Plant of the week: Shrub roses

Now’s the time to plant them bare-root, and it’s cheaper too!

Garden News (UK) - - News -

Ev­ery­one loves roses, but these days few can af­ford the lux­ury of a ded­i­cated rose gar­den, or even a bed full of gawky Hy­brid Teas and Flori­bun­das. With space at a pre­mium, roses are now in­te­grated among other plant­ings, par­tic­u­larly peren­ni­als, and must be re­peat­flow­er­ing and with ef­fec­tive dis­ease re­sis­tance, which is why shrub-types have be­come the go-to roses of choice.

The group com­prises a num­ber of dif­fer­ent types, no­tably ru­gosas, hy­brid musks, both modern and English roses and ground cover types, col­lec­tively pos­sess­ing a tough, shrubby con­sti­tu­tion, well-clothed in fo­liage. Their va­ri­ety of habits also lends them ver­sa­til­ity, with some mak­ing climbers, if pruned and shaped ac­cord­ingly, oth­ers happy in pots, while oth­ers are ef­fec­tive at cov­er­ing the ground.

The English roses, bred in the last 30 years by David Austin are jus­ti­fi­ably pop­u­lar, with old-fash­ioned flo­ral styling and good to ex­cel­lent fra­grance on a 1.2m (4ft) shrub. Oth­ers come from ear­lier breed­ers such as Ed­war­dian rosar­ian Joseph Pem­ber­ton, who bred ‘Feli­cia’, or Ann Ben­tall, who in­tro­duced ‘Buff Beauty’ and ‘Bal­le­rina’, while there are also strik­ing se­lec­tions from wild species, such as Rosa ru­gosa. All are easy to grow and our se­lec­tion here gives an in­di­ca­tion of the range avail­able, all of which can be planted bare­root from now un­til May.

On re­ceiv­ing your bare-root plant, un­tan­gle the root sys­tem and prune off any roots that are bro­ken. Trim back over long roots to 20-30cm (8in-1ft). Pop the bush in a bucket of clean, cold wa­ter for a cou­ple of hours. You can also use a my­c­or­rhizal root dip to aid es­tab­lish­ment or mix sim­i­lar prepa­ra­tions into the plant­ing soil, adding a slow-re­lease fer­tiliser. Plant with the graft point just buried be­low soil level, firm in soil and

wa­ter in. Prune shoots so they’re un­crossed and evenly spaced.

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