? talking autumn roses March ’18

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  • In the rose garden with Ludwig
  • Rose Care for March
  • Easter on the farm
  • Rose of the Month
  • News from our Rose centres

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,
but by the seeds that you plant.

– Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94)

In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

Following up on last month’s newsletter, our red cut roses did not disappoint – they were in full bloom for Valentine’s day! Such was the demand that we could have supplied even more!

On February 14, I was actually on the road. A long drive to Rhodes in the Eastern Cape. I gave a talk on roses at their Stoepsitter Festival.

It was nice to see the greening of the countryside and the maize looking good all the way past Bloemfontein. Along the stretch to Aliwal North, which had recent good rains, all the farm dams were full, and the veld was starting to turn green.

The Orange River was in full flood on its way to the Gariep Dam. Further on, the veld was green and one could see that the cattle were happy.

Driving through Smithfield I was disappointed not to see a single flowering ‘Smithfield Rose’, or even any ‘Icebergs’. There had been huge rains the day before and driving the odd 60km gravel road from Barkley East to Rhodes was rather adventurous.

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The rivers flowing through the beautiful mountain landscapes.

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The rains have been good!

Approaching Rhodes, even from a distance, I could see the huge trees dwarfing the houses, shops and even the Church.

Hospitality was of course great. In such a remote village, life moves at a much slower, relaxed pace.

The Festival was well attended, with keen gardeners from as far as East London and Stutterheim.

The roses in the gardens were a testimony to the survival of the fittest. ‘Dorothy Perkins’, ‘Cecile Brunner’, New Dawn, ‘Iceberg’, ‘Simplicity’ and ‘Red Cascade’ dominated, not forgetting the odd ‘Mister Lincoln’, a nice bed of ‘Peace’ and a huge specimen of ‘Queen Elizabeth’ which has not been pruned for the past 30 years or so.

The hip bearing and invasive Eglantine rose Rosa rubiginosa was banned to the surrounding veld, ravines and steep mountain sides.

The frequent rain and snow provides abundant water to the rose roots, and I had fun cutting and pruning, talking mulch and the need for regular manuring and fertilising.

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The magnificent trees in Rhodes.

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This ‘Queen Elizabeth’ could do with a prune in winter.

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‘Sally Holmes’ growing next to ‘Cecile Brunner’

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Giving the talk was a lot of fun.


I offered to donate a specimen of each of our Eco-chic varieties
for a rose trial garden that will be established soon.

From there I drove on through the Transkei, Eastern Cape and KZN enjoying the lush green grass and endless contoured fields of Mielies. Every spruit and even the Midmar dam was overflowing.

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The countryside in the Eastern Cape was lush and green.

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Densely planted maize in the Eastern Cape.

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‘Dorothy Perkins’ in Kokstad flowering 3 months later than in the Cape.

In Pietermaritzburg I visited the Heritage Rose Garden that is not even a year old. It is nicely laid out and the roses have grown exceedingly well. We shall be sending some more of the repeat flowering compact types to provide additional colour. 

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The Heritage Rose Garden in Pietermaritzburg is not even a year old.

The roses at our STAR Roses in Assagay have enjoyed the good rain as well and they showed off with magnificent blooms. My Summer Rose Care workshop was well attended.

Deep drenching rains were experienced in the region for a while and the roses that had gone into semi-dormant survival mode have woken up and are flowering.

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The roses in the show garden at our Star Rose Nursery in KZN.

Arriving back home I noticed the same awakening, especially of our older mother plants that were sprouting with new shoots and basals, obviously due to cooler temperatures and a couple of good rain showers we have had.

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‘Sutter’s Gold’ is rejuvenating itself with new shoots.

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‘Andrea Stelzer’ is full of long, new, red shoots.

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‘Blue Ribbon’ is going to impress with all its new blooms later this month.

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These bushes were planted in November – only 4 months ago.

An article on the discovery of more drought resistant genes, by Wynand van der Walt in a recent Farmer’s Weekly, raises some fascinating possibilities. It is about crassulacean species which use a unique system for photosynthesis: their stomata close during the day to preserve water and open again at night to take in CO2 needed for photosynthesis. The aim is of course to apply it to rice, wheat and soya so that they consume less water. I am thinking that just maybe it could be done to roses, so that they flower in the shade and even indoors.


The inaugural roses parkrun held on the farm on 24 February was a resounding success. Even though we had experienced some wet weather the night before, the shoes weren’t too muddy after all.

Thank you to all the tourists from all over for making the trip to share the special occasion with us. Not to forget all the volunteers who made the organising so easy.

We look forward to welcoming you for a quick 5 km run or walk every Saturday at 8:00 from now on…

If you aren’t registered yet, visit www.parkrun.co.za to do so at absolutely no cost.

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Just look at all the tourists (orange caps) attenting the inaugural roses parkrun!

Autumn Rose Festival on the 21st of March

…submerge your senses in the biggest, most beautiful rose blooms of the season at our Autumn Rose Festival on March 21 (Human Rights Day).

Come and enjoy the spectacle of thousands of roses in bloom on the farm.

For refreshments head to our Rose Kitchen restaurant and hop onto the tractor-train for a ride through the rose fields. Entrance is free.

We are offering a -15% discount on all rose plants purchased at any of our branches country wide on the 21st of March!

Easter Egg Hunt



Our well loved Easter Egg Hunt takes place amongst the roses on the farm on Easter Sunday, the 1st of April. The cost is R 175 per child.

There are also other fun activities for the kids to take part in after the hunt.

For breakfast The Rose Kitchen has prepared a set Easter themed menu. R 95 for adults and R 58 for children.

Enjoy a Buffet Easter Lunch in our Rose Shed. Cost per person R 345 and R 125 for kids.

Booking to participate in the Easter Egg Hunt and / or for breakfast or lunch is essential. Please click here for further details and the booking form.

Step by Step Rose Care for March

With the good rains experienced in most parts of the country the roses have responded with new lush foliage – not just the basis for beautiful blooms but also food for insects and fungus diseases.

Retaining good leaves now at the start of autumn ensures flowering into winter.

For most varieties regular spraying now is essential. We see it again and again on our own roses and in gardens, that our Cocktail containing CHRONOS with LUDWIG’S INSECT SPRAY is the most effective to keep black spot and smaller insects away.

Alternating it with ROSE PROTECTOR covers the prevention and cures rose rust as well as repelling beetles. Although it is late in the season they are still active.

The rains will have dissolved fertiliser applied a while ago and is also part of the reason for the super new growth. But it will be used up quickly and one more application now and again in April prevents the roses from going into early, short day  winter dormancy.

Our roses have now got used to regular rain water and sufficient watering is necessary as our summer rains recede. It is all about maintaining the balance. The rule of rather having one good deep drench per week then too little, regular watering applies.

Blooms can be cut with long stems, provided that the bush is well foliated. Any long new canes of climbing roses should be espaliered, bowered, fanned out or tied in a horizontal position. The long canes might still surprise you with blooms late in the season.

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Mushe Kirsh’ is a super top performer – impervious to black spot it retains its foliage and as the large full blooms age and the petals drop, new shoots have sprouted underneath blooms and take over in no time. Such plants can be just left untouched but may be groomed or shaped at any time in the season.

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‘Margit’ before dead heading.

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‘Margit’ produced quality blooms on nice stems and to encourage
repeat quality it is best to dead head regularly.

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It is best to not cut long stemmed blooms from a bush
with a black spot defoliated base. To watch a short video
on what to do, click here…

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This is a good time to inspect “non flowering” standard roses. The rootstock or suckers has taken over this standard and it will never flower.
The stems have smallish green leaves and no prickles.
The standard needs to be replaced with a new one.

Our sympathy is with the gardeners in the Western Cape who still have no relief from the water shortage. Let’s hope that the winter rains start soon and fill the dams. At this stage the most important advice is DO NOT CUT long stemmed blooms or even groom. Every leaf counts. It ensures sap flow down and provides shade. Any cutting and grooming serves as a command to sprout and that is not possible without water at the roots.

Roses of the Month: ‘Curro’ POTfire

Curro Schools celebrate their twentieth anniversary year in 2018. This rose that was unveiled last year, is a real winner. The colour is striking and makes the rose stand out from afar. It performs exceptionally well as it is resilient, healthy, vigorous and tough.

Plants are available at a special promotional price during the month of March.


The eye catching bright vermillion colour makes this rose stand out!


The buds of ‘Curro’ rose are thick petalled and long lasting.


The plant quickly repeat flowers, so that there are always
blooms shining brightly.

News from our Rose Centres

Visit the farm North of Pretoria on March 21 for our annual Autumn Rose Festival. Blooms are bigger, more intense in colour and simply beautiful at this time of year. We will have arrangements on display.  

-15% discount on all rose plants applies at all our branches on Human Rights day, 21 March.

Visit the Farm for an Easter Egg Hunt and a scrumptious breakfast or lunch. Booking is essential. Please click here for further details and the booking form.

We hope you spend wholesome time with your family and in your garden during the holidays!

Rose greetings,