SWANSEA LIFE ARTICLE // GROWING ROSES

Fancy growing some beautiful roses but not sure where to start? Check out my article in July’s Swansea Life for some top tips!

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Growing roses

I absolutely love roses, but I think they sometimes have a bit of an unfair reputation of being fussy and difficult to grow. I find that often when I suggest planting a rose to a client they panic and think that they are going to be a nightmare to look after!

It is true that roses do need a bit of TLC and love to keep them thriving, but I am a firm believer that there is a rose for every garden- and for every gardener!

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The different varieties and styles of roses available is enormous- dainty little tea roses grown in pots, big blousy blooms in the borders, wild looking ramblers in an old apple tree and everything in between. Whatever you choose, a beautiful rose in bloom in your garden is guaranteed to raise a smile.

Chose a hardy, disease resistant variety that is suitable for your growing conditions. Typically roses will need at least 4-5 hours of sun a day to thrive, but there are some that will be happy in a shady spot- the David Austin website has a fantastic search option which allows you to find the right rose for your garden.

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Roses can be bought ‘bare root’ in the winter or in pots all year round. I would recommend bare root stock – it is much cheaper than pot grown so you can buy even more roses!

Whatever you choose, make sure you plant your rose into a large hole with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure incorporated in. Firm the soil down well and mulch thickly around the base with bark chippings and water well. Keep an eye on the weather and if it’s dry, give your newly planted rose a really good soak every few days.

If you look after it while it establishes, you will be rewarded with a much happier and healthier plant in the long run and the most beautiful blooms.

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Roses are hungry plants, and will appreciate a feed a couple of times a year to keep their blooms at their best. You can buy specialist rose food from garden centres, follow the packet instructions for the one you choose and don’t be tempted to overdo it, it is not good to over feed your plants!

Deadheading will encourage repeat flowering, so snip off any fading blooms.

Once your roses are established you can cut the flowers to bring in to the house- I currently have a very beautiful David Austin ‘Desdemona’ rose sitting on my desk which I picked this morning, and it is filling my office with the most beautiful scent! I am completely obsessed with cutting flowers from the garden- I really should stop being so snip happy though… I’m trying to adopt a ‘one for me, one for the garden’ rule!!

Pruning will keep your roses strong and stop them from getting leggy. It is very easy to do- don’t be scared! A good, sharp pair of secateurs and thick gloves are a must for pruning. Pruning should be carried out in late winter/early spring when you start to see the first signs of new growth. For a shrub rose, cut back all stems by about a third to create a neat shape and then remove any dead, diseased or damaged looking stems. Don’t panic if you’ve got a bit carried away- they will come back even if you cut them to the base! Climbing roses can be cut back as much as is needed and then tied into their supporting structure. Cut any stems that are growing in the wrong direction down to the base and remove any dead or diseased looking stems completely.

Get rid of any rose prunings from your garden to reduce the risk of disease- burn them if you can.


Victoria writes an article each month in Swansea Life magazine about all things gardening. Click here to view her other articles.