Rose bushes for shade

Rose Care: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Roses

Ten essential steps for ensuring beautiful blooms year after year By Anne Balogh

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  • Above All™, a disease-resistant climber, blooms continuously from spring to fall. Photo by: Weeks Roses.
  • Julia Child is an old-fashioned Floribunda rose with a sweet licorice scent. Photo by: Weeks Roses.
  • Another climber, Dublin Bay isn’t picky and will open in either cold and hot weather. Photo by: Weeks Roses.

Rose care is easier than you think—anyone can grow them successfully. Plant your roses in a sunny location with good drainage. Fertilize them regularly for impressive flowers. Water them evenly to keep the soil moist. Prune established rose bushes in early spring. And watch for diseases like powdery mildew or black spot.

If you’ve been afraid to start a rose garden, the truth is, roses are no more difficult to care for than other flowering shrubs. “Modern rose bushes are both beautiful and tough in a wide range of growing conditions, so they are easier to grow than ever before,” says Christian Bedard, research director for Weeks Roses, America’s premier rose grower. To help gardeners who may not have grown roses before, Bedard shares some of his expert tips for successfully growing the queens of the flower garden.

Follow these ten essential rules to grow your own beautiful roses:

1. Know your roots

You can purchase roses already potted in soil or as dormant bare-root plants. Each type has its benefits. If you’re a novice rose grower, container roses are a great way to go because they are easy to plant and establish quickly. They can also be purchased at local nurseries throughout the growing season, allowing you to plant them when climate conditions are ideal.

Bare-root roses, which arrive dormant, offer the widest selection of varieties, but also require more TLC in the months after planting. Photo by: Weeks Roses

One of the biggest advantages of bare-root roses is the greater selection of varieties available. In addition, bare-root lants are an economical and convenient way to order plants by mail that you can’t find at a local nursery. Unlike container roses, however, bare-root plants need to have their roots soaked overnight in water before going in the ground, and the roots must be kept moist the first few months after planting.

“For first-time rose growers, a potted rose may be worth the additional expense if you can find the specific rose variety you want to grow in your garden,” says Bedard.

2. Don’t overdo it

There are numerous classes of roses, ranging from micro-miniatures to grandifloras and from groundcovers to climbing roses, with some classes containing hundreds of varieties. While it may be tempting to fill your rose garden with a wide assortment, you are likely to end up with a disorderly array and too many plants for the space. A few well-chosen varieties will give you far more satisfaction than dozens of mismatched plants that don’t work in harmony. See our Tips for Buying the Perfect Rose.

Limiting the number of rose varieties you grow will help you avoid creating a disorderly and mismatched array. Photo by: Weeks Roses.

3. Find the right site

For the best show of flowers and the healthiest plants, rose bushes should receive six to eight hours of sunlight daily. In especially hot climates, roses do best when they are protected from the hot afternoon sun. In cold climates, planting a rose bush next to a south- or west-facing fence or wall can help minimize winter freeze damage.

Roses also thrive when planted in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. In heavy clay soil, mix in compost, peat moss, and other organic matter to improve drainage. In lean, sandy soils, adding compost will help to retain moisture near the plant’s roots.

4. Time it right

The best time to plant roses is in the spring, after the last frost, or in the fall at least six weeks before the average first frost in your area. This gives the roots enough time to burrow into the soil before the plants go dormant over the winter.

Bare-root roses are typically available only in early spring and should be planted soon after you bring them home. Roses growing in containers give you more flexibility in planting time and can go into the ground whenever climate conditions are agreeable. “For the best results, plant roses on a calm, cloudy day. Planting on a hot, sunny day or during a summer heat wave can stress a rose bush or any type of plant,” says Bedard.

5. Dig deep

The size of the hole in which you plant your roses is one of the key factors to getting them off to a good start. Whether you are planting bare-root or container roses, you need to dig a hole deep enough and wide enough to accommodate the plant’s roots and to allow for good drainage, since roses don’t like wet feet. If you are planting several rose bushes together, space them at least 3 feet apart to give the plant ample growing room as it matures.

When planting roses, dig a deep, wide hole that allows for proper drainage and leaves room for root growth. Photo by: Weeks Roses.

Mix a generous amount of garden compost, peat moss, or other organic matter with the soil that was removed from the planting hole. Use some of this mixture at the bottom of the planting hole and place the rose bush in the hole. The plant’s crown should be at ground level in mild climates, and 2 to 3 inches below ground level for cold climates. Fill the hole partially with the soil mixture and add a slow-release fertilizer. Water thoroughly, and then finish filling the hole with the remaining soil. Water again, then mound loose soil around the canes to protect the rose while it acclimates to its new site.

6. Feed often

To produce an impressive show of flowers, a rose bush needs to be fertilized regularly. Organic methods provide a slow, steady supply of nutrients. Monthly applications of compost, composted manure, and other organic and natural fertilizers, such as this organic fish emulsion, work well. Organic amendments also help to encourage beneficial soil microbes and a well-balanced soil pH.

Slow-release fertilizers, like Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer Spikes, supply the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other minor nutrients and also give rose bushes the nourishment they need for optimum growth. The nutrient content in synthetic fertilizers is higher than what you’ll find in organic amendments, so fewer applications are necessary – typically once in the spring and once in the fall. For newly planted bare-root plants, apply organic amendments to the soil at planting time, then wait until after the plant has produced its first blooms to apply chemical fertilizers so you don’t burn the new roots. Whatever type of fertilizer you use, be sure to follow the product label for quantity and frequency of application.

7. Water wisely

Roses do best when soil moisture is kept uniform throughout the growing season. The amount and frequency of watering will depend on your soil type and climate. Roses growing in sandy soils will need more watering than those in heavier clay soils. Hot, dry, and windy conditions will also parch roses quickly. How you water is as important as the frequency. Using a soaker hose is recommend so you deliver water directly to the roots and avoid the leaves.

“To ensure a healthy rose bush, give it the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall per week during the growing season. Water at the soil level to avoid getting the foliage wet, because wet leaves encourage diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew,” says Bedard.

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8. Prune like a pro

It’s almost impossible to kill a rose bush by overpruning, but if you follow a few simple rules, the results will look more professional and result in a healthier plant. “Modern roses don’t need as much pruning as most people think. However, an established rose bush appreciates a basic pruning in early spring,” says Bedard. A good pair of bypass pruners (not anvil style) and rose pruning gloves can make the job even easier.

First, remove all dead and damaged canes (any that look brown), then cut back a third to a half of the previous year’s growth until you find healthy, white centers inside the cane. If you live in a climate with a dormant season, the best time to do a hard pruning is in early spring, around March or April. However, you can lightly prune your roses all season long to keep them well-groomed. For step-by-step pruning instructions, see Pruning Roses.

The only other pruning needed for most varieties of reblooming roses is deadheading to encourage reblooming throughout the season. Just cut back below the first five-leaflet stem to promote regrowth. If your rose bushes are “self-cleaning,” which means they don’t develop rose hips, no deadheading is needed because the blooms will drop off automatically and the plants will keep on producing more flowers.

9. Keep them healthy

The best way to prevent rose diseases is to choose disease-resistant varieties. These roses are bred and selected to resist the most common rose afflictions, including powdery mildew and black spot.

Powdery mildew typically appears during the summer, especially when the days are hot and dry and the nights are cool and wet. The tell-tale signs include leaves that curl and twist and the development of a white, powdery down on the leaves. To avoid powdery mildew, water plants at ground level in the morning, since wet leaves, especially overnight, provide the perfect growing environment. Pruning a rose bush to allow air to circulate through the foliage also helps prevent this powdery growth.

This rose leaf has been damaged by downy mildew. Photo by: Susan Fox.

Black spot is a waterborne fungal disease that appears as circular black or brown spots on the top side of leaves, starting toward the bottom of a bush and working its way up, eventually causing defoliation. Prevent this disease the same way you prevent powdery mildew, by improving air circulation through the plant and watering at ground level. A simple mixture of baking soda and horticultural oil can help fight the spread of black spot, or use an organic 3-in-1 fungicide, like this one. (Also see Rose Woes: Black Spot).

Pesky insects that like to feed on rose bushes include aphids, Japanese beetles, spider mites, and sawflies. Most of these pests can be controlled with neem oil or insecticidal soap. In the case of aphids, a blast of water from a hose in the morning is often the only treatment necessary.

For the most part, roses are tough and resilient and will thrive with minimal pampering. “You don’t need to do much to get the best new roses to grow well,” says Bedard. “Newer varieties of roses are much more vigorous and much more disease resistant than older varieties.”

This arrangement features ‘Julia Child’ and ‘Ebb Tide’. Photo by: Weeks Roses.

10. Show them off

Of course, one of the greatest pleasures of planting garden roses is the harvest. Roses have long been prized for their beautiful and fragrant cut flowers, but no roses are lovelier than those gathered fresh from your own garden. Here are a few rules of thumb for preserving your cut roses as long as possible:

  • Roses will last the longest when they are cut immediately after the bud stage, when the petals are starting to open.
  • Use hand pruners or garden scissors with sharp blades to cut the stems without damaging their water uptake channels.
  • Cut roses when they are dewy fresh and hydrated, either early in morning or during the evening, so the plant isn’t stressed from hot weather and sun exposure.
  • Recut the rose stems right before putting them in a vase to eliminate any air bubbles that will prevent them from taking in water. Also cut the stems at a 45-degree angle so they don’t rest flat on the bottom of the vase.
  • Strip off any lower leaves that fall below the water line to avoid rot and bacterial growth. Above the water line, leave as much foliage as possible, which will help to draw up water.
  • Change the water frequently — daily if possible — to remove any bacteria. Also recut the flower stems every few days to improve water absorption.

OTHER FLOWERS YOU’LL LOVE:
Peonies
Ranunculus

RELATED:
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David Austin’s Garden Roses
How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew

A lot can be said for a healthy rose bush, and the sight of blooming roses in your garden really will brighten your mood each day. There are two very important factors when planting roses to make sure you give them the best chance to thrive – firstly, make sure they are in the right growing conditions and secondly, plant them properly. Once you’ve got that right your roses will have a much better chance of thriving. Below are our top 10 tips to healthy roses, read on and find out how to make your rose bush the best in town…

10 things you need to know to grow healthy roses

1. Plant your roses in full sunlight – be sure that they never have less than four hours sunlight on them each day or you will notice reduced flowering.

2. Never consider growing roses in areas with a cold draught or in waterlogged ground.

3. Enrich your soil with organic matter, such as well-rotted manure, and plant your roses there. This will give them the best chance to thrive.

4. Before planting a rose bush, prune back all the branches to about 15cm (6in) in length to concentrate the plant’s energies on producing a strong root system.

5. Most roses prefer well-drained, neutral soil, and flower best on fertile, clay soil.

6. Roses are greedy, so for best results plant them in rich soil, mulch annually with compost, seaweed or manure, and feed in spring and summer with a proprietary rose fertilizer.

7. If you spot the first signs of black spot then make sure you treat it right away by removing diseased foliage and burning it.

8. Train climbers up sturdy supports, ensuring unrestricted air flow around the foliage to deter mildew.

9. Deadhead your rose bushes regularly to encourage more flowers to grow, leaving late blooms to form hips.

10. Pruning is essential for flowering, but varies depending on type, so ensure that you check what your rose bush will require when you buy.

The Basics of Growing Roses

WHEN TO PLANT ROSES

Bare root roses should be planted when the daytime temperatures are between 40-60F. Aside from times of extreme weather, potted roses can be planted at any time during the year. The extreme weather conditions that we advise against planting in are when the ground is frozen, water-logged or during a drought.

WHERE TO PLANT ROSES

Roses are extremely versatile and hardy plants that can be planted in a variety of positions and locations in the garden. When selecting a planting location, we recommend you consider the following points to ensure the rose thrives:

1. Ensure plenty of sunlight

Roses thrive on direct sunlight. For best results, a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight is recommended.

However, even when planted against a north wall (meaning no direct sunlight) roses can still perform well.

2. Avoid intense competition from other plants

The closer you plant your rose to other plants, the more competition there is for moisture and sunlight.

For best results, plant your rose 3 feet away from other plants and 2 feet from other roses.

Avoid planting a rose under an overhanging tree branch.

3. Avoid very exposed, windy sites

Strong winds can cause the base of the rose to loosen in the soil. This will result in your rose rocking in the wind which will lead to it growing at an angle, which in extreme cases will kill it.

To prevent this, ensure you follow our planting instructions.

If you find this problem with a rose you already have, make sure you firm the soil around it. In some cases a stake may be necessary.

PLANTING ROSES

For advice on planting choose from the links below:

How to plant a bare root shrub rose

How to plant a bare root climbing rose

WATERING ROSES

Watering is arguably the most important aspect of growing any plant. The right amount of watering will promote a healthy shrub that will flower over a long period.

How much water?

As a guide, we recommend watering the following amount per rose each time you water:

Shrub roses – 1-3 gallons

Climbing roses – 3-6 gallons

Rambling roses – 3-6 gallons

Standard roses – 3-6 gallons

Roses in pots – 1-3 gallons

When to water?

The need for watering varies greatly throughout the year and is directly related to the amount of rain that has fallen. We suggest the following:

Fall – Winter

Water as needed if the ground is completely dry until the rose goes dormant.

Spring

Watch out for particularly prolonged dry spells.

Newly planted roses – water every two or three days.

Established roses – water once or twice a week as needed to keep the soil moist around your roses.

Summer

Established roses – water as needed to keep the soil moist around your roses. As your rose starts blooming, take note if your flowers are wilting. This will happen in extreme heat but is a reliable sign that your roses need more water.

Newly planted roses – water every other day.

What you need

The best way to water is with a watering can, so that you can see how much water you are using. If you have a lot of roses, then a hose with a rose attachment is more practical.

How to water

It is best to water as close to base of the rose as you can. If the water is starting to flow away from the base, stop for a moment to allow the water to soak in, then continue. Don’t water over the flowers or foliage. Watering foliage can encourage disease problems, particularly if it remains on the leaves overnight. We recommend a softer spray rather than a fierce deluge from a jet spray or pressure hose. If using a hose, try to get a fitting that has a rose setting. If you haven’t got a special fitting, make sure the pressure is not too high on your hose.

Roses or situations that require extra attention:

Newly planted roses.

Climbing Roses planted against walls due to the dry nature of the soil in that location.

Roses planted in sandy soil.

Roses planted in a pot or container.

FEEDING ROSES

All roses appreciate being fed, particularly our repeat-flowering English Roses. If you wish to get the most out of your roses we always recommend feeding.

When to feed

For the best results, we recommend two annual feeds:

At the beginning of the growing season.

After the first bloom cycle has finished, promoting stronger repeat flowering.

For the best results, we recommend using our own specially formulated David Austin Rose Food. (not available in all states)

How to feed

Simply sprinkle Rose Food around the base of each rose (see packaging for full instructions).

PRUNING ROSES

For advice on pruning choose from the links below:

How to prune a shrub rose

How to prune a climbing rose

MULCHING ROSES

We recommend mulching as it helps to retain moisture and to suppress weeds.

When to mulch

You can do this at any time of year. For the best results, mulch in early spring.

For best the results, we recommend small bark chippings.

How to mulch

Firstly, remove all of the weeds in your rose border.

Secondly, apply about an inch thick layer of bark around the base of the rose and any bare soil next to your rose. The more you apply the better the moisture retention and weed suppressant.

If you are mulching when the soil is dry, water well either before or after mulching.

PESTS & DISEASES

Spraying roses to control pests

Aphids and caterpillars are the most common pests.

When to Spray

When you see them.

We recommend pesticides by Bayer or Ortho against most pests.

How to spray to control Pests

Aphids and caterpillars can be removed by hand in the earliest stages.

If spraying, see packaging for instructions.

Spraying roses to control disease

The main fungal challenges for roses are rust, black spot and powdery mildew. David Austin English Roses as a group are relatively resistant to disease. However, in some situations they too may require spraying.

When to spray

We recommend you spray at the first sign of disease. It is best to act quickly to prevent disease spreading.

Banner Maxx is effective against black spot, powdery mildew and rust.

How to spray

See packaging for instructions.

DEAD-HEADING ROSES

Why Dead Head

There are two good reasons to dead head:

To encourage repeat-flowering – this stops your rose producing seeds in the hips, which are formed after flowering, so that it has more energy for repeat-flowering.

Shaping – it is an opportunity to shape your shrub.

When to dead head

This should be done as soon after each flowering as possible up to late Fall. After that it is unlikely that you will get much more growth or flowering, as your plant will be getting ready for winter.

How to Dead Head

Each flowering stem can be cut back as far as three sets of leaves. The amount you cut back controls, to some extent, the shape and size of your plant.

If you are unsure, cut back to the point where the flowers stop being produced on the stem.

Shade-Tolerant Roses

Nearly all roses perform best in full sun (more than 6 hours a day) where they set the most bloom and are more resistant to disease. However, a number of roses can tolerate partial shade. Certain classes of roses tend to be more shade tolerant. These roses are closely related to species roses native to forest or thicket habitats. Once-blooming varieties (many old garden roses) require less light.

Although less prolific than sun-drenched plants, roses grown in partial shade (about 4 hours of sunlight a day) retain their color and fragrance longer. Pale or pastel blooms brighten dark garden areas, while often getting washed out if planted in full sun. That open space in your border that gets dappled light may not be such a bad location after all.

Shade Tolerant Roses: A selection of Hybrid Musk ‘Queen Margrethe’, left foreground; ‘Rosy Purple,’ (right) roses grow in the shade of towering Douglas fir trees in the north garden at Heirloom Roses

Tips for Growing Shade-tolerant Roses

  • Select prolific bloomers such as floribundas and spray roses, rather than hybrid teas.
  • Choose pale or pastel blooms that “pop” in shady areas.
  • Supply adequate water with good drainage.
  • Apply sufficient fertilizer.
  • Utilize proper pruning practices, as shaded roses tend to grow taller.
  • Plant away from tree trunks to avoid root competition

Rose Care Q&A

Some rose experts recently shared their tips on growing gorgeous blossoms.

Image zoom

Q: What kind of site do roses require?

A: Good drainage is very important. A loose, well-drained soil is best, but roses will grow in a variety of soils. If you have a lot of heavy clay, replace it if that’s practical. If not, add gypsum pellets to break down clay over time and allow water to penetrate to the roots. Also, have a soil test done. Roses prefer a pH of 6.3-6.8.

Q: How about light conditions?

A: Full sun is ideal. The plants need at least six hours of sun a day. We have some partly shaded areas that get early-morning and late-afternoon sun. Even though they’re not getting six continuous hours of sun, they do okay. If you have high, bright shade, like that under a limbed-up tree, roses can do all right, but direct sun is best.

Q: Are there any cultivars that will take more shade than others?

A: ‘The Fairy,’ a Polyantha rose, will take quite a lot of shade. Another is ‘Gruss an Aachen,’ a light pink Floribunda.

Q: Any exciting new rose developments to talk about?

A: We like the Canadian roses in the Parkland and Explorer series. These come from research done by Ag Canada in Ottawa and Morden Station in Manitoba. They have marvelous hardiness for Northern gardeners, and good disease resistance. One of our favorites is ‘Morden Blush,’ but we have quite a few others. We also like the French ‘Generosa’ and ‘Romantica,’ and the Towne & Country series from Denmark. All of these are similar to David Austin English roses — Old Garden roses hybridized with modern Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.

Image zoom The planting depth of graftedplants depends on climate. InUSDA Zone 5 and colder, burythe swollen bud union 2 inchesbelow ground. In warmerclimates, leave it at the soilsurface or just below.

Q: Where can gardeners learn about other good cultivars?

A: The American Rose Society publishes “The Handbook for Selecting Roses.” It has results and ratings from growers on hundreds of roses that are commercially available. The ARS magazine, “The American Rose,” is another excellent source.

Q: When is the best time to plant roses?

A: Bareroot roses should be planted in spring, by April 15 in Zone 5. Spring planting in the South is in January and February. Planting times will vary considerably throughout the many USDA plant-hardiness Zones. Container-grown roses can be planted anytime during the growing season.

Q: You mention both bareroot and potted roses. Which one is better?

A: Some mail-order nurseries ship container plants, but most catalog orders are bareroot plants. Newer varieties are likely to be bareroot, too, as nurseries haven’t had time to pot them. Many container plants come from local nurseries that buy bareroot plants and pot them up to grow larger. Either bareroot or container plants are okay, but with containers, you have to rely on the reputation of the nursery and whether they know what they are doing. The roses have to be potted correctly to grow.

Q: Are there any other factors to consider when selecting a rose?

A: In the last few years, it’s become more important to know whether to plant own-root or grafted plants. Some varieties may be available only as one or the other, but where there’s a choice, we like own-root. If a grafted plant gets winter-killed to below the bud union, you’ll just get the rootstock variety coming back up. An own-root plant might die in winter, but it will grow back from the roots as the same cultivar. Own-root plants will be smaller than grafted ones at a given age, but they’ll catch up. If you get own-root plants, ask for two-year-old ones.

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Q: How much pruning do established roses need, and when should it be done?

A: In colder regions, when the crab apples bloom in spring, prune off any dead material. Aside from that, just do maintenance pruning to take care of any crossing twigs and inward growth to keep a nice shape to the plant.

Q: What can gardeners do to encourage dormant roses to leaf out in spring?

A: We put a small plastic bag over the plant. It should be tan or light brown. Don’t use very dark colors. Small grocery bags work well. Be sure to cut breathing holes near the center of the bag, and anchor it down with several stones. Keep checking under the bag until you see new growth, then remove it.

Q: Should plants be mulched?

A: We put 2-3 inches of mulch around our plants. We like wood chips — cypress is best, but you can use anything except black walnut. Other possibilities are pine needles, cocoa hulls, sawdust, hay, straw, marsh hay, and old manure. But make sure the manure is well-rotted. Peat moss and grass cuttings should be used with caution, as they may become compacted and have a smothering effect.

Q: How much water do roses require?

A: Hybrid Teas and Floribundas need at least 2 inches of water per week; shrub roses less. Don’t let the ground dry out, as this will stress the plant. Leaves and flowers start drooping and you’ll probably notice some changes in leaf color.

Image zoom Morden Centennials seem to beresistant to black spot andpowdery mildew, two commonfungal diseases.

Q: What pests bother roses?

A: There can be different ones in different regions, but aphids and spider mites are pests everywhere. They are especially a problem in hot, dry weather. Keeping plants watered helps prevent infestations. Adjusting the hose nozzle to a fine spray and washing aphids and spider mites off plants will often take care of the problem without chemicals. Also, there are cane borers and leaf-cutting bees. We let these go because the damage is mainly cosmetic.

Q: Any other major pest problems?

A: Two fungal diseases that occur all over the country are black spot and powdery mildew. Some cultivars are more resistant than others. For example, we haven’t noticed any on ‘Morden Blush’ or ‘Morden Centennial,’ and some of the other Canadian roses seem to be resistant.

Q: How do you deal with infestations of black spot or powdery mildew?

A: Using chemicals is a big concern among rosarians. We’ve cut down on the use of insecticides, using them only if we absolutely have to. For prevention or cure of black spot or powdery mildew, we follow a regular routine of spraying with fungicide every week or 10 days. Most good garden centers will carry a variety of effective products. Organic controls work better in situations where there are just a few roses. Try Safer soap or Neem or baking soda. Some rose growers have had good luck with copper-base fungicides such as Bordeaux. And you can also help prevent black spot by watering only in the morning so the foliage has a chance to dry out during the day.

Q: With all these beautiful roses, you must sometimes cut a few for the house. Any tips on cutting?

A: Some cultivars hold up better than others. Use floral preservatives in the water and cut in early morning or late afternoon, just when the bud is beginning to open. Sometimes, if we know there’s hot weather or a bad storm coming, we will pick a lot of them and put them in the refrigerator to take out a few at a time.

Image zoom Consulting the experts willhelp you to successfully growa lush array of roses.

Q: What’s the best way for a rose novice to get help?

A: The American Rose Society offers the Consulting Rosarians Service, a national network of trained volunteers who answer questions for free.

Q: How does a gardener find a local Consulting Rosarian?

A: Call the ARS at (800)637-6534. They can give you the name of a nearby Consulting Rosarian based on your ZIP code. There is also an ARS website at www.ars.org with lots of information. Some of the Consulting Rosarians can be contacted through the website and will answer questions via e-mail. Joining the ARS is a good idea for anyone really interested in roses. They have several helpful publications, including a rating guide for best varieties.

Planting Tips from the Experts

Image zoom Before planting, allow the rootsto soak in water overnight.

Take a dip. Remove any broken roots from plants. Cut off the tip of every root, and cut back any extremely long roots. Dip the plants in a solution of 1 cup bleach and 5 gallons water to kill any disease organisms. A quick, one-minute dip will do.

Image zoom Gently tamp the soil at the base of the plant, but don’t pack the soil down hard.

Don’t pack it in. When planting bare-root roses, build up a cone-shaped mound at the bottom of the hole, then spread the roots over the mound and down into the hole on all sides. Fill the hole with amended soil, then water.

Image zoom Amend the soil you removed with peat moss.

Amendments. Dig a hole twice as wide as the spread of the roots and about 8 inches deeper than you’ll need to plant the rose at its original depth. You can throw in a handful of superphosphate and mix it around. Add gypsum pellets if you have heavy clay soil.

Image zoom Wait to fertilize newly planted roses until after their first bloom.

Food for flowers. Established roses can be fertilized just before they leaf out in spring. Slow-release fertilizers can be applied sparingly — as little as once or twice during the growing season — while water-soluble fertilizers may need to be applied every few weeks.

Sun, shade, dry or windy – there’s a rose to suit every kind of garden

Grow this: Modern varieties of yarrow (Achillea millefolium) come in a wonderful mix of colours and are extremely long-flowering (June-September), making this floriferous, decorative, pollinator-friendly, sun-loving, easy-to-grow perennial a great choice for the summer garden, while the flowers also dry very well. Available from good garden centres, seed of beautiful contemporary colour mixes such as ‘Summer Pastels’ and ‘Summer Berries’ is also widely available to order online (seedaholic.com, sarahraven.com) and is a great way to raise generous quantities of plants to sprinkle through a border.

Dates for your diary

Today (Saturday June 29th), ‘Rose Day’, Altamont Walled Garden, Altamont, Ballon, Co Carlow, with, ‘Roses in all their Glory’, a talk by rose expert and nurseryman John McNamara.

Saturday June 29th (from 2pm), Woodville Walled Garden, Kilchreest, Loughrea, Co Galway, ‘Roses, Roses All the Way’, a talk by rose expert and breeder David Kenny, followed by a tour of the garden and light refreshments. Admission €12, pre-booking essential, email [email protected] or contact Marie at 087-271 1970.

Saturday June 29th (3pm-5pm), St Patrick’s School, Greystones, Co Wicklow, Delgany & District Horticultural Society Annual Rose & Sweet Pea Show, see delganydhs.com.

Sunday June 30th (10am-5pm), open day at Fruitlawn Gardens, Abbeyleix, Co Laois, see arthurshackleton.com.

July 1st-July 30th (10am-5pm, every Friday and Saturday), Knockrose House, The Scalp, Kilternan, Dublin 18, ‘Plant, Plaster, Pigment’, an exhibition of botanical plaster art by artist Erica Devine, see knockrose.com.

Saturday July 6th and Sunday July 7th, Galway Garden Festival, galwaygardenfestival.com.

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