As September sweeps in to greet us, kids are going back to school and crickets are beginning to move indoors, (I've just scooped one off the carpet and deposited him outside again. A territorial conflict that will go on for most of the Fall months.) its getting to be the time of year that I will remind our society members that we should start thinking about how we're going to winterize our roses this year. Normally there would be references to changing feeding schedules and reminders to keep the roses well hydrated. Thoughts will be of those cold North winds just around the corner.

Well, not this year pardner! Let's think about this. If Mother Nature displays any sort of compassion for our horticultural endeavors, she'll relinquish at least two more months of good rose growing weather here in the Great Lakes State. Forget the winterization chores that are ahead for right now and concentrate on more pleasant thoughts, like a mild Fall season.

It could be two more months of producing some championship blooms. Two more months of sitting on the backyard swing in the late afternoon and marveling at the color in the garden or watching the birds feed at our feeding station getting ready for the trip South. (Jackets may be required) Sometimes just before dusk, the sun will put a golden glow across the lawn with long fingerlike shadows slowly putting the garden to bed for another evening.

No, I'm not ready to let go of the 1997 growing season just yet. Its been a great year hasn't it? From most accounts I hear from, those who stayed on their spray schedule, saw very little black spot this year. I had to use an insecticide only once this season in my garden. Last year at this time, my roses were recovering from a bad case of downey mildew. Thanks to Tom and Diane Schrift, this year I've seen very little evidence of it in my rose patch.

So lets keep out fingers crossed that it will be a mild Fall and maybe two more months of growing roses could be in store for us. We've got sufficient time to think about the winterization process later. For now, I'm going to recommend that you enjoy this year's blooms for as long as possible. Fall has a reputation for encouraging glorious blooms from our roses. No matter if you grow two or two hundred roses, you are going to see some magnificent sprays before this season is over.

Between now and November, if you try to reach our house by phone, leave a message on the answering machine. Sue and I will be on the backyard swing enjoying the last colors that 1997 has to offer in our garden.

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