Garden // Growing Roses

May 09, 2019

I've written posts about growing hydrangeas {here} and dahlias {here} but I feel like I've promised you this post on roses for the past couple of summers and haven't got around to it! This Spring, as I was planting two new roses out that I got as Birthday presents, I finally took some photos and then looked back through my archives to find lots of my favourite rose photos. You see, roses are one of my favourite ever flowers to grow and are definitely the easiest and lowest maintenance out of hydrangeas and dahlias. Yes, they might cost a little more to begin but they don't have to, and once planted, should last for years and years giving you at least one full set of blooms every year. I thought I'd put together all of the tips I've learnt from growing roses over the past six or so years....

First up, planting new roses. You can buy potted roses year round {like the one on the right of that photo above} that you can plant whenever. Ideally it's best to wait until mid Spring {Feb/March time} or late Autumn but you can still do it with success throughout the year if you follow a few steps. You can also buy roses as a 'bare root' plant, like the one on the left {although I added that to a pot with some compost just to keep it alive until I was ready to plant it}, these come as literal dry bare root roses which you can only get in the Winter/Early spring and you'll ideally plant them as soon as you can. 

My favourite type of roses are David Austin. In the gardening world, he's a real legend for cultivating so many different types of the most beautiful flowers on really strong rose stocks. To me, they're the prettiest flowers and there are so many to choose from, some that look like big blousy peonies and some that are the tiny old fashioned variety. His roses just bloom and bloom {look on the label to see if it's a repeat bloomer - a lot of the old fashioned varieties aren't so you'll only get one lot of flowers from them} and you know you can't really go wrong with his plants. But, they do come with a price and are around £20 a plant. We've collected these over the years, since we had our first garden and it's worth checking out garden centre sales at the end of the season to see if you can pick them up at a discount. Alternatively, there are so many different types of roses out there which can be a lot cheaper, the principles are the same for whatever brand you go for.

When planting either a bare root or a potted rose, you'll want to give them a really good soak of water first.

There are so many different sizes of rose available, some are small shrubs that won't spread too much, others like that one above is a large shrub, then there are climbers which can climb up a fence/house/trellis and ramblers which are more wild with smaller flowers. Bear this in mind for the space that you're looking to plant, and check how much sun/shade your rose prefers as to whether it will be well suited. Mostly, roses like an open position that isn't shaded by other plants and gets plenty of sunshine, but a lot can tolerate some shade - just avoid areas of total shade. 

Once you've given them a really good drink, dig a hole in a border {or you can plant them in pots if you have one large enough to accommodate the roots} deep enough for the crown of the rose {the bit at the base where all the growth is coming from} to sit just proud of the soil. It should be bigger than you think.

For the best possible start to their roots, add some soil conditioners/feed, I used a mix of Vitax Q4 and Toprose feed mixed with some compost. Add this to the bottom of the hole and mix around.

Then add your rose and surround with soil/compost before firming it down into the ground and giving a really good drink. 

With existing roses, they don't need tonnes of maintenance each year other than pruning them around February time {removing any weak, dead or diseased looking stems and reshaping it}. We actually cut ours back harshly this year as they'd all got too big. Just take the stems back to where there's a tiny red bud which will then leaf and flower. You should also cut out any crossing stems. 

Other than that, the only things to do with them is to apply some well rotted manure or rose feed a couple of times of year. We normally give one handful of feed in the Spring when we prune them and then another feed once it's finished it's first flower flourish. You should dead head the flowers in summer to encourage new blooms and spray the leaves with a bug clear if it's looking like there's any black spots on the leaves, but other than that, they're not attacked by pests like slugs and don't need any protection through winter. 

Watering wise, you should water newly planted roses often to get them established if it's dry, but then after that they don't need tonnes of water, ideally a good soak once a week rather than little and often. Unless it's realllly hot in which case you might need to water them daily if the leaves are looking thirsty.

A rose in Spring bud ^. 

Some photos of my favourite roses. A few favourite varieties - Joie de Vivre my absolute favourite {not a David Austin, I picked this on a £5 deal from a garden centre a few years ago and planted it at our allotment, I can't remember which brand it is but google Joie de Vivre for peach perfection}, Gertrude Jekyll David Austin, Sceptr'd Isle, Gentle Hermione and the Alwnick.

We've planted a couple of climbing roses at the backs of borders to climb up the fence, these typically take a couple of years to get going before you'll get a great display but I'm hoping it will be worth it in the end. The shrub roses are easiest if you're looking for an instant display.

Deadheading perks!

They don't last all that long when cut unfortunately {the cut roses you buy in the supermarket are different to English garden varieties} although they last longer if you cut them whilst still in bud.

Occasionally, roses will need some treatment against fungus/greenfly. If you notice black spot or rust, take off any affected leaves and get rid of them before spraying with Rose or Fungus Clear. If you have greenfly then you can either brush them off or spray with soapy water.

An abundance of blooms.

That scent is pure heaven too.

This huge old rambling rose, above, was here when we bought the house and I love it's abundance of blooms. We don't ever feed it {compared to all the others we've planted} and never water it, it's just so old and with a really thick stem! 

Roses & Rolltops, of course :). We planted this into our bathtub in the garden.

As a general rule, they'll first flower around mid May and then will carry on until the first frosts! I've had flowers in late November before.

I hope this has helped? 

Do you have any questions? Are you a fellow rose lover?

R <3 xx

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  1. I love this post, roses are my absolute favourite. I've had to give my favourite rose bush such a hard prune this year, after getting really bad black spots on it. Hopefully it can make a recovery! Do you know which type of roses the paler pink one is in the 'deadheading perks' photo please?

  2. Love the post, definitely has got me inspired to plant roses! When you say deadhead, do you cut the rose down to the first set of leaves? Unrelated to Roses but have you ever planted Agapanthas and do you have any tips? Thank you!


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