June heralds the start of our glorious summer months. The days are at their longest, the light at its brightest and gardens at their fullest. One plant at it’s very best this month is the rose.
Roses can seem bewildering. There are around 30,000 different varieties of rose around the world. Then there are the different types of rose, Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Patio Roses, Ramblers and Climbers to name a few. Some have that unmistakeable perfume while others have no scent at all. Flowers can be beautifully simple or extravagantly bursting with multiple layers of petals. Some offer a single bloom on each stem, ideal for cut flowers whilst others have clusters of flowers smothering the plant. There really is a rose for every garden.
Rose care can conjure an image of old-fashioned gardeners from years gone by, carefully tending to every whim of their delicate prized blooms. Whilst it is true roses do need some care, some needing more care and attention than others. Here are some rose basics:
They flower in summer and some repeat flowering varieties can carry on flowering until the autumn. Deadheading roses after their flowers have faded will encourage more blooms, although climbing and rambling roses need treating a little differently. Using secateurs, snip off faded flowers. If left, a seed pod or hip will form and the plant will put all its energy into growing the seed. Stop these from growing and the plant will put its energy into new flowers.
They love sun. Plant roses in full sun. There are some varieties that will tolerate light shade, but roses are not for dark spaces. Once established, roses are deep rotted and should only need watering in very hot weather. However, water new roses regularly for the first few years until they become established. Water the soil around the base of the plant rather than the leaves and flowers. This will help deter fungal infection.
Plant them in rich, moist, well-drained soil. Roses are hungry plants. To encourage strong growth, feed twice a year. First around March/ April before flowering begins and again mid-summer after the first flush of flowers. Sprinkle a general-purpose fertiliser or specific rose fertiliser on the soil around the base of the plant. Roses in containers will need feeding more frequently.
Ideally prune them annually after they have flowered. Traditionally, this was done in late winter around February/ March, but there is a consensus this can now be done in the autumn. Don’t be afraid to prune them hard. Pruning has two aims. It removes dead, diseased or damaged shoots and it opens up the centre of the plant to improve air circulation again trying to deter fungal infection. The only exception is rambling roses as they flower on the previous year’s growth.
Potted roses sold in the Garden Centre can be planted year-round, but avoid frozen or waterlogged soil or during drought type conditions. Hopefully you too will find a favourite rose that you can enjoy for years to come in your garden.
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