? talking roses in April ’18

In the rose garden with Ludwig
Rose Care for April
Autumn Garden Show
Rose of the Month
News from our Rose centres
“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”
Edwin Way Teale
 In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

Water is always on our minds.

For a long time, we pondered what the best way to dredge our two main irrigation dams would be. Over the years they became backfilled with sludge that is carried back by recirculating the irrigation water and of course storm water.

The solution we came up with: an excavator with an extended 22m long boom, lovingly and passionately referred to as the long arm digger by my grandsons. They could simply not get enough of watching, dreaming of and driving in it!

Two days after it had started dredging, the big rains came and filled our dams. How blessed we are!

This amazing machine could carry on unhindered through the rain. We are now able to store more water of a much better quality.

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An excavator with an extended boom dredging our dams.

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The big rains have filled most of our dams!

Besides filling our dams, the 140 mm of rain was welcomed by our roses.

The shrubs, Panarosas and Climbers have responded by producing 3m long basal shoots, something that we have not seen for some time. There is nothing like fresh rain to rejuvenate and revitalise the soil, the roots and every growing plant.

If you have experienced these wonderful rains, I am sure you are seeing the benefit in your own roses’ performance.

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All of a sudden this cane outgrew the rest of the bush.

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Look at ‘Greensleeves’ sprouting a new cane covered with buds.

Thank you to the many supporters who visited us on our 47th anniversary on March 21. We received many compliments on the ongoing developments and rose plantings from those who had not been to the rose farm for some time. I was assured that their absence was not because they do not enjoy growing roses in their own gardens, but because it was more convenient to pop into our nearby branches.
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‘Double Delight’ stunning as always.

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‘Clarens Centenary’ has that special antique look.

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Arrangements of the stunning autumn roses for our 47th Anniversary.

By now we have hosted the 6th roses parkrun.

From comments I hear it is once again the ROSE that makes the difference. Their flowering performance is never the same. Varieties that looked stunning one week are a bit off the next and others are blooming so much more.

Now that we have had dam-filling rains, the countryside is greening up and birds are everywhere, in the roses, trees, reeds and on the water.

One of the walkers even pulled out a feather from her bag and asked me to identify the bird it would have come from. I have no idea!

We look forward to seeing you here on one of the parkruns that take place every Saturday at 8:00.

The weather was perfect for our Easter egg hunt. The children and parents, who often had to help pulling out the spotted eggs from the prickly rose environment, had much fun.

Driving around in my bush cart I often simply have to stop to admire and take close up photos of individual blooms with my i-phone.

The cloudy sky, higher humidity and rain coupled with the cool nights and shorter days of autumn, result in a higher petal count and bigger blooms.

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‘Arianna’ simply magnificent.

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‘Burning Sky’ out of this world.

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‘Candy Stripe’ with its more than apt name.

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A single ‘Double Delight’ can light up an entire room.

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‘Esther Geldenhuys’ one of my favourites.

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‘Table Mountain’ can be simply unforgettable.

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‘Peace’ when perfect, is perfect!


The Autumn Garden Show at The Herb Farm in Midrand, takes place from Friday 20 April to Sunday 22 April.

One of the main features is a very large, formal rose garden that is planted with only fragrant roses. There are roses throughout the Herb Farm and I will be talking at 10am on Saturday, April 21.

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The formal rose garden at the Herb Farm.

We  will also have roses and rose products for sale as part of the plant market. The Show has been organised by The Gardener magazine and Tanya, the editor, and Anna, the deputy editor will be very much in evidence and will be giving daily talks.

There is an outdoor plant market, where our roses will be along with irises, succulents, indigenous bulbs, annuals, perennials and an extensive range of herbs.

The indoor pavilion will focus on garden tools and other goodies, seeds, and indoor plants. 

There will be guided walks through the Sensory Herb Spiral each day at 10am and 2 pm. 

For refreshments there will be gourmet food stalls a tea garden and a Mayford Gin Bar on the terrace overlooking the gardens.

The show is from 9am to 5pm daily.

Tickets (at the gate) cost R65 for adults, R45 for pensioners, and includes talks and guided tours.

The Herb Farm is at 264 Summit Road (R562), Bridle Park, Midrand
(GPS: -25.930122, 28.062888). Visit 

Step by Step Rose Care for March

As stated above the wide-spread deep drenching rains and the filling of most dams in the country gives rose gardening a renewed boost.

The revival of water starved roses has started. New growth is evident. Of course this would be lush and soft and easily subjected to fungus diseases i.e. black spot, downy mildew and rose rust.

Regular spraying has to take priority for the next few weeks, if we keep on having showers – even weekly.

Fortunately many modern fungicides are all absorbed by the leaves within minutes of spraying. They cannot be washed off the leaves and provide internal protection of the leaves from infection.

From our own excperience and hearing from gardeners and landscapers, CHRONOS is still the most effective. Especially as part of our cocktail – mixed with the oily insect spray and an adjuvant.

ROSE PROTECTOR has a good action in between, but it should not be used on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

In autumn it does not matter what time of day the spraying is carried out.

It seems that not all beetles have gone into hibernation or have developed from the grubs and are finding the fragrant rose blooms. There are usually several on one bloom.

Carry a little bucket of water with oil floating on it, cut beetle infested blooms and quickly submerge them with the beetles.

The same applies to bollworms that have become active and in places the aphids just love the new growth.

The insecticide within the cocktail or Rose Protector should take care of these insects.

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Black spot can quickly infect under nourished plants.
Spraying regularly prevents infestation.
Curative spraying stops spread and affords plant means
to recover with new leaves.

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Fruit beetles devouring a fragrant bloom.

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Aphids have been so active that the newly formed leaves have been reduced in size.

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CMR beetles chewing up ‘La Fleurette’.

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Bollworm tunneling through ‘Starina’.

The additional rain water has activated the roots and they in turn stimulate the sprouting of eyes.

The resulting new leaves make food and send it down to the roots, giving them reason to become even more active.

Applying fertiliser now makes it so much easier for the plant to transport the dissolved nutrients up into the stems where they are then absorbed by the new leaves. This then translates into even better and stronger growth. Therefore, it is good practice to carry out the last fertilising for the season now.

Our recommendation is to sprinkle 30g of VIGOROSA over the rooting zone.

30g is a good average espcially if carried out monthly. If fertilising was not done because there was not enough water available, applying two of the 30g measures will boost the new growth accordingly, especially for larger specimens.

For smallish or newly planted roses a double dose could cause burning of the leaves, so just apply one measuring cup of Vigorosa.

With the rain, trees and shrubs also put on lots of new growth. If it is shading nearby roses, do not hesitate to cut back (the trees). Especially in the short day period, extra shade would cause blind shoots.

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A palm tree shading ‘Wedding Garland’

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And there was light.
The rose will be able to develop new shoots, buds and blooms.

For gardeners in the Western Cape that are not able to water their roses yet, the same spraying regimen is advised. The rains that have fallen will encourage black spot infection and spraying even only once a month with our cocktail will go far in preventing leaf drop. Don’t fertilise until the deep drenching rains have arrived.
For  winter colour and with water available it is the best month to plant winter flowering annuals such as compact snapdragons, pansies, violas or Gazania at the edges of rose beds and Iceland Poppies in between, leaving space close to the plants for pruning in July.
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Pansies in front of ‘Playmate’ with ‘South Africa’ in the back ground.

Rose of the Month: Vodacom KORvodacom(N)

This variety stands out! A Floribunda that flowers in clusters of blooms in various stages. The colour is what makes it so special. It is an Eco-chick rose and does well in all garden situations. Contrasting it with yellow roses in front or behind just brings out the amazing shades of lilac and purple even more.

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Such an attractive shape never mind colour!

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The open blooms are always surrounded by buds that give colour for even longer.

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The blooms are so full that even when totally open they don’t reveal the stamens and pistils.

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Liz van Rooyen behind her ‘Vodacom’ in KZN.

News from our Rose Centres

We have been able to absorb the VAT increase and did not have to pass it on to gardeners. All the more reason to plant a couple more roses in your garden.

We are open on Freedom day, the 27th of April and welcome you to visit one of our rose centres. Gardening, what better way to celebrate?

Ludwig’s Rose Farm
Pretoria Freedom Day parkruns at roses starts 07:50am on the 27th of April. See facebook for more info.

Ludwig’s Pretoria East
The Rose Café tea garden is open every day from 9:00 to 16:00. We look forward to welcoming you for a drink and a snack amongst the roses.

Enjoy autumn!

Rose greetings,