• If you haven’t already given your roses their big spring feed, do it now. If you haven‘t sprayed with copper and oil, do it now in the early morning or evening, but not in sunlight.
• Fed your roses in August or the beginning of September? Then start spraying them every fortnight with fish or seaweed fertiliser.
• If the soil around roses has become compacted, loosen it gently with a fork.
• Possums have been largely eradicated in central Akaroa but elsewhere it’s a heartbreak to see the new buds chewed. The following recipe was given to me by a friend who finds it effective in feeding her roses and keeping possums away – they hate the smell of fish fertiliser. To 4.5 litres of water, add: • 2.5 tablespoons horticultural oil • 1 tablespoon baking soda • 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid
• 1 tablespoon liquid fish fertiliser. Spray in the evening – never in sunlight.