? the rose month of love… talking roses in Feb ’17

  • In the rose garden with Ludwig
  • Rose Care for February
  • Happenings
  • Rose of the Month
  • News from our Rose centres

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

Dale Carnegie

In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

I thought December had turned into a rose month and was dreading the normal January heat. But, the weather was kind to the roses with overcast days, some drizzle and even a few good showers. Our hybrid tea roses produced blooms like those seen in Europe in summer. Obviously, the flower size is of less importance with the Floribundas.

'Garden Queen'

‘Garden Queen’  – huge, intense, perfect and fragrant!

'Garden Princess'

‘Garden Princess’ – the fairer sister.

'Fishpond Pebbles' in rain

‘Fishpond Pebbles’ in the rain.


‘Heike’ – an unfading and perfectly symmetrical yellow, named after my daughter.

'Knock Out' OK in rainy weather

‘Knock Out’ – the blooms do not shrivel from the heat in rainy weather. The perfect rose for KZN weather.

'Hugeunot 300'

‘Huguenot 300’ – a stunning Floribunda.

Dahlia in Jan

Our Dahlias making a colourful show!

However, it is not just the roses that grew well. So did the weeds. The fastest grower is purslane (Portulaca oleracea) but it is easily pulled out and if turned around with the roots in the air it becomes a good mulch and so does the seeded grass. What we really need to watch out for are the tomatoes. Seeded by the birds, they climb up through the rose bushes and then overgrow them.

Portulacea is a nuisance weed

Portulacea is a nuisance weed that when pulled out and turned around makes for a good mulch.

It is heart-warming to see how well and quickly the roses all over have revived themselves after suffering for months with too little water. Now they are flourishing.

new sprouting after good rains

new sprouting after good rains

cutting back now to new shoots

Cutting back to new shoots after sprouting is a good idea. See a video on how to green summer prune here… 

At the green summer pruning workshop in the Western Cape the obvious comments were that one cannot grow nice roses in the heat. But it is the shortage of water, not the heat, that prevents the roses from flourishing. Where there was water available the summer crop of blooms I saw in several places was magnificent. Without enough water the two extra hours of daylight are stressful, but with water they have extra time to make food and grow.

Pick your own roses at Chart Farm

Pick your own roses at Chart Farm.

'My Granny' at Char Farm in Wynberg.

‘My Granny’ at Chart Farm in Wynberg.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a great tradition for all cut rose producers.

It is forbidden to even think of surprising your loved one with anything other than RED ROSES!

To have blooms for Valentine’s day, we cut back our red cut flower varieties between the 30th of December and the 4th of January. One never quite knows what the weather will do. It looks like we will be spot on to cut from the 11th to the 14th of February.

Black Berry almost ready

‘Black Berry’s’ lush, red shoots will be at a prefect picking stage for Valentin’s day!

Of course, even only one perfect, huge red rose cut from your own garden is just so much more special than buying a bunch!

There are always questions and even controversies about where to cut when picking for the home.

To take the guesswork out of when or where to cut when picking roses, we have published a short video that explains it clearly.

how to cut roses for the vase

Let me take the guess work out of where the best place on the rose bush is to cut blooms for the vase…


The Rose Kitchen has prepared a romantic ‘Cupid’s Picnic Basket’ for Valentine’s day! Click here for the full menu and booking info…

If you aren’t able to visit the rose farm on the 14th, we are also offering the Cupid’s Picnic Basket on both Sunday the 12th and the 18th of February.

Provence Tour 12th – 21st May 2017

My wife, Pamela, is organising a cooking, gardens and markets tour to Provence in May 2017. To see what this wonderful tour entails, please follow this link… 

To contact Pamela for more info click here…

Step by Step Rose Care for February

Most regions have had good rains and even though water restrictions are still in place, rose growing is almost back to normal. That means you can ignore last month’s advice not to green summer prune. Now is a good time to summer prune, especially if you want to reap superb autumn blooms in mid-March.

Watch our how to video on green summer pruning here…

The fertiliser applied earlier in the season will have been dissolved by the rain and used up by the roses. To maintain good growth it is important to have nutrition consistently available and the monthly VIGOROSA fertilising routine should to be kept up. The fertiliser may be sprinkled over the surface of the soil or mulch, more or less over the area of the roots. It will be dissolved with rain or irrigation water and carried to the roots for immediate uptake. Positive results can be seen about a week later. Organic fertiliser needs to be broken down by microbes and it takes considerably longer before it becomes activated.

nutrient deficient

The light green colour clearly shows a nutrient deficiency.

blalanced nutrition

The dark green leaves show that these plants are well fed and have taken up the fertiliser applied. The new red shoots are the reaction.

If the extra fertiliser and water does not yield the expected response, the most likely cause is root competition from trees, shrubs, climbers, and herbaceous plants.

All these other plants have a much larger leaf canopy and more aggressive roots. Their leaves send messages via hormones to the roots to find more water. The larger leaf canopy provides the strength for the roots to do so. When the roots find a rose bed that is being irrigated they do not need to look any further.


Dig an inspection hole and if you find a lot of roots, you can be quite sure they do not belong to the rose. The solution? Prune the roses in May or June and re-plant them in a sunken pot or move them to a new location.

Thrips are a much more severe problem in the hot dry regions than the inland areas that received fair rains. In hot dry conditions the breeding cycle speeds up by about three weeks where as it could be 6 weeks or even months in colder weather. The normal spraying with our cocktail and or Rose Protector will suffice, but for epidemic invasions one needs to spray in between with Plant Care or a similar insecticide such as Garden Ripcord, Cyper or Malasol.

Of course, with rainy days Black Spot infection will or has already become a reality. I have seen this in our trial plot where no spraying is carried out.

I now go around with a lopping shear and cut off susceptible varieties to exclude them as possible candidates for release onto the market.

In your garden, you will need to live a bit longer with such roses, simply because they are beautiful, until such time that we have many healthy and beautiful Eco-chic replacement varieties.


This is one of the Eco-Chic roses in our trial grounds.

It was bred by W. Kordes Rosen in Germany, who have been the world’s champions at breeding fungus disease resistant roses.

In the meantime, PLEASE spray with CHRONOS which is part of Ludwig’s cocktail and is simply the most advantageous FUNGICIDE right now. In extreme conditions alternate with Rose Protector.

Roses of the Month: ‘Munstead Wood’ AUSbernard

Munstead Wood

This David Austin English rose is simply superb. Not only does it have an extraordinary colouring, from a glowing wine red to a deep crimson, but it also exudes an old rose fragrance. The large, full blooms make it an added attraction to any garden.

Ludwig’s Rose Farm

The Rose Kitchen has prepared a romantic ‘Cupid’s Picnic Basket’ for Valentine’s day! Click here for the full menu and booking info…

If you aren’t able to visit the rose farm on the 14th, we are also offering the Cupid’s Picnic Basket on both Sunday the 12th and 18th of February.

Ludwig’s Star Roses, KZN

Green Summer Rose Pruning demo – Saturday 18th February at 10h30.

Booking is not necessary and attendance is free of charge.

We wish you a romantic Valentine’s day, filled with nothing but love and red roses!

Rose greetings,

Ludwig Taschner