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Who knew that ants loved roses as much as I did, if not more. As a rose person, this is heartbreaking.

But it is also important to make sure the ants aren't harvesting aphids on the roses.

  • Ants target other sap-feeding insects on roses, not just aphids.
  • Try Tanglefoot around the base of the canes.

What I have found out is that you want to kill the hive.

The reason is that species of ants that attack roses aren't going to let you have roses.

DE is somewhat effective against ants, but only ones that cross your DE line. A borax trap will let you do that - you make a sugar syrup and dissolve borax in it, set it out in saucers or shallow dishes, you can soak cotton balls in it and set those around too. The ants slurp it up and take it back to the hive and feed it to the queen and hive workers.

You also won't see immediate death, and there's a big old hive to replace the ones who were killed. Soap sprays have the same problem, they'll kill only individuals that are hit.

While killing the whole hive seems extreme there isn't much else you can do.

This is gardening.

And while it seems to go against it. In fact when you make a garden, you're creating something that is intrinsically artificial. There's nothing "natural" about a garden because a garden, by definition, is an arbitrary grouping of only those plants chosen specifically by humans to inhabit that space.

This is also why, due to the unnatural nature of the guarden, the ants decide to eat roses instead of their natural food such as dead (and living) detritus on the ground.

Faded glory

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I learned that if you want to start a rose you don't do it from a seed. Everything that I have read about starting from seeds pertains to making a new rose breed.

I've never tried growing comercial roses from seed, but I've started several wild rose species and the ones from lowland areas (the ones around here anyway) seem to start without any treatment after a 2-3 of weeks.

That's all I've ever done and it's worked for the ones I've grown.

And it is so much easier.

I place twigs of wild roses into the ground to learn, but I'm certainly not an expert.

Also, forgive me if you know all this aready.

So pretty

There are two parts of a rose, the base root and the graft.

The base is from a plant that is resilient, and has a powerful root system. Wild roses are just that. If you wish to create your own roses, you'd grow some wild roses first. Growing wild roses from a variety of methods should be easy, they grow like weed and are fairly resilient. Use seeds or clone them.

The graft is the noble rose. They are not usually very resilient and nobody cares to grow noble roses with a strong roots, so a noble rose with its own root would be a feeble creature indeed. Instead you grow noble roses by grafting. From a rose you like (smell, look, built) you cut a twig and place into the root system of a cut-off wild rose.

This is grafting.

Afterwards, you keep the root system of the original wild rose in the earth, only letting the nobel rose protude.

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To get rid of the fruit flies fill a bottle with apple cider vinegar and put a paper funnel into the top of the bottle and leave it by the plants. The flies should enter the bottle and drown in the apple cider vinegar which will help get rid of them quickly.

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The Don Juan Among Roses

Don Juan is a magnificent rose! And it loves to climb, that means that it will be thrilled to have a nice trellis to climb. It won't like being cut back too much, but if you have to do so for size restrictions, do it in late fall or early spring. If you want to prune the long canes you can, just make sure to prune to a node!

Starting Them

IDon Jaun roses

You can actually grow them inside all winter, provided you have a sunny window for them.

When you plant them outside, usually in a larger pot I would use a natural mulch because it can really help act as a natural barrier. You should be able to find good mulch at any garden centre. And When I say natural I mean a real one, not those synthetic coloured ones that you see around.

As a rose grower, I feel the need to warn you that overwintering them in pots is a risky game.

A snowy winter or a warm and wet winter will all be fine. The cold and dry winter that we get sometimes is what will likely kill a potted rose.

If you have somewhere you can put it to shelter it, like a garage, it will stand a better chance.

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A really easy and surprisingly good soup I made yesterday is a french potato soup called 'Potage Parmentier'.

A friend of mine emailed me the recipe and I just had to give it a try. Plus it was really simple, cheap and looked delicious!


  • 1kg potatoes
  • 800g leeks
  • 1,5l vegetable stock
  • 4 slices of toast
  • 2-4 tsp butter
  • fresh chives
  • 200g cream

First, peel the potatoes and cut into cubes of around 2cm.

Wash the leek and cut the white and light-green parts into small pieces.

Put potatoes, leeks and the vegetable stock into a big pot, boil and let it simmer for around 45minutes.

Cut the toast into smallish pieces and roast them in better - in other words make croutons. Then cut the chives into small roles.

When cooked, blend the soup, mix in the creme fraiche and heat up again.

To serve just put it into bowls and at the end add the croutons and the chives. Might have to salt a bit more before if needed.

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I have talked about it before but I thought that I would share my enchilada soup recipe with the colder months here.

Brown meat with onion and garlic.

Add cumin and chili powder, cook a few minutes. Add tomatoes and green chilies, bring to simmer. Add chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring to near boil, cut cream cheese into manageable blocks.

Add cream cheese. Cook until cream cheese is melted.

  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 teaspoons garlic
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese

Sometimes I will leave the onions out. This brings it down to 37.8 carbs for the whole recipe and 6.3 carbs per serving. This recipe reheats really well, and I also like to add avocado, cheese, sour cream or all of the above.