Rose-growing n00b, and something's eating them!
Hello all. I'm not just a rose-growing newbie, but a general newbie when it comes to seriously growing anything. I seem to have inherited at least part of my mother's green thumb, because I haven't outright *killed* anything yet - but believe me, that's not for lack of trying LOL
Anyway, last year (and this year) I got roses for mother's day. Not just the "pretty ones in a vase" thing - these are the kinds that you pant in the ground and grow. Last year's was (and I'm trying to remember the names off the top of my head, so please note these are from memory and might be wrong) "Billy Graham's" some kind of pink tea rose (they're really pretty), and this year I got some kind of "blue" rose... but they haven't been blue, they've been blooming pink too. LOL
I learned a lesson in "pruning" because this spring, the "Billy Graham" ones didn't bloom like they did last year. However one thing I've noticed is that these bushes are blooming over and over again. I didn't know they did that. I cut away the dead blooms, and then four more seem to grow in their place. This has happened all spring/summer so far. Is that normal?
As you can see, I'm not lying about being new to this.
So I've also noticed something's been eating my leaves. At first, I thought it was caterpillars, but I can't find any. Lately the petals of the bloomed roses have been chewed (on the ones closer to the ground -funnily enough, the ones higher up appear to not have been touched, yet. I peeked into he booms today and noticed a couple of bugs in the blooms - and as I watched, I swear I could see one of them eating the boom right in front of my eyes. So I guess I found the culprit, but I don't know what they are.
Now, there are some smaller black ones, at first I thought they were "babies" of the bigger ones because they look so similar, but they were tiny and black. After a search on this forum, I believe them to be "flea beetles" although they didn't do much jumping - but they crawled really fast all over the place. but that's exactly what they look like.
The bigger ones though, look like June bugs or Japanese beetles - BUT in shape and size only. The markings on these bigger ones aren't like anything I can find. They're a metallic-looking brown color all over, and there's like a horizontal black stripe in the middle of the wings, with another thinner white strip centered on the black one (hopefully that makes sense - I can take a picture if that would help) But they are definitely not June bugs or Japanese beetles, and most of the pictures of corn beetles and such are *too* bright and stripey. So I've yet to identify these things, and know what to do about them.
My roses have not been sprayed with anything this year. Last year the same thing happened, and I found some solution that was supposed to take care of it (I believe it used dish soap and a small amount of baking soda in a lot of water, but I can't remember it completely). It took care of the bug issue, but it also turned the green foliage black, so I dare not try that again.
Anyway, to end this novel, I wanted to ask if anyone had any good books or links to some good organic rose-growing stuff so I can get a clue on this, and if anyone knew what I could do about the bugs? (And thansk for being here - from what I've read, this is a terrific forum :) )