new shoots, they are a stretching – talking roses September ’16

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

‘Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.’ Rumi

In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

September is an exciting month for gardeners in most regions. We get swept up with planning, late pruning, fixing flower beds, fertilising and starting to water to get the spring season started.

As predicted, winter has come later than usual, with frosty nights in August, rather than in June which used to be the norm. All in all, this past winter was very mild countrywide. The roses will have sprouted, whether pruned or not, and as happens every year when I walk around our pruned roses, my hand itches to pull out my secateurs and do some corrective pruning. Of course it is just not possible considering the hundreds of thousands of plants on the farm. It would make no difference in any case.

It is just that old habits die hard. Back in the day when I was still an apprentice in Germany, some 60 years ago, we  were trained to prune with a knife instead of a secateur, since secateurs would squeeze the bark.

Actually, our practice today of pre-pruning all our roses with a motorised Stihl hedge trimmer, means that we still need to prune by hand to remove older wood, retain the most promising stems and re-cut lacerated stems.

shearing Mister Lincoln

the “jungle” of ‘Mister Lincoln’ sheared with a hedge trimmer

I am still undecided about pruning all of the 'Afrikaans' rose

I am still undecided about pruning all of the ‘Afrikaans’ roses. Time will tell the big difference.

Without the multitude of blooms that are normally around me, the odd flower that is popping up now, is appreciated so much more. In our greenhouse the new generation of scented pot roses that will be marketed as RosAroma started to bloom.

a scented, yet unreleased variety that will be marketed as RosAroma

A scented, yet unreleased variety that will be marketed as RosAroma

Just before pruning I took photos of three seedlings from the same parents. That means that they sprouted from seeds that came from the same hip that resulted from the same cross-pollination. They are thus sisters. Just note how amazingly different they are from each other.

the brainy sister

one of the sisters

the good looking sister

the good looking sister

the other sister

the other sister


September will be a busy month with Spring Rose Care and Finger Pruning Workshops held countrywide We invite you to attend! Booking is not necessary and there is no charge. We teach you tricks on how to coax your roses into flowering continuously and powerfully, so it is well worth your while!

  • Ludwig’s Rose farm, Pretoria: Sunday, September 11 at 10h30
  • Ludwig’s Roses Pretoria East, Lynnwood road, Pretoria: Sunday, September 11 at 14h00.
  • Ludwig’s Roses Egoli, Glenferness, Johannesburg: Saturday, September 10 at 10h30.
  • Ludwig’s Roses Winelands, Stellenbosch: Saturday, September 17 at 10h00 and Sunday, September 18 at 10h30.
  • Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town, Constantia; Saturday, September 17 at 14h00.
  • Ludwig’s Star Roses, Hillcrest, KZN: Saturday, September 3 at 14h00 and Sunday, September 4 at 10h30.

Everyone is invited to join in with the annual gathering of the Northern Rose Society on Saturday, 10 September at 14h00 at Ludwig’s Roses Pretoria East, Lynnwood Road on how to “doll up” rose blooms for competitions and for a slide show presentation on ROSES IN CHINA. There is no charge but an RSVP would be appreciated for catering purposes. Please e-mail if you would like to attend.

The Rose Kitchen is hosting a ”lang tafel” lunch this Sunday the 28th of August 2016! 

“FREE BUBBLY will be served!”

Our Chef, Johan Flint, has put together a fantastic 4 course menu filled with delicious and inspiring meals. Please click here to see the menu.

Cost is R140 per adult, R85 for under 12 years, toddlers and babies eat for free. A free bottle of JC Le Roux Bubbly is served to bookings of 4 or more guests.

Space is limited, so booking is essential. Please e-mail for more details or to make a booking.

We look forward to welcoming you on the farm. It is a wonderful time to see the new growth sprouting as the impending rose month draws closer!

The September rose table will be taking place on Heritage day, 24 September. The theme for the menu will be “celebrating modern south African food” please keep an eye on our facebook page:

Jo’burg Rose Bus tour – 15 October

This year’s rose bus tour offers a wonderful variety of rose gardens. There is the elegance of a stately Saxonwold garden, the English country-garden charm of an Illovo garden, the shady splendour of a Birdhaven garden with roses at the heart of it, and a small, but very loved rose garden in Fairland that demonstrates how many roses can be packed into a small space without feeling crowded!

As always, our tour leaves from Ludwig’s Roses Egoli, Glenferness. Registration from 7h30 and the first bus leaves at 8h00. There will only be two buses and they fill up quickly. A packed lunch will be provided as well as refreshments for enjoying at your leisure in any of the gardens. The cost is: R330.00 To book contact:


October is the month when all rose lovers cannot get enough of roses, and this year we are in luck! The ROSA national convention organised by the Gold Reef Rose Society in Johannesburg offers a total immersion in roses! Their programme includes two solid days of visiting rose gardens, as well as plenty of time to catch up with rose friends, or make new rose friends, at their cocktail party and gala dinner.

Thursday 13 October

Registration, ROSA AGM, and Cocktail Party. Rose show from 7am to 10am exhibitors enter roses at the Wanderers Golf Club: R 2000 prize money and engraved vase for Queen of the Show.

Friday 14 October

Visit to Doonholm Herb Farm (including their huge circular rose garden), Ludwig’s Roses (lunch) and The Rose House (Vivienne Black’s extensive rose garden).

Saturday 15 October

Visit four of Joburg’s top rose gardens in conjunction with Ludwig’s Roses annual bus tour, including lunch.

Gala dinner at Wanderer’s Golf Club: theme roses in music with Sean Brokensha (the Music Guru) as compere.

Cost: full package is R1 690 or pay for individual events (R50 admin charge added). To book mail:, or fax: 011 447 8251 or contact 0839858632.

Step by Step Rose Care for September

RE-PRUNING: Driving around I notice that especially many ‘Iceberg’ roses have not yet been pruned. This is not really a problem since ‘Iceberg’ has the ability to sprout from all over the old woody stems, something most other modern roses do not have. However, for better quality of blooms and more uniform flowering, or to reduce the height of the roses, late pruning, or re-pruning can still be carried out.

It is actually so much easier to prune or re-prune when the rose is shooting because one can just decide how far to go down and cut above a good new sprouting shoot. Pruning back hard encourages sprouting from the base and the important rejuvenation.

it is now easy to decide where to cut for corrective pruning

now that the eyes are sprouting, it is easy to decide where to cut for corrective pruning

note how well the defoliated stem is sprouting nothing yet on the leaved stem

pruning and removing all leaves does make sense 🙂 note how well the defoliated stem is sprouting compared to the leaved stem that is still dormant


In September the soil needs to be moist and saturated to a deep level. The roses are drawing up a lot of water to power their new growth and a good mulch will limit evaporation, but not compensate for the amount of water needed.

The odd 50 new shoots on a bush will stretch by a centimetre a day. At this stage the new shoots are more than 90% water. The more water that is available the larger the leaves will become and longer and stronger stems will be produced.

More leaf surface means more photosynthesis and this empowers the roots to spread deeper and wider in search of water and nutrients. The age old question of how much and how often watering or irrigation needs to be done, depends on the water holding capacity of the soil but it needs to be in balance with the air holding capacity. In other words very sandy soil has no water holding capacity but is able to hold lots of air. Dense clay or turf soil has lots of water holding capacity but there is no space for the air. In both cases there is no balance between the two. It is up to us to get the balance right by digging the materials that will bring such a balance about into the soil.

By the way, stones up to fist size are excellent. Roots encircle them to grab water as it flows around and air is bound to follow. In sandy soil one needs to introduce water holding organics such as peat moss or coir (coco nut fibre), peanut shells, vermiculite or even swell gel.

In clay soil it is best to look at non de-composing materials such as crushed apricot pips, coarse anthracite ash, pebbles, perlite, chopped up styrofoam or a mixture of some of these.

In defence of the rose, I need to stress that it is the annual pruning as well as the reduction of foliage by cutting blooms with long stems and also leaf destroying diseases, that reduces root strength and calls on us to ‘baby’ the root system. Remember, green fingers means that the gardener understands the water requirement of plants and applies them.

down micro-jet

these downward spraying micro-jets make every drop of water get to the roots of the rose.


To put on so much growth within a few weeks also requires the availability of nutrients. Again it is the case that the roots of our roses cannot spread far and deep like those of trees and large shrubs. Therefore, they depend on localised availability. If VIGO-LONGER was applied earlier, such nutrients will be available in a balanced ratio. Compost and manure dug into the soil after pruning will be another source of nutrients, that is slowly released. For an extra spurt of growth, like having a chocolate, an application of VIGOROSA by mid-September will boost the growth considerably. If your roses have not yet sprouted despite watering and fertilising, you need to dig around and ensure aeration and easy penetration of water with the fertiliser as stated above.

Ludwigs Vigolonger

watch our video clip on how easy it is to apply Ludwig’s Vigolonger

PEST (insects) and DISEASE (fungi) CONTROL

The appearance of lush new leaves quickly attracts insects in search of a meal. Aphids will appear from nowhere colonising the tips of new shoots. Thrips that have over-wintered as eggs behind the dormant eyes, will start sucking their way upwards, leaving a devastating trail of deformed leaves. Spider mites and beetles are not a problem right now.

Drenching the rose bushes with KOINOR in August will keep sucking and chewing insects away. Watch our youTube video on how to apply Koinor as a drench

control aphids by applying Koinor as a drench

Fungus diseases are usually not much of a problem early in the season with the exception of the winter rainfall regions. And I am happy to hear that the rain is falling and filling dams in the Western Cape. In such regions, spray preventatively with Ludwig’s Cocktail, Rose Protector or use Benomyl and Propamocarb to keep downy mildew at bay.


The fun part of rose growing is the manipulation of our roses to make them flower better and for longer. This is done by finger pruning, pinching of water shoots, cutting out the centre of candelabra stems and the disbudding of our picking or exhibition roses.

The actual timing for this is determined by the stage of growth and depends very much on the prevailing weather and temperatures. In Gauteng it is mostly during the first half of September when the new shoots have 5 or more leaves.

The images show the various methods:

young shoot ready for finger pruning  pinching

young shoot ready for finger pinching

soft pinch carried out

soft pinch carried out

a hard pinch carried out

for a hard pinch one snaps the bud off a little further down

fifteen days after pinching

fifteen days later, the result is 3 new stems and buds in the making

this type of growth is not a cluster but known as candelabra

a candelabra’s centre is cut out to make the remaining stems stronger and prevent the stem from breaking in the wind

Roses of the Month: Happy Home HORcassini(P)

This forever flowering compact rose, when planted next to a driveway or in beds near the house, will indeed give a “Welcome home!” greeting. The very stiff petalled full blooms are of an interesting and versatile colour blend, a deep apricot that takes on a pink shimmer as the unfolding petals are exposed to sunlight. Ideal for border or foreground plantings of mixed beds, even those containing yellow or pink varieties. This rose requires minimum care and is eco-chic. It was bred by our good friends the Horners in the UK and impressed us from the very word go.

Happy Home

News from our Rose Centres

rose plants

Our saleable rose plants have sprouted well and are ready to be planted out into your garden.

Ludwig’s Rose Farm

Our Spring Rose Care and Finger pruning demo is to be held Sunday 11 September 2016 at 10:30. No booking necessary and attendance is free of charge.

The Rose Kitchen

The Rose Table – a monthly “lang tafel “ lunch  hosted in the “afdak” is happening on Sunday, the 28th of August and on Saturday, the 24th of September (Heritage day). Contact for further details.

Ludwig’s Pretoria East

Everyone is invited to join in with the annual gathering of the Northern Rose Society on Saturday, 10 September at 14h00. I will host a Spring Rose Care workshop, show you how to “doll up” rose blooms for competitions and present a slide show on ROSES IN CHINA. There is no charge but an RSVP would be appreciated for catering purposes. Please e-mail if you would like to attend.

Ludwig’s Roses EGOLI

Yvette is back from her rest because of the knee op she had to undergo! The Spring Rose Care and Finger pruning demo will be held Saturday 10 September 2016 at 10:30. No booking necessary and attendance is free of charge.

Ludwig’s Roses Winelands and Cape Town

Spring Rose Care and Finger pruning demo to be held Saturday 17 September at 10:00 and Sunday 18 September at 10:30 at Winelands.

Saturday 17 September at 14:00 at Cape Town.

Ludwig’s STAR Roses

Spring Rose Care and Finger pruning demo to be held Saturday 3 September at 14h00 and Sunday 4 September 2016 at 10h30

Ludwig’s Outeniqua

The roses are sprouting very nicely and have benefited from the warm days in between the cold and wet ones.

Spring is most certainly in the air!

Rose greetings,