Lady Gilbert had her own rose garden in the grounds of Grim’s Dyke and women the world over love to receive them, but how many of us know how to really look after them – regardless of whether they are growing plants or cut flowers?
You can tell roses are fresh, by gently squeezing where the petals join the stem – it should be quite firm. When cutting them, cut in the morning, look to cut at a 45-degree angle and, if possible, place them in water as soon as humanly possible. If it helps, cut an inch off the stems once you get inside, as you can then cut them under running water and place them straight into the vase of water.
Cut roses need a lot of water, so make sure you give them plenty of nourishment. If you want them to last, you need to treat them carefully. Cut away all dead leaves, drooping heads and when cutting their stems, cut under running water, using a sharp pair of cutters – blunt cutters will result in damaged stems.
Use lukewarm water for your vase, as roses dislike being cold. You’ll want to trim the stems and change the water every couple of days, and always make sure there’s no leaves or thorns below the waterline – otherwise these will create bacteria and cause algae to form.
Cut roses are actually delicate, so keep away from cold drafts, hot spots and out of direct sunlight.
Roses have a reputation for being difficult to keep, but this isn’t the case. They have deep roots, so established ones can often survive on the water naturally available, but these roots can take a couple of years to get that deep – so make sure you water them at least every 10 days, in the first few years.
Roses love being fed! Give them generous helpings of rose fertiliser in the spring and mulch the area – but not too close to the rose stems.
Deadhead roses wherever practical during the summer, but avoid those that produce rosehips. When it comes to pruning, most rose shrubs and bushes prefer to be pruned in the late winter, when they first start to show new growth – but if they only produce a single flush of flowers, late summer, after the growing period is better.
Bush roses grow new growth on old wood, so this should be restricted to shortening stems and space clearing. If they get really leggy, look to cut a few stems back to ground level, to encourage new base growth.
If you have a hybrid or Floribunda rose, you’ll want to cut away dead, diseased and rubbing stems. Hybrid tea rose stems need to be trimmed four to six buds away from the ground – whilst Floribunda rose stems can be all trimmed to a foot above soil level.
The Royal Horticultural Society have a wealth of great information on caring for the different types of roses – from climbing and rambling to miniature and shrub roses. You can check out their fact files on roses and get additional information on caring for your roses here. JOIN US on 28th April 2016 for a GUIDED SPRING WALK WITH OUR HEAD GARDENER. We’ll be running two informative walks that day with lots of tips and advice, plus coffee and home-made cookies! Booking essential. Please call 0208 385 3100