Is there any more perfect a symbol of summertime in your garden than the heavily scented and sumptuous blooms of roses? While they exhibit an old fashioned charm, they are suited to even the most contemporary of gardens and are the centre of attention in so many flower arrangements. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a floral bouquet is not quite complete without them!!
I’m not going to pretend that I’m some sort of Rose expert because I most certainly am not (I spend my year fighting blackspot and greenfly and am never sure how to prune them) but that doesn’t stop me loving these flowers and I am eager to learn as much as I can about how to grow them at their very best. I can’t say which is more important to me; scent or colour but there are very few which I have come across over the years which I haven’t liked!
In this post information I have gathered together information on how to look after roses – it comes from lots of different sources including some keen gardeners I know, and it is as much for me to refer to as to anyone who cares to read it 🙂 )
Annual Care of your Roses:
- Plant bare-root roses during the dormant season between November and March (bare-root plants are cheaper than buying those which come in containers and are also available on-line)
- Established plants need to be pruned in late Winter – prune very hard (a lady I know once told me when I asked her about how much I should remove when pruning, that I should “cut them like I hated them”!!!) which is literally to about 30 – 40cm off the ground leaving approx 4 main stems. Cut out all of the dead wood and crossing branches. Cut the branches just above a main bud at an angle so that water can run off it and aim for an overall shape which you are happy with
- After pruning, mulch the plants with a good amount of well-rotted compost or manure and then wait for them to come into bud – we use farmyard manure which we get from cleaning out our stables. Left to rot down for a year or so, it gives you a wonderful, soil like compost and we use it on all of our flower and vegetable beds
- Once in bud, you need to feed your plants – the more they are fed the longer they will repeat flower. Buy a specialist Rose Feed from your garden centre and apply weekly (Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic is an excellent product) Sprayed on the leaves will help prevent the dreaded ‘black spot’
- As the rose season progresses, we water our roses with Comfrey Tea (we have grown this plant in the garden for the past few years. It is a perennial which grows without any care at all from us in a part of the garden that’s not used for any formal planting at the moment!! See here for details on how to make the tea). This liquid is high in potash and excellent at keeping your plants healthy and producing lots of lovely blooms
- June is the height of the rose season and with your plants hopefully, at this stage giving you lots of lovely blooms, it’s important to keep picking them and dead-heading to encourage more flowers
- At the end of the Summer (after the second flush of blooms) you will need to cut back your plants by one third and there is no longer a need to feed them before the whole process begins again!
I have included below a few beautiful roses, which if you plant in your garden, will give you some fantastic blooms for your home arrangements:
– PRINCESS ALEXANDRA (DAVID AUSTIN ROSE) –
This is one of the best deep pink bush roses for cutting, with a lovely scent. It is a very tall stemmed (and so ideal for arranging), usually single-headed, bright magenta pink with very few thorns. It also has huge staying power, lasting well over a week in the house, and opens from a stylish pointed bud into a frilly rosette shape.
– DUCHESS OF CORNWALL –
This rose has flowers that open a deep coral colour and gradually turn a soft peachy pink. They have an excellent vase life and a light spicy fragrance
– DESDEMONA –
Blush Pink Buds which open to white flowers with a strong fragrance. This rose has an exceptionally long flowering season.
– FERDINAND PILCHARD ROSE –
Beautiful, double pink and crimson flowers and a gorgeous scent make this rose a real winner! Looks fabulous against green foliage♥
The experts among you will know of so many more varieties which I could have included here but if you’ve ever researched this amazing plant you will know that there are just too many to choose from with new ones being bred all of the time. I intend to spend this year working hard on my roses so that from early summer until hopefully, October, I will have an abundance of flowers to stock my vases in the house… why buy roses (which incidentally due to how they are bred have no scent!) when with a bit of work, you can grow your own?
Thanks so much for reading and as always, I would appreciate any comments or tips you may have to share 🙂 (Or if you have any recommendations for roses which I SHOULD have in the garden)