For me this year, the Rose has completely stolen the show. You can really understand why it’s been in the hearts of many for millennia. With so many to choose from, they really are star performers in any garden. When I was younger and my taste wasn’t as refined as it is today, I wasn’t a fan of the rose much. But what a fool I was to be so passive of such an elegant beauty.
This year at Gardener’s World Live to mark the 50 years of Gardener’s World anniversary they had viewers vote for the most influential plant of the last 50 years. Adam Frost put forward the Rose and rightly so it won, but let’s face it, it had to, what else could compare to the influence this plant has? If you use the hashtag #rose on Instagram, you’ll see just some of its influence and how much people hold it dear to them. It speaks of love and romance, we give roses to say we care. They are loved everywhere all over the world and some so much that they have them tattooed on themselves. We wear the rose pattern on our clothes or in accessories, we have paintings, the list goes on forever, the rose is a truly iconic plant and almost everyone can recognise it instantly.
What’s wrong with my rose? Why have my roses leaves got black spots on?
Yes, there is a downside to this beauty. Unfortunately, she is susceptible to disease, most particularly ‘Black Spot’ a fungal disease (Diplocarpon rosae) which effects its foliage turning them a yucky yellow with black spots on, it also reduces the plant’s vigour. The main cause of the disease is the wet spring weather we have here in the UK. The moist, humid conditions spread the fungal virus which is windborne and when rain is splashed onto newly emerging leaf tissue.
My roses have suffered terribly from the black spot this year and I’m an organic gardener, so I’m currently researching an organic method of resolving the fungal infection. (If you have an organic solution against black spot please let me know in a comment below) I’m going to try using Neem Oil, which is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the Neem (Azadirachta indica). The other organic method most people adopt is to strip the affected leaves from the shrub. NEVER, however, compost these, and try not to let them drop on your soil surface or the spores can spread, instead, you would do well to burn them in an incinerator or add them to your regular waste bin. Roses can also succumb to other diseases too like powdery mildew, rose dieback and rose rust. They also are loved by a few pests too, like aphids and brown scale to name a few.
But, this shouldn’t repel you from wanting to grow roses, they just require a little TLC and I promise in return they will reward you abundantly.
In my garden, there are 15 roses in total. A few are ‘Unknown’ varieties that I never recorded when they were planted many moons ago (gardening fail) and some are new, nine in total, as my love for them, has gone wild over the last year.
I have a mixture of colours and types. Climbers, ramblers, floribundas, hybrid teas, classic, and shrub and they are all equally wonderful and I want as many as I possibly can grow in my small garden. The fragrance on a summers day as the sunshine gently heats the flower head which then fills the air with the most luscious scent is the epitome of summer for me. It makes me want to drink tea and read a classic novel, whilst I bathe in the fragrance of Turkish delight.
Caring for a Rose isn’t as difficult as you may think. Planting up is usually done in autumn or spring and each spring the plant should be fed with a good organic rose fertiliser and a mulch of well-rotted manure. The repeat flowering varieties also benefit from a second feed after their first real performance, this is usually done around July when they are gearing up to put on another performance.
Pruning is usually done in the winter months and if you follow the basic principles of the 3 D’s you can’t really get it wrong. This is Dead, Diseased and Damaged, it basically means take out all that fall into these categories. You want to make your cut on an angle too, just above a bud, so the rain water can run off the cut. To deadhead or light prune through the summer months is critical to how well your rose performs, if you don’t regularly cut the spent blooms, the plant will focus its energy on creating seed (hips). To keep the plant in good shape and have its best chance against the disease it’s good to keep the plant airy, you don’t want your branches to rub against each other. You can help it by making your cut just above a 5 leaf set (not 3) above this determines where the new branch will form, helping to keep good airflow around it.
Do you grow roses and if so which is your best variety? Do you have some organic methods for growing roses that you swear by, if so please share them below?
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