Happy, Rosy New Year! talking roses in January ’17

  • In the rose garden with Ludwig
  • Miss Rose BLACK® Ladies Shoulder Bag
  • Green Summer pruning demos
  • Rose Care for January
  • Rose of the Month
  • Visit our Rose centres

The more one gardens, the more one learns; And the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.

Vita Sackville-West

In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

Two weeks ago I had to send our rose information to be published in March to the gardening magazines. Very much thumb sucking as to what the weather will be like in the meantime.

As I am finalising this issue on 8 January, it is pouring with rain! On and off for three days and our dams are filling up.

Young Ludwig and brother Otto enjoy the rain too

Young Ludwig and his brother Otto enjoy floating stick boats in the pouring rain!


The weather was mostly kind to us and the roses during December, resulting in an amazing rose month. There was drizzle and cloudy weather with enough blue sky to quickly dry up the leaves and keep the soil moist. Not much cutting back and pruning was done in November because we didn’t know what to expect from the weather, with the effect that many hybrid tea’s performed like Floribundas. Lots of short flowering shoots on one main stem.

New Zealand

‘New Zealand’ – a performer with a wonderful, strong fragrance.

Addictive Lure

‘Addictive Lure’ – not just the scent that is addictive!

Cordwalles one stem note the many buds to open soon

‘Cordwalles Centenary Rose’ – the many buds sprouted from one single stem will open soon.

Lesotho Prince

‘Lesotho Prince’ – the colour and perfect shape are always charming.

Mushe Kirsh

‘Mushe Kirsh’ is an amazing Antico Moderno rose!

Alec's Red

‘Alec’s Red’ – a mainstay favourite with an unbeatable fragrance!

We were also careful when fertilising, not knowing if our dams would start filling, but with the nice weather, we applied Vigorosa around the younger plants. Within a week, the light green leaves, which are a clear indication of nitrogen deficiency, turned deep green and the leaves doubled in size. Such finely tuned decisions are what farmers and rose growers need to take all the time. Fertilising without sufficient water might cause burning. Undernourished plants will not produce, and in the case of roses, it also means that such plants become susceptible to black spot infection.

 left under-nourished right 1 week after fertilising

Note the change in leaf colour and vigour on the rose plant on the right, one week after it has been fertilised.

fertilising onto wet leaves causes bruning It has stopped and will outgrow it quic

Applying fertiliser onto wet leaves causes burning. It has stopped and will soon be outgrown.

The beetle invasion we experienced earlier on has petered out after one good spraying with Cyper, which is available from our rose centres for garden use. Usually they come back two, three weeks later. Ha, again, a day after the first good rains on 2nd January the CMR beetles arrived and started to chew on the David Austin English Roses.

CMR beetles are back the day after rain

CMR beetles have found the roses the day after the rain

Just around New Year is the time to trim or groom the red varieties that produce good cut roses for Valentine’s Day. Mister Lincoln, Cora Marie, Belle Rouge, Five Roses, and Boksburg Fantasia are our main varieties. For you at home just one glorious bowl of Papa Meilland should suffice. Oh, but the children need to take some to school too. Here is how it is done – scroll down to our green summer pruning and grooming instructions further down.

The red roses cut back for bearing flowers around Valentine's Day

The red roses cut back for bearing flowers around Valentine’s Day.

this stem was cut back on 28 Dec photo taken on 9 January

This stem was cut back on 28 Dec, photo taken on 9 January. It will produce two pickable stems.

I was walking with my grandsons through Southdown’s, a gated community in Irene. All neat and clean and the gardens well kept. Lots and lots of Standard ‘Iceberg’, as is the case everywhere.

However, what amazed me was that quite a few of these standards where green, sheared like a mop head with maybe the odd bloom in-between.

It was of course the rootstock that had sprouted on the stem underneath the grafting. Instead of being pulled off, cut or ripped off the main stem, the light green thornless stems were kept and cut at the top by the garden maintenance company.

Especially at the younger stage, sprouting of the rootstock from the main stem on standards does happen. Simply cutting them off doesn’t help, as they will just sprout again. One needs to rip off the shoot, pulling them downwards so that the dormant eyes are removed as well.

Xavier next to a standard Iceberg that has gone "wild"!

Xavier next to a standard ‘Iceberg’ that has gone “wild”!

Miss BLACK® Ladies Shoulder Sling Bag

Miss BLACK® Ladies Shoulder Sling Bag

As advertised in our catalogue these versatile, rosy ladies bags are now available. They cost R 615.00 each including counter-to-counter speed postage. To order one simply follow this link… 

Green Summer Pruning

I am hosting demonstrations on how to correctly green summer prune your roses at this time of the year, at our branches. Please see dates and times further down. I look forward to seeing you there!

For those of you who are unable to attend, we have uploaded a short but informative video on how it is done…

Green Summer Pruning

Click on the image to let me show you how easy it is to green summer prune your roses!

Gardens of the Golden City are hosting garden visits in January and February. There is nothing more inspirational than spending time in a beautiful garden! Follow this link for further details…

Step by Step Rose Care for January

Your weather and availability of water determines what could or should be done to your rose bushes and climbers at this point, halfway into the flowering season.

For the dry regions, the advice is still the same. Retain the foliage; no cutting back or even dead heading.

Obviously no fertilising either if there is not enough water. There is very little chance of fungus diseases and spraying for them is not necessary. Red spider mites could become a problem and in that case, it is best to spray with a MILBEKNOCK and INSECT SPRAY cocktail to keep them under control.

Mulching to keep the water in the soil cool is important. Use whatever material is available i.e. dry lawn clippings, leaves, pips, pebbles, peanut shells, pine bark chunks, paving stones or pine cones. Any material that will allow the water to get through and not suck it up, will do.

Don’t use compost, because that will encourage any root growth upwards. No digging at this stage either. If the soil appears hard and does not allow water to penetrate easily, it is best to just spike the soil with a digging fork to a depth of 20cm.

And again – GREY WATER IS BETTER THAN NO WATER. Our video on how to implement grey water harvesting can be viewed here…

Roses growing in pots cannot survive without daily watering, unless one has introduced water holding material such as coco peat or swell gel.

Roses that have suffered from the drought and are now getting drenching rain are best left alone for two to three weeks.

They will soon sprout and make new leaves like mad. Thereafter it is important to spray and avoid black spot infection. There should likely be lots of nutrition dissolving, which will become available to the roots, so there is no need to fertilise. More on what to do in this case will feature in our February newsletter.

For those who are back to normal gardening with good rains and no water restrictions, these are the points to consider for reaping beautiful roses over the next few months.

  • Rose bushes that are growing and flowering well, are, let’s say, ferocious feeders. After all, they need to make stems, leaves and flowers again and again. Compost that was applied in August will have been used up. Apply VIGOROSA now in January. It contains the basic N-P-K nutrition, Epsom salts, lime, micro elements and the all-important carbonised humic acid which is derived from compost. It just needs to be sprinkled around the bush (or even over the leaves as I do) and the water will dissolve it and carry it to the roots.
  • Without much grooming or pruning, the bushes would have grown dense with lots of twigs and will be flowering magnificently. Carrying out green summer pruning however will result in the remaining blooms becoming larger. Opening up the densely leaved sections will allow light and air inside the bush and diminish black spot defoliation.

Black Spot in centre of bush

Without green summer pruning black spot easily infects the centre of the bush.

  • When carrying out green summer pruning each bush needs to be considered individually and treated according to its past performance and what is expected for ongoing growth and flowering. The overall consideration when carrying out green summer pruning is to retain a good balance of remaining leaves. Leaves are absolutely important to maintain a good sap flow – water pushed up from the roots and flowing back to the roots. Strong sap flow keeps a plant cool. However too many leaves absorb a lot of water, loose much of it by transpiration and the bush becomes lazy in sprouting and producing quality blooms.
  • If you were to cut off too many leaves, the sap flow within the stems would slow down and cease. The sap then is heated up to such an extent that it almost starts to boil within the plant. The cambium tissue beneath the bark is then scorched – this is known as sunburn or stem canker. Leaves are not only needed to regulate the sap flow but also shade the stems and branches. So, if your roses are experiencing sunburn, water well, don’t fertilise and pinch back all buds to stimulate sprouting further down the main stems.


Sunburn or stem canker can devastate the plant. See how it is fighting back by sprouting a new red shoot.

These images give a good idea of how to apply green summer pruning:

Fairest Cape

If the spent blooms on this ‘Fairest Cape’ were just left on the bush, it would take forever for new shoots and buds to appear.

Fairest Cape

3 days after dead heading, the sprouting is already evident.

dead heading on Garden Queen  before

Before dead heading ‘Garden Queen’.

dead heading on Garden Queen  after

The stems of the dead headed, spent blooms will sprout one to two new blooms.

Rose bushes before they are green summer pruned.

After they have been tidied up and readied for sprouting and flower power in autumn.








Before full of hips.

Every receptacle on this bush has made a hip (fruit) after the petals have fallen off and would not flower again this season.

After summer green pruning has been applied, the remaining stems will bear quality shoots and large blooms.

Green summer pruning a semi denuded bush.

The leaves on the remaining stems are retained. This is of extreme importance!

Various stages of single stem samples to guide you on where to cut.

This is how they should look after you have summer green pruned these individual stems on the bush.

Slightly more mature single stem samples.

Here the “grooming” has been applied.

This Floribunda ‘Forever Busy’ that is full of all stages of blooms and buds does not have to be green summer pruned or dead headed.

If you pick cut roses regularly, the bushes do not need to be green summer pruned. The picking automatically encourages quality new sprouting.

To learn all the tips and tricks, you are welcome to attend one of our Summer Rose Care Workshop as detailed below.

Attendance is free and there is no need to book. You are welcome to bring samples of any rose problems or blooms for identification.

For a quick induction watch our “how to” video here…

Roses of the Month Giver of Hope

Giver of Hope

This ‘Giver of Hope’ is an elegant, exhibition shaped hybrid tea that will easily reach shoulder height. It bears good stems for cutting blooms for the vase. The blooms are very large and perfectly simmetrical. They are white, with a light yellow delicately yet distinctly visible in its centre. The blooms bear a slight note of fragrance.

News from our Rose Centres

Ludwig’s Rose Farm

Summer Rose Care Workshop on Sunday 15th January at 10h30.

Ludwig’s Pretoria East

Summer Rose Care Workshop on Sunday 15th January at 14h00.

Ludwig’s Roses Egoli

Saturday 14th January at 10h30.

Ludwig’s Roses Winelands and Cape Town:

Summer Rose Care workshop on Saturday 21st January at 10h00 and on Sunday 22nd January at 10h30.

Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town

Summer Rose Care Workshop on Saturday 21st January at 14h00.

Ludwig’s Star Roses

Summer Rose Care Workshop on Saturday 18th February at 10h30

Ludwig’s Roses Outeniqua

We are not hosting a summer rose care workshop but the roses are looking lovely and the restaurant has a unique new menu!

With the very best wishes for a rosy and wet 2017!

Yours in roses,

Ludwig Taschner