Com­ing up roses

The se­cret to grow­ing th­ese beau­ti­ful blooms is se­lect­ing the right rose for the right place in your gar­den and pre­par­ing the soil well

Saturday Star - - HOME - By Kay Mont­gomery

THERE is a rose to suit every gar­den. From hy­brid teas in el­e­gant, for­mal beds to clus­ters of flori­bun­das grow­ing com­pan­ion­ably in borders or climb­ing roses gar­land­ing arches, per­go­las and walls.

There are English shrub roses with the charm, rich­ness and fra­grance of roses of yes­ter­year, or ground­cover roses spilling car­pets of colour down banks, and pots of roses bright­en­ing en­trances, pa­tios, court­yards and sunny bal­conies.

De­sign­ing with roses

The se­cret of suc­cess­ful rose grow­ing is se­lect­ing the right rose for the right place. Check the space then choose a rose that will be the right height, width and colour.

Roses do best with six hours of sun­shine a day, prefer­ably morn­ing sun, an open po­si­tion away from com­pe­ti­tion of tree roots and good air cir­cu­la­tion, but pro­tected from strong wind.

You have only one chance to im­prove the soil be­fore plant­ing. There are rose com­posts and fer­tilis­ers es­pe­cially for­mu­lated to suit their needs. If roses are to give of their best they will need a steady sup­ply of nu­tri­ents and water through­out their grow­ing sea­son.

The tra­di­tional way of grow­ing roses is in for­mal beds that can be part of a large gar­den, but is just as ef­fec­tive on a much smaller scale in an en­closed court­yard in a town­house gar­den.

A for­mal gar­den de­sign usu­ally has a geo­met­ric shape, although curves work too, with sym­met­ri­cal plant­ings and paths ra­di­at­ing from a cen­tral axis, with well-de­fined edges of low-clipped ev­er­greens. Stat­u­ary, a foun­tain, an over­size pot, bench or sun­dial are pop­u­lar as fo­cal points, po­si­tioned at a cen­tral axis or at one end of the gar­den.

Roses in for­mal beds can be un­der-planted with aro­matic herbs to dis­cour­age pests and hide bare stems. The beauty of hy­brid tea roses, bred for their pointed buds and el­e­gant blooms on long stems, is best ap­pre­ci­ated where they have the solo role.



Well-grown roses should have fo­liage along the en­tire length of their stems, but a way of hid­ing bare stems is to grow roses in­for­mally in mixed borders. Flori­bunda and shrub roses are ideal with their flower clus­ters giv­ing colour for many months.

Roses grown in mixed borders should have com­pan­ions such as laven­der, scented gera­nium, san­tolina and cat­mint that are well be­haved with non-in­va­sive roots, and fillers of achil­lea, del­phinium, di­anthus, di­as­cia, iris, lark­spur, lil­ium, linaria, pen­ste­mon and scabi­ous that do not crowd or grow taller than the roses.

Climb­ing roses

Climb­ing roses take colour sky­wards. They pro­duce long canes that can be trained on wires or trel­lis to pro­vide ad­di­tional se­cu­rity on bound­ary walls, dis­guise fences and soften house walls. In small gar­dens, where every plant must jus­tify its place, climb­ing roses pro­vide high colour. En­cour­age more blooms by ty­ing canes hor­i­zon­tally.

Gar­land pil­lars of a per­gola with climb­ing roses and in­tro­duce height in borders with roses en­twin­ing steel obelisks or wooden tripods. Climb­ing roses on arches add height and di­vide the gar­den vis­ually. Plant a rose on each side of an arch for com­plete cover.

In­stead of a sin­gle arch, why not copy the se­ries of arches de­signed by Im­pres­sion­ist pain­ter Monet in his gar­den at Giverny?

He also de­signed um­brella-like frames to sup­port stan­dard weep­ing roses so that they could spread their para­sols of colour over lower plant­ings.

Ram­blers, such as Al­ber­tine, are vig­or­ous grow­ers, but only bloom once a year. Use them as bar­ri­ers on bound­ary fences. Pa­narosa roses may be grown as free-stand­ing shrubs, as a hedge or screen, or trained on poles and pil­lars.

English (David Austin) roses are highly in­di­vid­ual, and it is this di­ver­sity of flower form and growth habit that makes them suit­able for large and small gar­dens, as com­pact or large shrubs, for borders, walls, pil­lars and over arches.

They com­bine the beauty and rich colours and fra­grance of old roses with re­peat-flow­er­ing modern hy­brids. Their growth habit can vary con­sid­er­ably when ex­posed to dif­fer­ent con­di­tions.

Pots of roses are pretty at en­trances, on pa­tios, lin­ing steps, and for re­peat­ing the colour of taller roses. The con­tainer must be able to com­fort­ably hold the roots and be in pro­por­tion. Lud­wig’s Roses says a good pot­ting soil should con­tain 70% or­ganic mat­ter, such as com­post, ma­nure, milled pine bark and peanut shells; 20% stan­dard soil; and 10% gravel or ash clinker. Con­tainer roses re­quire more wa­ter­ing than those in the gar­den.

Pro­vid­ing the con­tain­ers are not too heavy, con­tainer roses mean por­ta­ble colour where this is needed. Choose polyan­tha, shrub roses and minia­tures, but be aware that the term “minia­ture” de­scribes the size of the flow­ers, not nec­es­sar­ily the growth habit.

Shrub roses



‘Blos­som Magic’ is a vig­or­ous climber that is per­fect for a cov­ered arch­way.


Climb­ing roses pro­duce long canes and take colour sky­wards.

Roses grow well in con­tain­ers, in well-pre­pared soil. PIC­TURE: LOUISE JEN­NER-CLARKE


Flori­bun­das pro­vide colour through­out sum­mer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.