Weekly Home Help with growing roses, a home-selling tip, the latest gadget and more.

With 23 years of experience, Jamie Shiffer, head gardener at Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pa., knows a thing or two about cultivating a beautiful rose, in all of its varieties. Here are his top five rose gardening tips for gardeners of all levels:


Plant and fertilize early. Consider planting new rose bushes in early spring. "Both new and existing rose plantings will need to be fertilized at this time," says Shiffer. He recommends applying a slow-release fertilizer surrounding the base. 


Avoid over watering. "You should water roses sparingly throughout the very hot season," recommends Shiffer. "The biggest mistake people make when watering is to water from overhead with a hose, instead of at ground level," says Shiffer. As the heat intensifies, water on the petals can cause black spots, which promotes fungal growth. To avoid this, water at ground level first thing in the morning.


Prevent black spot. While good watering techniques can prevent fungal growth, for some gardeners, a humid environment can still lead to the same problem. "Treat black spot using a fungicide spray application on the plants every two weeks," says Shiffer.


Prune for increased plant growth. To encourage rejuvenation and growth from your rose bushes, be sure to deadhead through September. Count from the blossom down to the fifth leaf, and make an angled cut.


-- Family Features


Decorating Tip: Clear out the paper


The key to clearing paper clutter and maintaining an organized home is to deal with the paper you receive right away, no matter what it is. It's easy to walk in the house, throw the mail on the kitchen counter. Without a proper filing system, important notices can easily get lost. Tip: An excellent way to decrease the amount of paper in your home is to sign up for online bill-pay and email statements.


-- HGTV/ Scripps Howard News Service


Home-Selling Tip: Repair hidden problems


Part of preparing your home for the market is taking care of any hidden problems that go beyond cosmetics. Hire an inspector to look for outdated electrical systems, deteriorating roofs, water leaks and other small problems. Investing in these fixes now will ensure you reap top dollar when you get to negotiations.


-- FrontDoor.com


New Product: HTC noise-reducing smartphone


Sprint unveiled its new HD Voice technology for its upcoming smartphone, the HTC Evo 4G LTE, which is due out sometime in the second quarter. The company says the new technology reduces background noise and increase voice quality. The product will cost around $200 with a two-year contract.


-- Consumer Reports Electronics Blog


Did You Know …


Investment-home sales surged an extraordinary 64.5 percent to 1.23 million last year from 749,000 in 2010. – National Association of Realtors


Going Green: Steel-making grows efficiency


The American Iron and Steel Institute wants people to know how green steel can be. After all, we use in in everything from cars to buildings to machinery. To start, the energy intensity needed to produce 1 ton of steel has dropped by 27 percent since 1990, according to AISI, and they say steel is the most recycled material. AISI also says you don't have to separated steel before recycling it, as in plastics, and it can easily be separated from garbage with a magnet.


-- Earth911.com


Garden Guide: Starting seedlings indoors


There are many advantages to starting your seeds indoors in addition to allowing anxious gardeners to "get their fingers dirty." In theory, plants started indoors will be bigger and produce faster than seeds planted directly into the garden. Many of us wait until the cell packs of tomatoes and peppers are available at the retailer. But starting your own seed allows you to raise the varieties you want and not rely on what the retailers have available.


-- University of Illinois Extension


GateHouse News Service