Q: I have a rose bush, I don't know what kind, but I think it's an old rose. This rose gets morning sun. Last year and currently, the bush is covered with buds but the buds die (or rot) before they open. The bush itself looks healthy. Can you tell me what's wrong with my bush and how I can fix it? Thanks, Georgia Lynch
A: Many things can cause rose buds to fail to open. Powdery mildew, a fungus that looks just like its name, is the most common. Flower buds covered with it just shrivel and die. Insects, including thrips, can also ruin roses. I can't see your plants, so I can't tell you if the offender is a bug or a fungus. Therefore, I recommend you treat your plants according to label directions with Bayer All-In-One Rose & Flower Care. You can get this at any garden or home center. This product contains both a systemic insecticide and fungicide, so it's absorbed by the plant and works for a long time. If you don't like using chemicals, try spraying with refined horticultural oil. This kills many insects and has also been shown to control mildew.
TV TRIVIA QUIZ!!! While we're talking about rosebuds, I'm reminded of an old episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show," in which son Ritchie discovers his middle name is "Rosebud." So the first person who correctly identifies what "Rosebud" stands for will receive a complimentary copy of the epic, best-selling, and utterly essential Southern Living Garden Book signed by the Grump himself. It pays to watch old sitcoms! Grumpy