Date: 26 October 2005
Originally published in: Various local newspapers (UK)
Written by: Kim Wilde
Roses have always been one of the nation’s favourite flowering plants. For decades Britain’s gardeners have loved this most versatile of traditional plants, that not only gives a huge variety of flower colours, but also exquisite perfume, attractive foliage and colourful seed heads. You can now buy rose varieties for nearly every aspect of your garden, such as beds and borders, walls any fences, tubs and even for ground cover. The late autumn is the best time to plant roses in your garden, as garden centres will be having their first deliveries of the new season’s crop.
When choosing plants for your garden you should consider that roses fall into a number of groups suitable for different purposes and these should be considered to ensure you make the right choice. If you are looking for rose bushes for beds and borders then you should choose varieties from either the ‘Hybrid Tea’ group (where the plants produce a large single flower on one stem), or the ‘Floribunda’ group (which gives a cluster of flowers on one stem). Varieties from either group are the most popular choice for most gardeners.
Ideally, you should plant in groups of the same variety, as this will give a stunning display. Popular varieties include Grandpa Dickson (yellow flowers), Ruby Wedding (ruby red flowers) and Queen Elizabeth (pink flowers). For walls and fences you should choose either ‘Ramblers’ (which produce long stems baring large trusses of small flowers in one summer flush) or ‘Climbers’ (which bare large single flowers and often have the advantage of a continual flush of flowers throughout the summer). Good fragrant varieties to choose are Golden Showers (yellow flowers), Paul’s Scarlet (red flowers) and Zephirine Drouhin (a thornless variety with pink flowers). For tubs and containers choose roses from the ‘Patio’ or ‘Miniature’ groups as these give you great colourful low growing plants, ideal for bold splashes of colour on your patio. Popular varieties include Sweet Dream (apricot flowers), Top Marks (red flowers) and New Penny (pink flowers).
‘Shrub’ roses are ideal for a mixed border as they provide height, colour and scent, especially when mixing with trees, shrubs and perennial plants. Popular varieties are ‘Graham Thomas (yellow flowers) and Gertrude Jekyll (pink flowers). If you wish to cover a large area of ground such as a bank, then ‘Ground Cover’ roses would be best for you, as these provide a low spreading flowering cover. Good choices would be ‘Flower Carpet’ (pink flowers) or Red Blanket (red flowers). When choosing a site to plant your new roses, pick a spot that gets plenty of sun throughout the day, is sheltered from cold winds and is free draining. Before planting dig plenty of organic matter into your soil and incorporate a rose fertiliser.
After planting, place a layer of mulch around the soil surface of the plants to conserve moisture and prevent weed growth. Water regularly during dry weather in spring and summer until your plants are established.