Rose gardening in January

We are just settling back in to normality looking at the rose gardens after a Christmas of turkey and roast potatos thinking ‘what next?’……

Sir John Mills at the Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Sir John Mills at the Chelsea Flower Show 2012

So OK…  January may not be the most colourful time of the gardening year but there are a few things you can (and should!) be doing out in the garden to take advantage of the lengthening days while waiting for the bulbs then the first rose shoots to appear.


You will have probably given your roses a gentle prune in October to help reduce the risks of wind rock over the winter but now is the time to finish the prune ready for the new growing season.  Of course pruning does depend on the variety of rose.

Shrub and bush roses should normally be pruned fairly hard perhaps back as far as 6″ to 8″ and should be prune into a goblet (cup) shape.  You should prune back to ourward facing bud shoots so that new growth does not grow in and rub.

Climbing roses and repeat flowering rambling roses should be pruned back to the main structure that they are growing on.  That is to say that if a rose is growing over an arch you should take off the growth back to the big branches that are holding the rose to the arch.

Once flowering rambling roses should NOT be pruned at this time of year, but in July/August when the rose has finished its flush; this is because the flowers appear on the previous years wood.

Disease prevention

Now is a great to time give your garden a good winter wash.  Back in the day it would have been with Jeyes Fluid but these days there is a great much more nature friendly product called Armillitox soap based outdoor cleaner which is great for killing nasty spores like blackspot which can overwinter in the soil.  You should make sure that all the leaves and pruned wood has been removed and burnt then make up a watering can of armillitox following the instructions on the bottle and liberally wash the rose plants and areas around the plants with the mixture.  If you have had bad blackspot problems you should also sprinkle a sulphur based compound like Sulphur Rose around the rose plants.  Done yearly this will drastically reduce the occurance of blackspot in your rose garden.

When you have finished in the garden then there is still 12 weeks in which to order your new bare root roses for planting this season.  Why not try one of the new Peter Beales Modern Classic roses – all the health of modern roses with all the charm of the original old garden and classic roses.

Have a great time gardening this winter!

Chelsea 2012 – Sir John Mills’ Return To Chelsea


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Chelsea 2005 we saw the launch of a new rose named after the late Sir John Mills. We were accompanied by his two daughters, Hayley Mills and Juliett Mills. Unfortunately Sir John himself passed away two weeks before the launch, … Continue reading