Tino Carnevale: Top tips for en­sur­ing that ev­er­thing comes up rosy in your gar­den.

TINO CARNEVALE used to be of the opin­ion that ev­ery rose had its thorns and that the ubiq­ui­tous bloom was not for him but af­ter a re­cent spate of suc­cess­ful bloom­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, has had a change of heart

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Contents - with Tino Carnevale

Ilove the way that new gar­den­ers progress through an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of dif­fer­ent plants and feel I have re­cently crossed a bridge with my own. I have al­ways had a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship with the rose but I now have two pop­u­lat­ing my gar­den and here I am writ­ing about them. I should prob­a­bly ex­plain. While the genus Rosa is a truly amaz­ing group of plants, my his­tory with them has been prun­ing other peo­ple’s plants, in­volv­ing much pain and loss of blood with­out the pay­off of be­ing around when they bloom. Many peo­ple wax lyri­cal on so­cial me­dia with phrases along the lines of ‘gar­den­ing is ther­apy and you also get toma­toes’ but I have life­long scars that state oth­er­wise.

The fact that they are one of the most ubiq­ui­tous or­na­men­tal gar­den plants is tes­ti­mony to their ap­peal. They are tough yet they pro­duce one of the most el­e­gant flow­ers and the per­fume from scented va­ri­eties is heady and sweet.

There are a gazil­lion dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties

I am happy to say that I now be­lieve that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

of rose in ev­ery colour and flower form but it’s not some­thing I have space to cover here, so rather than get­ting into the breed­ers and the lin­eage of the va­ri­eties I will have to set­tle for defin­ing their habits. There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent habits that will suit most gar­den sit­u­a­tions. The main one you will see is bush roses which are usu­ally bought over the win­ter when bare-rooted but are avail­able all year round in pots. I sup­pose the ap­peal of buy­ing at the mo­ment is that they are in full bloom so you can see ex­actly what you’re get­ting. There are climb­ing roses and there are pros­trate forms and as I men­tioned be­fore there are minia­tures that have smaller leaves and flow­ers. Pa­tio and stan­dard roses are those that are grafted onto root­stock which has been trained into a sin­gle stem. There isn’t any real dif­fer­ence, just that a pa­tio stands at around 60cm and a stan­dard is slightly taller at around 90cm. They can be a bit pricey but they are per­fect if you are want­ing a for­mal look. As the name pa­tio

rose sug­gests they are great in court­yards and pots, al­though I have cared for all th­ese kinds of roses and all of them are quite happy with a con­fined root zone.

An open sunny po­si­tion will pro­vide you with a happy bush and more nu­mer­ous and splen­did flow­ers, they will also grow in part shade and I have found many of the minia­tures to be fairly adapt­able un­der­storey plants. They love a deep rich soil but as I said they are tough and can cope with a range of soil types from clay to sand. No mat­ter what the soil, I like to add a lot of or­ganic mat­ter when plant­ing and to keep adding it in the form of mulch and of fer­tilis­ers like well­rot­ted ma­nures in the spring.

As far as prun­ing goes, dead­head­ing will help keep the plant vig­or­ous as it won’t be putting ef­fort into de­vel­op­ing hips, it will keep the plant look­ing tidy and de­pend­ing on the species you can pro­mote more flow­ers. I trim any shoots that sky­rocket dur­ing the sum­mer es­pe­cially if they are over a path or if it ruins the plant’s shape but the main prune is in win­ter. For this, de­pend­ing on the form, I use the ethos of cold heart, sharp blade. A few tips when prun­ing roses – take out any dead or dis­eased wood first and try to prune some space in the in­te­rior of the plant to al­low for air cir­cu­la­tion. Make sure your tools and your cuts are clean. Your cut should be an­gled so wa­ter won’t pool on it and with­out ragged edges. Place your cut as close to a bud as pos­si­ble with­out cut­ting into it.

Al­though grow­ers have been breed­ing re­sis­tance into mod­ern rose va­ri­eties there are a num­ber of pests that just seem to be con­sis­tent with roses like un­wanted side­kicks and this is es­pe­cially true of older va­ri­eties. Th­ese are things like black spot, pow­dery mildew, mo­saic virus, thrips and the whole colour spec­trum of aphids. Many of th­ese in most sea­sons will only af­fect the flow­ers and vigour of your plant but th­ese beau­ti­ful bat­tlers will tend to soldier on.

The rose is surely one of the most ref­er­enced flow­ers in po­etry, mu­sic and fine art and al­though I used to be of the opin­ion that ev­ery rose has more than its fair share of thorns I am happy to say that I now be­lieve that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

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