Time to plant roses

Itching to plant out some gorgeous roses in your garden? According to the experts, winter, when the plants are dormant and come bare rooted in hessian bags, is the ideal time to dig them in.

But before you dash into your garden centre or chase them up on line, prepare their beds. If you haven’t done that in advance, choose a spot that gets plenty of sun, has well-draining soil and, for best results, hasn’t had roses planted in it before.

First till the soil then dig a hole deep enough to hold the rose upright and wide enough to accommodate the rose’s roots. Mix in compost and slow-release fertiliser – it’s best to avoid manure unless it is well rotted as it will burn the roots of the plant.

Choose plants that have plump, healthy-looking stems. Unwrap the rose, then give the roots a drink in a bucket of water. Place the plant on top of a small mound you have created in the centre of the hole and back fill until the earth comes to just below the union bud – the point from which new canes emerge. Stake standard roses.

Lightly prune your new roses back to an outside bud at the end of winter and treat after pruning with a little antifungal spray to avoid diseases setting in.

Garden centres and nurseries now have an abundant supply of roses filling their aisles. Choose a plant from the range of new roses this season, tried and true favourites, or from old-fashioned roses like the shrub rose Gruss an Aachen or the rambler Albertine. They may only flower once a year but the incredible display and scent are well worth it.

Alternatively, there are the look-alikes, the fragrant and stunning David Austin English roses, which include the standard variety among this season’s arrivals in garden centres. Stock ranges in colour from pure whites through the full range of pinks, like the deliciously soft pink Wedgwood, yellows such as Golden Celebration with its large cupped rich-golden-yellow flowers, to all shades of reds right through to Tradescant’s deep wine-red rosettes.

Standouts in new-release roses: The floribunda Scott Base with fragrant, double, cream buds that open to white flowers. The hybrid tea Gospel which produces strongly perfumed, purple/violet flowers in small clusters that bloom throughout the season. The award-winning Lemon n Lime is something a little different. Its soft- lemon blooms have green tinges.


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