Get digging to find room for more roses

Now is a good time to plant roses
Now is a good time to plant roses
Chrysanthemums bought in pots and added to the border look great in autumn.

BRIAN KIDD: Mum’s the word for an added splash of autumn fire in borders

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Nearly everyone loves roses and this is a good time to plant them. The soil needs to be dug over to the full depth of a garden spade, to make the job easier, especially if it’s a new bed.

Use a sharp spade or edging iron to cut the edge of the grass neatly, for an impressive start. Use a sharp spade to skim off the surface weeds over about a foot of ground and put these to one side.

Take out a trench a foot wide – where the weeds were skimmed off – and the depth of the spade. Then put the soil into a wheelbarrow or on to a cheap groundsheet from the market. This will enable weeds to be upturned into the base of the trench with some well-rotted compost or manure.

As digging proceeds try to bury all the green parts of the weeds and remove any suspicious white roots and knobbly roots of couch grass. The dandelion roots must also be removed or they will start growing again, even when covered with soil.

Place the weeds which were skimmed off into the base of the trench once the third row is completed and leave the soil rough to allow the surface to dry out.

The surface of the soil is raked a few hours after digging to ensure a good, even surface.

Calculate you will need three HT or floribunda roses per square yard and plant them an equal distance apart – choosing varieties which are perfumed of course!

Plant the bushes so that the roots are spread out. Very often they are bent to get them into the bag or bent when extricated by wire from the ground. Plant so that the soil mark on the stem is just a little lower in your rose bed.

Pruning very hard is essential. Every stem is cut back to leave only three buds on each shoot. Try to choose an outward-pointing bud at the tip of each shoot, and if this is done every rose will grow like mad.

Once the planting is complete, scatter rose fertiliser over the surface of the soil using three to four ounces per square yard followed by just a teaspoon-full of Epsom salts as this will help the plants resist blackspot disease.

Now, what about replacing dead roses in a rose bed?

Everyone knows that this is not always successful because of a soil disease known as soil sickness.

There is a way around this problem. Take out at least a gallon measure of soil where the new rose is to be planted, dig out soil from another part of the garden, mix in four ounces of rose fertiliser into the fresh soil and use this around the roots of the new rose.

In the parks department, when it is decided to replant an entire bed, the soil is removed to a depth of about 15 inches and fresh soil or loam is imported. In your garden, you are doing the same thing but on a smaller scale.