ProfessorRoush's cardiovascular health was tested this morning as I had a bit of a shock while enjoying my garden. I went out for a "spot check" of things and got excited about how many blooms were being visited by bees, and then I saw this bloom, of Blanc Double de Coubert, that wasn't being visited by a bee. Instead, I found the first Japanese Beetle of the season (in fact, the first of the last two years since I didn't see any here in 2016).
Curses. A brief panic ensued and then I settled down and looked the bush over closely, finding around 6-7 beetles in all, lounging in the blooms, creating holes in the petals and depositing frass all over those virgin white blossoms. I took great pleasure in knocking all of them into the ground and grinding them into the hard prairie clay.
Those who have read my past statements about Blanc Double de Coubert are aware that she is far from my favorite rose, and not even my favorite white Rugosa. In the past, I've found it nearly impossible to get a perfect picture of her; petals are always browned by rain or dew, blossoms don't last long in the Kansas sun, and the bush is just generally a mess, as you can see in today's impromptu photo at the left. She's short and squat and has been a prima donna in my garden, demanding close supervision and extra care unbecoming of a Rugosa. And now, to top it off, she is the Japanese Beetle Magnet of my garden. Today, out of about 30-35 roses currently in bloom, along with some early Rose-of-Sharon and among scads of blooming daylilies and hollyhocks, she was the only plant with Japanese Beetles on it. The only one, and believe me, I scrutinized every other bush in my garden for signs of a second stealth attack. Why Blanc? Something about the degree of whiteness that is attractive while nearly-as-white Sir Thomas Lipton (also blooming and without beetles) isn't? Something about the fragrance that is different from all the other roses in my garden? All in all, this is just another reason for me to really not like this rose.
I will remain vigilant for the next few weeks and make sure to watch this rose and others for any further Japanese Beetle mischief. I'm trying very hard to keep these blasted bugs from establishing a breeding colony in my back yard and I may have to go back to the traps I previously employed. Squeezed between beetles and rosette disease is a hard place for a rose gardener to keep his chin up.