Dear Garden Problem Lady


My husband, wise but stubborn, tells me that once roses are in the ground they do not need to be watered. Please! He may listen to you.

I asked Google, which quotes “The Basics of Growing Roses ‒ David Austin Roses” as follows. Water newly planted roses every two or three days. Established roses – water once or twice a week as needed to keep the soil moist around your roses.

What are the inch-long white grubs I often find when I dig in the garden? Dad used to call them cutworms.

These white grubs with orange noses and dark tails turn into various kinds of destructive chafers or beetles, which climb up to devour the stems, leaves and flowers of plants. Some stay underground to eat roots.

A true cutworm is a dark grub or worm that appears composed of hairy segments with legs its entire length. It metamorphs into a dark moth that does catastrophic damage to plants by eating them to death.

My tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are planted at the front of the garden so we can see them from the living room. But when they’re finished, how long must I keep their greenery? We need something prettier to look at now.

You should leave the bulb foliage in the ground until it turns brown! Gardeners learn to figure out what can be planted to hide spent perennials with another perennial that comes up at the right time ‒ which is easier said than done. Your best bet now? Annuals! Shop for something big enough to grow taller and wider than your bulb leaves as they die. Find small places where you can nestle the little annuals that will spread their roots around and start showing their colors. The stores are full now.

There used to be something called Open Days, a website that listed private gardens in the US that were open to anyone who wanted to visit – for free! Each garden was open for only a single day. Does it still exist?

Open Days ‒ Tours of America’s best private gardens is provided by the Garden Conservancy, a nonprofit run entirely by volunteers. These are gardens that are NOT open to the public – except for one day in the year. The goal is “to fuel the public’s passion for gardens and gardening.” A small staff in New York organizes with volunteer gardeners in 41 states. Starting in April, call (888) 842-2442, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST; after hours email The bad news right now is that no gardens are listed (yet) in DC, Virginia or Maryland – but that could change.

For information about the Capitol Hill Garden Club, visit

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