Gertrude Jekyll in Flower - Rockbarton

Taking Care of your Roses

There do be a grand stretch in them evenings, so they do.

Have you noticed the stretch in the evenings and the brighter mornings? I am now managing to get out around 7.30am to stretch my legs before the madness of home schooling starts.  I’ve noticed Daffodils and Snowdrops starting to burst along the roadsides, so maybe Spring is just around the corner.

The increasing daylight hours has made me feel like emerging from my winter hibernation to get a few things done in the garden.  The garden looks dank and sad at this time of the year but it holds the promise of glorious things to come and I aim to make sure that this year is going to be better than ever!

Rose Pruning

I always prune my roses after Valentine’s day.  I don’t like to prune them any earlier because of the risk of frost.  Pruning promotes fresh and tender new growth.  I find that if I prune them too early the frost just kills off the new growth and sets back the plant. After Valentine’s day I am prepared to take a chance that the very hard frosts are behind us and it’s safe to prune them.

I start by taking out the dead, diseased and damaged growth first.  Then any branches that are crossing – as the friction will just cause damage to those branches.  Roses in particular can take a hard pruning, so don’t be afraid to cut your roses back. They’ll thank you for it in the end.

When you prune your roses every year, you will improve the overall health of the plant. By cutting back the stems in the centre of the rose, you will encourage air flow and make it easier for sunlight to reach the plant.

When pruning it is also important to be mindful of the overall shape that you wish to achieve.  When you cut back to a bud, the rose will then grow in the direction of that bud.  So, I always try and cut back to buds that are reaching outwards, not inwards. This encourages strong growth and more roses.

Feeding your Roses

I recommend feeding your roses from March onwards.  St. Patricks Day is usually a good point of reference (although you could be busy planting the spuds that day).  I mulch around my roses with a layer of horse manure or farm yard manure.  The manure should ideally be a few years old.  Spread it around the base of the plant, keeping clear of the stem.

It is not always easy to get your hands on suitable manure but there are plenty of Rose Feeds that you can use instead.  Roses are hungry plants and will produce lots more flowers if you feed on a regular basis from March until July.

If you require any advice in relation to pruning your roses or preparing your vegetable garden, don’t hesitate to call and see me at Rockbarton.


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