Sting in this tale of the sum­mer rose


It could be said that sum­mer be­longs to the rose – but frankly, mos­qui­toes are a stiff com­peti­tor.

Gar­dens ev­ery­where are filled to burst­ing with volup­tuous rose petals ooz­ing out their scented oils and win­dows open in the evening let lovely scents waft in – but with them come pesky mozzies.

If you haven’t got any roses ‘‘bloom­ing gor­geous’’ in your garden yet, then plan to plant some come win­ter – you will be re­warded with sump­tu­ous colours and vig­or­ous growth next sum­mer, es­pe­cially from those va­ri­eties that trail or climb.

Roses are re­lated to many ed­i­ble and or­na­men­tal plants, in­clud­ing ap­ples, blackberries, plums, peaches, pears, straw­ber­ries and hawthorns.

They can be de­scribed as bush, ram­bler, climber, weep­ing, shrub, minia­ture or stan­dard.

They can be kept in pots, grown up walls, used to cover ugly sheds, stand as sol­diers down a path or cover an ar­bour mak­ing a love seat.

Wher­ever you grow roses, they will do well with plenty of good feed­ing through­out spring and sum­mer when they are pour­ing forth the flow­ers.

Hu­mus added to the soil each year in the form of good com­post is a must and if you have well-rot­ted horse ma­nure, so much the bet­ter. Soaker hoses make for good wa­ter­ing where it’s needed.

Sen­si­ble prun­ing also helps keep roses healthy.

But even with all the pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures in the world, if there are roses in your neigh­bour­hood liv­ing in less for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances, they may spread pests to your own and so you need to be able to deal with th­ese as they ap­pear.

While stat­ing that preven­tion was bet­ter than cure, Eng­land’s pro­po­nent of or­ganic gar­den­ing meth­ods, the late Dr ShewellCooper, rec­om­mended der­ris dust or pyrethrum for in­sect pests on roses.

Der­ris dust must be used with cau­tion though, as any ap­plied in day­light hours when honey bees are ac­tive, will poi­son them as well.

Also, if you have a fish pond near your roses, make cer­tain none wafts on to the water, as it will kill the fish.

For a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure against aphids on bush or ram­bling roses, Shewell-Cooper said not to give too much ni­troge­nous fer­tiliser, dried blood or other fer­tilis­ers that cause a lot of green growth. This ten­der green growth is at­trac­tive to aphids who love the soft sappy growth tips and can in­vade and breed in vast num­bers with all this food.

He warned, also, not to spray at all if lady­bird bugs and their lar­vae are about, be­cause th­ese lit­tle crea­tures feed off the aphids and are to be en­cour­aged.

Some peo­ple find grow­ing gar­lic and chives be­neath roses helps de­ter aphids.

Black spot, mildew and rust can all be a ma­jor prob­lem, so to avoid a ma­jor spray­ing pro­gramme, it might be eas­i­est to grow rose va­ri­eties bred for re­sis­tance to th­ese dis­eases or you can try reg­u­lar spray­ing with a sea­weed tea to help pre­vent fun­gal growth.

Af­ter prun­ing, clean up pruned twigs and dead leaves from be­neath roses to help pre­vent disease spread­ing. A deep mulch cre­ates a healthy en­vi­ron­ment too.

At this time of year, dead­head­ing helps pro­mote more blooms and a light prun­ing of flow­ered stems will en­cour­age an au­tumn show. But slow down with the dead- head­ing later in the sea­son and al­low your plants to set hips for their au­tumn glow.

And a hint – don’t have pots of roses with water-filled saucers.

They are per­fect places for mozzies to lay eggs.

Burst of colour: Roses love a warm sum­mer but so do the bane of sum­mer evenings – the mos­quito.

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