Dead-head your roses to keep them looking tip top - Brian Kidd

Rambling rose Dorothy Perkins.
Rambling rose Dorothy Perkins.
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Roses are looking wonderful this year and it’s a good idea to tend them properly and regularly, in particular to prune out the dead blooms.

Dead-heading, as it’s called, means taking off the dead blooms and putting the petals into a bucket and then emptying into the compost bin. Never drop them on to the soil because this causes an early attack of black spot and mildew disease.

A spray of Multirose will kill off pests and is the first line of defence against the fungus problems. This is best done late in the evening when the sun has gone off the bed and will prevent beneficial insects being harmed and will prevent damage to the rose blooms.

You will have read in previous articles that copper mixture and Roseclear 3 or 4 should also be used each fortnight in turn to give excellent disease control.

What about climbing roses? These are pruned in the same way. Simply remove all dead flowers and the hybrid tea varieties will keep on flowering. If the dead blooms are left on the branches, these will produce hips containing seeds and the rose will put all its effort into nurturing the seeds rather than producing more flowers.

There are two main types of ramblers. The first is the Dorothy Perkins type which produce masses of blooms just once and these blooms come in large clusters. They flower for three weeks and then it’s all over.

The stems on which the flowers were borne are cut off right down to the base and the new stems tied in, preferably in half hoops, so the tips are bent down towards the soil.

This will guarantee masses of blooms all along the stems next year as long as they are given a good feed of Vitax Q4 fertiliser as soon as they are pruned.

The alternative is the Albertine type of rambler. These are traditionally pruned during the autumn but if the stems which flower only once are cut off right back to the main stem when the blooms have faded, it’s then possible to tie in the new rapidly-growing branches which often get in the way when mowing.

This gives us the opportunity to once again tie in the new shoots into half hoops so the tips of each shoot are bent down towards the ground. This amazingly simple trick will mean tying in the branches regularly but will transform a rambler into a complete mass of blooms next year, as long as they are given that feed.

• If you enjoy visiting gardens, there is one open tomorrow, Sunday, June 30, at 41 Frater Lane, Elson, Gosport PO12 4AU.

Pat and Ian are opening in aid of Parkinsons from 10-30am until 4pm. Entry is £3 and includes tea, coffee and home-made cakes. It is a beautiful garden and I love it there.