Thursday, 25 April 2013 18:04


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Our roses are blooming now.  Whether you’re an old hand or an apprehensive beginner who’s excited about the possibility of raising roses, we have to be honest—there’s no such thing as maintenance free roses.  Newer varieties are close to being carefree and definitely qualify as low effort. 

You’ll still need to look after the roses basic needs, which include watering, fertilizing and keeping a watchful eye on insects.  A little light pruning and winter protection should keep them looking rosy.   At the Market our selection includes shrub roses and hybrid teas (the type florists sell). Here are some tips on rose gardening. 

  • Planting—in this area we suggest when planting roses, bury the bud union 4 to 5 inches below the soil line, rather than the usual 1 to 2 inches recommended on the planting instructions.  Our customers have had success with this deeper planting, probably due to our harsh winter weather.  Roses should be planted where they will receive a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of full sun per day.
  • Watering – when watering roses, soak the entire root zone at least twice a week in dry summer weather.  Frequent shallow sprinklings are useless and may encourage fungus.
  • Mulching – mulch helps your roses conserve moisture.  Organic mulches, such as bark, pine needles or leaves shredded by a lawn mower work best.  This also reduces weeding chores.
  • Fertilizing –- once a month between April and July apply a balanced granular fertilizer (5-10-5 or 5-10-10).  Give three-quarters to one cup full to each bush and sprinkle it around the drip line, not against the stem.  In May and June add an additional tablespoon of Epsom salts—the magnesium sulfate will encourage new growth.
  • Diseases include blackspot and powdery mildew.  Those wishing to try an organic solution for blackspot should mix together 4 tsps each of baking soda and mineral oil (not dormant oil) in 1 gallon (4.5 litres) of water.  Use as a fine spray weekly.  It helps to prevent powdery mildew, leaf blight, and leaf spot.
  • Pests – aphids and earth fleas are two to watch out for.  If you see holes, turn the leaves over—you can pick them off, blast them off with a hose, or try chemical means.  At the Market we stock GARDAL for roses.
  • Deadhead –repeat blooming shrub roses should be deadheaded to prevent hips from forming and to keep flowers coming.  Hybrid teas and floribundas can be fertilized and cut back lightly after blooming until mid July to encourage more flowers. 
  • Cutting roses – avoid taking more leaves than necessary.  Cut in the early morning.  Roses can be entirely submerged in water for a few hours after cutting to crispen them.  Add a small amount of listerine to the water in your vase.  Cut stems on an angle—not flat across.  Change the water regularly to prolong the blooms.
  • Pruning – roses should be pruned very early in the spring—before they start greening up and branching out.  Take out all the dead wood, crossing canes and spindly growth.  Cut back old wood about 30 to 40 percent.  To encourage outward growth, always cut to a live bud pointing away from the centre of the shrub.

Our selection of roses is excellent right now.  Stop in at the Market and choose from our shrub roses and hybrid teas.  There’s a rose that will perform well in your modern landscape.

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