Beautiful roses

2010-07-15 00:00

THE name Ludwig Taschner is synonymous with roses in South Africa, as this well-known nurseryman started his first rose nursery in 1971. His children are continuing the family business near Johannesburg­ and new branches have opened near Stellenbosch and Durban.

Having confessed previously to being little more than a “toe gardener” more interested in vegetables than flowers, I asked an experienced gardener to look at this book, which is a revision of one of the same name that was published 10 years ago.

The first part covers the predictable subjects involved with growing and caring for roses, including a short description of a number of fungal diseases and harmful insects etc., and how to control them. It also describes other problems such as soil and weather conditions, all geared for this country, which is a real plus.

Also provided are three different spray cocktails including one which is environmentally safe, giving gardeners a broad choice. A concise 12-month guide to the work that should be done serves as a useful checklist.

There’s an illustrated “how-to” guide to the all-important task of winter pruning, something I have managed not to have to do. My consultant noted that summer­ pruning is called “grooming”.

“A rather gentle name for what I do to my roses then,” he noted drily.

The second part of the book describes the many kinds of roses that are available, and is glorious to look at, even if you don’t or aren’t going to grow roses. However, I have one gripe: I couldn’t find the rose named “Julia”, which is a gorgeous dusky brown one. There’s also a large section about using them in landscaping, or colourscaping in many parts of the country.

Something no respectable book should be without is an index, and this one has both a subject index and one for the names of the roses referred to.

Both my consultant and I agreed that it’s a useful book, recommended for gardeners who want to grow roses well, whether they are rose enthusiasts or just starting out.


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