A: Cotton rose and Confederate rose are the same plant, Hibiscus mutabilis. The flowers are white when they open but change to pink and then red as they age. I think your thorny vine would be Cherokee rose, Rosa laevigata, the state flower of Georgia. Legend has it that this rose sprang up along the Trail of Tears when our first native Georgians were cruelly driven from their homes to reservations in Oklahoma.
Q: I need your advice on winter care of my schefflera. After a few weeks indoors last year, I observed tiny black insects on the leaves. I wiped them off with soapy water, sprayed with rubbing alcohol, and applied insecticidal super soap. They kept coming back. When I took it outside in spring, I sprayed it down with the garden hose and they were gone all summer. Where did they go? Terri M. Stephens, email