The Culture of Roses

The proper growing of roses involves more than good design for the beds. The prime consideration, after all, is colour, and as much bloom as possible. This demands that they be planted in the right kind of soil and in a position best suited to their requirements.


The soil should be a fairly stiff loam, of a good depth. Light sandy soils are of very little use. The only way to grow roses on such is to take out the top soil to a depth of about in. and fill up with a good rich loam. A liberal supply of manure should be incorporated with it.

The soil should be well drained, and for this reason, a substratum of chalk, gravel or other porous material is to be desired. Gravel may cause the beds to become too dry, but with a little care and forethought this can be avoided. Chalk should not be too near the surface if roses are to grow above, but when there is a good depth of soil, quite good results can be obtained. There should be at least in. of good loam above such a substrata.


Roses revel in sun and fresh air. For this reason care must be taken in choosing the place in which to plant them. They do not like shade, but at the same time they must not be in an exposed position for they dislike cold winds and frosts. It is a good plan to plant roses, if other considerations allow, on high ground, for frost is generally more harmful in valleys.


The best time to plant is early November, though, providing no severe frosts prevail, planting may be carried on throughout the winter if necessary. It is wise, however, to get the trees in early or failing November to leave them over until February or March.

The preparation of the beds should be done well before the roses are planted so that the soil may settle down. The trees must be planted firmly and this cannot be done when the soil is loose and springy.

The holes should be dug large enough to receive the fibrous roots without restriction and the tree planted sufficiently deep to allow of about I in. of soil above the point of grafting when planted. In the case of standard roses, a hole about 6 in. deep should be sufficient to secure firm planting.

The soil placed immediately next to the roots should be fine and friable, and it is necessary that it goes well amongst and around the fibres. Over this light covering a layer of soil, say 3 in. deep, should be filled in and this trodden down firm. The hole should then be filled up and made firm. When planting standard roses a good stake should be driven into position before the tree is planted. When the hole is filled up, the tree should be bound to the stake, taking care that a twist of binding material passes between the tree and the stake to prevent chafing of the bark.


Rose trees planted in the autumn should not be pruned until the spring, but roses planted in the spring should be pruned immediately. Only when there are exceptionally long shoots on trees planted in autumn, should they be cut off at the time of planting, and this is to prevent wind loosening the tree in the soil.

Pruning as done by the amateur gardener is generally too light rather than too heavy, and often insufficient wood is cut away. Standard trees should have their shoots cut back to about 4 in. from the stock, but bush roses may be allowed 6 in. of shoot above ground. This applies only for the first time of pruning subsequent to planting.

Treatment after this varies according to the variety. Hybrid Teas are more generally grown than any other types and these, with Hybrid Perpetuals and Standards should be pruned in March.

Bush and Standard Teas should be pruned in April, Wichuaiana Ramblers (the climbers that send up long shoots from the base) are pruned immediately after flowering. Other climbers are pruned in March. Plants grown for exhibition purposes require more severe pruning than those grown for ordinary bed decoration. Generally speaking, weak-growing varieties should be pruned more severely than the stronger-growing sorts. Those requiring hard pruning include: Hybrid Perpetuals, Hybrid Teas and Teas. In their case the centre of the plant should be well trimmed and all dead or weak shoots cut away.

All other shoots should be cut back to about four to six buds. Examples of this type are Mrs. Henry Morse, Earl Beatty, Admiration and Rev. **page** Roberts.

Moderate pruning is demanded by some trees of the same classes as above. All dead and weak shoots should be taken away, also any shoots which may cross one another when full grown. The strong shoots left should be cut back to about six to eight buds. Types requiring this sort of pruning are Betty Uprichard, Clarice Goodacre, Emma Wright, General McArthur, Etoile de Hollande, Los Angeles, Mabel Morse, Shot Silk, etc.

Other varieties require only light pruning. With these, the strong shoots from the ground should be cut back to about 8 in., while other shoots should be cut so as to leave about one to three buds on the side shoots. The side shoots on the old wood should be cut back to four or five eyes. It is wise to peg down the strongest-growing varieties, some of the shoots being 3-6 ft. long. Such roses as require this pruning are Frau Karl Druschki, Hugh Dickson, Caroline Testout, etc.

Climbing roses (not ramblers) require least pruning of any sorts. It is advisable each year to take out all wood over two years old and also any weak or dead shoots. This should be done in the early autumn, immediately after the flowering period. All young shoots should be tied into position at the same time. When the lower parts of the plant become bare of shoots it is a good plan to bend a runner back to fill the gap, or to cut one or two shoots back so as to induce low growth. Roses that require this sort of pruning are Climbing Caroline Testout, Mme. Ed. Herriot, Climbing Lady Hillingdon, Wm. Allen Richardson, etc.

Pruning of Ramblers

There is another class of rose used for covering arches, pergolas and porches, that is the Rambler rose group. The pruning of these is quite different from the pruning of the Climber. The climber is merely a taller version of the ordinary bush rose, and is pruned on the same principles as the bush rose, except that a larger skeleton of old wood is retained so that the rose covers more space on the support.

The true rambler rose has a very different habit of growth. It usually grows long new stems right from the ground level every year, very much in the same way as a raspberry or a blackberry. If allowed to grow unchecked, the old wood will certainly send out young shoots, that will in turn carry flowers, but these flowers will be of inferior quality as the seasons pass, and the plants will gradually become crowded and unhealthy.

What the gardener does is to take out entirely the old shoots that have borne flowers, cutting them right down to ground level. He then trains the new long canes that have not yet flowered into position over the pillar or archway which forms the support. This pruning is done in late summer as soon as the flowers have faded. There are some cases in which pruning cannot be carried out in quite such a drastic manner as described. For instance, some roses do not make long shoots freely from the ground level, but send out new strong young stems from some part of the old woody stem. In these cases it is obviously impossible to cut out entirely the wood that has carried flowers, but as far as possible the principle should be adhered to, and old wood cut away each year immediately the flowers fade.

Alberic Barbier is a well-known example of a rose that does not grow freely from the base. It does, however, send out innumerable strong stems from every part of the old wood, and drastic thinning out of the oldest parts is necessary from time to time. This type of rose makes a useful “ smother” rose to cover a porch, fence, or wall, and when it can be allowed to roam freely, very little pruning need be done.

07. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Kitchen Gardens, Uncategorized, Vegetable Gardening | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on The Culture of Roses


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