The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - Visit asko­r­ Email your gar­den­ing queries to da@asko­r­

YOU’LL be stuck with your pur­chase even if you’re scun­nered with it af­ter a while be­cause you can’t eas­ily plant an­other one in the same place. As a rose gets es­tab­lished, it builds up re­sis­tance to an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of pathogens in the soil. But a young re­place­ment suc­cumbs to at­tack from these pathogens and quickly dies. Deal­ing with this rose re­plant sick­ness isn’t easy.

When de­cid­ing which of the 150 species roses or the many thou­sands of cul­ti­vars to buy, start with a clear idea of where you want to plant the rose and what the soil is like there. And, what­ever you do, don’t im­pulse-buy in the gar­den cen­tre or when ex­cit­edly thumb­ing through a cat­a­logue.

If you’re lucky enough to have the clas­sic “fer­tile, free-drain­ing soil”, the world’s your oys­ter. Your new rose will read­ily per­form as the cat­a­logue pre­dicts, read­ily reach­ing its an­tic­i­pated height and spread.

Other­wise, tread cau­tiously. The poorer the soil, the slower the rose will grow and the more vul­ner­a­ble to pests and dis­ease it be­comes. You should se­lect cul­ti­vars that are de­scribed as grow­ing vig­or­ously and have good dis­ease re­sis­tance. Strug­gling plants are much more sus­cep­ti­ble to black spot, pow­dery mildew and aphids. Also, cover the sur­round­ing area with com­post or pel­leted chicken ma­nure and mulch gen­er­ously to con­serve mois­ture.

Al­ter­na­tively, of course, you could use these chal­leng­ing grow­ing con­di­tions to con­trol thugs such as Rosa ru­gusa. I find this rose lives mod­estly and hap­pily in a steep, grassy bank, where soil and mois­ture are in short sup­ply.

When plump­ing for a va­ri­ety that ap­peals to you, noth­ing could be more per­sonal than its colour. But we all see and de­scribe shades dif­fer­ently, and re­mem­ber this per­sonal view ap­plies to de­scrip­tions in the cat­a­logues as well. Even the shades dif­fer be­tween the cat­a­logues, how our browsers pick them up and when a photo is taken. Colours change as a flow­ers de­vel­ops.

No mat­ter how rep­utable the nurs­ery, you can’t rely 100 per cent on their de­scrip­tions. So the only so­lu­tion is to cross your fin­gers and check out sev­eral web­sites.

As reg­u­lar read­ers must know, roses are one of my favourite flow­ers, so noth­ing would suit me bet­ter than hav­ing one that flow­ers all sum­mer long. But sadly my species plants pro­duce the sub­tlest blooms for such a frus­trat­ingly short time. In com­pen­sa­tion, the hips of these briefly flow­er­ing species brighten the gar­den through­out au­tumn and early win­ter. The white flow­ers of spinosis­sima are fol­lowed by masses of un­usu­ally black hips. Roxburghii’s chest­nut-like hips have given this clas­sic rose its com­mon name, even if they frus­trat­ingly fall off when only yel­low. But that hasn’t stopped the Chi­nese from devel­op­ing seed­less hips to soak in syrup for a tasty nib­ble.

All too of­ten, we un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of hips – cat­a­logues are full of pic­tures of the flow­ers, but rarely the hips.

But some cul­ti­vars, such as the shrub rose, Morn­ing Mist, put on a good dis­play of gen­er­ous red hips – pro­vided, of course, the ob­ses­sive dead­header stays the clip­pers to let the fi­nal flush of flow­ers de­velop hips rather than new ex­ten­sion shoots.

It’s also crit­i­cal to get the fi­nal size right. Pa­tio roses, such as Greenalls Glory, are usu­ally 30-45cm, so stick to roses of that height if you want to grow in a pot and recog­nise that larger spec­i­mens rarely ap­pre­ci­ate a re­stricted life. Most of us have limited space, so should choose rel­a­tively well-be­haved climbers for scal­ing a wall and prun­ing eas­ily. Un­less you’ve got a high wall, shed or tree, steer clear of gi­ant ram­blers. You’ll never stop Kifts­gate spread­ing 10 me­tres in ev­ery di­rec­tion or Paul’s Hi­malayan Musk ef­fort­lessly soar­ing to 12 me­tres or more, as I’ve found.

When plump­ing for a va­ri­ety that ap­peals to you, noth­ing could be more per­sonal than its colour. But we all see and de­scribe shades dif­fer­ently, and re­mem­ber this ap­plies to de­scrip­tions in the cat­a­logues as well

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.