Best Growing Conditions For Roses

Roses like sun and free movement of air and do not succeed so well in the shade or in very enclosed places where the air is confined. They can be grown on any soil that is in reasonably good condition and they thrive on generous feeding, for the very finest roses are produced on strong young stems. There is a natural tendency for rose stems to lose vigour as they age and the main object of pruning roses is to get rid of old growth before it begins to die and to maintain a constant supply of good new growth to take its place. Good, fertile soil helps to this end.

Ground is prepared for roses by thorough digging just as it is for other permanent plants such as shrubs and trees. If manure is available it can be dug in freely. If no manure is available, peat can be used instead. Or compost made from well-rotted garden refuse. Turves, buried grass-side downwards under 8 to 10 in (20 to 25 cm) depth of soil. Will rot slowly and provide an excellent basis for the rose bed. Coarse bonemeal and hoof and horn meal can be sprinkled through the soil as it is dug with the same object of supplying plant food for a long period.

Some very vigorous roses are grown exactly like shrubs, either as individual bushes or in a border together with other shrubs, but most of the popular garden roses are usually grown as display plants on their own. They are very suitable for this purpose because they flower freely over a long period and may be compared, in this respect, with good bedding plants such as the geranium and dahlia, but whereas these must be removed each autumn and replaced each spring, the rose remains permanently in place.

These free-flowering bedding roses are of two main types, the hybrid tea or large flowered, and the fioribunda or cluster flowered, but as breeders are constantly crossing one type with the other in their efforts to get new and better varieties, the division between the two types is getting progressively more blurred.

Hybrid tea or large-flowered roses have shapely flowers carried either one per stem or in small clusters in which one flower opens well ahead of the others. Successive batches or flushes of flowers are produced, but the first, in early summer, is the most abundant and after this there may be quite long gaps between the successive flushes of bloom.

Fioribunda or cluster-flowered roses are smaller individually and often, though by no means always, less shapely, but there are many more of them and often all the flowers in a cluster open at the same time. They flower in flushes but these come more rapidly so that the effect is of a more continuous display. To give colour in the garden the cluster-flowered roses are superior to the large-flowered roses but they lack their charm and individual quality of bloom.

Shrub roses The term shrub rose is applied to any rose too big to be used conveniently in a bed of massed roses. Some shrub roses are really strong-growing flori-bundas, but some are very old roses that have survived from earlier times and some are wild, or species roses. These wild roses have single flowers which are sometimes followed by shapely, highly coloured fruits or heps.

Wild roses usually have a fairly short flowering season and this is also true of some shrub roses, but others flower in flushes from early summer until autumn like large-flowered and cluster-flowered roses. These are distinguished from the others as repeat-flowering shrub roses.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses are of several different kinds. Some are simply extra-vigorous forms of ordinary bush roses and these always carry the name of the rose from which they originated prefixed by the word ‘Climbing’. Thus, Climbing Madame Butterfly is an extra vigorous form of the popular pink hybrid tea rose, Madame Butterfly. Its flowers are exactly like those of Madame Butterfly, but its stems are so long that they can be trained to cover a sizeable wall or fence. One cannot have everything, however, and as a rule the climbing sports, as they are called, do not flower so freely nor so continuously as the bush roses from which they originated.

Ramblers Rambler roses are climbing roses with very flexible stems which carry their usually rather small flowers in large clusters. Most of them have only one flush of flowers each summer. They are very impressive for a few weeks in mid-summer but there is little display afterwards.

Repeat-flowering climbers Again breeders have tried to get the best of both worlds by crossing climbers of different types to get new varieties with large flowers freely produced over a long season. These are called repeat-flowering climbers and they usually have stiffer stems than the ramblers.

Rambling roses can be attractively trained to form a colonnade they obtain by budding a garden rose on to a specially grown stem of a wild rose. If the head of branches is on top of a stem 3] ft (i’im) or more in height it is called a full standard; if the stem is only 2 to I\ ft (60 to 75cm) high, a half standard, and if the head is formed with a climbing or rambler rose it is called a weeping standard.

Miniatures

These have very small leaves and flowers and, as a rule, make quite small bushes, though there are some that are taller or even climbing in habit. The bushy varieties are useful for edging and for massing in small beds and some gardeners also like to plant them in rock gardens though they are really rather too sophisticated to be grown with wild plants.

Other Types There are numerous old roses classified under such names as China, damask, gallica. Moss, Provence and sweet briar. These are generally lumped together as old garden roses.

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