Roses for the beginners
Now that spring has sprung on us…even though it is so soggy, it is now time to plant your roses.
If like me you are a beginner then don’t try and grow your own. It is now only some 4 years in that I have planted rose seeds and bulbs on my own and surprisingly they are growing, but if you want to make a good start then chose either one grown in the tub from a garden centre, or like me from Morrison’s or Lidl, or get a bare-root one. They are the ones normally found in the cardboard boxes with pictures on them. If you do buy one of those and I have, and they are great for growing roses then make sure that you soak the roots in water for at least an hour before you plant. This helps shake off the old soil and gives them the best start in life.
I found the roses grown in the tubs the best for me when I first started as they are already developed and they are available at any time in the spring and summer to be fair, and this allows you the grower to pick the best time to take it from pot to ground, or in some cases from pot to bigger pot as some of you like to have roses bushes as decorative on the doorsteps. You don’t have to pre-soak them.
You can plant these pots up until the end of Spring although I must confess to planting them as late as the end of July as I guess excitement took over, and I wanted them in the ground and growing. There are some great garden companies out there but always bear in mind if you are deciding to shop for them for delivery that there is a length of time involved and sometimes they may not get to you in the best shape.
I decided this when shopping around for my own and then I found Morrison’s and the small rose bushes were already started, looked very firm and they turned out to be a great buy as they are growing perfectly. You can buy both pots and roots from there.
As stated with the bare root roses, you need to put them in water and soak them for an hour before you plant them. You need to water these more than the rose grown pots as the roots need time to establish them and take a grip in the soil. That way you will have given the plant the best start. These are cheaper if you want to order them online, but you can pick them up in any supermarket. I actually got mine from Home Bargains and they are great. They cost £2 and I bought 4 and I am looking forward to them turning into the beautiful pinks and reds.
Don’t forget to have prepared the ground first. Dig the hole deep enough so that it covers the roots, and the small knuckle part of the rose is just showing and then dig a little deeper as here I am again with the chuck a handful of compost in and water. Then, when the hole is ready pop in the rose bush and pat down. You can be a little heavier with this as rose bushes like to have a good solid start.
When you have done that take a small bamboo stick and tie it to the rose bush so that it will grow up straight. I start to do mine as soon as I put it in as it helps the rose bush and I also like to be a small arch too as that helps me to tie the branches when they start to grow. I like to give it the opportunity to grow strong and helping it with archways and bamboo stakes do help. I use tie wraps as I can loosen it when the rose bush gets thicker. Always keep an eye out on the weather conditions as if it looks like it is going to be a frosty then again cover the ground with gravel or bark as that helps tremendously and avoid anything that is not soil and especially clay and as I found when first moved in…bits of stones and bricks. Dig them all out as this will damage the roots and they are quite precious until a hold is taken.
When you plant your roses look at the ground and if it is really muddy and very watery then don’t plant, but luckily with spring in the air the ground will dry out quickly and then you can plant it. It really is a case of making it not too muddy and not too dry…. just right is the ideal method.
That’s why I like to put the compost and water in the hole dug as it is helps and if the soil has been dried it gives it the moistness it needs.
I know you get many experts saying to check the Ph level but its normally between 5.9 and 7 for me and my garden. You can normally pick one up from Amazon for about £9.99 but when you become used to how the soil should look, it is generally the feel of the soil and the colour. You would know yourself if the soil were starving of nutrients as it would look greyish and there would be no clumping as I call it.
It is worth purchasing one to get you started and I did, but I tend not to use it now as I know how the soil should look, and before the start of planting I always have compost mixed in with the soil and leave it for a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of a week and give it a good watering to help it. Then your soil is ready.
The best places to plant your roses.
When choosing the area to plant in remember that most rose bushes are not demanding and all they ask for is at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, and during the spring try and put it in a spot where it can get a least that. If like me you want to plant it in the best areas in the garden and ones that will get the most sunlight and especially the morning sun, remember that the soil could dry so take to watering your roses everyday if possible especially when it is really hot. I like to do mine in the morning whilst it is still early, and then again in the early evening. I only do the early evening when it is not so hot as more often than not, you will have the morning dew to keep the soil moist.
When you are planting your roses, think about the space as they do love to grow and roses like spreading room and they love feeding so if possible buy the special rose feed from baby bio and give it a good feed every couple of weeks, and then like me get used to topping the ground up with some good compost. It really does help, and the roses can be very greedy, but the better the ground and the richer the soil the better your rose bushes will look.
I know the first year the roses grew I was horrified when dead heading them that earwigs fell out of the decaying petals, so that was it…..I got the rose spray that keeps the bugs and fungus away from the roses, but because they are prone to this it is best you keep them away from your door and spray them as per the instructions. Mine says only 4 times a year and I have sprayed it once already as my roses are fully grown already, and I wanted them free from any brown spots on the leaves.
It is best to do this early in the evening as you will be less likely to catch any bees with it, as they can become disorientated by it and wasps too and we know how important they are. Make sure it is not windy either as you don’t want to get covered in it either.
Planting from pots…
When you have decided on your roses in the pots it is now time to plant them. I have bought some from a garden centre and they can cost around £10 for a new rose bush and that is not a bad price to pay. If you want a fully grown one and one that does not require the work then you can pay upwards of £40 to £50 for a substantial one. That is why when working to a budget it is best to shop around.
The roses from the pots are treated just the same as the one from the root. I don’t need to soak them for an hour but instead just treat the soil as I would do with the others. However, you will need to make the hole bigger and wider and don’t forget that you need it deep enough so that the knuckle is sat on the soil and plenty of compost and water.
The first year of any plant is crucial as it needs support, but the one thing I don’t do, and I know that some people are so keen with the clippers is to start clipping as it won’t do the plant any good. If left alone it will manage quite well but too much heat will damage the soil and damage the plant, or too much watering can damage the soil and damage the plant.
Try and keep the ground moist for the first few weeks and this is where bark or gravel comes in. I tend to cover up the soil around the plants as I know that whether it is cold or hot, the soil underneath is staying moist. Don’t build the equivalent of K2 on top of your plants but put it around so that it is one stone thick and cover the area. It does help.
I found this out purely by accident and decided why not and it now gives all year-round protection. I actually used the bark once the plants had grown, and it does help, and I have not had a problem with the soil since. I use this on the fruit trees I planted, and I will be blogging about this on another day (Grown from seeds).
Once the shoots of the roses start showing then wipe off the mulch or the soil and then check to see if there is any fungus. I tend to spray then as if there is any brown spots or discolouration on the leaves then you have a fungus or aphids. They really like attacking the plants and this is just giving them a helping start.
By now your plants will have taken hold and started to grow. They will need fertilizing at least once a month and be generous with it. Over fertilizing it can force it to grow too quickly and this could make your leaves weak and that will attract the aphids again. So, whilst being generous do not do it more than once a month as that should help. I have read that you are to water it at the root and not the leaves, but I tend to water the leaves too as the leaves can collect the water and that gives the likes of the bees and wasps a drink.
I know that most gardeners are against all bugs going into the roses, but I am a keen person on the water being available for the bees and wasps and to be fair it has not done any harm to mine and it is only the aphids I want to keep out…the little bugs that destroy the plant.
When it comes to the first winter with your roses there is not much to do if you have followed the guidelines and actually put bark or shale/gravel down as this will protect the soil. If you protect the roots, then the plant will be ok, and it is very important to protect the roots. I buy a couple of bags of bark and a couple of bags of shale/gravel at the beginning of my planting season and before I knew where I was at, I had protected the whole area and eventually the whole garden. This has protected all my plants and I again found that out by accident. I thought well it couldn’t hurt surely and it hasn’t.
So, if you want to be a gardener who doesn’t have to put new plants in year after year, then cover the soil. I do tend to cover the area with a membrane that I am planting in. The soil underneath it has been made ready with the fertilizer and then a week later the membrane went on. This is pegged down with some tent pegs and then water.
When it came time to decide where the roses were going…just cut into the membrane and dig. When you have planted the whole area…. just cover it with bark and it will be safe during all the seasons. Don’t forget to water the whole area though.
When your roses are growing beautifully then comes the time to prune them. Do it at the beginning of spring so that you give it time to grow and dead head the roses when they are decaying on the plant and add to your compost heap, and if they grow the way mine do then I give them a trimming during the autumn, and it seems to encourage them to grow quicker and thicker. Make sure when you prune that you take away the unhealthy parts and the sticks that were the previous plants as this will encourage new ones to grow in the spring and summer.
It seems like a very long list but what it really is is common sense. When you have planted and seen your first rose bush grow it takes your breath away as they look gorgeous in the sunlight and my first one was a pink rose bush. The flowers were huge and stunning. I fell in love with them then. Although my darling father had a love of roses and it was a privilege watching him and the way he cared for his.
I guess I just remembered what he did and put that into practice and his ways were not wrong as they have worked a treat for mine. The first one I had placed in was in memory of my father and it is now the biggest and thickest rose bush I have, and it looks beautiful.
The best thing thought is that I am not out there for hours on end tending to the roses. A bit of TLC each week and they pretty much grow themselves. I water them during the dry season and that’s it. A bit of pruning and that is my job done and when they are all in full bloom they look magnificent. It is well worth investing in rose bushes if you want a stunning garden and they can be relied upon to bloom year after year after year. The main thing to remember is that roses are for admiring and making your beautiful gorgeous. So enjoy them.