Roy Halsey,a member of The Rose Society UK, gave us some excellent advice on growing better roses.
- Always purchase plants from a good specialist rose nursery – Rose of the Year and Gold Standard winning varieties are a good place to start.
- Prepare ground well, ensuring plenty of humus. Change soil if replanting in existing beds or use mycorrhizal fungi.
- Plant container-grown roses with care; water and feed regularly for several weeks after planting, particularly if plants are in leaf or flower.
- When purchasing bare root bushes it is important to keep the roots damp at all times and shore in a cool, draught-free environment before planting. If necessary, cut back to three or four buds (leaf joints) in spring, after planting.
- Feed roses twice per season with balanced granular rose fertiliser (ensuring the ground is damp). Continue feeding with liquid fertiliser every two weeks.
- Always irrigate or water roses during dry spells. Carry this out early in the day. Concentrate on watering around the roots and avoid watering the leaves in bright sunshine.
- Dead-head bushes and climbers regularly during flowering. Cut off a few inches of stem when you do this.
- Mulch beds with four inches of compost or manure to improve soil structure and assist in moisture retention.
- Keep beds and borders weed-free.
- Tie in new growth of climbers or ramblers whilst young and pliable, training horizontally whenever practical to improve flowering.
- Spray regularly, alternating sprays containing different ingredients every two weeks during active growth. The use of Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic as a separate spray or drench is very effective and is used extensively by the trade.
- Depending upon your locality, cut back or prune the bushes to an outward-facing bud in autumn and prune or trim again in early spring.
More suggestions from Roy
Prune roses in March except for ramblers which should be pruned soon after the flowers die. Take off the spindly branches. Cut at an angle. Take out all dead wood.
Prune to 2/3 in autumn, then prune again to 1/2 in March. From that time it takes twelve weeks to bloom. This means that the roses in our show in August are the second flush, which will be smaller than the first flush.
When showing make sure you have leaves on the stems.
Blackspot is associated with clean air – hence is it such a problem in our area.