Caring for Roses and Growing Roses in The Rose Garden
Caring for Roses and Growing Roses
The Rose Garden
Roses have been considered worthy of cultivation for many centuries. They were grown for their beauty about 600 BC, when the poetess Sappho named the rose the ‘Queen of Flowers’, and there is evidence that they were used to provide ‘rose scented oil’ in Pylos, Greece, about 1400 BC. Today this magnificent plant has a huge following throughout the world, and few gardens look complete without a rose of some kind.
The modern rose has evolved from intricate cross-breeding of three distinct types, which were given to us respectively by the Chinese, the Iranians, and the cradle of Western civilization in western Asia. The results are to be seen in modern gardens in every temperate country in the world, displaying cardinal virtues: a wide colour range, wonderful fragrance, often a long period of bloom, and ease of cultivation.
Most popular, however, are the Hybrid Tea and Floribunda types, for it is among these that the plant breeders have achieved some of their most magnificent results.
Hybrid Tea roses have large, full blooms, carried singly or a few in a head. It is these roses that are most often seen on the show bench.
Floribunda roses have heads of many blooms, the individual flowers usually being smaller and more open than Hybrid Teas; they tend to produce a colourful effect over a long period in the open rose garden.
Grandiflora and ‘Floribunda-Hybrid Tea type’ are terms that have been used to describe the increasing number of cultivars with characteristics mid-way between Hybrid Teas and Floribundas. These plants have blooms approaching the size and substance of Hybrid Teas, but in clusters like Floribundas.
It is the merging of various groups, as a result of breeding developments, that has led to efforts to introduce a new classification. At rose shows the new classification is already being used, but for many years gardeners will almost certainly continue usingthe terms Hybrid Tea (new classification is ‘Large’ ) and Floribunda (new classification is ‘Cluster’ ).
Climbers and ramblers can add the extra dimension of height to a rose garden, and there are many fine cultivars. Many are climbing versions of normal Hybrid Tea roses, and though beautiful do not flower as prolifically as most of the ramblers. Ramblers tend to branch more from the base, whereas a climber has more pronounced lateral branches from the main stem. However, ramblers flower in one great burst of bloom as a rule, whereas some of the climbers flower twice in a season.
Shrub roses are true species or hybrids and cultivars still retaining a shrubby habit. Many of them have attractive leaves and hips as well as beautiful and often fragrant flowers. They are not, however, normally suitable subjects for growing in formal beds arrangements.
Although roses are very easy to grow, a little attention to their basic requirements will be well rewarded with superior blooms and healthier plants.
Suitable Soil and Sites for Growing Roses
Roses should be grown in a well-drained fertile, deep enough for the roots to be in top-soil rather than sub-soil, well cultivated and with plenty of humus-forming material incorporated.
As roses do not appreciate excessively acid or alkaline soil, a fairly neutral one is best. Always let the soil settle before planting, so that there are no air pockets.
Choose a suitable site not too windy, and where sun will be received for at least half the day.
Buying Rose Plants
Always buy fresh, strong, healthy, well-rooted plants: the experience of one’s neighbours may prove a guide to a source of supply.
Choose reliable cultivars, and make sure the plants have abundant roots and a thick main stem between roots and top growth. The length of the shoots does not matter so much, as long as there are two or three, firmly ripe and reasonably sturdy. Cheap roses are often ‘second grade’ plants.
Plant roses firmly, in autumn or spring. Container-grown roses can, however, be planted in early summer.
Always plant with wet roots, if necessary stand them in a bucket of water for an hour or two first. Position the plant upright in the hole, allowing the pliable ends of the roots to lie more or less horizontally on the bottom. Replace the soil gradually, firming it well between the roots. Ensure that the union between roots and stem (which may be recognized by the change in character of the bark) is at ground level and not buried.
Roses will benefit from a good rose fertilizer in spring and early summer. Foliar feeding is also possible, and may continue into late summer.
Do not neglect to your feed roses: but heavy feeding is only necessary for exhibition blooms.
Roses are probably best pruned in spring. Remove damaged wood, including any with brown pith, together with any old wood that has ceased to bear fruitful off-shoots.
What remains should be productive wood that will flower, but remove or shorten all thin shoots to the point where they seem strong enough to bear a flower worth cutting.
Routine Care for Roses
Caring for roses is important and you must help them to resist insect and disease attacks by prompt application of the appropriate remedy. Most insects are easily dealt with by modern insecticides, but fungi are more difficult often because the trouble is not spotted soon enough. Fungicides applied promptly will usually control the disease, but after a bad attack of black-spot or rose rust gather and burn fallen leaves.
Remove suckers andcompletely whenever they are seen, but don’t dig deeply between roses and try not to tread on the soil too much.
Trim off the old blooms of cultivars expected to flower again during the season, and keep long shoots of climbers tied to their supports, so that wind cannot damage them.