Woodside Rose Care Guide
The Rose is considered the UK’s favourite flower, consistently topping gardeners surveys. And no wonder – it’s easy to be lured by a beautiful photograph, the promise of a heavenly fragrance, and the thought of a romantic rose garden. In reality though, roses are quite demanding plants, and need a fair degree of gardening skill to keep them performing well. The key things to remember are pruning, feeding and health.
Firstly there’s the issue of pruning – climbing and rambling roses should all have been pruned over the winter by cutting back very old, woody growth right to the base in order to encourage new green shoots. Shrub roses should be looked at now – they require very little attention and just need dead and diseased wood removing, along with any damaged or crossing branches. All other roses should be pruned in March. Floribunda’s, Hybrid Teas, Ground Cover and Patio roses should all be pruned in a similar way, pruning top growth back hard to a strong outward-facing bud.
The feeding of roses is essential for good flowering and health, and the easiest way to remember when to feed is to use it as a reward. Once the leaves start to emerge in the spring, give the rose its first reward of fertiliser, and then another feed after the first flush of flowers in summer. Its best to use a proper rose fertiliser such as Toprose, which contains iron and magnesium, as well as nitrogen, phosphate and potash. This ensures that the rose is getting exactly what it needs to guard against nutrient deficiency. It’s also a good idea to apply a mulch of very well rotted manure in spring to improve soil quality, retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
Keep them healthy
Roses are notoriously prone to pest and disease attacks – those dark blotches often seen on the leaves of roses are a fungal disease known as blackspot. A good way of preventing this is to use Multirose 3 in 1. This kills pests such as greenfly and red spider mite, controls disease like blackspot and mildew, and as it’s a systemic application (i.e. it gets into the system of the plant) it also offers longer term protection. Multirose should only be used early in the morning, or later in the evening when the bees are not actively foraging, and you should read the instructions carefully as the concentrate has slightly different properties than the ready-to-use formula. A good organic substitute is to use a garlic based treatment, and it’s always a good idea to collect fallen rose leaves and dispose of them to prevent the spread of disease.
Once the rose is in flower, regular dead-heading is essential to encourage the rose to produce more blooms. Old faded flowers should be snipped off using a sharp pair of secateurs to just above a healthy, full sized leaf, as this is where the hormones are found which will quickly produce a new flowering shoot.
So hopefully, the roses will be blooming lovely this year!