As ProfessorRoush toured the garden this morning, in the cool beginning of another scorching day, his heart was lightened and his spirits were raised, for the Japanese Beetles were gone. Gone entirely, without a remnant beetle or frass pile to be found. I wish that I could claim victory was due to my spraying efforts two weeks back, but even one day post-spray the beetles were everywhere, bulbous and fornicating among the flowers. I suspect that it's simply the cycle of seasons, the vile creatures have bred and laid eggs and are now gone until July of next year.
In their place, in seeming celebration of their lack of competitors, were bumblebees, healthy and fat and carrying loaded pollen sacks everywhere I looked. Some of the rugosas, relieved of their beetle battles, were beginning to bloom again, scruffy, crinkled Rugosa blooms to be sure, but beetle-less blooms none-the-less.
The bumblebees were on nearly every blossom of 'Snow Pavement' (above, right) and 'Foxi Pavement', above (left) and 'Dwarf Pavement' (below left). Sometimes they frenetically fought over the blossoms, two or even three bumblebees colliding in their corybantic search for pollen (right).
This moment, this smidgeon of summer, is why you need to grow the Pavement series rugosas. Never mind that 'Dwarf Pavement' spreads like it is hellbent on world domination. Never mind that the blooms of many Rugosa Hybrids wrinkle and fade quickly in the hot sun. Pavement roses are here now, blooming now while little else dares, present in the moment, while even the daylilies are waning in their defiance of summer's peak. They're providing food and color and fragrance as the rest of the world wilts without moisture. Three bumblebee's in the photo at the left all give a "thumb's up" to Rugosas in summer!
Look at that healthy foliage around the delicate blooms of 'Snow Pavement' (right). I don't spray for rust or blackspot or mildew, but those rough leaves are spotless and eternal. They're not chewed to shreds, and the rose slugs and leaf cutters leave them alone. They just sit out there in the garden, in the middle of 100ºF temps and without moisture for the past month, blooming away for the bees and for me. They may not be fussy Hybrid Teas, shy and elusive in endless virginal glory, and they may not be Bourbons, spilling over with exquisite fragrance and grace, but they are perfect and beautiful and I welcome their languid lascivious display and their 2nd and 3rd and 4th bloom cycles each and every summer. Don't you feel the same?