Keep going through winter
How to Keep up the Flower Power
Now that winter has become milder, it’s possible for roses to flower all the way into July. While enjoying the autumn rose flush of March and April, keep up the care with extra feeding and encouraging new basal shoots, and you could expect a continuation of the flush.
It’s all about leaves
The strength, health and flower power of a rose depends on its leaves, especially when the days are getting shorter. All you need to do is keep the bush covered in healthy green leaves. The rose will do the rest.
• Prevent black spot by spraying twice a month with Chronos, or alternate with Garden Protector. In autumn there is more dew on the leaves, creating the perfect condition for black spot. Should there be very frequent autumn rains, increase spraying for black spot to once a week.
• Fertilise the roses. Nutritionally deprived roses with yellowish leaves are more susceptible to black spot, even with a spraying programme.
• When cutting roses for the home, always make sure that a good balance of leaves remains on the bush. Reducing the height and volume of a rose bush too dramatically puts stress on the roots and impacts on its performance.
• Keep grooming. Cutting off dead flowers encourages the rose to re-sprout.
An extra helping!
For roses to flower into winter they need extra feeding during autumn. That is because the shorter days signal to the rose that it needs to store food in its stems to withstand winter and to kickstart flowering in spring. By giving extra food, the rose has enough food to also flower. In cool areas, March is the last month for fertiliser, while in warmer areas fertilising can still be done in April and May.
Here’s how to apply the extra fertiliser
• Either fertilise with Vigorosa once a week, using only half the required application: 15g for hybrid teas, Floribundas and small shrubby roses, and 30g for climbers, Panarosa roses and other large shrubby roses.
• Or fertilise with Vigorosa twice a month, using the full application each time.
• In gardens where the controlled-release Vigo-longer was added at the beginning of the season, feed once a month with Vigorosa.
• Sprinkle the fertiliser over the whole bush so that it spreads and doesn’t fall in a heap at the base of the stem. Knock or hose off the fertiliser that fell on the leaves.
• Water-in well after fertilising.
Check the condition of the soil around the roses. Towards the end of a season the soil can become more compacted, allowing less water and air to reach the roots. This can be caused by competing root growth from other plants, tramping on the soil, and the break-down of compost and mulch added earlier in the season.
Don’t dig around the rose at this stage, but spike the soil around the rose using a garden fork. Push it down the length of a tine, wiggle it but don’t turn over the soil. Do so repeatedly throughout the rose bed or around each rose bush. Spread compost or Ludwig’s planting mix over the spiked area and water it well so that it sinks into the holes.
Finish by sprinkling Vigorosa fertiliser over the area and watering again. The same can be done for container-grown
Update on ‘Eco-Chic’ roses
‘Eco-Chic’ roses are star performers that are naturally disease-resistant and grow and flower for the longest possible time. Ludwig’s Roses introduced the first ‘Eco-Chic’ roses eight years ago with a handful of roses, but the range now includes close to 200 varieties, with almost all of the Colourscape, Fairytale and Panarosa roses fitting into the category. Of their hybrid tea collection, 25 are ‘Eco-Chic’ roses, as are 31 in their Floribunda collection. The new ‘Stamina’ roses also form part of the ‘Eco- Chic’ range.
In the Ludwig’s catalogue it’s easy to identify which of their roses are ‘Eco-Chic’, because each one has a little red ladybug alongside its description. These varieties have a good chance of surviving defoliating fungal diseases without spraying. The roses are such vigorous growers that even if there is some black spot on the leaves the new growth sprouts so quickly that it replaces the leaves that drop off before problems can occur. However, they still need nutrients and regular watering, like any other garden plant. Without this they will still grow and flower, but not reach the potential in size and overall performance
Here are some ‘Eco-Chic’ roses in each category:
• Antico Moderno: ‘Mushe Kirsh’, ‘Never Ending Story’, ‘Turning Point’, ‘Remember Me’
• Hybrid Tea: ‘Arctic Ice’, ‘Easy Does It’, ‘ Fordyce’, ‘The Yellow O’, ‘Winter Sun’
• Floribunda: ‘Forever Delight’, ‘Happy Home’, ‘Riana Joubert’, ‘Dancing Ayoba’, ‘Afrikaans’
• Fairy Tale: ‘Rosafrica’, ‘Rose du Cap’, ‘Sylvie-Joy’
• Colourscape Roses: ‘Eye of the Tiger’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Red Yesterday’
• Panarosa Roses: ‘PannaCotta’, ‘Burgundy Panarosa’, ‘Flower Power’, ‘Morning Star’, ‘Papaya’
Get this garden look:
Yellow, purple and white is one of the classic colour combinations for a winter garden. This corner is almost perfect in the way the plants are grouped, by height, texture and contrast. The roses are the stars of the show: ‘Moon Adventure’ (yellow) set off by white ‘Iceberg’ behind and around the tree.
White always shows off other colours and it’s a good idea to sneak some in, even if it is just a subtle hint. Yellow shrubs, including yellow Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ and yellow daisies, strengthen the yellow theme set by the roses, while low-growing purple and white flowers and groundcovers add depth and contrast.
Tip – in a large bed like the one pictured above, a single Fairytale rose like ‘Golden Oldie’, ‘Clocolan’, ‘Lemonessence’ or the new ‘Sunny Ayoba’ will also stand out.