and moisture-retention are keys for plants to last long until the ground freezes.

  • 8 years ago

    I looked up the nguni cattle - they are very pretty cows with wicked horns!! Apparently they were depicted on cave art. What pretty cows!!!!

    Crab spiders also eat other insects too. But because they eat bees, I usually flick them off the rose when I see them. I know they'll just climb back up.....:)

    By the time the new year comes, we're all mighty sick of snow. :) But, yes, I'm glad we get snow here.

    I've got aphids on my rose cuttings that are growing under lights. I looked online, and it said to spray the leaves with soap mixed with water. Has this worked for anyone here? Do you think it will harm the baby leaves?


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Carol: Spraying with hydrogen peroxide at pH 6.2 will kill fungi, plus small pests, see below link:

    "bacteria and small insects be destroyed by a 3% solution. At this strength it is safe for human skin but lethal to most bugs.

    Another advantage of the Peroxide breaking down is that it releases free Oxygen into the area. So, if you were to add some to your nutrient tank, the dissolved Oxygen being released around the root system not only kills any bad root material and bacteria, but also oxygenates the roots with the excess Oxygen produced. Plants can easily cope with a 3% H2O2 solution and because the mixture reduces to water in a short space of time. "

    Compare that to soap:

    " Soaps work by penetrating and dissolving the cells covering the insect's body, resulting in dehydration and death. Plants also have a wax covering that is affected by the soap. The plant may not die instantly. But, disintegration of the leaf's outermost layer may result in the loss of water and dehydration of the plant.

    If you prefer to use a less toxic insecticide, then horticultural insecticidal soap is the best option. Insecticidal soaps are most effective against small, soft-bodied insects such as aphids, young scales, white flies, mealybugs and spider mites.

    When using an insecticidal soap, thorough coverage is essential. It will have no effect on insects that arrive after the soap has dried. If an insect is curled up in a leaf, they will emerge unharmed. Also, certain plants are very sensitive to soap sprays. One of those particularly sensitive plants is tomatoes."

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Also found a recipe for "tomato leaf-spray" to kill aphids and "garlic-spray", see below: "Garlic contains sulfur, which, besides being toxic to pests, is also an antibacterial and antifungal agent. The dish soap in this mixture also breaks down the bodies of soft-bodied pests, such as aphids.

    What You'll Need:

    • Three to four cloves of garlic
    • Mineral oil
    • Strainer or cheesecloth
    • Liquid dish soap
    • Water
    • Spray bottle

    To make garlic oil spray, mince or finely chop three to four cloves of garlic, and add them to two teaspoons of mineral oil. Let this mixture sit for 24 hours. Strain out the garlic pieces, and add the remaining liquid to one pint of water. Add one teaspoon of liquid dish soap. This mixture can be stored and diluted as needed. When you need to spray, use two tablespoons of the mixture added to one pint of water in a spray bottle.

  • 8 years ago

    Thanks, Straw!! I sprayed them with the H2O2. I should probably keep doing it for awhile??

    I just scarified my rose seeds. I had sooooo many!! Hopefully they will germinate in a couple of months. They're in my garage in a baggie filled with potting soil. I tried to find an easier way to scar the seeds. But...I'm not sure if it worked. I put sand paper strips (sticky back) on two pieces of wood, and put some seeds in between, and scratched them. Not sure if I scratched them too much, not enough?? Time will tell, I guess.


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    The above are my kid's 3-weeks-mung-bean plants in MG-Organic potting soil (chunky woodchips & composted leaves). Baby-rose-plants from seeds are much smaller.

    Found this tip on-line: 1 tsp baking soda to 1 cup of water and spray as mist for seedlings that are damping off (attacked by fungi). From Wikipedia: Homemade solutions (including ones made from chamomile tea[4] or garlic) are used by some gardeners for this purpose.

    Thank you, Carol, for sharing that great tip of scratching seeds tween 2 pieces of wood and sand paper in between. Years ago when I planted roses seed, the one that grew was in an even-moisture Organic composted pine bark potting soil. The seeds that failed was in peat-moss seed-starter soil: the top was soaking wet, and the bottom was dry !!

    Same with my kid's science experiment: MiracleGro ORGANIC potting soil, with chunky composted forest products (fine-woodchips & leaves) led the pack with the best beansprout plant. The beansprout seed is just a tiny bit larger than rose-seed. The hardest part was to get the beansprout seeds to sprout.

    Since beansprout has a thin coating, my kid didn't have to nick nor sand it like hard-rose-seed. She used distilled water to soak seeds overnight, on a warm-place ... on top of Comcast-router-box. That didn't sprout. So we used rain-water to soak seeds (covered) on a warm box. That sprouted overnight. Then we drain off the water, cover, and put in a dark place for 2 more days until the sprout gets bigger. Funny how the moldy sprouts grew so well in MG ORGANIC potting soil.

    The fully-sprouted seeds (with 1/4 inch stem) grew fast in all potting medium, but the barely sprouted seeds (only the inner seed peeped through) didn't grow. We should had kept the "barely sprouted seeds" longer in a covered container, in a dark & warm place.

    After 1 month, we took all the soils and dumped them into my garden. The peat-moss-based Jiffy-seed-starter got nasty insects on top ... it was too wet. MiracleGro potting soil got some, not bad. No insects on top of the sand/soil medium, nor my clay soil.

    That's why foils put a thin layer of perlite on top of rooting medium. That dries out fast, so pests can't hatch.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks so much for the info on these amazing beneficial herbs Strawberry Hill, I will definitely plant all of them for my cat friends. I will cover the catnip with a small cage contraption so that they'll only be able to get to the new growth... :-)

    That is such great news - that after so much rain still no BS on your potted roses. We also had mega liters of constant rain for 2 days and I decided not to use the corn flour dusting, and there is not one BS leaf on any rose....just as you said, the soil is the key....I also gave the BS prone roses an extra teaspoon of Gypsum as you advised (along with the Potassium Sulfate) ...just before the rain started falling. I watered in in very quickly with alkaline tap water, the rain did the rest.

    I think that's another great idea - to keep feeding them Gypsum and Potassium Sulfate to keep them BS-free during winter - until our next spring. many thanks :-) I won't give any Nitrogen either, seeing that they stop blooming anyway during winter.

    Carol, maybe you can try wrapping just a tiny piece of any citrus fruit peel around the area where the aphids are worst? I did that over here and the aphids jumped of like flies... but the Hydrogen Peroxide sounds like a great treatment for the aphids plus it adds oxygen, I think that is the best solution, as advised by Strawberry Hill...I will also try that...I think clay can do with some oxygen....

    thanks for liking the Nguni cows, yes they are so beautiful...and quite docile... we have another breed here called 'Afrikaner'-cattle...they are quite strong as well but not so docile...used in the beef industry. They are also much bigger than Nguni's.

    I hope you enjoy your snowy winter wonderlands, I hope you, Jim, and Strawberry Hill will post winter photo's.

    Today it is 96.8 F and a strong warm berg (mountain)- wind is blowing. really magical.

    I decided to look up the definition of a berg wind:

    Berg wind (from Afrikaans berg "mountain" + wind "wind", i.e. a mountain wind) is the South African name for a katabatic wind: a hot dry wind blowing down the Great Escarpment from the high central plateau to the coast.

    When the air that has been heated on the extensive central plateau flows down the escarpment to the coast it undergoes further warming by adiabatic processes. This accounts for the hot and dry properties of these off-shore winds, wherever they occur along South Africa's coastline.[1][2]

    Although berg winds are often called a Föhn winds, this is probably a misnomer, as Föhn winds are rain shadow winds that result from air moving over a mountain range, resulting in precipitation on the windward side. This releases latent heat into the atmosphere which is then warmed still further as the air descends on the leeward side (e.g., the Chinook or the original Föhn).[2][3] Berg winds do not originate in precipitation, but in the mostly dry, often arid central plateau of Southern Africa. On the other hand, katabatic winds are technically drainage winds, that carry high density, usually cold air from a high elevation down a slope under the force of gravity.[3] These are thus "fall winds", which occur most typically down the coastal ice slopes of Antarctica and Greenland. Berg winds blow off the African escarpment in response to large scale weather systems in the South Atlantic Ocean, the African interior, and the Southern Indian Ocean.

    strawchicago z5 thanked jessjennings0 zone 10b
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I see some people use banana peels to deter aphids with success as well

    strawchicago z5 thanked jessjennings0 zone 10b
  • 8 years ago

    Nice methods for getting rid of the aphids....but I went with Straw's method - H2O2. The problem with deterents is that my aphids are inside - so they have nowhere to go, but back on the plants. I need them dead.

    Straw - yes, I use a bit of perlite on top of my seedlings/ cuttings. Your "soil" sounds like a better option than my potting soil. But mine still works, although I may not get as many germinations as you get. Next year, I'll think about getting something like you use.

    Wow - the Afrikanner cattle sure looks impressive!! Beautiful too!! I remember our zoo had a young Zebu in the petting zoo. It was still fairly large. It peed all over my young daughter!!! LOL She didn't get upset though.


  • 8 years ago

    yes Carol, I agree - I think the Hydrogen Peroxide would be a better solution :-)

    the Zebu's are so beautiful - I quickly googled them...never seen them didn't actually do that ... hehehe...

  • 8 years ago

    I'm wondering how little Cameron is doing?

    And how is your daughter doing Strawberry Hill?

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    CAROL: The link on hydrogen peroxide has a recipe of a bit alcohol along with hydrogen peroxide. I used 70% alcohol to wipe off spider-mites on young rose before... it didn't harm the stem at all. But soap is more caustic. Alcohol evaporates quickly and it doesn't drip down the soil. My kid uses alcohol to kill ants .. the alcohol vapor is enough to kill them. We use alcohol to wipe off our kitchen table, and no ants crawl on it afterwards .. there's still lingering vapor. If aphids hide in the crack, they still smell the alcohol vapor and get zapped.

    Thank you, Jess, for those pics. of the beautiful cattle in South Africa. I like the white Zebu a lot. The Ngui cow are pretty too. My daughter Lynn are doing great with stinging nettle drop in the morning. Thank you, Jess, for the info. that stinging nettle is high in iron .. so she doesn't have to take iron pills.

    I drank Kefir (fermented cow milk) just to finish the bottle. Drank that before nap time, took a long time to nap !! It must be the 30% calcium that made me jumpy & tense. Drank that again before bed-time, and didn't sleep well (bad gas). I don't think I'll buy kefir ever again, since it didn't help us last year ... our family all got constipated and came down with severe flu while drinking kefir.

    I start a new thread: "11/5/15: protein, Omega-3 for roses & us, what work for your health?"