According to the language of flowers, the rose belongs to the month of June symbolizing love and passion, gratitude and appreciation. Well I am passionately in love with and greatly appreciate all of June’s flower blooms, including roses.

Rose, red climbing-1

Roses can be found in home gardens, public gardens and even commercial parking lot plantings, usually as tough shrub rose varieties needing little care. Hartford is the proud location of Elizabeth Park, the oldest municipal rose garden in the United States established in 1904. Within its boundaries are beds and arches filled with hundreds of rose plants loving tended by professionals and volunteers, all taking pride in creating a beautiful and scent filled space for all to enjoy.


Check rose plants carefully as gypsy moth caterpillars are feeding on leaves currently. Hand pick off and kill the little buggers by squishing or dropping in a container of soapy water. Signs they were there and left are shown by them leaving their shed exoskeleton after they molt.

gypsy moth caterpillars and rose

Gypsy moth on rose leaf, C.QuishPhoto

gypsymoth molted exoskeleton

Gypsy moth caterpillar shed exoskeletons. A sign gypsy moths were here. CQuish photo

Not all roses are a considered a ‘bed of roses’ or a good thing. The multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora, is an invasive species of rose, overtaking and displacing native plants. It was introduced to the U.S. from Asia in 1866 for use as rootstock and later widely planted as hedgerows and living fences.  Due to its very thorny nature, animals did not attempt to cross. Multiflora roses can be identified by its fringed petioles which differ from most other rose species. When in mass  blossom, the make the June air incredibly sweet.

Rose, multiflower, C.Quish

Fringed petiole of multiflora rose, C.Quishphoto

A few other fabulous flowers caught my eye and camera lens this month so far. Lunchtime walk on the Storrs campus I found an unusual shrub in front the Castleman building. False indigo, Amorpha fruticosa, was sporting spires of purple and orange flowers similar to butterfly bush. I had never seen it before, and after researching its identity, I am glad I haven’t as the CT Invasive Plant Working Group has it listed as ‘Potentially Invasive’. It seems well behaved in the restricted spot surrounded by buildings and pavement, but pretty still the same.

False indigo bush cquish

False indigo, CQuish photo

The perennial Helen Elizabeth Oriental poppy is a lighter pink, eschewing the brazen orange color of traditional oriental poppies. Helen Elizabeth is softer on the eyes and blooms a little bit later than the orange one.


Annual poppies are just beginning to bloom in my garden. If you let them go to seed and collect the seed once the pods go brown, dry and rattle, you will have an incredible amount of seed to save, share or spread the beauty in other areas.


Foxgloves, Digitalis sp, are shooting up their towers of flowers in different colors. Some species are biennial and others are perennial. The spots on the throats of the flowers are believed to be nectar guides showing the bees and other pollinators the way in to find the location of the nectar.

Visit local, independent garden centers and nurseries for unusual plants not found in the big box stores or chain centers. I found the annual Popcorn Plant, Cassia didymobotrya, whose leaves smell like buttered popcorn when stroked, at Tri-County Greenhouse on Rt. 44 in Storrs Mansfield. A treasure trove of unknown annuals and surprising perennials, and large variety of tomatoes and vegetables were all over the sales yard. I especially love the philosophy of the place hiring very capable people with intellectual disabilities along with some great horticulturists.

June also brings disease and insects to the garden. A few of the things we are seeing from submissions for diagnosis to our office are shown below. Azalea galls were sent in from South Windsor and are being reported around the state. The fungal disease, Exobasidium vaccinii, develops from an overwintering infected plant part of azalea leaf, twig or flower, and malforms the plant tissue into a curled and thickened gall.  As the gall ages it turns white releasing more spores to infect fresh tissue. Control should be to hand cut off and destroy galls before they turn white.

Azalea gall, b.zilinski 2

Azalea gall, B.Zilinski photo

Another sample image sent in were sweet birch leaves with bright red growths called Velvet Galls. These red patches are soft felt-like growths made by the plant in response to  to wall off the damage by a tiny eriophyid mite feeding on the leaves. The red patch is called an erinea. Unsightly while still being pretty, the damage is considered only cosmetic and causes no lasting harm to the tree. Thanks to Jean Laughman for her photos.

velvet gall on birch 2 Jean Laughman photo

velvet gall on birch,Jean Laughman photo, 6-8-18

Another great photo was sent in by Shawn Lappen for insect identification. The Dusky Birch Sawflies were striking a classic pose while eating the heck out of the leaves of a birch tree. Sawflies are stingless wasps whose larvae are plant feeders. The larvae are not caterpillars as this insect is not in the butterfly and moth order of Lepidoptera. Feeding damage usually does not cause much damage to a tree in good health. If control is needed, insecticidal soap will suffocate the larvae when sprayed on them.

Dusky Birch Sawfly, from Shawn Lappen

Golden tortoise beetles are attacking morning glory and sweet potato plants. They look like a little drop of gold but their beauty belies their destructive nature. Hand picking and dropping into a container of soapy water will kill them quickly.

Golden Tortoise beetle

Be on the lookout for Luna moths during the month of June. It is one of the largest silk moths and is attracted to lights at night. After mating, the female will lay her eggs on one of the host plants for the caterpillars including white birch (Betula papyrifera), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), hickories (Carya), walnuts (Juglans), and sumacs (Rhus). The photo below was sent in to us last June 4 by A. Saalfrank.

Luna moth A.Saalfrankphoto 6-4-2017

Leave the light on to attract Luna Moths

-Carol Quish

We New Englanders have been fortunate to have had a long and lovely fall season. The frost was late, warm temperatures rebounded, leaves were spectacular and late season mums are still going strong – good for pollinators. Even more tender plants continue to bloom in sheltered areas.

Pale champagne pink mums provide late nourishment for native pollinators

Pale champagne pink mums provide late nourishment for native pollinators

While there is much admiration for the brilliant yellows, fluorescent oranges and flaming reds covering many trees and shrubs this season, I am more partial to the pinks, burgundies and maroons. The fall reminds me of that aging bottle of red wine – once the bottle is uncorked, the rich, expressive elixir is savored but gone all too soon.

The pink blush on the panicled hydrangea reminds me of a pink moscato. Notice how the delicate pink and cream flower heads soften the hard, grey stone wall. This is a good placement for this plant that often is planted as a lonely specimen but adds more charm when it is worked into a planting or the landscape.

Delicate pink and creams of panicled hydrangea in fall

Delicate pink and creams of panicled hydrangea in fall

Sparkling pink champagne brings to mind the flower heads of miscanthus ‘Morning Light’. The pale pink, effervescent plumes dance in the wind and are positively radiant when the morning sun drenches them in light.

The whispy miscanthus plumes dance in the wind.

The whispy miscanthus plumes dance in the wind.

Recently fallen red maple leaves cover the walkways in merlot and burgundy. They crunch underfoot and get piled mischievously by the wind in between the branches of shrubs, in newly raked corners and in low-lying areas. Oak leaf hydrangeas take on a reddish hue the color of shiraz.

Maple leaves in shades of maroon and silver

Maple leaves in shades of maroon and silver.

Oak leaf hydrangea in splendid fall colors.

Oak leaf hydrangea in splendid fall colors.

Many azalea species lose their leaves as cold weather approaches. The evergreen ones take on hues of maroon, bronze and rose. I like to use their branches in holiday window boxes and arrangements. Bergenia leaves hang on all winter tinged with cranberry.

Azalea leaves can be used for winter arrangements.

Azalea leaves can be used for winter arrangements.

Wine tinged bergenia leaves.

Wine tinged bergenia leaves.

And then, there is the occasional rose. While the rest of the plant kingdom is turning its thoughts to dormancy and the long, cold winter ahead, it is not uncommon to find a softly scented, unfurling rose bud in a more protected area, undaunted by the darkening days and serving as a reminder of the warmer days we’ve left behind.

Last rose of summer!

Last rose of summer!

Dawn P.