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.