The rose. What flower has inspired more poetry or more romance? There is good reason why roses are everybody’s favorite flower. From the delicate little Cecile Brunner with it’s picture perfect pale pink buds, to the magnificence of a the mighty yellow and peach blooms of a Peace rose in full bloom or the blowsy indulgence of a Pierre de Ronsard as it trails over arbours and up trellis, there is a rose for every garden, in every colour and style.
Now that Spring is in the air and the soil in our garden is warming up, so the roots of our favourite plants are waking up from a long sleep. It’s time to don the gardening gloves, grab the secateurs, and make sure we give our roses the best possible chance for healthy growth and a long-lasting bloom of flowers in the summer and autumn months ahead.
While rose growers living in warmer climates generally prune over winter; for those people living in a cold climate, April is ideal the time to prune. Wait until the leaf buds begin to swell. For cold climate dwellers, this is also the time to clean up around the base of the bush, removing any old leaves or mulch that was used to protect the bush over winter.
The best time to feed your roses is at pruning time, so for those in cold climates this will be in early spring. Use a good quality all-purpose rose food. For those in warm climates, who pruned and fed their roses over winter, hold off on applying new fertilizer just now. This should be done in early summer.
In early spring it’s important to look out for aphids on new growth. If these tiny green insects appear, clustering on the new growth, use insect spray such as Pyrethrum or Confidor to deter them.
When buds start to appear on your roses, you can apply a foliar feed to encourage them. Try spraying them with Peter’s Multi Purpose Fertilizer or Miracle Gro Multipurpose Fertilizer. If you find any evidence of Black Spot on the leaves of your roses, use a fungicide spray to tackle the problem head on.
As the weather warms up, it pays to mulch well around the base of the plant with a pea straw or lucerne hay. As these mulches break down they add much needed nutrients to the soil, as well as protecting the roots from drying out. You will enjoy a magnificent flush of blooms by mid spring, but keep an eye out for black spot!
As your roses bloom and grow in the warmer weather, a constant deadheading will ensure a steady display of picture perfect roses well into summer and autumn. Now is the time to get out and visit gardens and see other roses in their full glory – a perfect opportunity to make note of all the roses you want to plant in your own garden for next year! Happy gardening!