Expert Tips on Caring for Roses/Care for Roses

Caring for Roses


There are many who think that no garden is complete without roses. There is no need here to extol the virtues of these outstanding plants. There is certainly little to approach them for wealth of colour and diversity of interest. Although a whole book can be devoted to their cultivation, space precludes more than a survey of the main principles being dealt with here. It can be said however, that roses respond well to compost gardening and at least one bed should be set aside in a new garden for these attractive and colourful subjects.


Preparation for Planting Roses

caring-for-roses As roses are to stay in the same place for many years, prepare for new plantings by digging the plot or bed to the full depth of the spade. Add as much compost as can be spared, at the same time, placing a generous layer in the bottom of each trench. Try to dig well beforehand so that the soil has time to settle, before planting. Good drainage is essential for roses and a shaded site should be avoided. 

Manuring before Planting – Rake in 3 ozs. of Bone Meal and 4 ozs. dry wood ash, to each square yard, a week or so prior to planting. If enough compost is available, lightly fork in a 2in. layer, just before planting is done, but make sure that this is kept in the top few inches of soil. Firm the soil by treading if it is at all loose.


Planting Rose Bushes

Bushes should be planted as soon as they are received in autumn, so long as the soil is not too wet. If it is, plant the bushes temporarily (called heeling in) until conditions improve. When the soil is dry enough, dig out a hole large enough to take the roots without cramping and to such a depth that the planted bush will be the same depth as before. The soil mark, showing previous planting depth, will be seen on the stem. 

It is important not to plant too deeply, for if the point at which the bud was inserted (the union) is buried the rose itself will root. The effect of the root portion (the root stock) is then lost. 

Plant firmly, treading the soil as necessary, and place a 2in. mulch of compost all round the bushes after planting. Make sure that each bush or each bed is labelled correctly.


Planting Distances

The dwarf varieties should be given 18 to 20 ins. apart each way, and the stronger growing varieties 21 to 24ins. If in doubt, check from a rose catalogue whether or not the variety concerned is a strong growing sort.

If an old rose bed has to be dealt with, in which there are many blank spaces, rather than plant new bushes in these gaps it is a better plan to make an entirely new bed or beds. Some of the existing bushes in the old bed can be moved, so that they form a complete display in themselves. If this is impossible and new bushes have to be planted in the old bed, take out 15ins. of the existing soil and replace with a mixture of new soil well enriched with compost, equal parts of each if possible. This should be done for each new planting site, not the whole bed.


Pruning Roses

Newly-planted bush roses should be cut back to about two or three buds after planting. The tops of the cuts should be slightly slanting, and just above the uppermost bud.

Established bush roses can be pruned in the same way, cutting back the growth made that year to two or three buds. Very strong growing varieties like Peace can be pruned more lightly. Any dead wood, or very weak shoots should be cut out altogether. The time of pruning is usually late March but many bushes are now pruned in early winter. 

During the summer, on newly planted and established roses, make full use of any spare lawn mowings as a mulch for the rose bed. Do not apply a thick layer at any one time; a lin. dressing is ample. Such a mulch will keep down much of the weed growth but any that does appear can be dug out, or pulled up by hand and used in the compost heap. The mulch, plus the compost used in spring, will do much towards building up a reserve of soil moisture for use in dry spells, which is an important point with roses. 

In summer cut back the spent blooms as soon as they go over, to just above a growth bud. This should be done regularly and all such material cut off can be put on the compost heap. 

The main job to do in autumn is to fork through the beds lightly, thus burying any mulching material that remains. All fallen foliage should be raked up first and composted in the centre of a well-made heap. Be careful not to fork too deeply, close up to the bushes themselves.


Good Varieties of Hybrid Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals

There is such a range of varieties, in such diversity of colours, that the choice, for a beginner, or indeed an experienced gardener, can be bewildering. One’s own fancy should be followed, based on varieties seen at public parks, shows, at nurseries or in other gardens. Usually if a bed of 6, 12 or more new bushes is being planned for, a fairly wide range of colours is preferred. To help in such a choice, any of the following varieties can be chosen with confidence. 

Crimson Glory – A very deep crimson rose with a dark velvet sheen, still amongst the most popular. It is very free flowering, of upright habit and well scented.

Eden Rose – This is a coral pink with a silver sheen, and bears large blooms. It has fairly strong growth and is highly scented. 

Josephine Bruce – A bright deep red, large blooms and low growing habit. The flowers are long lasting and scented. 

Peace – A very vigorous variety, which should be planted with other strong-growing sorts. It has large well shaped blooms, yellow in bud, edged with pink, later becoming yellow, cream and pink. One bush at least is a “must”, and can be planted in the centre of the bed if other weaker growing sorts are included with it. 

Speks Yellow –  A good variety with bold shining yellow blooms of medium size borne in clusters on upright stems. A nicely scented variety and one of the best yellows.

Sultane – A brilliant vermilion scarlet with an orange flush and a golden yellow reverse. The flowers are freely borne; the growth is slender. A very colourful variety for a small bed. 

Violinista Costa – This is a good garden variety, coral orange and pink in colour. The flowers are of medium size and the growth compact in habit. 

Virgo –  One of the best white varieties, with stronger than average growth. It has well shaped buds, and in a mixed bed provides a good contrast in colour. It is of upright habit and scented. 

A further choice can be made from: McGredys Ivory, creamy white; Monique, pink; Karl Herbst, red; Lydia, yellow; Mrs. G. A. van Rossen, golden orange; Ena Harkness, red, and Tzigane, orange pink.


Hybrid Polyantha or Floribunda Roses

These are roses which bear large trusses, or clusters of flowers, most of which may open at the same time, and which are very popular for bedding purposes. Here again the choice of varieties is very wide but any of the following can be chosen with confidence. 

Fashion – Flowers are salmon pink, and the buds particularly well shaped. The growth is of medium vigour and flowers are borne over a long period. 

Frensham –  This is a deep crimson with semi-double flowers borne in large, bold clusters. It is an outstanding variety and deservedly very popular. 

Goldilocks –  As the name implies, this rose is a rich golden yellow. The flowers are double and borne in bold clusters. Growth is dwarf in habit, and the flowering season longer than with many varieties.

Independence – A fairly vigorous variety with large flowers, vermilion in colour and freely borne. It is best to remove the old flowers regularly as they fade.

Masquerade – Of fairly vigorous growth, with flowers borne in large clusters, orange then crimson as they open. An unique variety for colouring but one of the easiest to grow. 

Polly Prim – A good variety of medium vigour and bushy habit. The large, lemon yellow flowers are borne in bold sprays, making an eye catching display.

A further choice can be made from : Concerto, orange scarlet; Korona, scarlet; Moulin Rouge, crimson scarlet; Orange Triumph, orange crimson; Spartan, salmon orange; Sundance, yellow pink, and Ingrid Stenzig, pink.


Rambler Roses

Rambler roses are without equal for covering a pergola or fence, for growing against a wall that needs covering to take away the “bare” effect, and for providing at the same time a wealth of colour in the summer months. In many gardens only two or three varieties may need to be considered. These may well be chosen from the most popular, well-tried sorts, and any of the varieties described below can be purchased with confidence. 

Alberic Barbier, white; Albertine, copper pink; Crimson Conquest, red; Chaplins Pink; Dr. Van Fleet, pink; Climbing Orange Triumph; Sanders White and Francois Juranville, pink.


Pruning Rambler Roses

The shoots which have borne the flowers are cut out, down to soil level, in autumn. New shoots, that is those which have made their growth the same season, are kept and tied in securely to the pillar, pergola or fence. These shoots are not shortened. It is these that will give the flower display next year. Should there be but a few shoots (new), one or two of the old growths can be kept, but all the side shoots on these should be cut back to two buds. 

With rambler roses, the best way to plant cuttings, which can be inserted out of doors, is to prepare the soil in the border (not too sunny, and sheltered), making it very loose and friable, and mixing silver sand and leaf compost or peat with it, so that it is moderately dry. Press the cuttings, which should be 10 ins. long, firmly (this is most important) around the stem of each. The cuttings may be planted quite close together, i.e. bins. or so apart, and are best taken in early autumn.


Climbing Roses

These do well on the walls of a house, except the north aspect, or for growing against a fence or on pillars. A few very popular varieties are :

Gloire de Dijon, a creamy yellow, which is one of the few varieties which succeed on a north wall. Climbing Speks yellow; Madame Alfred Carriere, white; which will do fairly well in a sunless position. Climbing Crimson Glory, red; Pauls Scarlet, the well known rosy scarlet variety seen in many gardens. Madame G. Staechelin, rosy pink, and Climbing Caroline Testout, silvery pink.


Pruning Climbing Roses

Varieties such as Pauls Scarlet, Alberic Barbier and Chaplins Pink, are pruned in a similar manner, except that there may be fewer new shoots from ground level, to deal with. In this case, shorten some of the old shoots back to within 18ins. of ground level, to encourage a supply of new growth. The existing new shoots are retained, full length, and older growths either cut out or shortened back to where a new shoot can take its place. 

With other varieties, in general, leave in as much young growth as is possible, so long as the space available is not overcrowded. Old shoots can be cut out, if thin and weak, and any lateral growths remaining on old wood shortened back to two buds. Any dead pieces of wood should be cut out.


04. September 2010 by admin
Categories: Plants, Roses | Tags: | Comments Off on Expert Tips on Caring for Roses/Care for Roses


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