Grow The Perfect Rose
This week’s flower needs no introduction – it is the most loved flower and the world’s most frequently bought cut flower. But although the flower bought in the shops bears the same name as the one we are about to write about, it is missing one of the main characteristics of this flower, and that is FRAGRANCE. A Shop Bought rose will hardly ever have any scent at all and for this reason alone it is worth growing your own and cutting a bunch for your home. The Southern counties have already enjoyed roses for nearly a month, but in the North, mid June is the best time to enjoy the first flush of roses.
Flower of the week from YOUR garden to YOUR table 20th – 26th June.
Botanical Name: Rosa . Common Name: Rose.
When you grow your own roses you are not limited to single roses (known as Hybrid Tea roses) you can choose to grow multi head roses, ( floribunda roses), shorter roses better known as patio roses, or climbing roses which can scramble over many metres depending on the variety. If you don’t want a tall scraggly bush, you must prune your rose bush. As a general rule; preferably during winter or late spring remove a third of last years growth and any twigs that cross each other.
Modern hybrids are repeat flowering which means that after the first flush in early summer they will flower again, but only if you deadhead it (remove the wilted flower) otherwise many varieties will stop flowering and produce rose hips. On some garden varieties the hips are purposely left on to give colour during the winter months. If you deadhead at different heights and times, you can nearly get a continuous flowering bush throughout the summer.
I have often been asked, “why is my rose bush a mass of green leaves with a flush of single pink flowers in May totally different to the beautiful coloured rose I used to have?” The simple answer is that commercial roses are all grown on a rootstock which is usually derived from a wild type of rose, this can begin to grow again as a sucker from underneath the graft union and if left to grow, being more vigorous than the actual rose, it can take over the bush leaving you with a wild rose – not exactly the one you intended to plant. An easy way to tell if a new shoot is from the rose or from the root stock, is that; rose leaflets are usually arranged with two on either side and one on the tip whilst the wild rose has three on either side and one at the tip (but there are exceptions!) When removing suckers make sure you don’t just cut them, rather severe them from their growing point underground, otherwise they will just grow again. Always avoid damaging the roots as this encourages suckers.
Buying and Growing guide
Most plants are bought bare root and planted in the winter months but one can also buy potted roses all the year round. Roses come in all colours except cornflower blue – don’t be tempted by the inaccurate colouring of the catalogues! The closest to blue is a variety named blue moon which is a lovely lilac! I regularly visit Fryers rose growers of Knutsford in Cheshire. During the summer their rose fields are open to the public – you will be greeted with a breath-taking view of thousands of roses; you will then be able to see the form, and height, and most important – smell the fragrance of each variety and make your personal choice.
Always label and keep a note of the variety you have planted otherwise by the time you will want to buy another you will have forgotten the name of the rose you like, (and the label has either fallen off or has become illegible due to the weather). It is advisable to spray your rose bush with a systematic spray against disease as many varieties are prone to blackspot and mildew.
ALL WEATHER TIP
Another bane of rose growing in the UK is that many varieties don’t stand up to our rainy climate, for this reason I always have a few rose bushes in my polytunnel, this way I can enjoy a rose in my vase whatever the weather!
I find that although roses continue to grow, and open gracefully in water, they must be cut when their petals are already showing full colour and the sepals have opened – prior to that is a job for the soil not for the vase and they will stay tight closed in the vase. If you choose not to prune your garden rose you might get more roses but these will have lax stems, an untidy tall bush and the roses will not stand well in a vase. Surprisingly, although the rose is one of the most commonly bought cut flower they are not very long lasting, it is advisable to add sugar to the water and to recut the bottom of the stem with a slanting cut every other day to prolong their vase life.
Thought for the week:
Seeing a rose rise in your garden rise from its array of thorny stems should give the gardener immense optimism, at this time of the year when the gardener is sweating from digging, weeding and planting, you should know that a beautiful selection of fruit and veg will blossom from your toils very soon!
Money saving tip:
If you ever wanted to lay a patch of grass but could not afford the cost of turf or have no time to seed the area, listen to this idea. After a rainy weekend, shops like B&Q have accumulated a large amount of turf, but as nobody wants to lay turf on a wet weekend like the past one, their turf is still lying on the pallet- they have no way of watering turf to keep it fresh and they must therefore sell it off quick – at 20%of the original price. Take with a pair of gloves – don’t be ashamed to roll them out in store just to make sure that they are not mouldy (a bit of dryness doesn’t matter as it will freshen up once laid ) – you won’t have a bowling green or Wimbledon but you will have a new lawn for next to nothing!
Enjoy your gardening week!
Next week : Sowing late seeds.