Spring is here – time to get out into the garden

Aside

Peter Beales Roses container area in Summer

Peter Beales Roses container area in Summer

Here at the Peter Beales Roses Gardens in Attleborough the spring bulbs are all creeping out of the soil with the snowdrops nearly fully out and the crocuses not far behind and even the daffodils looking like they might come out soon!  There has been a bitter easterly wind over the southern part of the country over the last week but this shouldn’t stop you getting out into the garden and preparing for the summer of  flowers to come…

Here are a few thoughts on what you could be doing now.

Pruning

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.

Modern 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 outward facing bud shoots so that new growth does not grow in and rub.

Shrub roses should be pruned fairly hard to their main branches and again should be pruned into a goblet shape to prevent branches growing inwards and rubbing.

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 can be pruned  gently (stumped) at this time of year but leave some old wood as this is where the flowers will form.

Last few weeks to order bare root roses

There are about 4 weeks left in which to order your bare root roses from us.  For several reasons (including the environment!) we do not use cold storage fridges nor send roses out much past the start of April.  Peter Beales believed that roses are best kept in the natural rhythm of their local environment where possible.

If you are struggling with which roses to buy here are 4 we can’t recommend enough as they are healthy, scented and free flowering throughout the summer.  Every rose grower should grow at least one of these.

 

Macmillan Nurse Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Macmillan Nurse Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Macmillan Nurse (Shrub Rose) – Macmillan Nurse is one of our most successful introductions and for good reason.  It is a tidy shrub rose with classic style, but hardy, blooms which give a gentle sweet scent.  The foliage is rudely healthy and very disease resistant.  The blooms stay on the plant for a long time and clusters are beautiful when cut and brought indoors.  It was introduced for the Macmillan Nurses and the great work that they do looking after sufferers of cancer.

 

 

Sir Paul Smith Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Sir Paul Smith Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Sir Paul Smith (Climber) – Introduced for the fashion designer Sir Paul Smith by his wife in 2006 Sir Paul Smith has become a “go to” rose for those looking for a healthy, scented, large bloomed climbing rose in a classy purple colour.  It is as at home over an arch or pergola as climbing up trellis work.

 

 

Queens Jubilee Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Queens Jubilee Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Queens Jubilee Rose (Shrub) - Although only introduced in 2012 the Queens Jubilee Rose has become a popular garden favourite and one of our best selling roses.  The delightful creamy yellow blooms open up with a delicate fragrance and the foliage is shiny and healthy.  It is ideal in groups of 3 or 5 to form a bed or as a single specimen plant.

 

 

Red Letter Day Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Red Letter Day Rose by Peter Beales Roses

Red Letter Day (Shrub) – Introduced as part of the Modern Classic Roses family Red Letter Day is very similar in flower shape to Macmillan Nurse but has sprays of beautiful red roses borne in slowly opening clusters and is a few feet larger.  The style of bloom is typical of a Modern Classic rose and although newly introduced is sure to become one of the most popular red shrub roses in time.

Along side these 4 suggestions why not try one of the other new Peter Beales Modern Classic roses – all the health of modern roses with all the charm of the original old garden and classic roses.  If you are interested in the original forerunners to these modern roses don’t forget that you can search by date on our website http://www.classicroses.co.uk/

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.

Pruning

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!

Caterpillers

Caterpillars

Caterpillars

These little creatures will crawl up the stems of roses and with abounding enthusiasm, enjoy a meal of rose leaf. Often they will have been present on the plant since the mother moth laid her eggs on the underside of a leaf and as she will not remain around it is likely that the presence of the damaging caterpillars will go unnoticed until suddenly large chunks of leaf disappear. As and when one is seen, it should be removed and destroyed (or taken to the garden of an enemy). When too many are present for this sadly the only alternative is to spray with insecticide. Ensure that both sides of the leaf receive an application.

Black Spot

As the common cold is to humans, this must be the most common rose disease and there are very few cultivars totally resistant to it, although some fair better than others. A few black spots are not that unsightly and the fact that a rose may get black spot should not be a reason for not growing it.

The disease is usually most noticeable from mid-summer onwards although the odd variety may succumb badly before this, especially after a mild winter as Black spot spores can be air borne and are occasionally carried from one plant to another on the blades of secateurs. When they find a suitable leaf to settle on they will not be seen until small round-ish patches of black or dark brown appear, these will soon multiply; the areas not spotted will become yellow and eventually the leaf will fall.

Fallen leaves should be collected and burnt where possible, as the spores will over-winter in shallow soil where they will remain ready to begin their destruction the following year. In the worst scenario the spores will infect branches and unless tackled this is when the whole plant is at risk. Cut away what you can and apply a winter wash with a mild sterilant, there are now several available that will successfully deal with fungal diseases such a black spot. A regular wash with the hose is also recommended as this will wash the spores away from the plant on which it is harbouring. Some say that black spot can be deterred by spraying the plant with a solution of skimmed milk, but I have never tried doing so.

Viruses

Viruses are not contagious between roses in the garden and if present will have been there since the plant was propagated. Most commercial growers produce their plants by budding scions of a variety onto a rootstock, and if the material they took the scion from was infected so will the new plant be. Rose mosaic is the worst of the viruses manifesting itself as wavy yellow lines or white blotches on leaves, and although there are others, they are of less significance. Viruses are not life threatening and at worst will cause somewhat stunted growth and blooms. Some varieties of roses have had a virus of one form or another for many, many years and because of this it is nigh on impossible to find a clean plant. Indeed we may not recognise that a variety has a virus simply because we have always known it to be the same. Scientists have found that they are able to kill off a virus therefore creating clean stock but this can only be done under laboratory conditions not yet available to the nurseryman. As a rose with a virus is not contagious the best way to deal with it is simply to ignore the fact that it has it and enjoy it for what it is, some of our most lovely roses have them.

Planting Roses in Pots

The same theory applies here as for planting your rose in the ground, really as far as depth and soil are concerned. If using a ready made compost it would be wise to choose one that is soil based. Always add drainage to the bottom of the pot, shingle is fine, roses hate to have their feet in water. Leave enough distance from the edge of the pot to the compost to allow for watering without compost spillage, a couple of inches is advisable.

Every year when the rose is dormant, compost should be scraped away to a depth of a few inches and replaced. Then, about every three years or so the dormant rose should be removed and all the compost replaced.

Rabbits

Pretty little bunnies are not as innocent as they appear and they particularly enjoy feasting on roses. Young rabbits relish the young tender shoots that are within their reach and will systematically find them all as they sprout in spring. Older rabbits will cause major destruction, especially in winter by stripping the plants of their bark often standing on their hind legs to reach the higher stems. If you live in an area inhabited by these creatures some measures will need to be taken to protect your roses. A wire mesh fence can be used to keep them out but be sure there are none in the garden when you put this up, otherwise you will compound the problem, rabbits produce offspring like roses produce leaves. The alternative way to protect them is to erect individual fencing around the base of each rose at least while they are young, although unsightly this will allow the roses a head start against the rabbits. There are chemicals, which can be sprinkled on the ground designed to keep rabbits away, but these are never completely successful.

How to plant roses

Soil for roses

On the whole roses love clay, enjoy a well balanced loam, tolerate sandy conditions but will struggle in chalk. Very sandy and chalky soils will need improving. Roses prefer a neutral to acid soil, a pH of around 6.5 but are very happy on the margins of this. A pH of 7 or below indicates an acid soil that would benefit from the addition of garden lime or mushroom compost. Like wise an alkaline soil will require improvement a well rotted farmyard manure or composts are ideal but not always readily available, peat is also good but as a finite resource should be avoided if possible, there are some very good peat substitutes available instead.

Soil should be well dug in advance if possible and it is at this stage that any additions can be made.


How you can expect to receive roses

Please Note: Bare-root roses are tied in bundles. If you have ordered more than one rose please cut the string holding the roses together and separate carefully before planting.

Roses should not be planted when their roots are dry nor should they be planted during frost. If it is frosty when you receive them, they should not take any harm left unopened in their package for up to one week. If it remains frosty for longer than this open the package and, after moistening the roots, place the roses – still in their bundle – in a container of damp soil or damp sand. A wooden box, bucket or large polythene bag will usually hold enough soil for this purpose. Plant out the roses when the frost has disappeared. If the roses arrive when it is not convenient for you to plant them, they should be ‘heeled in’ out of doors the moment the weather permits.


Heeling in your roses for bad weather

If your bare root rose order arrives in a period of heavy frost it is going to be very difficult to plant it. Therefore, in preparation for it’s arrival have an area of soil covered with an old piece of carpet or something the frost is unlikely to penetrate, in which the rose maybe ‘heeled in’ until it is able to be planted. When it arrives dig a trench deep enough to cover all the roots. Lay the rose against the side of the trench on which you have mounded the soil and simply dig more soil over the roots, compressing the soil as you go.


How to plant a bare root rose

How to plant bare root roses

How to plant bare root roses

For a bare root rose the hole should be wide enough to allow the roots to be spread out and deep enough so that the base of the stems are just covered. If required, the addition of proprietary rose food or bone meal, into the base of the hole, should be done now. A handful is enough and this should be mixed in with the soil there to avoid root scorch. A little powdered food can also be sprinkled onto the removed soil before it is returned.


How to plant a container rose

The same depth applies for a potted rose, with the first inch or so of the branches below soil level, and the hole wide enough for the root ball, there is no need to tease the roots out but better to leave the root ball intact. If purchased early in the summer season (before June) it is wise to leave the rose in it’s pot to give the roots time to establish.


Specific rose replant disorder / Rose replant disease

Planting a rose in a cardboard box to avoid replant disease

Planting a rose in a cardboard box to avoid replant disease

Unfortunately roses should never be planted where they have been before, unless the ground is given adequate rest or is treated. The old fashioned method of treatment was Jeyes fluid but there are other products available that are less harmful including a tar based product. If leaving the ground to rest a period of two or more years will be required. In the mean time plant the area with other plants such as begonias which, it is said, have cleansing properties.

The alternative is to dig out and replace the soil from elsewhere in the garden, or import fresh soil.

You could also dig a hole large enough for a bio-degradable cardboard box, no smaller than 1 cubic foot in size and fill with fresh soil. The box should be sunk into the ground in the position where you wish to plant your new rose and filled with good virgin soil or compost. Plant your rose in the centre of the box at normal planting depth.


Planting roses in pots

As a rough guide, for smaller shrubs which grow up to 3ft, use pots with a 14 – 16 inch diameter. For larger ramblers and scramblers use pots with a depth of up to 20 – 22 inches.

As with planting roses into the ground the base of the stems should be just below the surface of the soil. If using a ready made compost it would be wise to choose one that is soil based. Always add drainage to the bottom of the pot, shingle is fine, roses hate to have their feet in water. Leave enough distance from the edge of the pot to the compost to allow for watering without compost spillage, a couple of inches is advisable.

Every year when the rose is dormant, compost should be scraped away to a depth of a few inches and replaced. Then, about every three years or so the dormant rose should be removed and all the compost replaced.


Transplanting mature roses

1. Prepare the area well. 2. Prune the rose as hard as possible, leaving some younger wood. 3. When digging up the rose, try to retain the soil as a ball around the roots. It is likely that some roots will be damaged in this process but as long as most of the fibrous roots remain intact this should not cause too much concern. 4. Plant with care, being careful not to break up the root ball when treading the soil down. 5. Water well and thereafter, regularly to help the roots establish quickly.


Planting shrub/bush roses

Shrub roses should be planted at the closest 60cm (2ft) apart.

Rose Slug Sawfly

These little slug like creatures, the larvae of black fly, are the culprits that eat away the flesh of a rose leaf, leaving behind only a skeleton of veins. They will finish one leaf completely before moving to the next and sadly the only successful form of control is spraying with insecticide.

I cannot vouch for the success of organic pest sprays as far as this culprit is concerned.

Pests and diseases that affect roses

As with all plants, roses can become infested with pests or damaged by disease. This should not however be a reason for not including them in the garden for as my father, Peter Beales, is often heard to say, ‘what are a few black spots among friends?’

Good husbandry is really a matter of common sense, a little bit of logical thinking in relation to the choice of variety and it’s situation, its care coupled with preventative measures will go a long way in maintaining a healthy rose.

Below is a list of the most common pests and diseases that can sometimes affect roses – there are further articles on each of them in this blog.

 

Pests and diseases are not the only ailments to affect roses but by and large the majority of others are cosmetic and will do no real harm.