June marks the official start of winter, with some cold days and nights over the past few weeks confirming the change of season.

Now is the best time of the year to be planting roses. New stocks have been filling stores and there are some wonderful varieties available.

I personally love roses. Roses really are an impressive plant. There are few plants that can boast the growth rate and extent of flowering that a good rose will provide. A rose bush purchased now (that looks like a group of sticks in a pot) will, by November be 60-80cm high producing a mass of eye popping colourful blooms, that can (depending on the variety) repeat flower throughout summer and well into next Autumn.

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!

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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 wanting 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 also come in a number of forms including, the well known 'ordinary' or bush rose, standard roses (two main stem heights are common, 800mm, 450mm and less commonly 1.8m) and climbing varieties. It is not surprising that gardeners for centuries have revered the rose as 'Queen of the Shrubs' for the extraordinary beauty of its flowers.

There are so many different roses in so many flower colours, shapes, fragrance and plant height that there really is a rose for every situation and garden style. Few plants are so versatile and varied in growth habit, height, foliage and form. It is possible to smother the whole garden with roses. 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.

Here are some top performing varieties with good health, good fragrance and good form.

'Lasting Love'; This rose displays good vigour and excellent health with good resistance to black spot. Its flowers are truly stunning being dusky red in bud, opening to fragrant deep red blooms.

'Purpleicious'; this beauty is a deep purple with a delicious fragrance. It has a flat old fashioned flower form and grows approximately 80cm.

'Absolutely Fabulous'; spectacular butter gold blooms in an old fashioned form with a strong fragrance.

'Princess Alexandra'; deepest magenta pink rose with a frilled edge to the petals borne on single stems. The flower is large and has a strong fragrance.

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'Mum in a Million'; stunning large single stemmed blooms of soft rose pink with a knockout perfume cover the plant in profusion for extremely long periods. A strong healthy grower.

'The Alnwick Rose'; the flower blooms are 'cupped' in shape and are a rich pink colour that pales to a soft pink and has an old rose fragrance.

Gareth Carter is General Manager of Springvale Garden Centre


More from Gareth Carter:
Gareth Carter: Compost, broad beans, crops
Cyclamen to brighten up winter
Gareth Carter: Colouful, captivating cameilias
Growing plants in tough places