Roses have been loved and praised for thousands of years. They are steeped in history and ooze personality.
Wild roses bring back childhood memories and are bold, running through hedgerows at will and growing in the most obscure of places.
Modern roses are relatively new to the gardening world. They are the most popular types planted in this century though the older types are gaining in popularity once again.
The modern types are generally shorter and more compact than the older Shrub Rose types. They are bright and cheerful and are dominated by their flowers. The floribundas (many flowers per stem) are appreciated but it is the hybrid-tea types (one flower per stem) that are really loved. They symbolise romance and perfection.
When selecting roses it is important to take into account the site and soil conditions. A degree of shelter will be necessary though complete shelter is not vital. Actually roses such as the Rosa rugosa types will grow very well in exposed sites.
It is a matter of taste how many colours you plant together though one or two colours are generally regarded as more appealing. Most people plant roses in beds of their own though some gardeners return to the old idea of planting roses among shrubs in an ‘ordered chaos’ type layout.
It is important not to plant roses where roses grew before without first changing the soil. This will prevent new rose bushes from picking up ‘Rose Transplant Disease’. Planting holes should be approx. 2 feet in diameter. Plant into reasonably free draining soil. Break up the soil at the base of the hole and add organic matter. Loosen the roots of the plants prior to planting and fill in around the roots with loose, good quality top soil. Firm the soil in around the root system using your boots and water well. Space bush roses at 2 feet – 3 feet apart approximately.
Pruning of roses is very important. It encourages healthier growth and stronger flowers. I would suggest that you top/tidy the branches back in November in order to prevent them rocking in the wind and leave final pruning until February or March when the winter has passed. At this time prune to within 3-4 buds of the base, making slanted pruning cuts over outward facing buds.
All plants including roses require feeding. In fact roses are probably one of the hungrier family of plants in the garden. Feed in April, June and again in August with a proprietary Rose Fertiliser. Once leaves appear on the bushes spray against blackspot, greenfly and other pests and diseases. There are many sprays available, both chemical and organic types.
Dead-heading or the removal of old or blemished flower heads encourages the production of new flowering shoots on repeat-flowering roses.
Gardening with roses is not as complicated as it sounds or as people would have you believe. Why not have a go at planting a few in your own garden.
- Continue planting outdoor veg.
- Feed trees and shrubs.
- Spray roses against blackspot and green fly damage.
- Plant perennial flowers.
- Divide spring flowering bulbs as they go out of flower.