Queen's Birthday Weekend – and a good time to plant the queen of flowers, the rose. New seasons roses are in-store now...here‘s what you need to know:
Bare root roses
• Cheaper than potted roses and slightly depressing looking – a couple of spiky twigs with some gnarly dead looking roots handing off the ends. Don’t be fooled, they’re good to go.
• Soak them in a bucket of water for a couple of hours once you get them home, dig a good sized hole and add plenty of organic matter – and any dead birds the cat might have caught.
• Mound the earth in the bottom of the hole; spread the roots over it and backfill, mixing in lots of blood and bone and compost. Make sure the bud union (the knobbly bit where the stem is grafted to the rootstock) is covered. Firm the soil and water it in well.
• Dig a generous hole, a bit deeper than the container and fork in some compost and blood and bone. Ease the plant out of the pot, trying to keep as much soil around the roots as you can, and plant it to the same level it was in the pot. If it all falls off and you’re left holding a dead looking bunch of twigs – refer to the above! Give it a good water to help it settle in.
What roses like
• Good rich soil, and good news – they don’t mind clay. But add plenty of sheep pellets, manure, compost. Roses need at least half a day’s sun.
Replacing an old rose with a new one
• Roses don’t like growing in the same spot as another one has been, and will sulk for years – some even die. Dig out the old rose plus a barrow full of soil from the hole. Replace it with soil from the veg patch and plant your new rose. Adding Tricopel (a beneficial fungi) will help your new rose get established – ask for it at your garden centre.