Tip Top – A dainty rose for flower beds

The stylish ‘Tip Top’ rose flowers almost continuously over a long season. As a bonus, it is small and compact enough to combine well with annuals and perennials in a small bed or as an edging in a border.

ANNUAL CALENDAR

SPRING

March-April:

Tread in soil around base of mature plants that may have been rocked by winter winds, as water collecting around the base can cause rot and other problems if it freezes. Watch for aphids on emerging flower buds.

SUMMER

May-July:

Deadhead (remove dead flower-heads) regularly. Spray against caterpillars and remove diseased foliage at first signs of black spot.

AUTUMN

August-September:

Plan new plantings and prepare planting sites.

WINTER

October-February:

Plant new bushes.

Prune established plants.

PRUNING,

Careful pruning helps to, maintain a healthy plant. Use, sharp secateurs, cutting just, above an outward-facing bud, and slanting down and away, from the bud. Remove all dead, diseased and weak stems, cutting back to stronger, healthy wood.

Finally, cut out all stems growing in towards the centre of the bush or any crossing branches. The aim is to create an open-centred framework of sturdy stems. Prune hard in

February or March, trimming back the remaining healthy stems to 10-15cm in length

PLANTING SCHEMES ‘Tip Top’ is ideal for use at the front of mixed flower borders. Its salmon-coloured blossom combines well with grey-leaved plants such as lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) or catmint (Nepcla mussinii) and single-coloured flowers such as blue violas and cottage garden pinks.

F irst introduced in 1963, the variety ‘Tip Top’ is one of the smaller cluster-flowered roses. Its loose, double flowers are salmon-pink and borne in tight masses.

This rose is ideal for a flower-bed or for edging a pathway. The large trusses (clusters) of flowers appear in all weathers.

Planting

Plant ‘Tip Top’ as for all cluster-flowered roses.

In autumn make a planting hole 45-60cm wide, and deep enough so that the union between rootstock and stems is at least 2.5cm below the soil surface.

Use a fork to break up the soil at the bottom of the planting hole.

Mix a handful of bone meal into the dug-out soil.

Cut back any long or damaged roots.

IMPORTANT

Buy and plant bare-root roses during October and November. Container-grown roses can, in theory, be planted at any time of the year. However, autumn is the best time to plant all roses.

This gives time for the plants to settle in to their permanent site and make strong, new roots before starting into growth the following spring.

Fan out healthy roots in the bottom of the hole.

Start to backfill (fill around roots with soil) the planting hole.

When the hole is two-thirds filled, gently shake the plant up and down to work soil around the roots.

Replace the rest of the soil, and tread around the plant to firm the soil.

Top-dress with a mulch (ground cover) of well-rotted manure.

Cultivating ‘Tip Top’ blooms from early summer to late autumn. Deadhead (remove dead flower-heads) regularly to keep the clusters looking fresh. Pinch out individual flowers as they fade and remove whole clusters when they have finished flowering, cutting back to the first bud just above a full leaf. This will help encourage a new flowering stem to grow.

During any dry spells, regularly water ‘Tip Top’ if it is growing in sandy or chalky soil. Turn the tap on low and let water trickle gently around the plant.

In heavy, clay-rich soil, the rose is fairly drought resistant, but a permanent mulch (ground cover) of well-rotted compost will help to conserve moisture.

A specimen bush

You can also buy ‘Tip Top’ as a standard (with at least 2m of stem below the branches) or half-standard (1-1.5m of clear stem) to use as a focal plant in a border planting scheme.

Plant as for a bush, but position a stake in the hole while planting. Ensure the stake runs from 60cm below the soil surface to 5cm above the bud union (the knob where the rose has been grafted onto the rootstock). Secure the stem to the stake with a tree-tie.

Tip Top

SITUATION

In a sunny bed or border where the air circulates freely. Do not plant new roses in old rose-beds where the soil may be ‘rose sick’.

SOIL

Thrives in medium-fertile soil that is slightly acid. Deeply dig clay soils and add plenty of well-rotted manure or compost.

CARE

During the flowering season remove individual flowers as they fade and cut out entire clusters when they have finished flowering. Prune annually in January or February to promote vigour.

PLANT HEALTH

From early summer watch for aphids feeding on new flower buds and begin spraying immediately; later on remove any caterpillars damaging foliage. ‘Tip Top’ is especially prone to the fungal disease black spot. Remove and destroy any foliage showing the tell-tale black spotting and keep the ground clear of dead leaves, which spread the spores. Begin spraying with a rose fungicide early in the growing season, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

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