Stress free tips for great Roses....
I think every Gardener probably has a plant they aren't naturally drawn to. For me? It was roses.
They can be pretty intimidating things - loads of complicated advice, prone to pests, thorny, growing in weird shapes, lengthy you-tube videos explaining the science of pruning them.
I inherited a garden of established Roses and so last season I started an experiment.
I wondered if I went about their care as if I knew nothing about these wonders, and just did the basics right, would I still get a great crop? Well the new blooms are out and here are the results (set to music just because I learned how to do that too).....ta-dah!!
So...here are my top tips for amazing Roses.
1. They love to eat - don't get complicated, good mulch and sheep pellets will do the trick.
2. Things love to eat them - Roses are prone to all sorts of little pests. I prefer a natural spray so used Pyrethrum. I literally drenched my Roses in this spray when the bugs were bad until they decided to leave town.
3. Pruning can be really simple - here's the approach I took. Cut off all the old buds. Remove any of the new growth (so green new shoots) that are growing inwards and crossing over the others. Take the old (woody) looking growth down by about a third. Yes they look ugly, but it's short term pain for long term gain.
4. Support them - if you have Rose Standards (the big round ones that sit on top of one main stem) then stake them well. They'll have lots going on up top and don't need to be wonky. Help them out a bit.
5. Don't overcrowd them - lower level planting is all good around roses but try to give them some space to show off. Remember it's much easier to let them do their thing than have to untangle them from a neighbouring plant later. They'll always win.
And that is actually all I did. Now rose-lovers often have a much more complex system of caring for their treasures and that is all good. (Also maybe don't show them this post). But because my mission is to make Rockstar gardeners out of you all, this is a method that will still get a great result with minimal effort.
Oh and if you end up with a thorn or 10 in your knuckles then Bentonite Clay made into a paste and covered with a plaster will get them out for you no problem.