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No, this isn't about the bloody dynastic wars in Medieval England. It's about the bloody mess that I often find myself when the roses come in. It's about the battles that inevitably erupt as people scramble past each other, surrounded on all sides by thorns, in a quest to procure the right rose. Though if you want to make your quest somewhat easier, you can pre-order online or if you're not sure what you want, come in and ask in-store.
Okay, bloody mess is an exaggeration, though I do regularly end up scratched all over. But the flowers and the scents (depending on the variety) that will assault your sense next spring will more than make up for any superficial injuries that occur. And it's a great time to plant roses, as it gives them all winter to get settled in, get their roots down, so that they are ready to grow when their buds finally burst into action in spring.
So to try and learn a bit more about Roses here are a few useful tips and terms that will make things easier.
Useful Terms to Know
Left - Iceberg (a floribunda) Right - Ali Mau (A David Austin Hybrid Tea)
Floribunda - Each stem will develop multiple flowers. They tend to produce masses of smaller blooms.
Hybrid Tea - Each stem develops a single larger flower. They produce fewer but larger flowers than Floribunda roses.
David Austin - Bred in England by David Austin, he concentrates on growing varieties that have the characteristics and fragrances of old roses but with the range of colours and extended flowering times of modern roses. Both Hybrid tea and floribunda varieties are available.
Bush Roses - Grow into a bush shape, though some training is generally necessary.
Climbers - Trained to climb up walls, archways or other structures..
Standard Roses - Generally these consist of trailing bush rose grafted onto an upright rose stem.
Carpet Roses - Roses that sprawl out and act as a stunning groundcover. Most tend to be disease resistant and relatively easy to grow.
Picking a Rose
One of the rose questions that I am regularly asked, 'what is the best variety' is basically unanswerable as it primarily comes down to taste. But if you are just getting started, or are looking to try and grow a rose in a marginal spot it's worth getting a disease resistant variety, such as Iceberg, carpet roses and most David Austin roses, however to learn more see our online description of each rose. Or if you are growing in a spot that may not have enough sun (most roses need full sun) try growing a mutablis or a carpet rose.
Growing roses needn't be difficult. But to get the best results, and to save time later on, it's really important that you pick out a good spot in full sun, and plant them well, in healthy, free-draining soil rich in organic matter and keep them well looked after, especially when they are young.
1. Dig a decent size hole (at least twice the height and width of your pot). In heavy clay soils I often dig a slightly bigger hole.
2. Backfill, with a mix of soil, compost, and sheep pellets until you can place your tree (minus the pot) into the hole.
3. Fill around your tree with a mix of compost, sheep pellets, and some of the remaining topsoil, and make sure you press the soil down until it is firm.
4. In heavier clay soils where drainage is likely to be an issue, I plant into a slight mound. It's also worth breaking up the edge of your hole while you backfill as this means the hole is less likely to act like a giant pot that can fill up with water.
5. Fertilise using Kings Slow Release Rose Food or for an organic option try Natures Organic Fertiliser.
6. Mulch to finish.
1. Regular deep watering in the drier months will help your roses look great through summer. Leaving the hosepipe on for 5 10 minutes once or twice a week, to slowly water your plants, is far more effective than giving a slight water every day.
2. Roses can look great in pots but it is a lot more work than when they are in the ground. Carefully watering and feeding your potted roses is crucial to success.
3. Regularly mulch and manure your roses, using sheep pellets and a mulch. The manure provides food and organic matter and helps the soil to hold more moisture when it's dry. Mulching also suppresses the weeds and helps stop the moisture in the soil from evaporating.
4. When deadheading, make sure that you cut back to a major leaf. If you only cut the flowers off the roses are less likely to flower as well later on, and the rose will soon start to look untidy.
5. Any major pruning is best done in July. And if you need help, keep an eye out as we'll post some rose pruning tips nearer the time.