UPDATED: January 2020NEWS
Roses - Questions and Answers
How to Rejuvenate Tired Rose Bushes
If your roses flowered poorly last year, there are steps you can follow to ensure better performance this year. These steps are best followed around mid February time - summer is too late to try and get reluctant roses to flower.
If flowering in recent years has been less than spectacular, they may need a special feed to get them back to top performance.
You should apply a potash fertiliser to toughen them up and then place a banana or two at the base of each rose. As the bananas rot, they will release large amounts of potassium which really promotes strong flower growth. You should repeat this feeding exercise when the flowers are in full bloom. Ensure that you bury the bananas just below the surface to avoid the attention of any hungry passing animals.
Best Time to Cut Roses for a Vase Display
The best time cut roses is when they are about one third of the way between a fully closed bud and full open bloom. By the time they are fully open it is too late and they will soon drop all their petals.
As soon as the cut end of the stem is exposed to air, it effectively creates a seal which prevents water being taken effectively. To overcome this and allow the rose to last as long as possible, recut the stem at an angle and them lower into a couple of inches of just-boiled (but not boiling) water for about 30 seconds. Keep the buds away from any steam, and then place them in a vase.
Growing Roses in Hedges
Try adding some fragrant roses to a hedge to add some extra colour. Particularly suitable varieties are Mortimer Sackler (light pink) and Buttercup and Molineux (both yellow in colour). These are quite tough so can grow in poor soil, and are also relatively thorn-free. You may also consider Versicolor (red and white) the maroon Tuscany or deep pink Empress Josephine. These are also good varieties for hedges.
Disguise Those Bins
If you have a rather unsightly dustbin, wheelie bin or recycling bin in your garden area (and these days most of us have several) why not screen it off and add some climbing roses to add interest and more importantly, a nice fragrance. You could use hazel or willow screens or trellis panels, a garden arch for an interesting access point and some lovely scented roses.
Roses for Shady Areas
Believe it or not, some varieties will tolerate a great deal of shade so don't be too disheartened if your garden is rather shady. A good choice here is the Madame Alfred Carriere which has subtle white flowers though it can take a couple of years to flower. It's vital to have moist soil in these situations.
Cutting Tall Roses Down to Size
If your rose bushes are getting rather tall - say over 2 metres, then you can be quite ruthless in cutting them down to size. In fact bush roses tolerate even extreme pruning very well. Start in the centre of the bush and remove any crossing stems first. Some hybrid tea roses can be cut back to just four buds, but for most others eight to ten will be sufficient.
Protecting Roses from Frost
Mound up soil around the rose stems during very cold weather as a form of insulation. Remember to level out again when the weather warms up. If the soil is very heavy or wet then you should instead use compost.