We moved a few months ago, just a few miles into town, downsizing from a house to a flat and we’re settling in very nicely.
One of the most exciting aspects of it all for me, is inheriting a reasonable sized, flat garden that has some beautiful, established roses in it.
There are other treasures like the hellebores that gradually unfurled soon after we moved in, and a Rhododendron Luteum, a plant I’ve lusted after for ages.
Inevitably there are things I really don’t want, like bindweed and ground-elder, but I’m not too bothered by them and although there’s a lot of work, I’m spurred on by the success that I’ve had removing swathes of bind-weed and nettles at the allotment.
The anticipation of what the roses would be like has been quite thrilling, wonderful, neat little buds opening into flouncy, frilly blooms packed with petals.
Most have yet to be identified, but I know this is Ausquest, a David Austin English rose, repeat flowering with delightful, dark apricot bulbs gradually turning cream as they open and the most delicious tea scent, the sort that gently perfumes a room.
English Roses were bred by David Austin, they’re repeat-flowering and scented, the qualities we love in old-fashioned roses, and healthy and easy to grow like modern roses.
So far they’ve all had a light prune in March, which was a bit late, and although they’re flowering profusely, I’ll be doing some restorative pruning early next year. It’s a bit more hard-core than general pruning, removing more stems to kick-start it into producing healthy, new stems.
Here’s a little reminder about pruning and looking after roses:
- Generally roses are best pruned in January or February in the U.K., when they’re still dormant. March was a bit late, but I cut off the dark, brown dead stems, pruning always starts with cutting off dead, diseased and dying wood.
- Dead-heading by cutting off the faded flowers persuades the plant to produce even more flowers, so the flowering time is extended and it looks nicer too
- I’ve been keeping the soil around the roses weed-free, all sorts of nasty weeds, like brambles and bind-weed have appeared. The roots of roses are very near the surface so great care has to be taken not to damage them,
- Feeding just twice a year in February and July keeps them healthy, a rose fertiliser has all the right ingredients,
- Mulching around the base of the plant in spring and summer helps to keep weeds away ( though not the determined ones like bind-weed and brambles) and the soil retain moisture, just make sure the mulch doesn’t cover the stem.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson