As winter continues to drag its heels, it can feel at this time of year that spring and summer will never come. Although there are green shoots and colour from early bulbs, we’re still a long way away from the glorious colours and abundance of summer – which is why a little planning for the season to come can do a lot to lift the spirits. Choosing new roses is a great form of retail therapy that will make the garden sing this summer without breaking the bank.
You might have come across roses in your local garden centre in dark green pots with a distinctive gold logo and wondered why they’re a bit more expensive than the others. These are David Austin roses, the only ones I habitually recommend to my clients, and worth every penny.
David Austin, who died last December at the age of 92, spent decades breeding his famous roses and the business is being carried on by his family. Old roses with gorgeous colour and scent had been around for centuries, but they tended to flower in one flush at the start of summer, and that was it for the year. Modern hybrids introduced in the twentieth century often lacked the grace and charm of these older varieties, and many did not have any scent at all.
David Austin set out to produce roses that combined the colours and delicious fragrance of old roses but were repeat flowering and more resistant to disease. I’ve been growing them for years and they really do perform well. There’s a wide selection of colours across shrub roses, climbers and ramblers, so there’s something to suit every garden.
This is a very good time to get container grown roses into the ground – provided it’s not frozen – in time for them to get settled in for the summer ahead. They won’t flower too much in their first year, but be patient as they’re forming strong roots so you should get more flowers next year. Water well and mulch after planting, to give your new roses the best possible start, and you will enjoy beautiful blooms for years to come.
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