Bare-root roses are selling now at nurseries. If you've got rose bushes that have been taken over by suckers growing up from the rootstock, or that are the wrong color for your garden, don't hesitate to pull them up and prepare the soil for a new rose that you like. One of the 1987 All-America Rose Selections may do the trick. 'New Year' (pictured above), developed in New Zealand, is mainly orange with flushes of yellow and red, and the color, it is said, won't fade. It is not as tall as a regular grandiflora. 'Sheer Bliss,' a white Hybrid Tea edged in pink, is fragrant and has long stems. 'Bonica' may be the most interesting; it's the first shrub rose to have received the All-America award. The pink trusses of flowers bloom along the stem above glossy foliage. Recommended for landscaping and hedges, it's ever-blooming, and the many orange - red hips last into winter.
Potted chrysanthemums can be cut back as soon as they finish blooming and then can be planted outdoors. When new shoots appear, make cuttings and start new plants. The old plant with the old root system will never be as healthy as a young plant with a vigorous root system. Cymbidiums can go outdoors where there's no possibility of freezing temperatures. Their blooms should last for many weeks.
Camellias and azaleas can be chosen now. Because there are hundreds of varieties, it's a good idea to see the plant you want to buy in bloom; that way you can determine the actual size and color of the flowers and see the plant's habit as well. An advantage to planting now is that they will be established by the time they start their new growth, which occurs once they finish blooming. Both, but especially azaleas, like loose, rich soil with lots of organic matter and good drainage.
Banana plants are quite susceptible to frost damage. In colder regions, it's a good practice to mulch around the plants with compost, leaves or straw to protect new shoots. If a frost occurs unexpectedly, prune ruined parts of the plants as soon as the damage can be determined.
When transplanting cool-season vegetables, try to set them out on a cloudy day or in the late afternoon so that the sunlight can't wilt them. Water the plants the day before transplanting; then water again immediately after they get into the ground. If rainfall is forecast, try to set your plants out just before the rain begins.
Artichokes can be grown with moderate success in many Southern California climatic zones--the nearer the coast, the better the production. Artichokes grow well in the warm inland valleys if they are planted where, during hot weather, they will be shaded for half the day. Artichoke plants are most attractive in the landscape and will produce for 10 or more years, once they become established. Root divisions for artichokes should be available in nurseries later this month.