Even if the dog hasn’t bitten and the bee hasn’t stung (as the song goes), it’s always nice to think on your favorite things. Here are a few of our favorites.

Stephanie’s Favorite Flower:

Shrub Rose / Rosa spp. 
If you have been led to believe that Roses are high-maintenance and delicate, I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorites: Shrub Roses. Shrub Roses are hardy, fairly low-maintenance and there are so many choices in color and flower shape. Typically, shrub roses grow to be about 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. They have a tendency to bloom in spurts – blooming, then resting, then blooming again. It is important to remove the spent flowers before the hips form to get another strong flush of flowers. The rule of thumb is to cut the flowering stem back to a five-leaflet leaf. In late fall, I cut mine down about ½ way to be sure there isn’t winter breakage. In the spring, I evaluate the plants and cut back the canes again depending on which canes are budding and where. Some years, deer do the spring pruning for me in mid-winter and while I don’t really appreciate that, the roses have always come back fine. Roses are susceptible to black spot virus so avoid overhead watering or over watering. Taking good care of Shrub Roses mostly means plentiful use of the by-pass pruners, but these shrubs reward the gardener with sweet-smelling flowers all summer long.

Chesney’s Favorite Flower:

Tickseed / Coreopsis spp.

While there are so many different varieties of Coreopsis, they all have the same needs when it comes to growing happily. They like full sun, don’t need a ton of water, and all need to be deadheaded pretty regularly to keep them blooming all summer. The most abundant and most common Coreopsis are yellow but, that being said, there are also red, pink, white, peach, and many color combo varieties as well. Most of these varieties, like Jethro Tull’s Tickseed, Lanceleaf, or the Zagreb Threadleaf Tickseed, bloom in the summer and then rebloom again in the fall, especially if they get a good haircut after their first round of flowers. These cute flowers move happily in the wind and add a nice pop of color to any garden.