My garden design clients are often nervous about growing roses in their gardens as there’s a perception that they take a lot of maintenance and “you have to spray them a lot”. This is really not so. Certainly if you want a really, really low maintenance garden, there’s a host of other shrubs you can use to give you structure, colour and interest all year round. To get the best from roses, an occasional prune and feed does make a difference – although those are easier to do than you might think.
If you have your heart set on growing the queen of flowers, though, here are some things that will help.
Firstly, choose the right varieties and improve the soil before you plant. Modern varieties are selected and bred for disease resistance, as well as repeat flowering and scent, but decent soil below and a good mulch on top makes for a healthier plant, much better able to withstand attacks from pests and diseases. Your garden designer can advise you on suitable varieties as well as good companion plants.
Secondly, grow a wide variety of plants in your garden – this won’t just make it look better, it will encourage biodiversity, attracting beneficial insects – the “goodies” – who are the natural predators of the “baddies” such as aphids. Aphids – such as greenfly, whitefly and blackfly – suck the sap from new shoots and leaves, weakening the plant and leaving a sticky residue that can turn mouldy. I’ve been growing roses for many years and never spray them with chemicals, and honestly don’t find greenfly to be a problem.
Which brings me to the third thing – a handy trick for getting rid of greenfly is to simply spray them with a powerful jet of water from your garden hose. Use a gun attachment and spray as closely as you can – at this time of year you’ll find aphids clustered around buds, shoot tips and under the new leaves. Neutralising them now nips them in the bud, so to speak, so if you’re thorough, you’ll only have the odd straggler to deal with as summer progresses, and you can have fragrant roses all summer without any unnecessary chemicals.
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
Anne Byrne Garden Design – Creative Ideas – Practical Solutions – Stunning Gardens.