With winter fading again for another year, you can now start thinking about getting your rose garden sorted. Roses have many hybrids and species – from the compact miniatures to larger varieties with bigger blooms but the real fascination with roses is their wonderful perfume.
Roses are also perennials, which means they have a lifespan longer than more than two years), and they can be replanted at most times of year in Australia. If you come from a cooler climate, specialists recommend waiting until the ambient air temperature reaches at least -23 celcius (-10F).
Roses love the sunlight and require more than six hours of sunlight every day, and they will feel right at home in a bright, sunny position at the back or front of your home. In some gardens you’ll find roses planted in rows by a front verandah, or front door to create a warm and welcome aroma for visitors.
Wherever you choose to plant your roses, you need to make sure they are well spaced to stop crowding out, as this will slow the roses growth. Roses are natural thorny climbers and you’ll want easy access to each bush to allow you to clip and prune the branches at various times of the year – as well as picking the wonderfully scented blooms.
When you plant climbing roses, it’s particularly important to places these in a location where they can do what they do best. Planting by a fence will allow the rose to ramble as it grows. Equally if you don’t have a sunny spot by a fence, consider a trellis, a brick archway or your summer house or pergola as other possible positions. Again any location you choose should create an environment on unimpeded growing location.
Because of the different varieties you can layer rose bushes, planting smaller miniature roses in front of larger ones in an island garden bed, and shrub roses can be used as hedging – fantastic because the thorny branches will keep unwanted people and pets out of your garden.
While it’s true to say that roses can be temperamental and prone to shock, treating them well and preparing your garden gives your roses the best chance of thriving in their new environment. It is likely that you are going to be bringing your rose from a nursery or replanting from another location so here are a few tips to get your roses in the ground safe and sound.
Using a good quality long-handled digging fork or spade, make a whole in your garden large enough to cover the whole mass of roots of your rose plant. At this point many gardeners will advise you to add bone meal (rich in calcium and phosphorus) to improve the quality of the soil. This is a point of contention however if you listen to academics like Dr Linda Chalker-Scott of the University of Washington. She contends that:
“Both calcium and phosphorus are required for plant growth, but both (and especially phosphorus) can cause problems if they occur in high concentrations. It is important to understand that neither element, nor any other mineral, will “stimulate” plant growth beyond what is normal for a particular plant.” Her recommendation is not adding this particular element, unless a soil analysis specifically recommends adding this ingredient.
Place the rose plant into the hole gently, being careful not to damage the delicate root system. Cover the roots of the plant with soil and water generously allowing time for the roots to absorb all the moisture possible. Next create a soil mound around the plant to a height of approximately six inches to allow a moisture trap; you don’t want the roots of the plant getting dry while it is establishing itself in the new location.
Watering with a liquid nutrient like Seasol works well especially before moving plants and after transplanting them to a new location.