The gracious rose

2010-07-24 00:00

JULY was once the traditional time to plant roses; it was also the time to stake and tie up climbers, ramblers and any young trees and shrubs. July and August were known as the windy months and these protective measures were usually taken. Well, as with most things, times have changed.

Gardeners now have the privilege of choosing beautiful bagged roses in full leaf and bloom at any time during the year.

What is important about planting roses is to give them well-prepared holes. Give them a good pantry: use compost, super-phosphate, ash, topsoil and balanced fertiliser. There is also a special rose starter mix available.

According to Mr Rose SA — Ludwick Taschner — to grow wonderful roses, the leaf growth is very important. Leaves must be plentiful and healthy, and to achieve this the roots must be strong and in full growth, so this is the reason for the well-fed planting hole. To achieve the most outstanding roses, there is much to consider, but fortunately roses are gracious and without excelling you may still enjoy lovely buds and blooms in your garden.

This is the time to move rose bushes if you need to. Prune them before moving and, before this, have the new planting holes dug and well prepared. The choice of roses to plant is enormous. For garden satisfaction the Floribundas give a generous display of colour and blooms for the vase.

The large shrub-type roses are attractive when used with other shrubs in the borders. Others are standards (not the easiest to care for properly), miniatures, ground covers and climbers and, of course, the long-stemmed and perfectly shaped Hybrid Teas.

For those who love gardening, but are not able to give it the proper time, here is a suggestion: use containers for your special plants and herbs and your favourite seasonal annuals. Put the rest of the garden under shrubs and strong care-for-themselves perennials and leafy subjects, and always a few trees — fruit or others.

Sunny parts could be planted to agapanthus (which come in a variety of sizes), daisy bushes, echinaceas, gloriosa daisies and shasta daisies and leafy geraniums and lily-turn (liniope). Plant them in significant groups or clumps, which are more pleasing than straight lines. Shady and dappled shade areas would welcome clivias, hydrangeas, fuchsias, the tough leather fern and leafy aspidistras. There are many others to consider. Water thoroughly once in about 10 days in dry times and use mulch around all the subjects liberally.

For gardeners with containers to plant up for a colourful show, consider annuals of pansies, violas, allysum and lobelia; these all grow quickly and fill out and spread a little over the edge of the pots, which gives a generous feel.

If you have a courtyard, patio or area of paving that is a favourite place and used often, then make a little pot garden on it.

Assemble pots of different sizes and fill them with pretty and colourful plants. A small pot holding just one pansy plant has appeal; then build up the sizes to the biggest, which may hold 10 plants. This can be made into an outstanding feature in your favourite outdoor entertainment area.

Use petunias in a position that is bright and sunny; they are very colourful and there are many shades to choose from. Remember, plants in containers need water more often than those in the soil.

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