Roses are always popular and most are now in flower. Now is a great time of year to be planting roses. New stocks have been filling stores and there are some wonderful varieties available.

I personally love roses; they are such an impressive plant. There are few plants that can boast the growth rate and extent of flowering that a good rose will provide. Many varieties will repeat flower throughout summer and with our very mild Autumn weather will continue right through into May in Whanganui.

Such is the popularity of roses that new varieties have been selected and bred for hundreds of years to gain the desired flower form, colour, fragrance or a combination of all of these!

In recent years rose breeders have developed varieties that will thrive with little or no spraying. This response has helped to balance the scales between people wanting to have low maintenance gardens, but also to have some flamboyant colour and scent in the garden as well. There are some stunning varieties that have been developed that are not only colourful, but are highly fragrant and healthy growers.

Roses come in a number of forms including, the well known 'regular' or bush rose, standard roses (two common main stem heights are 800mm and 450mm and less commonly 1.8m) and climbing varieties.

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Whether grown en masse or singly to heighten the profusion of a mixed planting, roses epitomise the glory of the garden on a summers day. Be inspired to grow some roses in your garden. If you are limited on space then growing in pots is a good way to ensure some bright colour on the patio for summer.

Roses today come in virtually every colour of the spectrum. Most rose's co-ordinate well together but a combination of too many brilliant colours may create a discordant effect. When planting, using white roses or those with soft pastel tones between your groups of strong coloured roses will prevent a clash of colour.

A particular favourite is 'Absolutely Fabulous'. This rose displays good vigour and excellent health with good resistance to black spot. Its flowers are truly stunning with butter gold blooms, and a delicious strong fragrance.

Rose 'Purpleicious' is a recently released rose that has become very popular and is a good performer in the garden. This beauty is a deep purple with a delicious fragrance. It has a flat old fashioned flower form and grows approximately 80cm.

A new release this year is Rose 'Scent By An Angel'. It features blooms with a heavy perfume that are deep magenta pink in colour that pale to a soft pink. It is a floribunda type rose produces masses of flowers in clusters for months through out summer.

A favourite climbing rose of mine is 'Dublin Bay'. This was selected by well known international rose breeder Sam McGredy and named after the bays of Ireland. It is such a good performer it is rated as the number one climbing rose by the NZ rose society frequently with nearly double the votes of the next best rose.

Its blooms are a very brilliant semi double with bright red blooms. It can grow up to 2-3 metres across but while it is a good grower, it is not so vigorous that it can't be contained and kept smaller when needed. It performs well grown up a trellis, pillar, wall or pergola.
Dublin Bay looks particularly good when under planted with lavender or catmint, where the blue flowers of these plants provide a complementary colour to both the rose blooms and the deep green leaves.

This highly rated rose, 'Dublin Bay' is adaptable to many garden situations. It can be grown successfully in a decent sized patio planter or half wine barrel. It is a strong and healthy grower with dark green healthy foliage and generally good disease resistance.

Have a great week.

Gareth Carter is General Manager of Springvale Garden Centre