The right way to plant those beautiful roses


SOUTHSEA GREEN: With Irene Strange

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If the soil dries out we will be able to plant some bush roses.

When we see them in the lovely parks, they are nearly always in beds containing the same variety and the effect is marvellous because they are all in bloom at the same time. But the most noticeable feature is that they are all the same height.

In our gardens at home, the heights vary and very often we see some which are very much weaker and it’s obvious they are in the wrong place in the bed.

New roses are available at garden centres in pots or at supermarkets in fancy packs or by mail order.

A new rose bed needs to be dug over to the full depth of a spade and well-rotted manure incorporated into the base of the trench as 
digging proceeds. This is a good job to do in February as long as the soil is workable.

When planting it is essential to spread out the roots.

For existing rose beds there are two things we can consider – the first is to grow some new varieties or we can move them around and this is the time to do the job.

When transplanting roses from one place to another, it is essential to keep the roots moist all the time.

Insert a spade to the full depth and lever out the plant, set it aside with all the soil and dig a new hole. Scatter a handful of rose fertiliser or fish, blood and bone fertiliser, fork this into the ground, take the soil out again, spread out the roots, reduce the length of any which are too long and fold back the soil and firm lightly afterwards.

Once the replanting has been completed, prune all the roses, fork the bed over, edge up the grass and pick up all the prunings.

Once the new growths emerge around the second week in April, scatter 3-4oz per square yard of rose fertiliser, blood, fish and bone or Vitax Q4 pelleted fertiliser. I have given you a choice because there may be one of these in the shed!

When a rose dies or looks very weak, it needs to be replaced. Everyone knows that replacements can be disappointing due to a problem called ‘rose sickness’.

This can be overcome by removing two gallons of the old soil and replacing it with two gallons of new loam.

This can be bought as topsoil or as a compost bagged up formulated for planting trees and shrubs.

If this is too expensive, use two gallons of soil from another part of the garden or buy a turf, chop it up into cubes the size of an Oxo and use this around the roots, but cover the cubes with four inches of soil or the grass will grow in the rose bed.