Jenny Williams, the gardener extraordinaire behind The Laundry Rocks blog, is back once more with a summer rose care update. She explains what steps she takes to ensure that she gets the most beautiful blooms for as long as possible. Over to you, Jenny!
Time For A Rose Care Update
It’s that time of year when everything we’ve been waiting for has grown and reached its peak.
In our garden,the standout plants now are by far the roses.
Following on from my last post about our rose maintenance we have just given all our roses a hand full of granular rose feed, which is applied to the base of each bush. Followed by a whole watering can of water.
This is a reactive measure to them starting to show a few signs of stress and hunger.
Looking back on last years pictures has shown that our techniques, aided by the recent weather, have brought on the roses by at least two weeks!
I can remember last year when we opened our garden on 29-30th May, not a single rose was in flower, this year on 26th May rose ‘Pilgrim’, ”Gertrude Jekyll’, ‘Darcey Bussell’ and a few others were already busting into flower, crazy!
All the heat and sunshine in April, followed by the heavy showers over the past fortnight, have caused an increase in greenfly, resulting in stress to the plants. It has also made some plants bolt and produce huge blooms! Some were so big, that with the added weight of the rainfall, some of the branches have been snapping off with the sheer weight!
We have been keeping a close eye on the early signs of greenfly and have used Rose clear ultra. This has been applied sparingly and only on a calm evening. I’m hopeful that this will only need to be done once!
Over the past two weeks I’ve been checking and dead heading most days, in order to extend the flowering season and enjoy the look and scent of these glorious flowers .
I remember reading a few years ago, about a female gardener (and I can’t remember for the life of me who it was!) that kept a pretty basket tucked in a corner of her rose beds, so that whenever she was strolling through her garden, she could deadhead her plants and dispose of them easily… What a great idea!
If you’re wondering what I mean by deadheading, it is a way of keeping the plant tidy and depending on the variety, encouraging a second flush of flowers. Most of my rose bushes are multi headed, which means there’s a cluster of flowers on one stem that flower at different times.
As soon as the first flower has faded, I snap it off from the base of the flower head. Once all flowers on that stem are over, I then cut 2-3 buds below the finished blooms.
NOTE-This must not be done on roses that produce winter ‘hips’ as these are decorative. Most roses, and especially the Dog rose, produce hips that are a wonderful food source to birds.
Over the past week I have also been checking all the climbing roses and tying in any stragglers to keep them looking tidy. It’s important to tie in any new stems while they are still young and malleable.
In two of our new rose beds, my husband has just made some low metal supports, using some rusty old estate railings.
These will act as protection for both the low growing roses and the young box underneath that is growing on the outer edge of the beds.
We feel the result is subtle and pleasing to look at.
It’s always a good idea to keep a log on how you have been caring for your roses. With a log, you can see what different approaches worked well or less well, and how the weather may have influenced the development of your roses. With this information you can improve your rose care technique each year and make sure that you get the best from you roses. Taking lots of pictures helps too, they are such a good reminder of when each variety started to flower and how well they performed each year. I love looking through magazines, visiting gardens and shows, seeking out what looks and works well next to a particular rose.I hope you are enjoying your roses and garden as much I am!
If you’ve enjoyed reading about how to care for your roses during summer, have a read of Expert Rose Care With Jenny Williams. To see more beautiful photos of Jenny’s garden, and especially her roses, check out The Laundry Rocks instagram.