While the mornings certainly feel like winter, we have had some spectacular days this past week with blue sky and 20C in the middle of the day. It is a real treat for the first month of winter.
The only challenge with milder winters is that some plants that benefit from a period of dormancy struggle to know what season they are in. Cold weather is beneficial for the garden as it kills off many warm season insects and allows plants that require it a rest.
It is now more beneficial than ever before to spray your roses now with lime sulphur. This will hasten the dropping of leaves as well as kill fungus spores and overwintering scale and other insects that may be lingering.
Further sprays after pruning of the organic combo En Spray 99 (oil) and Free-Flo Copper should be made following pruning in July.
The garden centre is flush with the arrival of new season roses and now is the best time of the year to be planting them while they are dormant.
There are a number of types all available in stores now:
•Climbing or rambling roses can be trained along a fence, veranda or pergola. Provide strong supports and these roses will create a stunning look.
• Standard and bush roses are perfect to create a formal look and focal point for any garden . Plant bulbs and herbs below these roses for year-round colour.
• Patio roses are typically compact and durable so grow well in pots and containers for the patio. Also are great for picking.
• Pillar roses are a 1.5m stem with multiple buds grafted up it. The result in the garden is a pillar of vibrant colour.
• Weeping roses make the perfect centre piece of feature for a garden area. Grafted at a height of 1.8m these will weep down the stem producing a cascade of spectacular flowers.
• Flower carpet and low growing varieties have real flower power. Flower carpet roses are a popular choice to add height and form to rose and garden beds.
• Scented roses are great for entrances, lining paths and under windows.
It is not surprising that gardeners for centuries have revered the rose as 'Queen of the Shrubs' for the extraordinary beauty of its flowers. Roses have inspired so many poets and lovers over history with their plush flowers and delicious scent.
They have been symbols of love, beauty and war.
Garden cultivation of roses began in Asia and the Middle East around 4000 years ago.
Their classic scent is commonly utilized in the perfume industry and rose hips are very high in vitamin C when made into cordials, teas or jellies.
For most of us growing roses is about providing beauty in the garden. Many roses are excellent for picking bringing colour and fragrance indoors.
Rose Planting Tips
When a rose is being planted it is generally expected that it will remain in existence for many years. The preparation of the soil is therefore important. The ground should be cultivated about two lengths of your spade blade or about 450mm. Most soils will benefit by incorporating material such as Tui Rose and Shrub Mix or Tui Sheep Pellets.
The digging will open the soil improving the general structure. In a light soil the water holding capacity will be greatly increased as the organic material can hold additional moisture.
The addition of Ican Slow Food into the hole when planting will help ensure excellent root development and growth.
Roses are never completely dormant and the less the roots are disturbed, the better the plant will establish.
A hole should be dug significantly large and deep to accommodate the roots when they are spread out.
Be careful that no damage is done to the plants when the soil is firmed round the roots. The bud union of bush and climbing roses is left above the ground surface.
If planting a group of standard roses, they should all be the same height so that they can be planted with the heads at a uniform level.
It is preferable before planting standard roses to put in the stakes that will support them. This avoids damage to the roots which may occur if they are added later. Use a soft tie material for tying standard roses.
Wire should never be used and padding should be placed under a tie of twine or cord. Ensure that one of the ties is secured to its stake near the head of the rose to prevent damage or the possibility of it snapping off in strong wind.
Plants from a garden centre or nursery have usually been cut back for the ease of handling and packing, and in some cases may require extra pruning.
Early planting (now) is recommended and pruning should be done during the normal pruning season which is best done in mid to late July for gardens in Whanganui. More on pruning roses when it is time.