Gardening: Ready for roses

Mother's Love rose pink
Mother's Love rose pink

JUNE is addiction month, that is rose addiction - when every rose lover, including myself, pours over rose catalogues, trying to find space in our gardens to plant yet another rose.

This year Swane's Nursery have released an exclusive rose, "Soul Sister", which is an unimaginable colour.

Milky chocolate buds open to a latte coffee shade tinged with a soulful lavender.

This beautiful floribunda has a mild tea fragrance, growing to 150 centimetres high, with flowers of 120 millimetres.

Roses have become increasingly popular as gifts and for remembrance - hence the past releases of Best Friend, Child's Love, Close To You, Eyes for You, Father's Love, Grandpa's Rose, Happy Birthday, In Appreciation, Linked Hearts, Mother's Love, The Children's Rose, Truly Yours, Thank You Rose, Warm Wishes and Falling in Love.

Perfumed roses are still in demand - the most popular and highly scented being reds like Mr Lincoln, Kentucky Derby and our own City of Newcastle Bi-centenary.

Scented roses also are grown in other colours - look for Heaven Scent, a beautiful pink, Barbara Streisand which is a strong pink tinged with purple, Perfume Passion, a strong pink with few thorns.

Intensely fragrant is Big Purple, aptly named for its size and colour.

We all have our favourites, mine tend to be some of the older roses, rather than new releases - I have planted Diamond Jubilee in each garden I've owned, it bears large blooms which vary from cream to pink and apricot.

Before selecting roses, if you haven't grown these beauties previously, it is important to have a little cultural knowledge before planting.

Firstly, roses are more productive if grown in full sun - they need to be pruned twice yearly, in July and February when they should be fed with poultry manure and rose food if ground grown. Roses cultivated in pots will need a good pelleted fertiliser and all roses respond to being fed each month with a different fertiliser or product to assist with the soil's structure.

This regular cultivation helps the rose become stronger and fight off any fungal diseases.

Beds should be prepared with a good mulch but no fertiliser prior to planting.

If this hasn't been done, plant into a good potting medium and begin fertilising a month or two later, applying feed to the surface only.

New roses should be watered daily as they are coming from winter dormancy and creating sap and new growth - curled leaves are the sign of a lack of water.