CULTURAL NOTES WINTER 2011
Roses bloom in the Spring as a result of soil and air temperature, not following a pruning calender routine. Some new growth may appear at the top of a bush during a warm spell, but the lower emerging bud eyes will produce the better new bloom canes.When a rose bush is pruned, it gets a signal that it's time to grow again and it does its best to produce new strong growth.
Depending on local climate and where you live, pruning time can come anywhere between mid June and early September in Australia. Usually when the incidence of frost has passed and when the buds begin to swell is a good time to commence pruning
I'm going to offer a few simple steps and principles which have serviced me well over the years. Most of these apply to modern roses, but can be used for other cultivars as well.
Pull any mulch away from the bud union before pruning, this lets you see what you are doing. Remove any growth that originates from below the bud union and is therefore a sucker. Of course this only applies to budded plants. Be careful that the suspect does not originate from the bottom of the union and simply "LOOPS" out, giving the appearance of a sucker.
Remove all dead, diseased, deformed and twiggy growth. Any stem lacking vigour should be removed from its point of origin.
The number and length of stems that you should retain is subject to debate. I leave as many stems as are productive and have space to grow without crowding the centre of the bush. The desired vase- shape is not a priority for me, reduce the length of the stems you retain by no more than half their original height.
Use a fresh clean up spray after pruning covering both the plant and surrounding soil.
Mother Nature (floods, cyclones, fires, earthquakes), presents a challenge to all of us who grow good roses. It never seems to deter us though. What greater pleasure can there be than to browse in your garden and pick bunch after bunch of beautiful roses in Spring. Thank yourself for your pruning methods.
Repotting roses can be done almost any time of the year, however less effort is required after pruning.
Potted roses can become root bound after about two years, much sooner if they are still growing in pots that are too small for their maximum capacity.
Miniature type roses are the simplest to repot since they are small and easy to handle. Simply loosen the soil from the sides of the pot with a long, flat knife, lay the pot sideways then gently remove the plant by pulling from the base of the main stems. Put some potting soil in the bottom of the new pot, insert the plant, then fill in the spaces with more potting soil. Don't use garden soil in containers, it is too heavy, drains poorly and can bring insects and diseases with it.
When finished potting cover the soil with some milled lucerne, it conserves moisture and looks tidy. Then give a good watering using a liquid fertilizer.
DIBBLE. Is this a new word to you? Dibble is a pointed instrument used by gardeners to make holes for planting cuttings, seeds, bulbs etc. I have been a dibbler for as long as I can remember. The dibble is used when planting cuttings, every hole is ten cms. deep, dibble length, the cuttings are 20cms. long and at least pencil thick. Planting winter cuttings is a good way to increase your stock cheaply. Things to avoid are cold dry winds that shrivel the cuttings, frost that loosen the soil, too much water rots the wood. Cuttings in pots can always be moved to a sheltered area. Rose hobbyists are growing and enjoying more and more own-root roses, join them.
August is a good time to assess garden equipment. Is the compost bin in need of repair? Sprayers and mechanical aids should be thoroughly cleaned. A smaller sprayer for insecticide use only is handy. You will wipe out the problem and use less spray. Check safety gear, gloves, boots etc., is the first aid box well stocked, are alcohol swabs and antibiotic ointments pass their use by date. Never economise on your safety, if you are not sure don't do it.
If you enjoy long dark evenings in front of a warm fire, but can't relax without a dose of rose culture, consider some good books. Some regionals have good books in their lending libraries. Used book shops, and local libraries are worth checking. I have finished and enjoyed reading "OTHER-WISE NORMAL PEOPLE". Not really a book about roses but about the people that grow and show roses. This easy to read book will give you pleasure as all the characters come to life, great fun.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES AUTUMN 2011
Mail order catalogues will start arriving for winter bare root planting selections. There is ample time to do planning, homework and careful selections. Catalogues can't speak for all the areas of Australia at one time, colours and growth habits vary widely. Your best option is a little research.
Local gardens, whether public or private give you an opportunity to view size and sample fragrance and perhaps answer some questions. Local autumn rose shows will also benefit, newer cultivars and old favourites can be viewed at leisure, local rosarians in attendance will be happy to answer your questions.
NSW rose publications, and the Australian rose annual "recommended roses" are other sources of information. You can cross reference your catalogue selections with the gardens you viewed and the rose show results in your area.
Colour is high on the buyers list, photos in sales oriented catalogues can be anything but realistic. Fragrance is a must for some people. If you are into "roses for noses" trust your own nose as proof. Disease resistance is something to consider closely. If you have no intentions of spraying as required, then look for bullet proof roses. If you are keen to start showing roses, exhibition form is paramount. Generally speaking the bloom is high centred with petals that open in a spiral fashion. Multiple bushes of the same cultivar is recommended.
After you determine which roses suit your needs order as soon as possible. Hard to get roses and newer varieties sell out quickly. Specialist rose nurseries advertising in this journal can answer any further queries you might have. Good luck with the roses of your choice.
Soil that is properly prepared will always give you good rewards when planting time arrives. Most rose hobbyists take rose bed construction very seriously, this is a good garden practice. But as the years slip away, it's easy to forget that our roses are using all the good stuff we carefully provided during rose bed construction. Weather leaches out nutrients and organics break down. The presence of earthworm activity is a good indication of a healthy rose bed soil. If earth worms are not evident chances are something is really wrong with the soil. New organic material should be added at least yearly to maintain a level where roses thrive. Whether you use good compost or manures organics enrich the soil, keep the good bacteria and worms active and provide a happy environment for high quality roses to grow. A top dressing of organics twice a year is not a big order. Attention to good gardening basics is vital to the health of your roses, and gives you better pleasure.
Fungi spores will erupt as conditions become favourable and rosarians relax. The best solution is a regular spraying alternating types of fungicides. Diseases caused by fungi are much easier prevented than cured. A regular 14 day spray will keep the usual black spot and mildew under control. If infection does catch on increase the frequency not concentration of the solution.
Insects are not usually a problem during autumn. Aphids and thrips are rarely in plague proportions. Insecticides should be applied only when damaging insects are seen at work in the rose bed.
A recent question asked at "Gardening Australia Live" was, is it necessary to cover the whole rose bush when using a systemic spray formulation? The simple answer to the question is Yes. For optimal effectiveness of a pesticide, systemic or not, both sides of the foliage should be covered. Naturally spraying only the upper surface of the foliage is better than not spraying at all, but complete coverage is better and this is why. Many pests require a direct hit to be eliminated. They may not ingest enough of the pesticide to knock them out but they will be knocked down permanently by its contact effect. Fungal spores can also harbour under foliage and in crevices on stems.
Using a good sprayer and a little practice complete coverage of an established vigorous rose bush is easily completed in under ten seconds. Pressure in the spray container should be sufficient to deliver a forceful cone of spray material. Start spraying at the base of the bush. Thrust the nozzle under the lower leaves and spray upward moving the nozzle from side to side up through the foliage to the top. Then do the same again from the top down through the foliage to the base. You don't have to saturate the bush to achieve satisfactory and complete coverage. As a guide, one litre of spray should cover six average size bushes.
Dead heading your roses in early autumn will produce a beautiful flush of flowers around Easter time. Simply prune back to a swollen bud, at a five or seven leaf leaflet, hand span length from the top of a lateral, this will produce blooms in around seven weeks time. Easter arrives very late this year, cooler days can be expected.
As a general rule of thumb, the more petals that a rose bloom has the longer for a bud to develop into a flower and the fewer the number of repeat blooms throughout the growing season. The ever popular "PEACE" with over forty petals is an example. The roses with fewer petals, less than 20 petals tend to bloom faster and repeat more often. In my garden "DUET" is quick to repeat. Local growing conditions also play a role, making it difficult to predict accurately the bloom cycle. Try staggering your autumn trimming over a few days and record your result when the blooms arrive at Easter.
Fertilizing of the bushes should cease in early April, this is to encourage the bushes into dormancy and prepare harder stems for winter pruning. Liquid applications to potted roses are optional.
Remember to check dates for your diary in this magazine.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES SUMMER 2010
As the hot summer weather is here, water is probably the most important element of rose culture. Roses are hardy plants and will stand a reasonable drought situation, but they will not thrive unless the soil remains moist. If the soil gets too dry they may sulk or even stop growing. Constant moist, not water logged soil, is of the utmost importance. It is difficult to supply too much water if the drainage is adequate.
How much water is needed? This depends to some extent where you live, how hot during the summer months, dry winds, humidity etc. In the NW Sydney region, a general guide is around 15 litres per bush ( or per sq. metre). This amount is applied on a weekly basis during summer. If any rain falls accept it as a bonus.
Moisture meters are available at most good nurseries, these give a general guide, you could also push a rod in the soil in various locations and note the dampness of it. This is particularly effective in clay soils. These are some ideas to make a reasonable judgement.
Very porous or sandy soils will require the same amount of water a little more frequently than heavier soils. It will also take less time to saturate the area. Cease watering if any seepage is visible from your beds, this is a waste of water, and leaching of nutrients.
Keep a rain gauge in your garden ( a good Christmas present), check the gauge regularly, this way the exact amount can be recorded, you can regulate your watering accordingly. A reading of 40mm on the gauge equals approximately 15 litres.
Remember-weekly deep, penetrating watering is much more beneficial to frequent light sprinkling.
Roses grown in pots require much more attention to watering than field grown roses. The problem is that container roses in our climate are vulnerable to heat stress. Temperatures may soar as high as 50 degrees Celsius in pots exposed to "BLOW TORCH" full sunlight.
The greatest way to reduce heat reduction is afternoon shade. A bonus of shade is that it gives heat relief to the whole plant, not just the root zone. Using lighter coloured pots rather than black pots will also help. Pots grouped close together can also buffer some sunlight.
In my own garden I use pot in pot where possible, I also group small miniatures onto one large container to help shield the sun's rays and conserve moisture. Try not to stand the pots on hot sealed surfaces such as concrete.
With all potted plants watering needs to be done daily. On hot days, small pots need to be watered twice daily. I like to fertilize pots a small amount often, usually on the first weekend of every month during the growing season.
Choice of mulching material is dependent on price. All farmyard manures are valuable fertilizers as well as being good mulches. I use as much well made compost that is available, every bush gets a serving. Leaves stockpiled from deciduous trees in autumn and early spring are mixed with course material like hay or sugar cane, this prevents matting and keeps the mulch porous. The leaves are mainly Oak, Maple leaves are also used. Shredded bark is cheap when bought by the load and is long lasting.
Good mulching keeps the soil cooler in summer months. Beds well mulched require less frequent watering and remain more moist. Thick mulch will inhibit weed growth.
As organics break down a good supply of essential nutrients are released, including most of the trace elements essential for good growth.
Mulching material is laid straight onto the soil, no cultivation takes place. Tender young feeder roots grow, most times in the top few centimetres of soil and without cultivation no damage or destruction will occur.
Whatever your choice of mulch, you will grow better roses easier when you use good, thick organic mulch on your rose beds.
One of the most persistent problems with rose growing is spider mites. Our hot, dry climate is the tiny bludgers paradise.
The hose them off treatment will not eliminate mites. It simply knocks them to the soil. they climb aboard again next day. If you have a large amount of roses, it is practically impossible to wash them down every day. Consider treating sources close to your roses as a means of prevention. Eliminate weeds and unwanted vegetation which may harbour the pests. Be aware of any hot spots in your garden. Miniature roses seem particularly prone to mites.
When mites are noticed, action should take place quickly. They can reproduce at an incredible speed. The life cycle from egg laying adult is as little as five days. Each adult female lays a lot of eggs.
The magic bullet action is to use a good fresh miticide. You should spray at four day intervals for the first two sprays, to break the hatching cycle, then a week later for a final knockdown. To obtain maximum results, target the undersides of the foliage, good coverage is needed to rid this pest.
Thrips, small elongated insects about 1mm in length are pests of a wide variety of plants. The most serious damage to roses results from the thrips entering the opening buds and feeding on the petals causing disfigurement of the blooms. Severe infestation will bruise buds to the extent they will not open. They feed by rasping away the surface tissue and sucking away the sap from the petals.
Bud and bloom spot coverage is good (if preparing for a show) in spring time. Recent research suggests thrips control should include good spray coverage of the entire plant as well as the rose beds. Weekly spraying is recommended during the thrips' season. Any stray material (even water) can damage pastel colours (thrips' territory) when applied on hot gays. Spray early if possible or spray late for best results.
As this is your last NSW Rose for this year, let me wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians,
CULTURAL NOTES SPRING 2010
Rosarians should be enjoying lush new growth on bushes now, be prepared for the onslaught of insects, and fungal diseases.
Fertilizing should commence as soon as new growth begins, a short time after pruning. This does not apply to newly planted roses. Heavy, clay soils take longer to warm up in spring than other lighter soils, fertilizer applied when the soil is very cold could cause delay in new growth. Good fertilizers such as "Sudden Impact" for roses has the NPK analysis in bold letters printed on the bag, minor and trace elements are also present with this product.
Some soils are deficient in elements required for good plant growth and will benefit from a complete fertilizer. Soils high in organic matter such as compost and manures tend to have adequate trace elements present.
It is normal practice for me to scatter a clenched handful per bush around the drip line. The soil should be moist when applying fertilizer and well watered in following the application. Without ample water they are ineffective and will burn tender young feeding roots. Damage done by too much fertilizer and too little water is not uncommon. For fertilizers to give satisfactory results the soil PH should be close to adequate.
September and October are often windy months, this means vigorous new water shoots should be staked, strong lateral growth should also be protected. Simply push the stake into the soil at an angle if required, using a figure eight tie, secure the cane to the stake. I still use old nylon stocking for this purpose. If ever a water shoot is torn away from its point of origin new growth will never come from this point again.
Your fungal spray routine should commence as soon as sufficient new foliage arrives to make the treatment worthwhile. Fungal spores are very much alive in early spring. Insects will follow the rule of nature (bloom time). Inclement weather, or the myth "never wet the foliage" can be ignored when you use a regular fungal spray.
Coverage is very important and the most regular rule broken. Spray material should get on all parts to be protected, leaves, canes, bud etc. Spray (and cover) what needs it. Under foliage for mites, buds and blooms for aphids and thrip, succulent new growth for mildew. Good coverage takes time and observation. Depending on what you are targeting runoff is not usually necessary.
Compatibility of sprays is sometimes an issue. Most materials are compatible. Generally speaking I prefer not to mix powders and liquids at one time. Some combinations work well together, the need to mix sprays to save time is understandable. When in doubt (and you have the time), use products separately.
You should own the best sprayer your budget can afford. It makes your job very easy and you are more likely to do it regularly. The sprayer I use is nearly silent, and rechargeable, battery powered with a tank on wheels. There are some very good and safe sprayers available. Spraying 180 bushes takes me less than an hour from start up to clean up. It is worth mentioning no fungicide is formulated to last longer than 14 days after spraying, this means that further applications are necessary for complete control.
After winter pruning we are confident that the maximum measure of protection has been applied when we use "Lime Sulphur". The term fungicide had not been invented when sulphur was just used on vineyards in France.
The story goes, a professor at the University of Bordeaux was passing by a vineyard when he noticed that the vines bordering his path looked much healthier than those at the university. Inquiries found that the owner had deliberately sprayed a mixture of sulphur and copper to discourage people from stealing his grapes. The professor returned to his laboratory and started formulating. The first fungicide was born-BORDEAUX MIXTURE. The professor was Alexis Millardet, the year was 1882.
Sulphur is a preventative that affects the leaf surface, making the leaf surface acidic on contact, the germination of fungal spores is prevented. Sulphur will not kill fungal spores, it prevents new germination. It also does a pretty good job on spider mites. Sulphur is not appreciated as it should be. If you are going to use any chemicals, read the directions carefully. Never stray foliage with sulphur when the temperature is above 20 degrees celcius, as it will burn the foliage.
My five year trial period using sulphur is now complete. Two sprays in September at ten day intervals using reduced concentration levels (compared to winter) have been very rewarding. Nice clean green foliage and no sign of spider mites, gets the bushes into over-drive. Magnificent flush of blooms follow in October. It may be the world's oldest pesticide but it still delivers.
Rose shows are held in spring, come and get your noses into the roses. These shows are a spectacle for all of us to enjoy. Meet and greet is what it's all about, bring your friends and support the society. See you at show time.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES-WINTER 2010
Pruning of your roses should commence after the incidence of frost has passed in your region. This is usually late July in the Sydney area.
Pruning should be a pleasant and enjoyable day in the garden, relax and take your time. Pruning is not difficult when common sense prevails, out with the old, in stay the new.
You are anticipating nature when you remove very old, dead, spindly wood. Any branch starting to yellow, or lacking vigour should also be removed at their point of origin. In other words remove all the rubbish and everything else that has passed its use by date.
The canes you are retaining should consist of strong healthy wood and lots of eyes for future high quality blooms. Keep as many strong canes as possible. Canes retained on large flowered roses can be reduced by half, cluster flowered roses a little lighter. Uniform height is not a consideration; each cane should be cut according to its vigour. Cuts should be made about 5mm above an eye, and at a 45 degree angle away from the eye.
These basic steps amply to most roses grown, including miniatures. Remember to check all ties on tree roses and climbers. Remove and replace if needed.
Keep your rose beds clean of any rubbish and diseased foliage that may have accumulated during the growing periods. Rose hygiene is a very effective way of reducing the incidence of pests and diseases in the garden.
It is now time to thoroughly spray all pruned bushes and rose beds with “fresh” LIME SULPHUR. This very effective clean up spray will reduce fungal spores over winter and deter nuisance insects harbouring in your rose beds. Lime Sulphur is not compatible with other chemicals; manufacturing instructions should be adhered to.
Now is the best time to move established roses to their new home. They should be cut back and treated as if they were new plants, even if you only move them a short distance. The shock to the plant is being dug up and planted back not in the distance involved.
If you have a rose bush in your garden, a long time favourite, given you numerous blooms over many years and it’s getting old and you are very hesitant to shovel prune, try some shock treatment. The bud union is the size of a dinner plate and looks dead; however there still may be life in it. Brush a gloved hand across the union, remove any stubs cleanly with a pruning saw. Now get a “ SUEDE” brush and vigorously brush the entire union. Give a good watering with a seaweed solution. Complete the CPR by parking your spade alongside the bush and fingers crossed.
Dormant bare root plants should be well hydrated before planting. If planting is delayed or soil conditions are not right for planting they should be heeled in – that means they should be laid in a shallow trench with root and bud union covered with moist soil until the time is right. The planting hole should be dug to accommodate the roots comfortably. Damaged or very long roots should be removed or reduced before planting using clean, sharp secateurs. Plant to a depth where the bud union is slightly above soil level. The bush will eventually settle to the correct level.
Due to the scarcity of land fill sites for waste disposal in SYDNEY, many councils are setting strict rules regarding what materials can be accepted and imposing penalties for violators. Our councils will not accept any corse organics such as grass, deciduous leaves, prunings etc. Burning has been prohibited here for years. The answer of course is composting.
Recently I visited most regional members meetings as a guest speaker, the topic was “compost”. The most frequent asked question, “How can I make quick compost”,
The most important aspect of high quality compost is the carbon to nitrogen ratio of the organic material used. Generally speaking the aim is to get a C/N ratio of approximately 30 to 1. Leaves from deciduous trees average 60/1, fresh grass 20/1, straw 80/1, vegetable scraps15/1, fruit scraps 35/1, unbleached paper 150/1, fresh manure 12/1, bird droppings (chooks, pigeons etc) 7/1. These are not meant to be technical, but can be used as a guideline. Moisture is essential since dry material will not compost. Aeration is required to keep compost alive, compost is a living thing. The delicate trade off between moisture and aeration is 50/50. You should be able to squeeze a drop or two of moisture as if from a tightly wrung sponge. Diversity of material is the heart and strength of compost. Diversity is the key. If you’re still not sure what to use, ask yourself has it ever lived, if the answer is yes, compost it.
The compost bin should sit on well drained good bare soil. I always start with a 10cm layer of course moist material such as twigs or small, prunings. This will allow the air from the bottom to enter the bin. Follow with a 5cm layer of fresh grass clippings. Moist brown leaves layered, kitchen scraps layered, moist packaging material (cereal boxes, eggs cartons etc). I make sure I layer everything until the bin is fully crowded.
I don’t wet the pile, I just cover it with hession sack, carpet underfelt can also be used. A tight fitting lid should be on top of the bin.
Compost made all at once is called “Hot Compost”. If the C/N ratio is near right, compost will be ready for use in 28 days. The compost enclosure must hold at least 200 litres, of organic material to generate sufficient heat and a maximum of 400 litres for continuity of aeration. The enclosure I use holds 220 litres when fully crowded.
Well made compost provides enormous benefits to your garden. Compost supplies a hummus alive with micro-organisms, all of which breaks the soil down into nutrients that can easily be absorbed by plant roots.
The compost when applied to your rose beds will make sick plants strong and strong plants stronger and disease resistant. Black gold I call it. Money cannot buy it- you have to make it.
In terms of overall waste reduction, composting is possibly the most important single factor for all of us to consider.
Mechanical aids such as sprayers and mowers should be cleaned during the dormant period. Hand tools can be sharpened and oiled as required. Make sure your PPE is in good order; this is regularly neglected by home gardeners. Keep in mind; you are in charge of your own safety.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES AUTUMN 2010
I am writing these notes on a perfect late summer evening, light wind and sunny with a clear blue sky. The roses are looking very healthy from where I sit, but if they could talk they would prefer pouring rain and dark clouds, cooler autumn weather is coming, let’s be thankful with what we get.
Most keen gardeners try thinking ahead. This is the season for planning your rose beds for next season. For many reasons such as soil, climate, or even the roses selected, may vary greatly from one location to another. A little patience pays dividends, like a good bottle of wine “prepared beds” will improve with age.
You would be very fortunate if you can select a site that has all the advantages and requirements for a “perfect” rose garden. Some things should be considered which will lead to better results with less effort. There are three things that are essential: SUNLIGHT, GOOD SOIL/DRAINAGE, and sufficient AIR CIRCULATION.
Select a site that has at least six hours sunlight per day. If possible select a site that gets morning sun rather than afternoon sun, this is very beneficial if you get “BLOW TORCH” summer weather. Morning sun will dry foliage quickly; this will reduce fungal spore germination. While some roses tolerate shade, their health is usually poorer to that of roses grown in sufficient sunlight.
Most roses will grow in most types of soils. Roses will not grow in constant wet soggy conditions. A hole around 45cm deep and the same diameter can be a test point. Fill the hole with water; within an eight hour period water should have drained away. The acceptable soil should retain moisture, but still allow oxygen to reach the feeding roots.
If your soil is a clay type that drains very slowly, or a sandy soil that drains quickly, the structure of the soil should be improved. This can be achieved using organic material like home made compost, stock piled leaves, or any farm manure added to the soil. I travel a reasonable distance to horse stables for my manure. There is no need to compost “FRESH” horse manure mixed with straw, shavings hay etc., just till into the soil and water. Most of the nutritional value is lost waiting for the “well rotted” stage. The leaching from these mixed materials will enhance any soil. Organic matter reduces drainage in sand, and increases drainage in clay. A good source of nutrients will be available as required when your new plants need it.
Lots of air circulation is needed among roses, not too draughty or too confined. Good air movement keeps foliage dry, and reduces maintenance.
In planning your beds, allow at least 0.8mtr. between bushes and 0.5mtr., from walls or other fixed structures. Planting roses in beds on their own rather than mixed with other shrubs also helps. Shrubs will inhibit air movement and rob the soil (and roses) of nutrients and moisture.
While very little can be done to alter local climate conditions, as long as you are aware of hot spots, low spots, and wind tunnel areas, you can proceed with enthusiasm.
Now that you have prepared you suitable site, a soil test should be done. You will find it a lot easier to amend the soil before planting rather than later. Most councils have facilities to complete a professional soil test. Apart from an accurate PH reading, they will identify what is in your soil. Instructions and any recommendations come with the results.
Rose catalogue time is here again, what will your new rose babies be this year? Watch for a new release ‘Pope John Paul 11’ from Dr. Keith Zary. This outstanding white HT caught my attention in Canada last year. The flowers are full, exhibition form with intense fragrance, growth is upright to around 1.5mtrs. Be among the early birds by getting your bare root selections in early, this should insure availabilities of you choice.
I like to grow at least one new variety of rose in a container for a year to evaluate its performance. If it meets expectations it earns a valuable spot in the garden. If it fails to perform it’s a raffle prize at a rose members meeting.
Nurseries who advertise in this journal will answer queries you might have; you should give them our support.
Cool, damp nights will encourage mildew. Don’t let it spoil good autumn blooms by getting a hold; it is easier kept at bay with a regular fungal spray than trying to cure it.
Insects are not usually a problem in autumn months, especially if you used common sense garden hygiene in the warmer months. Aphids can feed on succulent new growth and rose buds. These sap suckers can multiply rapidly, they can colonise the entire top growth if not checked. A squirt with a friendly insect spray will put them out of business.
Fertilising should cease in mid autumn, April at the latest in cooler areas. Regular watering should be reduced in cooler weather and only as required in cold weather. This should help discourage new growth and harden newer canes for winter.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES SUMMER 2009
As summer temperature rises, we need to move up a notch and be observant.
If our bushes lose moisture quicker than they replace it through the roots, they will suffer from heat stress. A bush wilting in the midday sun is not a pretty sight, but some time spent now will solve summer problems
Recently planted bare root roses and weaker bushes are more vulnerable to heat stress and need more water than well established roses with a vigorous root system. Protect these plants by simply snapping off spent blooms until they establish good growth. They need the foliage for manufacturing reasons and to shade new growth.
Water maintenance is crucial in long hot summer weather. When you water, water thoroughly. A good deep soaking about once a week should be sufficient. This is more beneficial than a daily sprinkle. When you water your roses, moisture should soak to a depth of at least 30-40 centimetres. The soil should be moist around this level. The water also breaks down nutrients into soluble form that feeding roots can use. Roses will get by without regular fertilizing, but they will not survive without water. Sufficient moisture is the most important factor in growing healthy roses.
A mulch is any material, organic or inorganic, placed on the soil to conserve moisture. In addition to conserving moisture it will also keep the soil cooler in hot weather, weeds will be at least inhibited, mulch also compliments good soil care, which is important.
Many natural materials can be used as mulch. Preference is shown to organic mulch that will slowly break down and improve the soil structure. A topping up of the material might be required as the mulch decreases.
Remember when watering a heavily mulched garden, especially if the material is not porous, it might be advisable to apply the water directly to the soil below the mulching material, and this will insure water is available to the plants and not just saturating the mulching material on the surface area.
Hot summers will decrease the size of blooms on most varieties, colour and quality is also lacking. This is a response to heat and not a signal that more feeding is needed. Very light feeding is best in hot weather. Water in well before and after feeding to avoid any fertilizer burn.
Dead heading your spent blooms on repeat blooming varieties is required to repeat the cycle. Most will recommend removing the spent bloom at the first five leaflet leaf; this is good advice in hot weather. Keep in mind that where you remove the old bloom from will govern the size of the next new stem. If you check the bottom of the bush you will notice the canes are large and gradually decrease in size higher on the cane. If the variety supports a very large flower you might need to cut further down the stem, around the fourth five leaflet leaf, works well especially as the weather gets cooler. Cutting midway down the stem will produce stronger growth, even more so if the cut is above a seven leaflet leaf. Remember the more cane you remove from the bush when removing spent blooms, the longer it will take to repeat the cycle.
Continue your preventative measures for fungi. Try to alternate your spray on a regular basis. Never spray when it is too hot or full sun. Spray early morning or early evening. Use a sticking agent when using a powder. Target the spray on the underside of the foliage, run off will cover the top. Protect yourself; wear protective clothing in calm conditions. Good autumn blooms will reward you.
The good news is insects are rarely a problem in hot weather. Leaf eating bees visit my roses on a regular basis. These bees scissor out semi-circles on the foliage with amazing accuracy, I find it very decorative. These bees are hard working and cause no real damage. No measures or spray should be used as a deterrent.
I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a safe New Year.
CULTURAL NOTES SPRING 2009
As we move into spring, rosarians all over NSW are anxiously awaiting another bumper crop of beautiful roses. As we are hosting the “National Rose Championships” this spring, I thought I would write something different, a sort of challenge to our advantage. The challenge is to encourage more rose lovers to exhibit roses. This is a nice way of making new friends and get excellent advice on rose culture.
The main purpose of a rose show is to present to the public the finest possible roses you can grow. So the most important person at the show is the exhibitor, no exhibitors, no show! Most venues make exhibiting a comfortable experience and provide ample space to prepare your roses. Someone in attendance can assist the less experienced exhibitor to stage their roses. Remember a rose show is a competition; all competitions have rules to follow.
I will admit that I like showing roses, and I hope to help those who do not show frequently with a few ideas to make them more successful in their show results. Win or lose you will still have a good day out.
A good exhibitor is a good sportsperson, courteous and helpful, a person who will help novices if needed and not hinder or in any way belittle the competition.
Now that the morals are completed I will now try to give a few practical tips on exhibiting.
You should have more than one bush of your chosen exhibition variety. Example: a minimum of three Moonstone, three Seduction etc. This will increase your odds of having enough stems for multiple classes. Be observant, what are other exhibitors showing; you will always learn something from every show you attend.
Mother nature brings good blooms in spring with a minimum of help from the gardener. Mid October in my area will have blooms at maximum beauty like it or not. Growing roses for autumn shows is a challenge to the rosarian. The spring show is our target;
Let’s keep “Kiama” in our mind.
Fertilize, manure and mulch in that order in early spring. I fertilize a little heavier since I want extra long stems and bigger blooms that means watering heavy is a must.
A spray programme will start in early spring; keep your foliage clean and green. Do not use powder sprays close to show time, these can leave a residue, the trained judge will penalize this.
Check your roses regularly. New growth will be vigorous after heavy fertilizing. For clustered-flowered roses take out the terminal bud in the centre of the truss, this will give uniform size of the remaining blooms and more intense colour. For large flowered roses disbudding means removing the side buds when they are no bigger than a pea, this will force the sap into the terminal bud; a higher quality flower will be the result. The removal of side buds can be used as a means of timing for a show. If the flowers appear to be early for a show, delay the removal, if they are late, early removal will hasten the development of the chosen flower.
The best time to harvest the flowers is when they are ready. This could be morning, noon or night, it makes no difference. I prefer not to refrigerate my roses if possible, but if weather is uncertain, I might have to cut two or even three days before a show and refrigerate. Fridge temperature should be set between 2-4 degrees centigrade.
When you cut your garden roses, always take the water to the flowers never take the flowers to the water. Take a large bucket of water with you, cut enough stem to do the job you have in mind, quickly dethorn the lower half of the stem and submerge in water. Do not over crowd the roses, take to your work area and place in a cool, dark place.
When you are ready, get your bucket and one at a time prepare your roses. Check the foliage is clean of residue, a moist cloth will do the job, check rose petals for any nasties or foreign objects, an artists brush will do the job. Place your prepared roses in a clean bucket with fresh water. I have found no use for any floral preservatives. If possible try to keep the same varieties in separate buckets, this can save time at the show venue.
Plan to arrive at the show as early as possible, wear an apron with several pockets to hold secateurs, sharp scissors, pen, tweezers, small knife, cleaning cloth and spray bottle, don’t forget the schedule.
The show schedule is very important. Make sure you read the schedule from top to bottom, and re-read it again; all rules in the schedule must be abided by.
If entering the championship classes, put your highest quality flowers there; be sure your specimen blooms are a uniform height. Be sure you enter the correct class; fill the show card clearly with the variety name, class and section. Try not to be over ambitious in the number of classes entered. Limit your entries to which you can compete with confidence, empty spaces on the exhibitor’s bench is not appreciated by organizers or the viewing public. Assist in the smooth organizing of the show by vacating the set-up area at the appointed time for judging.
Every successful exhibitor has a desire to win, they put in extra effort. They are willing to try new ideas, dig more, spray more, feed and water more. They are always reading (schedule), listening, observing and learning. Seldom is a successful exhibitor plain lucky, more often they have worked harder than the others to achieve success. You too can be a successful exhibitor; if you have the desire and are willing you will succeed.
I have tried in this article to encourage those rose growers who have exhibited little or not at all. You may never get 100% of our members to exhibit competitively, or even close to that, but some encouragement from senior exhibitors should show a big improvement. This year’s show is held every five or six years in NSW. This year it is being held at Kiama on the south coast. Let’s make this a really special event and support our Society.
Come to the rose show with your best roses and I am sure you will have a winner, perhaps even a ribbon. Don’t take yourself too seriously, Have fun exhibiting and remember, there is more to exhibiting than “Silverware and Ribbons”.
Happy rose growing to all Rosarians,
CULTURAL NOTES WINTER 2009
“Not again” I can hear the readers saying, another dose of pruning techniques and I expect to some extent you would be justified. It has always been mentioned by me that pruning is a very important part of good rose growing. Good rosarians, that are those who wish to do the job properly and carefully, know the future long term success depends on proper pruning. Good satisfaction is assured when the bushes are nice and clean, and free of unsightly growth accumulated since the last pruning. After a few years attention your bushes should be in great shape and growing neatly and nicely, you can take all the credit for that.
Pruning tools should be clean and sharp. A pruning saw is necessary to cut out large canes at the bud union. Long handled pruners are also useful, mine are light weight but strong with very sharp blades. Take care to cut rather than crush very long canes. The saw is preferred in this circumstance.
The purpose of pruning is to keep the bush young, vigorous, and within a reasonable growing space. Our job is to rid the plant of old, diseased woody canes so that the energy of the plant can be directed towards producing new, productive canes. If a few basic rules are followed the plants will flourish and produce beautiful blooms in October.
After you have removed all the rubbish from the bush, the canes you are retaining should be reduced by no more than half. Pruning cuts should be made at a 45 degree angle, approximately 5-6mm above an outward facing eye. The distance above the eye is important as is the angle mentioned. An improper cut will result in damage to the eye and unnecessary die-back on the cane. I have found that sealing of pruning cuts is not necessary in a sub-tropical climate.
The majority of the basic rules apply to most types of roses when pruning.
You can only learn so much reading articles on pruning. Only with hands on experience will you develop confidence in your ability to prune. I strongly encourage you to attend pruning demonstrations held by your local regional at this time of year, or contact your nearest consulting rosarian.
A good clean up spray should be used when pruning is completed. The reason for the spray is to control over-wintering spores and insects before warmer weather and higher humidity are right for new season outbreaks. Thoroughly wet the canes and bud union using fresh “Lime Sulphur”. Mix lime sulphur at label strength only. This spray is not compatible with other sprays.
I can now report that after a four year trail period of using sulphur on the bushes for a second time in early September, or when there was sufficient growth on the bushes to warrant it, fungi and red spider populations have been dramatically reduced right through the growing season. The sulphur is applied at a reduced concentration level. This practise will now become part of my spray programme.
If you are planting bare-rooted roses, make sure the roots are well hydrated before you plant them. If you are planting within a day or two, remove the plants from the box and submerge the roots in a deep bucket of water.
If planting is delayed, you should keep the plants moist and in their original packaging in a cool, dark area. They will keep like this for about two weeks. If planting is further delayed, you should heel the plants into the garden. This means digging a shallow trench about 30cm deep, place the roses close together with the canes tilted at a slight angle, then cover all with good garden soil. Keep them moist and plant in their permanent position as soon as possible.
Planting consists of digging a hole about 30cm wide and about the same depth. Prepare the hole by making a cone of soil at the bottom of the hole. Remove the rose from the bucket of water and trim any broken roots. Trim the tips of other roots to encourage new growth. Trim canes back to about half their length to a strong outward facing eye.
Position the bush on the cone, radiate the roots on the cone do not cram or curl in the hole, give them room. I prefer to position the bud union above the existing ground level in our warm climate. Now fill the hole with soil and water, add more soil as required to the desired level and water again. Complete the job by mulching the soil.
Roses planted in pots should be planted in the same way and at the same depth as field grown roses, leave about 5cm between the soil surface and the pot rim to allow for watering and mulching.
Roses grown in containers are now more popular than ever. A visit to a garden centre recently revealed some very interesting containers ranging from the humble pot to very lovely terracotta and stone urns and vases; there are also wooden barrels cut in half which can look very effective in the correct setting. My friend was so impresses he bought three half barrels to brighten up his rear patio. He is now planting nine miniature roses in this morning sun drenched area, he will now enjoy potted colour for at least nine months of the year.
Do not let newly planted roses dry out, keep them moist not wet. New growth should be evident in about six week’s time.
This is a good time to get your compost going, utilizing the stockpile of leaves you have harvested. Composting does not have to be fancy. A bin, row or open pile will do equally well. The secret is air and moisture and a source of nitrogen to encourage the organisms doing the job. What ever you find is, do it. You can speed up the process by turning or fluffing over the material with a fork in cooler weather. It’s amazing how quickly leaves and other organic waste breaks down. No waste, no smell and a better product than anything manufactured. There is no substitute for good compost and never will be.
As the evenings get darker earlier and your hobby of growing roses grinds to a halt in these colder winter months you will have time to relax, cuddle in and enjoy some good reading.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES AUTUMN 2009
As new catalogues arrive, you will again be tempted to purchase. They are meant to entertain and delight; you can relax and enjoy good reading and beautiful photographs. They are designed in a way to get rosarians and the general public aroused enough to buy their roses. While rose catalogues are not intended to be fiction, they are not very good text books.
Swane’s new catalogue has some good “MedalWinners” in their new releases. What caught my eye was “Fire Fighter”. This award winner from the trial grounds in South Australia is stunning. This rose is vigorous, upright growth of around two meters; the rich red rose sits firmly on long straight stems. It is amongst the most powerfully perfumed rose ever to cross my nostrils. Always check with someone who grows what you are interested in, better still look at it growing in a garden and assess it yourself. Good luck with the roses of your choice. Fire Fighter is on display at Swanes in the garden at Dural.
The rose of today differs greatly from its ancestors. We can thank the skilled efforts of the hybridist for this turn around. The large flowered rose is still the most popular rose growing today, with its vigorous growth, much improved disease resistance, strong stems, increased fragrance and a range of undreamt colourings. They say the “BLUE ROSE” will be commercially available in 2010; it will have to be a big improvement to what rambling rosarians observed in Osaka a few short years ago.
Roses look best grouped or massed, much more effective than scattered in various locations. Beds should be no wider than necessary for two rows of plants so that maintenance can be done from both sides preferably or from pathways without treading on the beds. Plants should be easily accessed for cutting blooms, spraying, watering etc., or for admiring at your leisure.
An open area is more preferable than sites sheltered or shaded by fences, trees or buildings. At least half of the available sunshine should reach your plants daily.
Early preparation of your area is essential; the beds should be ready for planting long before your plants arrive. A fertile, well cultivated soil is the key to healthy and high quality roses. Roses will not thrive in poorly drained and badly aerated soils.
Soil preparation should be to a depth of around 50cm. of good soil. Rotted manures and good compost should be used to improve nutrient retention, drainage and soil moisture. Approximately one third organic material by volume is recommended. Horse stable combinations of manure, bits of lucerne, wood shavings and urine are excellent. Worried that manures will be too hot? Let me tell you to forget it. Mixed in the soil and reasonably moist, this warm cocktail will force feeder root growth, no problem for bare rooted or potted roses. Hot manures do not have to be composted if mixed in the soil.
A common mistake which can cause failure or poor performance of roses are: last minute soil preparation, planting in shade or poorly drained soil, planting too deeply or faulty planting, neglect of rose hygiene and disease control, pruning with blunt tools. Companion planting can contribute nothing to a rose’s welfare in fact they compete with them for nutrients.
Now is a good time to remove any passengers in your garden, remove as much roots as possible in all directions to prevent suckering in the spring months.
Pests cause very few problems in autumn months, a misting of blooms should be sufficient for control.
Continue your preventative maintenance schedule to keep your foliage clean and green. Don’t let fungus ruin your autumn flush of roses.
Remember to water established field grown roses in prolonged drought and roses in pots daily, or as necessary.
Always maintain weed control throughout the growing season. Weed by hand around the root zone to avoid any damage to fragile feeding roots. A well mulched bed should avoid this chore.
Any unproductive stem or stems lacking vigour can be removed in autumn, be sure to remove them from their point of origin leaving no stubs (hat racks) for pests or diseases to harbour in over winter. Shorten long shoots on climbers, trim back long stems on bush roses to reduce wind rock in late autumn.
Collect and burn if possible deadwood, fallen leaves and any other rubbish, especially that affected by disease.
Water shoots that have flowered can have the stakes removed and stock piled. Ties on tree roses and climbers should be checked and replaced as required. Remember one tie only is needed on tree roses.
Don’t hesitate too long to place your “MAIL ORDER” for the bare rooted roses of your choice. Australian bred roses are becoming more popular, give some thought to these when ordering.
No more fertilizing of roses is necessary from mid autumn; this should encourage dormancy and harden the stems for winter pruning.
As the years slip past, my garden diary has become an invaluable asset keeping me in touch with the great hobby of growing roses for all occasions. My first rose bought “DOWN UNDER” was Sutters Gold, my diary answered this. My point is; a diary is a handy way for rosarians to keep track of what is planted and when, what you sprayed and when. Even if you can remember what you did last month a diary record will prove of great value as you look back on the rose growing season and ahead to next year.
During these cooler months the super slow opening blooms of the highest quality, with intense fragrance and vibrant colours should be in all gardens. Great pleasure can be had sharing with friends and decorating your dining areas with fresh fragrant roses over the Easter period. Further enjoyment can be had visiting the many rose shows at this time of year. Dates for your diary are in this magazine.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES SUMMER 2008
With the spring shows concluded, we can reflect on the events. We have many excellent exhibitors and growers in our regionals. The quality of blooms exhibited this Spring has been outstanding. It is always a great pleasure to see the beauty of the rose exhibits on display, encouraging comments from our overseas rosarians on the quality blooms and the staging presentation was very encouraging. The public response was of equal merit as they viewed our shows. Hopefully many new growers will be encouraged with what they have seen. Surely, this is the reason we strive to stage our shows, and foster the Rose!
As we move into hot, dry weather you can presume spider mites are not far away. Spider mites drain the life from your rose bush, one leaf at a time. They start at the bottom and work their way up, lower leaves will look bronzed or sand-blasted. Leaves will soon turn yellow, dry up and drop. By the time you see this the attack will be under way. Washing down the foliage with water will at best discourage them, not drown them. My current policy is in hot and dry weather is to assume they are in the garden. Modern very effective miticides are available; they are predatory mite safe and harmless to most beneficial species. One or two sprays in a growing season should be all that’s needed. Ask at your nearest “Produce Store” if you want more information.
Most will have finished dead heading their first flush, warmer areas will be dead heading their second flush, this means loss of foliage for no good reason in summer months. There is little need to remove leaves just to throw a spent bloom away. I usually snap the bloom off at the end of the stem. The more foliage you conserve the stronger the bush will be.
Leaves are the manufacturing (WORKERS) part of your plant. The leaf is where the action takes place; here raw material is changed into useful products. The feeding roots will send water and nutrients up the canes and into the foliage, here sugars and starches are produced to maintain the plant, promote growth and your roses.
You can see the importance foliage plays in helping the bush produce much better flowers. Foliage will work harder for you on the bush, not in the landfill bin.
No matter how often or how much you fertilise and water your plants, or how good your maintenance program, little benefits will result if you don’t have sufficient foliage to produce what you are targeting; big blooms of good quality. In a nutshell; you look after the foliage, the foliage will bring the flowers.
Water, not fertilisers, is what makes roses grow. Plants can only take up nutrients in a soluble form. It is important to water deeply, not so frequently in hot summers. Plants not watered deeply will develop shallow root systems that are vulnerable in periods of drought and hot weather. Deep watering will encourage roots downwards and less stress during high heat. Deep watering will also leach salts from regularly manured gardens away from the root zone. If your drainage is adequate your roses will accept copious amounts of water as required.
Keep your garden well mulched. For mulch to be effective it needs to be at least 5cms thick; the thicker the better. Try to cover the whole bed to inhibit weed growth; the mulch should be permeable to allow air and moisture to penetrate.
A large choice of mulching material is available to gardeners. Organics versus inorganic the choice is yours. You can mix the two if you want to; some horticulturalists prefer this method believing you have the best of both worlds.
I prefer to use organic type mulch such as good compost, manure and stockpiled deciduous leaves. A layer of this material on the rose bed will add nutrients and humus to the soil. Earthworms quickly invade rich layers of decomposing mulch close to the soil surface. Castings from these worms contain high nutrient content that is readily available to feeding roots. Growth promoting hormones, certain toxins, and antibiotics to help control diseases also come from castings. Mulch also gives your garden a cared for appearance. Remember, soil is what your plant stands in; it’s what’s in the soil that makes them grow.
I have practised this mulching routine a long time. If you have any doubts about the many benefits of organic mulching during summer, I strongly recommend you start now. You will not be disappointed with the results; you might even be amazed.
Newly planted bare root roses should have good growth now. Tough decisions have to be made. A tough but correct decision is to pinch out the terminal bud before it shows colour. This forces sap back into the bush to improve stronger development. Water shoots should not be allowed to flower. Stake new shoots when they reach 30cm or near tall. Again, hold off your anxiety by thumb pruning all buds before they flower. Keep spindly growth on to protect more vigorous growth from sun-burn. Have you noticed no foliage has been sacrificed so far? There should be sufficient nutrients in the soil to sustain good growth until the end of the first growing season. Keep the roots moist, not wet; refirm soil around young plants only if wind rock occurs.
Some months ago poor growth and small flowers drew my attention to “GOLD MEDAL” in my garden. Removing the mulch back from the bud union, crown gall in its infancy was growing. This small cork-like material needed surgery. With a very sharp knife all galls were trimmed off cleanly and the wounds disinfected. Having done similar to “KENTUCKY DERBY” years ago with perfect results I was feeling confident. Most people’s advice is to remove the infected plant and replace the soil with fresh material. “KENTUCKY DERBY” has had no re-occurrence of galls after all these years, and is still growing strong. Seven months after the surgery on “GOLD MEDAL” two water shoots the size of broom handles are now flowering. Next time you hand water your roses, be more observant and check the plants.
As this is your last NSW Rose for the year let me wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES SPRING 2008
Spring is a great time to spend in the garden, let’s spring into action and do it.
Do not let weeds compete for nutrients in your rose beds. Cultivation deeper than necessary to destroy weeds is harmful in the growing season. Rarely is the rose root structure over abundant, and every rootlet should be protected from avoidable damage. With mature plants, deep mulching of organic matter will inhibit weed growth, be sure to cover the entire rose bed and top up material as required.
As the bushes produce new foliage and small buds appear, an application of complete fertilizer for roses ( SUDDEN IMPACT), applied around the drip line of each bush is beneficial. Remember to give a deep penetrating watering after fertilizing.
Newly planted roses should be showing strong growth signs. Keep the soil moist and firm around them. Be patient; try to conserve as much foliage as possible during their first year’s growth. Cut the stems as short as possible after flowering. Better still, thumb prune the buds when they are no bigger than a pea, this way you remove no foliage. You look after the foliage; the foliage will look after the flowers for many years to come.
Most of us depend on Mother Nature for a seasonal change; good gardeners try to anticipate nature. Most of the pests that attack our roses can be in spring time anticipated. A rose pest is anything that causes damage to our roses. These can be mites, insects or fungus. Diseases and insects also attack other plants, however, rosarians seem to resent them more when they invade our gardens, are we more observant? Nature can also take its toll.
Wind would be nature’s number one enemy, it’s nearly impossible to control strong wind effectively. Would a wind breaker around the rose bed help?
Hail sends chunks of ice in all sizes, and sharper than razor blades. How do we control this beast of nature? These hail storms always seem to arrive before a rose show, all that remains is confetti. Put these pests in the too hard basket.
Practically any diseases that affect our rose are much easier prevented than cured. As soon as you see early spring foliage expanding, commence your spray programme for fungi. A second spray around ten days later, a third and final spray seven days later should arrest any chance of spore germination of mildew, blackspot, or rust. Good housekeeping and a spray programme will reward you with clean green foliage, and good quality flowers right up to dormancy.
As the weather heats up, Aphids will arrive in the millions to suck every drop of sap form succulent new growth. These six legged bludgers will greatly reduce the vigour of plants and distort blooms. Squashing with fingers has not worked for me; the blast from the hose was a waste of water. As with most insects, I prepare not to use insecticide until the problem is visible.
Spider mites are not as easy to detect as aphids. These eight legged mites will suck sap at an amazing speed from the foliage. Tell tale signs on the lower leaves are dry and pale (sand blasted), appearance, underside of leaves is gritty to touch. Unlike their six legged parasites you will need a miticide-ovacide to prevent a serious infestation.
Thrips will arrive in plague proportions at showtime. These insects are like tiny slivers of black timber, and are around 1mm long. Blooms at any stage of development are their main meal. They seem to favour pastel coloured blooms, especially MEMOIRE on my patch. A light misting of the blooms with the proper spray will produce good results. After the first flush they are less of a problem.
Caterpillars caused havoc last spring in the Sydney region. They love chewing your roses until you have nothing to admire. Their numbers multiply quickly if left uncontrolled. White butterflies are an indication they are not far away. Excellent control can be achieved using a stomach poison spray.
The pesticides we use in our rose gardens range from toxic to almost non-toxic. Always err on the safe side when using any chemicals, treat as toxic. Always read the label, even on kitchen cupboard chemicals, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Choose the least hazardous material which will do the job. Again read the label (get use to it), and check warning signs, labels that display “CAUTION” are usually close to non-toxic.
The reason for spraying is to prevent diseases and eliminate insects. I prefer to spray to prevent diseases like mildew and blackspot before it happens. These diseases are sure to appear if I do not spray, damaged caused will be very noticeable. The control of insects is different. The use of any insecticides should only be used as required. Chemicals can be used safely as long as you read and heed the instructions. Remember you are in charge of your own safety, in or out of the garden.
Rose growing for pleasure is a very safe and rewarding hobby. If I had to dress like an astronaut whenever spraying time came around, my rose growing hobby would cease to exist. I am pretty sure our Rose Society do not recommend it either. It is not in my interest to frighten off our newer members, or even the general public from growing roses. My aim is to advise you of potential hazards associated with any chemicals. Don’t underestimate the hazards of aerosol cans; some members with a few roses use them for “HOT SPOTS” in the garden, proceed with care. I feel it is important to repeat again! Read and heed instructions, including safe storage, let common sense prevail.
A good way to keep informed (education is no burden to carry) about roses, is to visit rose shows. Look and listen to how other rosarians do things. Find out how, where, when, why. Talking to others with similar interests is a good way to learn.
Adelaide rose society celebrates “A CENTENARY of ROSES” in the last week of October 2008. This one off convention will have rosarians from far and wide. The Australian rose championships are held in conjunction the with convention. Brilliant speakers in line for their lecture series, private rose gardens, public gardens and rose trial grounds are just some of the attractions in waiting. This long timed planned event on Australian soil should not be missed.
Try to support your own regional shows this spring. A few hours of your time are a big help. For these shows to be a success member’s time is required. Don’t forget to bring a friend with you.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians,
CULTURAL NOTES WINTER 2008
June means seasonal change as we move into winter and its colder weather.
Pruning? Not nearly as difficult as many rosarians would have you believe. Roses in the Sydney region and further north only go semi dormant for a short period of time, rosarians south of Sydney (colder regions), should wait until the incidence of frost has passed in your area. Assuming some strong canes are remaining to prune after the ferocious weather we have experienced along the east coast in recent times, here are some techniques that will make a difference.
Any job is made easier with the proper tools. You will need sharp secateurs, pruning saw, long handled secateurs, and good garden gloves. I strongly recommend the use of a small keyhole saw set. For large woody canes, use a small keyhole saw rather than the crushing jaws of a lopper. Cuts will callus cleaner and faster particularly around the bud union. Make it a habit to keep the BLADE of the pruning tools DOWN; this will prevent the bruising of canes retained. To say it differently, let the jaw bruise the cane material that is discarded. If the cut is not smooth and easy, you are using the wrong tool.
The purpose of pruning is to remove dead and diseased wood, spindly growth and blind shoots should be removed, any canes crossing can also be removed. In other words any cane lacking vigour should be removed cleanly from its point of origin.
Canes retained on large flowered roses can be reduced by half. The ideal situation is to have at least three to six strong canes at least one metre in length. These canes should slant upwards and outward in a circular shape from the base of the plant. This will allow plenty of air circulation and sunlight where you need it most. On clustered flowered roses it is beneficial to leave a strong lateral with four to six eyes on strong canes that come from the bud union. When pruning minis, think small. I am inclined to trim lightly and get good results. The serious miniature hobbyist will usually get down on bended knee to groom and prune to the best eye on the newer canes. New growth keeps minis young and blooming. Minis seem to keep coming however you prune them, they are little gems.
Many of the principles for pruning other types of roses are the same. The basic processes of removing dead wood and shaping the bush are similar. Remember to check all ties on tree roses and climbers renew them if required.
After you are satisfied with the pruning methods, tidy up the rose beds by removing all rubbish and diseased foliage. Good garden hygiene all year round is a very effective way of controlling unwanted diseases and pests.
Your next easy job is to thoroughly spray your rose beds and bushes with fresh lime sulphur. This effective spray will reduce any nasties harbouring on or around your rose bushes.
Presuming you prepare your planting beds in autumn, your new site should be packed with nutrients, at least six hours sunlight daily, drainage is good to perfect and your satisfied with your pH tests, the time is here to plant bare-rooted roses.
When unpacking your plants, take care in disentangling roots and branches. Ties should be snipped and damaged branches and roots cut away cleanly. Do not let roots become dehydrated.
Dig holes big enough to accommodate the roots comfortably without cramping. A hole thirty cm square should be sufficient. Place a cone shaped mound of soil on the bottom of the hole and sit the plant on it. Spread the roots so they point downward and outward over the cone shaped mound. Cover the roots with soil; gently firm the soil around the roots using your hands and fingers. Fill the hole with clean water and allow to drain. Now fill the hole with soil to ground level mulch the area with quality compost and well rotted stable manure and water again.
Most reputable rose nurseries send planting instructions with their orders, check them out.
A good way to increase your stock at very little expense is plant some winter cuttings. Rose cuttings can be taken anytime. I find winter is an ideal time as your plants slip into dormancy and the desired cutting will be in your hand at pruning time. For future reference, cuttings STRIKE, budding TAKES. Most budding is performed in late spring, early summer when the sap flow is optimal.
The length of cuttings is optional; hand-span length is ideal and the thickness of a pencil. Your best cuttings come from mature wood in the mid-section of flowered stems no older than about six months. Once your cuttings have been selected, simply dip them into some fresh hormone root promoting substance to encourage callus formation. The cuttings can be planted ( half in, half out) straight into a propagating mix, if you use twenty cm pots, five to seven cuttings can be accommodated comfortably. Any cuttings that strike is a bonus, try to keep them moist, not wet.
Show a friend a rose and their first action is to test its fragrance, it never fails. It was not that long ago when fragrance was a bonus to what I required. I always needed roses that had vigour, flowers of a good shape and vibrant colour, and were not shy to repeat quickly. Fragrance has now moved into the criteria when selecting newer roses. If you are a fan of “Roses for noses”, try to plant some at your letter box, posties love it, for your own daily fix, a few “Double Delight” will send you into orbit, plant these near your front door.
With long dark evenings bringing your outdoor activities to a halt, perhaps you can snuggle up with some informative reading material, unwind and relax.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES AUTUMN 2008
This has been a testing summer
for our roses. Rain and more rain was dumped relentlessly
on our gardens. Hail the size of golf balls shredded the foliage,
new water shoots reduced to pulp as they dangled from most
of the bushes. Sadly my weeping tree rose CREPUSCULE
could not withstand the thrashing from the inclement weather.
Even the rose ring and rose ring support had indentations
from the HAIL; Crepuscule would have had its centenary
in two years time, amen. Despite the very wet conditions
these plants are bouncing back. Lush new growth is very promising;
a bumper crop of roses can be expected in autumn.
It is very possible no more watering will be required for
field grown roses this season. Having moved the saturated
thick mulch and checking several areas of subsoil, I am satisfied
enough moisture content is available to sustain good growth
through the autumn.
When planning a new rose garden, consideration to the end
product is essential. Every time you plant your boot on the
rose bed it would be similar to nine (9) on the Richter
Scale to the activity down under. The very beneficial
micro-organisms and especially macro-organisms (earthworms),
close to the soil surface detest soil disturbance. No bed
should be more than two meters in width when viewed all round.
This allows maintenance (arms length) and a happy environment
in the soil. Plenty of open space that receives lots of sun
is very important. The soil should be enriched adding plenty
of good compost. Make sure the drainage is sufficient before
you even think about preparing the soil. In my situation,
every bed was elevated to the required height; this eliminates
all drainage problems permanently.
The planning and planting of these beds can take considerable
time, not to mention your energy. Once the beds become
established, routine maintenance becomes a simple task. Cool
autumn weather is a good time to make any alterations in your
As you become motivated shop around for suitable material
to do the job. Dont be shy to ask any questions to your
supplier. Most nursery people are happy to give advice on
their products. Your local regional will advise on planting
or choice of plants for your area.
As new rose catalogues come in the letter box listing hundreds
of excellent varieties, and more new releases to confuse us
further, choosing roses can become a pleasant and sometimes
a bewildering experience. Chose with care, advice and guidance
is available from your nearest consulting rosarian.
Among the releases from Swanes is a rose named
Good Samaritan. This rose has been monitored on
my patch over a six month period with very little care. It
is large flowered and deep pink in colour. The long pointed
buds have good form on long stems, fragrance is slight. Its
resistance to disease is promising as is its growth. This
hybrid comes from Dr. Keith Zary, who also gave
us Moonstone, Gemini and City of Newcastle to name a few.
I think it is a worthy addition to your garden. Another look
at me release from Tom Carruths is a rose called My
Hero. This could be on the show bench in the near future
in the decorative class. Remember to watch for good Australian
bred roses coming your way this season. Good luck in your
decisions this season.
Check for any pests hovering around your roses. Any small
infestation can be checked by nipping off the affected parts,
or by squashing pests by hand. When used properly most chemical
sprays cause very few problems to the environment and are
very effective in controlling pests. Always assess whether
the problem really justifies their use. The use of combined
insecticide and fungicide is only required when both problems
are present at levels that warrant that control. When you
are sure the chemical suits the purpose, be sure to follow
the manufactures instructions to the application rate. A good
time to spray is early morning when most beneficial insects
are not active. Maintain weed control during the growing
season, heavy mulching usually controls this chore.
Trim back long stems on bush and shrub roses to reduce wind
rock pre pruning. Collect and burn (where possible)
dead wood, fallen leaves and other debris especially that
affected with disease.
Continue to harvest leaves from deciduous trees for use in
your compost. Deciduous leaves and fresh grass clippings mixed
equally can be a very nutritious mulch in early spring. If
you are not already a leaf freak now is the time
It is time to cut a vase of roses Kardinal for
the dining table. This rose stands frequent cutting
and still blooms freely and repeats quickly over a long period.
This rose is very hardy with good sized flowers in dark red,
strong stems of good length sets the scene. Enjoy your
autumn flush of roses and take care. Happy rose growing to
CULTURAL NOTES SUMMER 2007
Water is one of the secrets to growing good quality roses. If you are light handed with your watering maintenance, surface nutrients will never reach the feeding roots. Roses will survive dry periods with little artificial watering, especially if heavily mulched, however an adequate supply encourages repeat flowering and a higher quantity of better quality blooms.
How much do your roses need? That is not an easy question to answer from where I am sitting. In an area the size of NSW many factors need thought. How hot is it? Is your soil porous? Have you good drainage? How large is the plant you are watering? Even some varieties are more tolerant than others.
You need to be aware of all these factors in your area. Over watering will rot the rose feeding roots, under watering will bring rose wilt. Either of these problems can cause havoc in your garden.
I suggest common sense is an important factor to remember when you water your roses. In very hot weather they need to be watered more regularly,” not more water at one time”, as the weather cools down reduce the regularity of your watering.
Remember, periodic deep watering is more preferable to frequent light sprinklings. Deep watering will ensure deep and strong roots. Light watering will encourage easily damaged surface roots that dry out quickly.
Roses in pots will drain much faster than garden grown roses. Commercial potting mix should be enriched with good quality “compost” before being used in pots, this will increase moisture retention. Never place potted roses in a saucer to retain moisture, roses hate wet feet, and this will only encourage root rot. During very hot summer weather potted roses might need daily watering. As soon as seepage is visible from the drainage area, cease watering. Remember to fertilize potted roses a little, often; this will offset nutrient loss through seepage.
Newly planted bare-rooted roses will have flowered by now. All future buds emerging should be thumb pruned up to WINTER pruning time (sorry). In the case of young roses, it is especially important to conserve as much foliage as possible in their first season. You will quickly notice nutrients are diverted so that new growth may be produced to build stronger plants. Water shoots that emerge from young plants should be staked firmly. The earlier you disbud the better, as soon as buds appear, snap them off. In the second year of growth return to conventional methods.
Weeds are one thing we do not need in the rose beds. Roses do not like having their roots disturbed. If weeds are allowed to get a grip they will remove valuable nutrients and moisture from the soil. Mulch will inhibit weed growth, keep the soil moist and encourage beneficial micro-organisms; this will produce humus and provide nutrients to your plants. Lucerne hay is still favoured by most rosarians; other materials suitable include rotted manures and sugar cane. Make sure the material used is deep enough to make the job worth while. This material should be topped up as required. It is a good idea to fertilize your roses before you mulch, don’t forget to water in well.
It is rumoured that continuos use of “lucerne” harbours red spider! In my garden these attributes have never been convincingly demonstrated. The common red spider is a mite which feeds on a wide range of plants. Clean cultivation and destruction of weeds which could harbour these pests are more important factors in preventing them spreading. So far this season my “Lucerne” mulched garden show no sign of mites.
Dead heading is the practise of removing spent flowers from the bush. The removal of spent blooms starts the next bloom cycle. Prune back to the first strong five leaflet bud, this will produce another bloom in about seven weeks time. Use common sense when cutting back in hot weather, and keep as much foliage as possible on the plant. Another method is simply to snap off the bloom at the twin leaflet. This will stimulate new growth lower down on the bush and no loss of foliage. Remember no foliage, no flowers. If dead heading is not practised, blooming will cease.
Continue your maintenance to keep fungi under control. Insects are not usually a problem in warmer months. You will need to be consistent with rose hygiene methods of your choice to control pests effectively. Timely spraying, feeding and watering will reward you with an abundance of flowers for any occasion.
Next years “Royal Easter Show” is earlier than usual (mid March 2008). Newer exhibitors at the 2007 show were very encouraging, well done. Perhaps the use of florists foam “soak and poke” has made arranging easier. Using foam as a plugging material you can position the stems exactly where you want them.
To obtain your Easter flush you will need to trim back your roses approximately seven weeks before the show. Development is more rapid in warmer conditions. Accuracy of timing is influenced by local conditions. A light hand is needed for summer trimming. Very few benefits will be gained by this operation if strict maintenance is not adhered to.
As this is the last NSW Rose of the year, I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a safe New Year.
CULTURAL NOTES SPRING 2007
After some very heavy rainfall in our
winter months, you are sure to enjoy our beautiful spring
Lush new growth is evident on our bushes, foliage is expanding
and buds are getting fatter. Be patient with newly planted
roses, remove spent blooms at the first node, continue this
practise by retaining as much foliage during the first growing
Your plants will soak up large quantities of water as the
growth becomes stronger. Practise deep watering on a weekly
basis to get surface nutrients to the feeding roots; this
is where the action takes place. Deep watering will also encourage
better anchorage of bushes and less easily damaged surface
roots. Presuming you have good drainage, your roses will accept
copious amounts of water as the weather hots up and your bushes
are fully clothed. Accepting the fact that roots can only
take up nutrients in a soluble form, water has to be the worlds
greatest "FERTILIZER". It makes no difference how
much or how often you feed your bushes, they will starve if
no water is received.
Watering plants in pots is important, plants in a confined
space cannot send out feeding roots in search of nutrients
or moisture. Many people use liquid manure in watering pots,
this smelly process has some advantages, I prefer to err on
the safe side and use "Compost Tea". Compost tea
also gives your potted roses a good supply of nutrients in
a liquid form. This brew can be used on newly planted roses
or seedlings with no risk to the tender feeding roots. Compost
tea as a foliar feed is very effective no matter how strong
the brew. If you have an abundance of compost you can afford
to be generous with it as a mulch. But if you never have enough,
big benefits can be gained by this compost brew. It is good
to start this pot maintenance routine early spring, and then
the first weekend of every month up to and including April.
Keep the pots well mulched with any organic material to help
retain moisture and maintain a steady temperature. During
hot weather your pots might need watering daily.
Compost tea can be made in any clean drum or large bucket.
Simply fill one fifth of the container with well made compost
and four fifths of clean water, how simple is that. You can
stir this brew whenever you want. After a couple of weeks,
dip your watering can into the container and use as required.
You can use the same batch of compost to make five or six
brews. Before making your next batch, remove the sludge from
the container and use on seedlings or house plants.
Any stockpiled leaf mulch should be spread on your rose beds.
If you could add one part manure to five parts leaf mould
to your plants, your rose will receive nearly all the nutrients
they require in the growing season. The addition of manure
keeps the carbon nitrogen ratio fairly stable, and prevents
matting of the leaves. This forest type mulch is very beneficial
to the soil. The chemical break-down of rotted leaves "LEAF
MOLD", as we know it, is as close to natural "HUMUS"
that you will get. Any organic mulching will benefit your
soil; try to keep the mulch at least 10cm thick, the deeper
the better. The material used should be friable to allow water
and air to penetrate, offering no resistance.
A well mulched garden produces healthy soil and vigorous,
disease resistant plants.
Early prevention of fungal germination on roses is a necessary
duty. As temperatures hover in the mid-twenties, and foliage
has not matured or it still expanding, commence your spray
routine. Your first fungicide spray should be very early spring,
followed by a second spray ten days later. A third spray fourteen
days later should stop any chance of spore germination of
occurring. Try alternating sprays as the seasons change. Remember
to spray the rose beds while you are motivated. Some new fungicides
in smaller quantities are now available at reputable "PRODUCE"
Keep a watch for pests. Aphids are sure to arrive, these sap
sucking insects can weaken your bushes. Easy to use environmental
sprays will stop them before they cause any damage.
Hot dry weather will encourage spider mites to your bushes.
If left untreated they will go to plague proportions and quickly
defoliate your rose bush. They usually start at the bottom,
and rapidly move upwards sucking every drop of sap on their
way. Some tell tale signs are foliage that looks sand-blasted
or minute webbing on stems. You will need a miticide\ovicide
to get rid of these pests. A follow up spray five to seven
days later will have you back in business.
On the bright side, researchers have genetically engineered
plants to produce a "GLOW" when under stress such
as drought, or fungal attack. These plants can be positioned
in any crop with the ability to produce a colour coded "GLOW"
to indicate various problems. I hope that puts a "GLOW"
in your day!
Dont forget to try to attend the spring rose shows,
and bring a friend with you.
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
CULTURAL NOTES WINTER 2007
After the incidence of frost has passed in your area, it is a good time to prune your roses. The main object to pruning is to regenerate new growth, referable from around the bud union, or close above it. Nice long stems of strong vigour should arise, quickly followed by high quality flowers. If pruning is neglected, the bush will be spindly, of wild appearance, and cluttered with unproductive stems. Flowers will be small and sparse and lacking lustre. You will be rewarded for your pruning expertise with many flowers in spring.
So much information concerning pruning has been circulated it is not surprising people are confused. Prune this way not that way, leave that shorten this, remove that and so on! Relax when pruning, don’t become tense and don’t worry if you make mistakes. Common sense is your main aim, stick to it.
Keep in mind the pruning methods you use will determine the growth habit of your roses. If you prune hard, you will get larger flowers but less of them, if you prune lighter you will get more flowers and a colourful display, these blooms will be of a reduced quality.
On completion of pruning, your bushes should be about half the original height and half of the original canes still remaining. Uniform height is not important, cut canes according to their vigour, strong canes are a valuable asset on your bushes. Make sure all diseased and dead wood is removed completely, clean any rubbish away from the rose beds.
Ramblers, climbers, and tree roses are treated much the same. Forget the myth that shoots on ramblers should be removed. After flowering, treat the same as climbers. Do not prune climbers or ramblers less than 1.3 mtr. as they could revert back to bush form. Try to cut to an eye facing upwards and outwards. Canes on climbers should be trained as close as possible to a horizontal position and tied securely for best results. Remember to check all ties and supports on the tree roses, climbers and weepers. These are much easier replaced if required, when the bushes are in a skeletonized form.
Pruning is important. It is easy to learn and not difficult to perform. A very good way to get some exercise and keep warm on a cool winter’s day.
Keeping the garden beds clean and free of debris will greatly reduce the incidence of pests and diseases in the warmer months. Ramble around the garden, any adjustments to your pruning? Are you happy with your garden hygiene?
Now spray you bushes and all rose beds thoroughly with lime sulphur as soon as possible after pruning. This clean up stray will reduce over wintering fungal spores, and deter insects from harbouring. Make sure the lime sulphur is fresh, aged sulphur will crystallize and is not very effective. Lime sulphur should not be mixed with other chemicals.
In the last two growing seasons when sufficient growth was on the bushes to warrant it, lime sulphur was applied again, with reduced concentration levels. I am convinced this has reduced red spider population to a minimum. Fungi symptoms have been noticeable reduced as the growing season progressed. Perhaps it interrupts spore germination of fungi? It also deters possums in spring from nipping buds showing colour. So far the results are encouraging.
When the beds are cleaned and the bushes are pruned, check for “suckers”. These shoots (suckers) grow from below the bud union or from the roots. They will be much stronger than the chosen variety. These shoots can arise a considerable distance from the base of the plant. They are easily identified by their elongated foliage and are usually pale green. The leaflet will have a minimum of seven leaves and the shoots are “whilly”. To remove the “sucker”, scrape the soil gently away from the roots and follow the sucker. Grip the sucker firmly and remove it with a determined pull. Cutting the sucker at ground level will only stimulate more rampant growth.
Rare root plants are due soon. Make sure planting areas are weed free and not competing for nutrients with your new plants. Plant as soon as possible after arrival. It is advisable to immerse the plants in tubs of clean water over night; this will ensure the roots a good drink before planting.
Don’t over water new plants, make sure the soil is firm and kept moist. Keep them well mulched, within six to eight weeks new growth will be evident. Buds will become blooms around mid October in the Sydney region. Can you wait in anticipation! Bring it on.
Any maintenance required on garden equipment should be done now. Used and at times abused mechanical aids like lawnmowers and spray equipment respond well to a good cleaning in the off peak times. P.P.E. is regularly neglected by the home gardener. Remember you are in charge of your own safety.
As the evenings get darker earlier and the bushes go through a single drab period during their bursts of beauty, perhaps we each reflect on the past growing season! Ideas are sure to come to mind.
Can we rustle up more interest in our regionals! How can we foster the rose better! What is your goal this year?
Happy rose growing to all rosians.
Cunningham Cultural Notes- Autumn 2007
Strong growth signs should be evident on our rose bushes in
early autumn. Buds still forming are getting prepared for
another burst of colour and glory, nature never lets the rose
Minimum rainfall has continued in N.S.W. this year. Some of
our commercial growers have just enough water to make it past
our hottest months. At last our government has acknowledged
our low rainfall and drought conditions, so keep our chins
up and potter on.
With the many benefits of mulching in our dry climate, the
mulch holds the moisture and helps prevent evaporation. A
soil P.H. and moisture tester are beneficial. Watering according
to the soil moisture meter can greatly reduce water use. A
rain gauge will also reduce watering needs when monitored.
As the weather cools down, reduce watering to every 14 days,
this helps encourage dormancy. In winter months, only water
as required. I have had good results with twenty five soakings
a year in a sub-tropical climate.
This is a good time to prepare the soil for new plantings
in July. Cultivate to around 50cm and add as much organic
matter thats available. Remove stakes from water shoots
that have flowered and stock pile. Disbud terminal buds on
clusters; remove side buds on large flowered roses. Clean
out any rubbish and twiggy growth from bushes; remove any
stems lacking vigour from their point of origin. Remove fallen
foliage and any debris especially that affected by disease
and burn where possible. Good garden hygiene helps prevent
Check all ties on tree roses and climbers, replace as required.
This will reduce wind rock in autumn, especially if anchorage
is insufficient. Soil around the roots can be refirmed if
Your regular fertilizer programme ROOT-FEED should
cease in or around March. Foliar soluble fertilizer feeding
can be used anytime to good advantage. This is a targeted
feed directed at the underside of the foliage on your plants.
Minor nutrient deficiencies can be remedied with foliar. Some
exhibitors use it shortly before a show as a "boost"
to the roses. Plants show a rapid response to foliar feeding
even under stress. Foliar should be considered as a supplement
to our ROOT fertilizing programme not a substitute. A word
of caution: be extra careful when reading the manufacturers
instructions. The chemical must be diluted properly on tender
young foliage to prevent burn, but still concentrated enough
for maximum effect. Foliar sprays are compatible with most
other chemical sprays.
As the days remain warm and nights get cooler and dewy, mildew
can become a problem. These are favourable conditions for
mildew spores to germinate. Use a systemic spray before leaf
distortion and signs of white powdery covering on foliage.
A systemic spray permeates the skin of the plant and moves
up and down the sap stream. Dont let fungal diseases
spoil your autumn flush of roses.
Pests are not a problem in the autumn months. Thrips, aphids
and caterpillars are rarely in plague proportions. However
if concerned, use an environmentally friendly contact spray
to keep at a minimum.
Try not to let spraying become an unpleasant chore. Rose breeders
are introducing hardier and disease resistant plants more
than ever before. Newer sprays are safer than ever (no D.D.T.),
introduced in the past. Spray equipment is greatly improved
and comes in all shapes and sizes. Rose growing is easy and
a very rewarding hobby. It is not unusual to have fragrant
fresh roses in the home for at least nine months of the year.
You are the rose doctor; you look after the plants the plants
look after the roses. Roses are grown from the TOP END of
Australia in the tropics, to the snowfields in the Snowy Mountains,
how good is that. It is worth mentioning the most elevated
public rose garden in the Southern Hemisphere is at Khancoban
in the Snowy.
New Rose catalogues are doing their rounds. Swanes have "Lavender
Simplicity" as a new release on the front cover. The
original "Pink Simplicity" released in 1978 has
now sported four times, namely, White, Red, Yellow, Lavender
and of course the parent "Pink Simplicity". All
varieties send out medium sized clusters with a nice fragrance.
I have seen this grown as a hedge and it was absolutely breathtaking.
A pleasant evening is assured browsing through these catalogues.
After the decisions are made, order as soon as possible to
avoid over ordering of popular varieties or substitutions.
Available to "Rose Society of NSW" members is a
discount on bare root roses, mail order or packaged from Swanes
nurseries. Good luck with the roses of your choice.
Our membership has increased considerably in recent years.
It would be nice to see as many members as possible visit
rose shows held in autumn. If you could exhibit (GREAT FUN)
some blooms it would be even more enjoyable. Remember there
is a lot more to showing roses than silverware and ribbons.
On top of the spectacular mass of colour, you meet and chat
to fellow rosarians with similar interests; you extend your
rose growing hobby. What happens when you win? I will let
you work that hard to explain BUG out for yourself. Now the
ball is in your court, let your feet follow your heart, give
it a go, you will not be disappointed.
Dates for your diary are in this magazine. The Royal Easter
Spectacular is on Easter Saturday, 7th. April. On this day
three NSW Rose Championships are on display and many other
classes. The NSW Rose Society and Neutrog are major sponsors
of these events. Let me thank all concerned on organizing
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
Cunningham Cultural Notes - Summer 2006
The approach of summer, combined with wide spread drought
and dry conditions is a reminder we need to use water intelligently.
Roses respond noticeably to their watering needs. A good watering
should really soak the soil to allow the water to penetrate
the mulching material and sink right down to the root area.
A general guide is around 15 litres per sq. metre, covering
the whole rose bed; this is equivalent to approximately 40mm
per sq. metre. Continue this watering on a weekly basis during
the hot months; if any rain falls accept it as a bonus. Try
to water early morning. This will reduce evaporation. Any
splashback on the foliage or flowers will dry quickly; this
will reduce the incidence of fungal disease.
soakings of water really will help push new growth from the
base. Water shoots will have emerged from some varieties.
These shoots usually come from the bud union or close above
it. Their growth is sappy in appearance and soft to touch.
A badly placed water shoot can be gently nudged to the outside
of the plant if necessary, but do not force it, or bend it.
Keep the shoot staked loosely until matured, twisties or old
pantyhose are handy as ties. Your best blooms will come from
these new shoots, they will also be the future framework,
and therefore must be nurtured. Never cut into a watershoot
even if it is crooked or badly placed, unless you intend to
remove it at its point of origin. To prune a watershoot after
it has flowered remove the central part of the truss, and
simply deadhead the remaining few stems, nature will do the
For a continuity of supply of beautiful flowers, you must
deadhead the bush on a regular basis. When the bloom is past
its best or spent, prune back to a strong bud, this will produce
another bloom in five to seven weeks. Only cut short stems
when deadheading in the hot months. The more foliage on your
bush the more flowers you will receive. If you are cutting
roses for a vase you can increase the stem length.
The hot weather and long hours of sunlight - the quicker the
growth on our bushes. Mulch and compost are excellent for
your garden; however they are not a substitute for a well-balanced
fertilizer. One clenched handful per bush is sufficient. Over
use of fertilizer is a waste and dangerous; because they are
organic does not mean they are safe. Nothing in excess is
"SAFE". Err on the safe side when fertilizing; a
little often is the rule of thumb. After fertilizing do not
forget to water in well.
Keep up your preventative measures for disease and pests.
Sam McGredy said "if you collect silver you have to be
prepared to polish it occasionally to keep it looking good,
for the same reason you should spray your roses." All
living things are subject to some disease; roses are no exception.
Are you happy with your newly planted roses this season? Keep
the roots nice and moist until they are established. Remove
spent blooms at the first node. Keep even twiggy growth on
your plant to help prevent sunburn on tender new canes. Give
a fertilizing in February. Your normal maintenance will commence
in their second season.
On the subject of new roses, why not give someone a special
rose for Christmas; Mothers Love, Warm Wishes, Many
Happy Returns, to name just a few. A living gift can be very
As this is your last N.S.W. Rose for the year, I would like
to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a safe New Year.
Cunningham Cultural Notes - Spring 2006
Lets spring into action and talk
about the benefits of mulch. Most roses have shallow, fibrous
roots and they need copious amounts of mulch around the root
system. This is particularly important in our hot Australian
climate. Organic mulches on our soil will slowly break down
into humus. It will prevent water evaporation by at least
50%, it will act as a blanket against temperature changes,
and weed growth will be inhibited or stopped by denying them
will minimize suckering, and deter some pests from invading
the roses. It also offers a slow release nutrient source to
your plants. Your plants will be healthier and more disease
I try to use a combination of mulching materials mixed together
at one time. This diversity will ensure a steady break down
of the mulch and a variety of nutrients to your plants. This
is similar to our forests where layers of bark, twigs, leaves
and animal manures are continuously recycled. With a small
amount of effort it is not difficult to achieve this goal.
For your effort you will enjoy bigger blooms of good quality.
Be sure the material used is open and pliable to allow air
and water to penetrate.
As we move into over drive in our throwaway society, composting
is even more desirable. Composting is one solution to our
slimy landfill sites; it also offers gardeners a good source
of soil nutrients. Most composting material is all around
us. Nearly anything which is biodegradable or was once living
can be used to compost. The following list is some of the
items you can use: - newspapers (shred and compost); vase
flowers; grass; weeds; leaves (all sorts); hedge trimmings;
twigs; pine needles; sawdust; vegetables (cooked and raw);
cereals and their boxes; fruit peelings; crushed egg shells;
tea bags and coffee grounds; dry dog food; out of date canned
food; frozen vegetables.
It is not possible to discuss in detail each of the above-mentioned
items, they are just some of the things you are likely to
have at hand. If unsure, ask yourself, has it ever grown?
If the answer is yes, compost it. Do finger nails and hair
grow? Compost it. Err on the safe side; keep dairy products
such as cheese and also meat out of the compost. Keep dog
and cat excrement out of the bin, they may contain harmful
bacteria or worm larvae. Any other manure can be composted.
The most nutritional being elephant manure! Where do you get
it? You are not only doing your plants a favour supplying
nutrients, rich compost also helps the environment you live
in. It is not surprising that humans are the only species
on earth that create rubbish! The well-made compost heap can
convert your "RUBBISH" into a good fertilizer and
an excellent soil improver. Now you know which bin to put
your organic materials in.
It looks like our spring flush is coming early this year.
As the foliage expands with the warmer weather, the feeder
roots begin to grow outwards. These very fine feeder roots
in established roses are regularly just under the soil surface;
this soil can be compacted and damaged during pruning. A gentle
forking of the soil will reduce this compaction and improve
aeration. On completion of cultivation, fertilize your bushes
at the drip line and water well. Now cover the bed with good
mulch to the depth of at least 10cms, to make it worthwhile.
Keep the mulch topped up as required. A mulching will also
save labour input later.
Strong growth is evident in September. Keep a watch for pests,
aphids in particular can appear in plague proportions and
should be checked as needed. Thrips will follow later, these
look like 1mm black slivers of timber, dont let them
spoil your biggest flush. Good success can be had using Confidor
as an insecticide. Red spider never fails to visit me yearly.
This pest will quickly defoliate your bushes. Micro pearl
like eggs under the foliage, minute webbing will also appear.
A miticide is used to rid this nuisance. Most insecticide
and miticides are compatible.
Keep your foliage green and free of fungi disease. Mildew
usually arrives with lush new growth. Black spot arrives some
weeks later. An early symptom of mildew is twisted and distorted
growth. Blackspot is self-explanatory. Black spots of various
sizes will appear or the upper leaf surface. Both these fungi
will be arrested completely if sprayed as the foliage expands
and no symptoms have appeared. A second spray ten to fourteen
days later will further retard spore germination. The secret
is to prevent rather than cure. A visit to your nearest "Produce"
supplier will guide you as to what is available.
Rose shows are held in spring, come and smell the fragrant
blooms, bring your friends. This is a good way of meeting
people with a similar interest. Ask questions, have a chat,
exchange ideas, enjoy your rose growing hobby, its all
Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
Jim Cunningham Cultural Notes -Winter 2006
Your new bare-root plants should be arriving soon. Give the
soil a final turnover and remove any weeds, all that should
remain is a fine tilth. This also an ideal time to shunt existing
plants to new positions if required.
When the roses arrive from the nursery, immerse them as deep
as possible in tubs of water over night to ensure the roots
are well hydrated. Remove each plant as required when the
planting hole has been prepared.Planting consists of digging
the hole wide and deep enough to allow the roots to spread
as they mature. The roots will move from the base and become
fibrous and lateral. The roots that arrive with bare root
roses are main roots, not feeding roots. Main roots send out
young root hairs, these will channel the soluble plant nutrients
to the rose. These roots anchor the bush as it grows against
storms etc. Any broken roots should be cut above that point,
trim the remaining roots, this will stimulate the plant. Now
make a cone shaped mound at the bottom of the hole. Radiate
the roots over the cone and backfill half way. Gently firm
the soil around the roots using yours fingers and hands. Fill
the hole with water gently shaking the understock with your
other hand to remove air bubbles and consolidate the soil.
Allow the water to soak away then fill the hole with soil
to ground level and water again. I like to leave the bud union
at least 2.5cms above soil level. This is done prior to any
back filling. Within six weeks eyes will swell and new growth
will take place.
pruning should commence after the incidence of frost has passed
in your area. In the Sydney region this is usually late July.Pruning
should be a pleasurable mid winters day spent in your
garden. The future success of your roses depends on correct
pruning. You will need sharp secateurs, pruning saw, long
handled [parrot] secateurs, strong gloves and perhaps knee
pads.When we prune we anticipate nature by removing old, dead,
spindly wood. Any branch lacking vigour is more harm than
useful. Cut any very old canes at their point of origin, leaving
no stubs for pests and diseases to harbor.Contrary to what
most people think, heavy pruning weakens rose bushes, not
strengthens them. Loss of good wood is food reserves lost.
This is where the term "moderate pruning" applies,
the cutting of the branches that are retained when pruning.
I cut according to the health and vigour of the plant. If
it has lots of healthy wood with plenty of eyes for future
quality blooms, why hack it off? Just trim to tidy its shape.
Keep as many strong branches as possible. Reduce these by
one third, cutting 5mm above an outward-facing eye, and at
a 45-degree angle away from the eye. No sealing of the cuts
is necessary. Look at the bush in a skeletonised shape. You
can still remove more if you want, but you cant put
it on. If you have three or more strong canes remaining on
each bush you are doing well. These basic steps apply to most
roses. Remember to check all ties on climbers, weepers and
tree roses. Replace them if needed.
up the rose beds removing diseased foliage and spent mulch.
Rose hygiene is a very effective way of controlling disease
next step is to thoroughly spray the bushes and all the rose
beds with lime sulphur. Take note of new instructions on lime
sulphur products and adhere to them. Sulphur can stain expensive
jewelry and other household items. Cover up as required.
these cooler months, as our rose growing hobby eases, we can
concentrate on maintenance of equipment and future planning.
Sprayers and mechanical aids in particular should be thoroughly
cleaned.Future planning means another compost bin in the garden.
As gardeners we know the key to healthy plants is well-nourished
healthy soil. No amount of fertilizer can make up for poor
soil. Compost continues feeding the soil even AFTER all of
the organic matter has rotted away. Compost bins are an essential
item in every home garden. Autumn leaves are now in abundance,
become a "LEAF FREAK" by stock piling them with
your grass clippings. Throwing this material away is the worst
kind of waste I know. Wood ash from open fires should also
be captured and used later. Composting will make you feel
better in yourself. If you dont already know it, find
out, you will soon get the message.
with the long evenings upon us we have time to relax, reflect,
THE TIMES, THEY ARE
rose growing to all rosarians.
Cunningham Cultural Notes - Autumn 2006
had its hottest year on record in 2005. January started with
heat-wave conditions, 45C and above was recorded in the Sydney
area. No amount of water could keep the roses thriving. Mine
stood up pretty well thanks to heavy mulching. It also helps
to retain as much foliage as possible during the summer months;
even twiggy growth will provide some shelter for the more
productive growth below. A few scorched leaves are easier
replaced than burnt stems. Your autumn flush should be nearly
here. Keep up your spray programme for fungal diseases, and
keep your bushes watered weekly up to blooming time. It is
advisable not to feed your roses any more this season; however
a foliar feed every fourteen days will be beneficial.
New rose catalogues will be arriving from the various nurseries.
More than likely we will be tempted to purchase some variety.
Keep in mind when ordering, that the coloured pictures are
usually enhanced. I also have doubts about the fragrance rating.
If possible try to see the variety somewhere local. Alternatively,
visit one of the many rose shows held at this time of year.
This will give you some idea if its good for exhibiting
or if it is a good garden grower. If your garden is reasonably
full but you still want to try something new, put it in a
pot. This is a good way to access its potential over a growing
season. If it performs to your liking plant it out with the
rest of your babies. This method of container planting has
worked well for me. Perhaps you can try it and see if it works
for you. If you decide to plant in existing beds remove any
passengers now. Remove as many roots as possible to prevent
suckering in spring time. On completion, you will need to
rejuvenate the soil. A good horticulturist will always say
"prepare, prepare, prepare". You will not get better
advice than that.
Ideally roses should be planted in at least 50cm of good soil.
Turn the soil with a fork, breaking any lumps with the back
of the fork. Incorporate as much manure as possible. A clenched
handful of super phosphate per sq mtr can be added. When the
soil is at the required level and the tilth is satisfactory
cover with a mulch of good compost and leaf mould. There is
no need to dig this in; earthworm activity will do this for
you. This should happen at least six weeks before planting
[six months is not too early]. When it comes to planting [June,
July], your soil will be ready for your roses. They will bolt
away in front of you. Soil that is properly prepared will
always give you good rewards no matter what you plant.
Keep the soil around new plants firm and moist until the feeding
roots have become established. Keep well mulched. Do not feed
with manures or fertilizers until late February. This will
eliminate any possibility of burning new hair like feeding
roots. Sufficient nutrients should be in the soil to sustain
and support good growth until at least February. To further
stimulate new growth just snap off spent flowers at the first
node. This applies to tiny miniatures or rampant climbers.
I hope your choice is a worthy addition to your garden.
The planting of tree roses are the same, however you will
need to hammer a wooden stake in firmly before you plant.
The stake should face north/north west to help shade the stem
in hot weather. The stake should be 2.5cm BELOW the bud union
so as not to inhibit new growth from the union. When tying
the rose to the stake make it firm but loose. Never use more
than ONE tie. This should be 5cm below the stake, the reason
being if a second tie is used lower down and the top tie snaps
in strong wind, the stem of the tree rose could break at the
lower tie. Hardwood stakes are recommended and old panty hose
can be used as a tie. Order your mail order roses
as soon as you make up your mind. Don't wait too long as popular
varieties sell out quickly. The last things we want are substitutes
for our chosen varieties. If this happens [and it does], it
can be very frustrating and time wasted.
During the cooler autumn weather spend some extra time enjoying
the colourful blooms you will see all season. Test the fragrance,
cut long stemmed roses for indoor decoration or for friends.
Have fragrant roses beside your phone; bury your nose in them
while talking. Your garden is for pleasure not penance, enjoy
it. Happy rose growing to all rosarians.
Notes June, July and August 2005
is a good time to work in the garden and we should also take
the opportunity to evaluate our situation. Earlier in the
year we held some optimism for a break in the drought but
unfortunately it has tightened its grip and in most areas
our plants are struggling. We need to consider which of our
roses are best coping with the situation and the positions
in our gardens which are giving most protection. Hope springs
eternal and we will no doubt make new plantings this season.
When doing this we will need to make careful plans.
With the adverse weather there is the temptation to discard
roses which have not performed as expected. However we need
to be patient as it is unlikely that all of our plants will
be at their best at the same time. It is well recognized that
some cultivars are better in the Spring whilst others thrive
in the Autumn. In cases where the plant is obviously inferior
and has been given a good trial then remove it and try again.
Neighbouring plants can also be a factor as they draw nutrients
and moisture from the soil. It could be that you need to reposition
some roses in another part of the garden. This is the best
time of the year to move plants. Prepare the new site thoroughly
then dig a circle around the rose so that you retain a strong
root base when lifting. Trim any damaged roots before positioning
in the new site. In April I was fortunate to be given some
bushes of considerable size. I made sure that they did not
dry out in transit and planted them soon after digging. Because
of their size the roses were staked so that they will not
move around in the wind. In addition each plant received a
bucket of water mixed with Natrakelp, the liquid seaweed product.
At the time of writing the results are very encouraging. I
now intend moving some other plants to more favourable beds.
The competition from large trees can be very strong.
By now you have probably ordered your new cultivars and await
their arrival. However there is still time to place orders
with a specialist rose nursery or perhaps find a treasure
in the local garden centre or chain store. The advantage with
the specialists is that you can obtain cultivars which are
recent releases or still under plant breeders rights.
If buying from a shopping centre beware of plants which have
been held for some time and have developed long pale shoots.
Even so, there are some good purchases to be made at such
places and the range of cultivars can be surprising.
Time spent preparing the garden is important. A minimum of
six hours sunlight is required to encourage the roses to grow.
At the same time it is an advantage for them to be protected
from winds which have a drying effect. The hot winds can be
particularly harmful when combined with days of extreme temperature.
Choose a position where you would be happy to sit on a chair
but remember that the rose cannot move. The soil should be
cultivated to a fine tilth so that it will support the rose,
yet allow air and water to circulate freely. The hole should
be comfortably larger than the roots with consideration given
to depth and width. The rose should be placed on top of a
fist of soil at the bottom of the hole which is dug. The roots
are then able to radiate into the surrounding area. Partially
fill with soil and then water well. Consider the use of a
seaweed mix to stimulate the roots. Then complete by filling
the hole. Remember to water regularly as it takes some time
for the rose to become established.
Probably more questions are asked about pruning than of any
other aspect of rose culture. There is no need for it to be
seen as confronting as it is a fairly simple task with no
absolute rights or wrongs. The correct equipment will assist
greatly. Sharp secateurs, lopping shears, pruning saw, leather
gloves (or gauntlets) and protective clothing including a
hat are all helpful. The following comments apply to modern
Firstly, remove all dead and spindly growth. Then cut a little
less than a centimetre above buds on stems of approximately
pencil thickness. It has been traditional to recommend pruning
to an outwards growing shoot but this is not essential. The
key is to find buds which will produce good growth. It is
likely that you will need to clear some canes out of the centre
of the structure if it is conjested. Basal shoots which grew
during the last season should be lightly trimmed at the top
as to cut into the main stem can lead to dieback. Remember
that the basal (or water) shoots grow from above the bud union.
Unwanted suckers come from the rootstock, have different foliage
and appear from below the bud union.
Miniatures can be treated in a similar way in terms of clearing
out the rubbish but there is no need to tediously trim each
stem to a bud. A general haircut will suffice. Most of the
new flowers will come from new growth developing from the
base. Because their growth and flowering habits are so different
it is difficult to make general comments about pruning climbers
and heritage roses. The aim should be tidy the plant and stimulate
growth. This stimulation should occur shortly before the rose
is ready to produce flowers.
With regards to most garden roses it is not necessary to prune
before late July or early August. In areas prone to heavy
frosts early pruned roses could see young shoots damaged.
When pruning is completed an application of winter strength
lime sulphur could be sprayed to kill off fungal spores which
remain on the canes and the surrounding soil.
This is a good time to service garden equipment. Spray units
can fail to operate properly if residue is allowed to build
up. Clean the tank and the spray lance and you will notice
a big improvement in the coming season. Tools can be wiped
down and handles coated with linseed oil. Hoes and spades
will last for many years if well maintained. I have a hoe
which my grandfather used on his dahlias in the early part
of the last century.
Continue to access your watering needs and how you apply it
to the garden. Consider dripper systems, recycling, tanks,
mulching and protective screens. Remember that to any problem
there is always a solution.
Notes March, April and May 2005
With an easing of the drought in some areas of the state we
have been encouraged by a better performance of roses in our
gardens. For too long our plants have been in survival mode
and our expectations were limited. It is an old adage, but
there is nothing like rain to make things grow. We hope that
the many members who are still enduring drought conditions
and water restrictions will be rewarded for their patience.
Recent times have proven that we can never depend entirely
on rainfall to support our gardens and the need to have reasonable
rain and effective watering systems in place has been very
obvious. The coming months should provide us with numerous
blooms to enjoy and hopefully share with others.
Autumn tends to be kinder on our roses than the other seasons.
The cooling temperatures, less likelihood of strong winds
and less insect activity all contribute to this situation.
To offset these advantages the fungal diseases can become
more prevalent in coastal areas. Caterpillars like lush new
growth and if there are only a few they can be removed by
hand. With large infestations contact your garden centre for
an effective product. Insect problems tend to vary according
to the location. For me, hibiscus beetle continues to be a
nuisance but regular spraying can control them. It is important
to spray the buds as they are showing colour because once
the flower is open the damage will have occurred. Like most
people I try to avoid using toxic materials and it is now
possible to obtain products on the safer end of the scale.
Because problems tend to be localised it is advisable to consult
your local garden centre for solutions to pest infestations.
Integrated Pest Management is a programme which is being embraced
by commercial operations. For some time our friends who grow
roses for a living have sought methods to successfully produce
blooms in enclosed environments. Predator mite have controlled
the two-spotted mite and other problems have been minimised
using natural means. The growers have selected cultivars which
are resistant to pests and diseases and have vigour superior
to earlier favourites. The advantages of a more natural environment
are obvious. Spraying can be very expensive and special measures
must be in place to ensure the safety of the operators. Floraco
at Leppington is one of the largest commercial cut flower
growers in NSW and I have been fortunate to organise a visit
to their extensive property in May. Details of this day appear
elsewhere in this magazine. We are fortunate to learn the
methods of the people who depend on their efficiency for a
The cooler nights and warm days can lead to fungal diseases.
It has been the practice of many rosarians to spray with a
fungicide to control blackspot and powdery mildew. Fungicides
can control these foliage diseases if applied fortnightly.
My recent contact with the University of Western Sydney has
provided encouraging news about the use of pest oil as an
alternative. I hope to have further news on this angle shortly.
I have always taken the view that there is no one way to successfully
raise plants or animals. It is a case of "what works
for me". With the anticipated input from experts I am
confident that we can combine our best practices with the
proven methods of the professionals. By installing dripper
systems in our gardens we have already taken a step down that
path. I have noticed a considerable decline in fungal diseases
since changing to this method of watering. It could also be
related to the use of Sudden Impact as a fertiliser. Tasks
which we perform in the garden are not done in isolation.
They impact on other factors. By way of example, if we apply
fertiliser we must water thoroughly. Otherwise the roots will
be damaged and the nutrients will not be taken up by the plant.
There is no harm in giving the roses a boost in early autumn
but there is little point in promoting growth in May. It is
still important to give the plants due care in late autumn
and early winter. A setback at this time of year will carry
over to the next season.
It is not too early to make preparations for the selection
and planting of new roses. A visit to shows and nurseries
will give you a chance to view the best of the flowers. Send
for the catalogues from specialist rose nurseries to assist
you with your choice. Dig the garden where you intend to plant
the new roses. Allow plenty of space for each plant and be
prepared to turn the soil on a number of occasions.
There is always plenty to do in a garden and there is always
plenty to think about. Whether you are a doer or a thinker
I hope that you enjoy your gardening in the coming months.
Notes for December 2004, January and February 2005
With good late spring rains most gardeners can approach summer
with more confidence than has been the case in the last few
years. The subsoil should be moist and the roots should be
happier, particularly if we continue mulching. Water storage
levels and water restrictions will also be factors which will
affect our garden management and our ability to keep our roses
The health of the roses in South Australia was eye-catching.
Of course, the drier climate which is similar to some of our
country areas is better in terms of fungal diseases but their
success goes beyond climatic advantages. Sudden Impact has
been used extensively as their fertiliser of choice and our
SA colleagues are convinced of its effectiveness. Prior to
its introduction the Rose Society of South Australia had worked
with Neutrog to devise the best formula. The use of water
storing crystals and foliar fertilisers can further strengthen
the supply of nutrients to our plants.
It can be tempting to apply more fertiliser than is recommended
but this can be counter-productive. The companies which market
products have done extensive trials and they make suggestions
as to how we should use them. In some ways it would be in
their interests for us to use larger quantities but they know
that we will be satisfied if our plants are at their best.
Summer is the most critical season for our mulch to be in
place. Continue to compost at home and be on the lookout for
additional sources. I heard of another one recently, whereby
stable manure can be obtained from some horse racing trainers.
In many cases they are happy to dispose of the bedding and
it is a case of us taking a trailer and collecting it. This
is usually loose and friable and does not pack on the surface
of our gardens as is sometimes the case with other materials.
At times I have heard the suggestion that newspaper be applied
to the surface but thick sheets can form a barrier to the
penetration of water.
Much has been said about water in recent times. In short,
use it responsibly and effectively. Without it our roses will
quickly decline. Only grow as many plants as you can comfortably
manage. There are no prizes for the garden with the most plants.
Another lesson from SA was the extensive use of pillar and
climbing roses. They are space savers and produce more flowers
than their bush cousins. It was surprising the number of climbing
miniatures on show. We can enhance our garden design and at
the same time be waterwise.
The prevention of pests and diseases is always a talking point
amongst all gardeners. The most impressive garden which I
saw in SA requires very little maintenance in that area. The
roses are sprayed twice in early spring to protect against
fungal diseases and not again for the remainder of the growing
period. There is very little trouble with insects and the
few thrips which appear in the spring are tolerated. The quality
of the blooms was outstanding and the plants were vigorous.
This supports our notion that strong healthy plants are more
likely to resist problems.
Because of our more humid climate it is recommended that we
spray fortnightly with a fungicide to prevent blackspot and
powdery mildew. I recently read a very interesting article
on the use of pest oil on roses. This product has been very
successful in the treatment of leaf miner on citrus trees
and most importantly it is environmentally friendly. I have
made contact with a professor at the University of Western
Sydney and he kindly forwarded an extensive report of his
facultys research on the use of pest oil to control
powdery mildew, blackspot and two-spotted mite on roses. The
trials have been conducted with commercial rose growers and
it appears that we will be able to use pest oil as an alternative
to fungicides (with the added bonus of beating the mite).
Professor Beattie is keen to become involved with the Rose
Society and I hope to be able to have further discussions
in the coming weeks.
If you are planning to exhibit roses at the autumn shows it
will be necessary to summer prune earlier than most years
because Easter falls in March in 2005. For some cultivars
we need to allow about eight weeks from pruning to flowering
but with others it can take as little as six weeks. Accurate
record keeping over a number of years would help us to obtain
flowers when we need them. For a steady supply of flowers
deadhead regularly and cut the stems to a similar length as
if cutting for the vase. There is no mystery about summer
trimming. It involves removing spent blooms and any weak,
useless wood. It is not as dramatic as winter pruning but
helps to stimulate the rose to produce good autumn blooms.
To our many new members please feel free to seek advice from
your fellow rosarians.
at meetings will also provide those opportunities. Often the
most benefits from a meeting can be the informal chat at supper
or afternoon tea.
Notes for Sept 2004 to November 2004:
notes provides helpful information on all facets of rose growing.
Following this quarters notes are links to cultural notes
for this and previous corresponding periods. They are in PDF
format, so if you do not have Acrobat Reader installed follow
the link at the bottom of the home page.
springs eternal! With the arrival of a new season we look
forward to vigorous plants and colourful blooms. For the greater
part of NSW we enjoy distinct seasons and can appreciate the
changes as the year progresses. Our roses will only show vigour
if the weather conditions are conducive and if we do all that
we can to enhance their growth. The first factor is, of course,
beyond our control but there are many ways that we can use
our skill as gardeners.
For some time most of NSW has been in the grip of drought
and it has been discouraging for those of us who view gardening
as a relaxing and worthwhile recreation. It would be easy
to give in to the water restrictions and political masters
who are encouraging us to grow solely native plants. The good
times will come again and together with better managed water
resources we will find our gardens flourishing. There are
lessons which we can learn from the recent experiences.
Mulching is vital to retain soil moisture levels. Organic
materials which are loose in texture and can be loaded onto
the garden in depth prevent the soil from being baked by the
hot sun. They are also helpful in countering the effects of
wind, which I consider to be enemy number one in any garden.
I recently obtained a load of stable manure from a friend.
It is basically a mix of horse manure and urine, straw and
rice hulls. It is noticeable that the soil beneath this mulch
is moister than some neighbouring beds. Such a soil environment
will encourage valuable micro-organisms. On other occasions
I have obtained loads of duck manure which is also a good
mulch. It does need to be cultivated from time to time because
the surface can become impervious to water.
manure from my poultry can also be used for this purpose but
not to the same depth because it is richer and could burn.
I recently watched Peter Cundall planting potatoes and he
covered the tubers with a massive amount of sheep manure.
Obviously this must have been well-composted. Cow manure is
another excellent alternative as it provides considerable
nutrient as well as mulching benefits. Lucerne in the form
of easy to handle cubes or bales is another organic material
which gives good results.
many of us the first book on roses which we bought was "Better
Roses" by A.S. Thomas. This was, and remains, one of the most
authoritative books written about roses but it is interesting
to note that the index makes no mention of mulching. With
the move towards an organic approach to gardening and the
recognition of water conservation we now find gardening experts
writing chapters on mulching. It is a case of mulch and tolerate
the weeds which sometimes germinate. The backyard compost
heap is another excellent source of organic material. Those
members who have been fortunate to hear the excellent presentation
from Jim Cunningham on this subject will be aware of the many
benefits of compost.
Statistics indicate that two out of three households now recycle
kitchen scraps and garden waste.
In recent times much has been written about the supply and
application of water. For those people on town water drip
irrigation has proved to be an efficient way of watering.
Restrictions have made it very difficult to rely solely on
using a hose. In areas where the water shortage is critical
it is a case of helping the roses to survive until the good
that you are able to water the plants properly, Spring is
the right time to apply fertiliser. Some rosarians recommend
larger amounts early in the season and again in late summer.
When conditions have been favourable I have applied a smaller
quantity at the beginning of each month. My thinking is that
the plants will continue at a regular rate of progress, provided
that summer temperatures do not become extreme.
are a number of excellent products on the market including
'Sudden Impact for Roses'and others advertised from time to
time in this magazine. Remember that foliar feeding has the
benefit of quicker availability to the plant. It can also
be applied in conjunction with most other sprays.
Virtually all plants are at some time affected by pests and
diseases and roses are no exception. The healthier we can
grow our roses the more likely it is that they will be able
to resist these problems. This is particularly the case with
fungal diseases. Blackspot and powdery mildew will quickly
emerge on leaves which are stressed. These diseases have continued
to be evident during the course of the drought. The more humid
climate of coastal areas encourages the spores which lead
to fungal problems.
variety of products are available in garden centres to assist
us to control blackspot. By spraying at approximately fortnightly
intervals our roses should retain their healthy, glossy foliage.
Early Spring infestations of aphides are common and user friendly
sprays can be obtained to stop them sucking the goodness out
of the plants. Otherwise they can be washed off with a burst
from the hose, restrictions permitting. Later in the season
thrip can appear overnight, driven in by hot westerly winds.
They are small insects which damage the petals and discolour
flowers. Frequent applications of insecticide may give some
protection. Fortunately, a well maintained garden is unlikely
to encounter all of the pests which can trouble us.
to cut blooms as they mature so that others will follow them.
Some cultivars such as Peter Frankenfeld repeat in about six
weeks. One of the reasons that we grow roses is because they
are so generous, so give them every encouragement.
Let us hope that the coming months will see improved weather
conditions and many colourful blooms in our gardens.
wishes to all rosarians,
Note : Graham is a Rose Judge and A Grade exhibitor with much
success at State and National Level.