Newsletters: loving roses in February ’19

In the rose garden with Ludwig
Rose Care for February
Rose of the Month
Valentine’s at Ludwig’s Rose Farm 
“A rose speaks of love silently in a language known only to the heart.”

Happy Valentine’s Month! 
In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

The weather over the past four weeks (in our region at least) was almost ideal for rose growing. Good rain, not too heavy, mostly cool nights (20°C) and bright hot-sunshine with some clouds for relief.

The small summer blooms I wrote about in the last issue have been replaced with normal to large size specimens. The colour too, has become more intense and inspiring.

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‘Garden Queen’ – big, fragrant, intense!

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‘Perfumery’ has such a strong fragrance -special!

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‘Illse Roos’ is simply immaculate!

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Don’t you just love ‘Spiced Coffee’ for her colour and fragrance?

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‘Valencia’ has it all. A magnificent colour, size and performance.

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‘Brownie’s’ star shaped blooms last forever.

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‘Garden & Home’ has the perfect delicate colouring and shallow cup shape.

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Just look at these earthy colours – ‘Mama Africa’.

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‘Curro’ – striking!

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‘Remember Me’ – a rose with pure stamina!

The good rains in December and January have revitalised rose bushes that were waiting for better times and they have renewed themselves with new leaves and flowering stems. It is a sure sign that the non-performance was caused by insufficient water to the roots and not disease.
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‘Heart Throb’ has soaked up the good rain water and exploded with blooms in joy!

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‘The Lady’ – what a magnificent show?

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The rain has completely revived ‘The Twins Rose’.

The relatively new group of GrandiRosas are even more impressive in their performance than first envisaged.

Their upright neatness makes them superior to climbers for screening walls or fences. To grow to this magnitude they do require extensive soil preparation. The easiest is a deep and wide trench enriched with organics

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‘Carmine GrandiRosa’ bears perfectly shaped,
large blooms on a formidable, upright bush.

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‘La Fleurette’ is a performer!

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‘Limelight GrandiRosa’ stands tall and proud.

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‘Red GrandiRosa’ a real showstopper!

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‘St Dunstan’s Centenary’ is simply breathtakingly beautiful!

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These red rose buds will have opened just in time for Valentine’s day!


Ludwig will be giving Summer Rose Care Demonstrations on:

Saturday 16 February at 10 am for The Midlands Rose Society at the Church of Ascension in Hilton next door to St Ann’s College.
Contact Gill Wilson at for more info.
Visitors are welcome. Entrance fee R 30.00

On the same Saturday, at 2 pm, there will be a demo and talk at Ludwig’s STAR ROSES in Assagay. No booking or fee required. Visitors are welcome to bring problem blooms, leaves, branches or plants for identification and advice.

On Tuesday, 12 March there will be a talk on rose care and suitable varieties for the Bedford Garden Club.
Interested parties please contact Taryn Pringle

Rose Tour to France
Join Anja on a Rose Fragrance Tour to Grasse in May 2019. For more info click here…

Step by Step Rose Care for February

The weather is now so variable, that it is difficult if not impossible to provide appropriate advice for each gardener. I am told that in Durban the roses look superb, like never before, as a result of the rain and cooler weather. But, with the main dams still half full municipal water remains very costly. In Hillcrest and surrounds, it alternates between hot and cold and rain with fungus diseases causing leaf drop. In the Midlands it is moist, and one needs to watch out for Rose Rust and Botrytis.

The gardens in the East Rand are suffering from not enough rain while the North and West sides of Johannesburg are getting more than their fair share of rain. In Pretoria the rose weather has been near perfect – ha ha!

In the Western Cape the weather pattern seems to be abnormal with unseasonal rain and cold days – but no complaints.

Other regions in the country, such as the Eastern and Northern Cape, are still suffering from a now very long drought. Somehow the roses adjust to all this and it is up to us to still get the best flowering performance out of them.

I wonder if there will be a rose bush that survived the minus 40°C in the Chicago region?

It is obvious that the most important aspect is to get water to the roots of the roses and to ensure that it can drain away. The adage “Rose roots like water in motion” is still pertinent. If not enough water is available for regular deep, irrigation one needs to keep them alive with grey water.

Where water-neglected roses have flourished owing to the good rains, it is important to water them well during the non-rainy days or dry periods or at least to wean them from less water to their roots.

As summer goes into autumn the important aspect is leaves, leaves, leaves. The surviving leaves on water-neglected bushes have become tough and leathery, so they are not very efficient food-making processors anymore. However, it is the food (sugar, carbohydrates and hormones) they make that need to get back down to the roots to encourage additional activity (formation of new hair roots, better root spread and more water uptake) that is needed to get more new stems with leaves and flowers.

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It is obvious that the old, leathery leaves don’t
photosynthesise as efficiently as the newly
sprouted ones. A fertiliser application will
encourage new shoots and leaves.

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Grooming and removing some of the old twigs and
leathery leaves will encourage new ones to sprout.

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Here the old twigs and leaves have been removed
and soon new sprouting will happen.

It is now very important that the new leaves are protected from black spot fungus or red spider mite invasion. Spraying fortnightly with our recommended cocktail provides such protection. Alternating this with Rose Protector will provide some control of rose rust that is prevalent in some regions. If it doesn’t sort out the rust, Orius will.

The good rains will have dissolved latent fertiliser in the soil which will have been used up by the bushes or washed away. If you notice that such bushes have developed superb strong basal shoots spreading out with lots of flowering stems but their leaves are a light green, this indicates a nitrogen deficiency. Such leaves are much more sensitive to black spot infections and it is vital to fertilise.

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Black spot always starts from the mature lower leaves.

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The light green foliage is a clear sign of Nitrogen deficiency.
Applying Vigorosa will quickly remedy this
and protect the leaves from black spot infection.

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The light green basal shoots show that there isn’t much Nitrogen left in the soil.
An application of Vigorosa will change these light green leaves
to a deep green and encourage further sprouting.

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‘Wedding Garland’ and ‘Pannacotta’ before fertiliser is applied.

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‘Wedding Garland’ and ‘Pannacotta’ after fertiliser has been applied!

Granular fertiliser such as Vigorosa is absorbed quickly and one can see a change in the leaf colouring within a week compared to the pelletised plant food that might take a month.

When it comes to applying the right quantity of VIGOROSA it is advisable to spread out two 25g scoops or a handful per grown bush. Obviously not for newly planted “babies” or smallish bushes with few leaves on them.

If water-neglected roses have come out of their Dornröschen sleep with short stems and flower buds, I recommend pinching out all or most of the tight buds. The energy that would have gone into making the blooms is converted to make more leaves and the next crop of flowers would be of a normal size again.

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The new growth has been pinched to make it mature quicker.

Any effort spent now in the appropriate care for the roses in your garden will be rewarded with super colour and blooms right into winter.

Many of our mother stock roses have reached retirement age; 15 to 20 years of hard work producing stems and leaves to be cut off for propagation and they need to be re-placed, which is quite a process that involves completely changing the soil. Doing so is virtually instant gardening. We plant out flowering container roses that look good from day one and within a few weeks they look like old established plants.

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A 20 year old ‘Oklahoma’

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An instant rose bed planted 5 weeks ago.

Rose of the Month: ‘Kissing Ayoba’ KORblohawa(N)
For February, what other rose could be more fitting than this one?This no-nonsense rose is so free flowering and the bi-colour so beautiful that it really just gives you that happy feeling whenever you walk past it – almost as blissful as the feeling just after a kiss!
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The bright red semi double blooms keep on dancing over the amazing glossy green canopy on a neat shrub that will grow to dimensions we know from ‘Iceberg’.

So why not treat yourself by planting this beauty in your garden this February?

They are available at a special promotional price from all our rose centres this month.

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Valentine’s at Ludwig’s Rose Farm 

Join us for some romance on the rose farm! The Rose Kitchen is hosting special Cupid’s picnic baskets for Valentine’s this month. The picnics are available not only on Thursday the 14th but on Friday and Saturday the 15th and 16th also.

On Friday the 15th they are preparing a rose inspired, candle lit dinner in the evening.

Booking is essential.

Please click here for more info or contact


Remember – Nothing says “I love you” quite like red roses do!

Rose greetings,

Ludwig & Halmar